Where to stay in New Orleans! A complete guide to the best neighborhoods, top attractions, and hotels in the Big Easy for any budget.
There's simply no other place in the USA like New Orleans.
New Orleans is the type of city that marches to the beat of its own drum. And I mean that literally since you'll probably hear some of New Orlean's jazz music at some point during your visit.
Choosing where to stay in New Orleans comes down to whether you want the comforts of familiar chain hotels or the charm of historical boutique accommodation.
New Orleans is a city that is best explored by embracing the unique local culture, and, of course, through its regional cuisine. So come to New Orleans with a big appetite and get ready to lose yourself in the ways of the Big Easy.
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Where to Stay in New Orleans, Louisiana: The Best Neighborhoods
Southern charm is everywhere in New Orleans.
The neighborhoods of New Orleans each have their own sense of self, but, as a whole, come together to make one of the most unique cities in the whole country.
During my visit to New Orleans, I was blown away by how different it is from any other place I've visited in the United States. The culture is rich and runs deep, the architecture is beautifully historic, and the people take pride in their roots.
And the food is just really, really good.
Visiting New Orleans is not just about exploring local landmarks or iconic skyscrapers. A visit to New Orleans is more about understanding a culture unlike any other in the country. When you come to New Orleans, you take a trip through its Southern past and begin to understand the Creole and Cajun backbone that brings the city to life.
Come hungry and thirsty (and hopefully you will avoid leaving with a Bourbon Street hangover).
The French Quarter is a must see if you go to New Orleans. Sure, it's the epicenter of all the tourist traps you might want to avoid, but it's also the epicenter of so many famous New Orleans attractions.
The streets are lined with historical buildings and those famed wrought iron balconies. Walk down the streets until you reach beautiful Jackson Square. It opens up to St. Louis Cathedral, which is one of the most photographed spots in all of New Orleans.
The French Quarter is easily walkable and one of the most unique neighborhoods in the whole country. It can also be considered the best area to stay in New Orleans for its central location.
And then there's Bourbon Street. No matter what your outlook is on drinking hand grenades in the middle of the day, let's face it, Bourbon Street is one of the most well known streets in New Orleans.
It is famous for a reason and worth a visit, even if it is just to take a quick stroll through it. On the other hand, you could also fully embrace Bourbon Street for what it is and bar hop all day and night.
Staying in or around Bourbon Street is a great option and there are many Bourbon Street hotels to choose from.
New Orlean's cuisine is unlike any other and many of the best restaurants can be found in the French Quarter. A day visiting this New Orleans neighborhood wouldn't be complete without a cup of coffee and a few beignets.
Stop by Cafe du Monde for some fresh beignets. For some authentic Creole cuisine, like seafood gumbo, head over to Brennan's. If you are a fan of oysters, try out some of the freshest ones at Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar.
Recommended Experience: French Quarter Tour with Bourbon Street
Where to Stay in The French Quarter
Chateau Hotel - A wallet-friendly hotel option in the center of the French Quarter. It is located in a traditional French Quarter style building with a wrap around wrought iron terrace.
The Chateau Hotel offers European styled guest rooms with standard amenities and furnishings. It has a courtyard and a pool for guests to enjoy when not exploring the city.
The hotel is centrally located, only a couple of blocks away from Bourbon Street. This hotel is great for those who want to stay in the center of all the action and one of the best affordable hotels near Bourbon Street.
Maison Dupuy Hotel - Located in a beautiful building in the heart of the French Quarter, Maison Dupuy Hotel offers guests standard and modern designed guest rooms.
A few unique features of this hotel include a heated saltwater pool and a quaint courtyard to enjoy. There are two restaurants and a bar in the hotel, along with a fitness center.
The Maison Dupuy Hotel is one of many hotels in the French Quarter with the excitement of the neighborhood only steps away. This accommodation is ideal for those who want a mid tier hotel option with easy access to one of the most popular neighborhoods in New Orleans.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel - A higher end hotel option just a short walk from all the nightlife on Bourbon Street. This beautiful hotel has guest rooms designed with typical New Orleans character.
Although it is in the center of the French Quarter, it is still relatively quiet while inside the hotel. Guests can enjoy a Creole inspired menu at the hotel's restaurant or take a dip in the hotel's courtyard pool.
The Bourbon Orleans Hotel also has a fitness center. It is one of many luxury hotels near Bourbon Street and the hotel's location makes it a top choice for the best place to stay in New Orleans.
Central Business District
The Central Business District of New Orleans is the ideal neighborhood for those traveling to the city for business purposes.
Granted, the neighborhood itself isn't the most charming and some of the hotel accommodations aren't the most unique, but it is still one of the best places to stay in New Orleans, especially for business trips.
The Central Business District is relatively close to a bunch of New Orleans' attractions. It is right next to the French Quarter, so if you are traveling to the city on business and have some time to spare, know you're not far from some of the best nightlife.
Since so many people traveling on business come through the Central Business District, this area has some of the top notch restaurants in town.
For a more upscale approach to French and German cuisine, have dinner at Luke. If money isn't an issue, spend it at August. This restaurant is located within a historic building and serves modern Creole cuisine.
In the mood for Italian food? Check out Domenica for pizza in an elegant dining experience.
Where to Stay in the Central Business District
Pelham Hotel - A budget-friendly accommodation in the Central Business District of New Orleans. European architecture and design are a main focus of the guest rooms at this hotel.
Many guest rooms have exposed brick walls and a boutique interior design style. There is also restaurant in the hotel for guests to dine in. The Pelham Hotel is in a great location. Many of the city's attractions are walking distance, including the French Quarter and Harrah's Casino.
Blake Hotel New Orleans - A mid-range hotel in the Central Business District. This hotel is good for those who are traveling for pleasure or business. Guest rooms are contemporary and there is a business center with meeting rooms available for those traveling for work. A restaurant, bar, and fitness center are available on the property.
Windsor Court Hotel - An elegant and sophisticated accommodation. The guest rooms of this hotel are contemporary with light and airy decor. This hotel caters to families and welcomes pets. A swimming pool and fitness center are also available.
This top notch accommodation has a fine dining restaurant along with a lounge to enjoy drinks and jazz music. It is a great choice for those who want to stay in the center of the city and in a luxurious setting.
If you're looking for a neighborhood with southern charm and opulence, look no further than the Garden District.
This neighborhood of New Orleans is widely known for its elegant mansions. It is a much quieter part of the city, quite possibly the complete opposite of Bourbon Street.
So, if you want to stay and explore a part of New Orleans that prefers beautiful architecture and landscaping over Bourbon Street cocktails, the Garden District is the right place for you to stay.
Take a walk through the Garden District to get a real feel of its historical past. This neighborhood of New Orleans is full of grand mansions and character from another time period.
Although it's not exactly close to the excitement of downtown, there's still plenty of things to do in the Garden District. Check out the Audubon Park and Zoo or ride the streetcar on St. Charles street.
Head over to Magazine Street for boutiques and shops. And if you're lucky enough to be in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, the Garden District is on the Mardi Gras route.
By far one of the most popular attractions of the Garden District is Commander's Palace. This James Beard Award winning restaurant serves some of the best Creole food in town.
Recommended Experience: Garden District Walking Tour
Where to Stay in the Garden District
Auberge NOLA Hostel - A Garden District accommodation that encourages a social environment. Dorm-style rooms are available with bunk beds.
The Auberge NOLA Hostel has many shared spaces for guests to enjoy, including a lounge, kitchen, and garden. Free breakfast is available daily and there are social events every night of the week. Stay at the Auberge NOLA Hostel and meet like minded travelers while exploring New Orleans.
The Queen Anne - A mid-range hotel located in a historic mansion. There are 12 rooms available in this hotel, each designed and decorated to reflect the history of the house itself.
Staying at The Queen Anne gives visitors a chance to feel what it might have been like to live in a southern style mansion. The hotel provides coffee and pastries each morning for guests to start their day. It is located in an ideal part of the Garden District among other beautiful historic homes.
Henry Howard Hotel - A boutique accommodation in the Garden District. The property is a large mansion steeped in history and southern charm.
There are 18 rooms in the Henry Howard Hotel with the interior design of the hotel transporting you to another era. Guests can rent bicycles from the hotel to explore the beautiful neighborhood. There is a bar and terrace in this accommodation and an overall quiet and tranquil atmosphere.
Mid-City is the type of neighborhood to stay in if you want to feel like a true local in New Orleans.
This area is a little farther out from the nonstop excitement of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, but the plus side is that Mid-City has a much more laid back atmosphere.
It may not be the first place you think of when deciding where to stay in New Orleans. But just because this part of New Orleans isn't teeming with tourists doesn't mean it is without character and charm.
The annual Jazz and Heritage Festival takes places in the heart of Mid-City each year. For those who are in town during this festival, it is a fun way to experience a bit of New Orleans' music culture.
Come to Mid-City to get away from the party scene of the French Quarter and take a walk through City Park. This expansive park offers a quieter refuge among beautiful walking paths lined with oak trees.
Mid-City is a diverse neighborhood of New Orleans and so are its restaurants. Neyow's Creole Cafe is one of the most popular casual dining spots in the area. Stop by for some authentic file gumbo or oysters.
If you're somehow not sure if you want Creole or Italian food, check out Katie's because they serve both. This restaurant is a popular place for brunch and its Italian-Creole mix of food. For a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine, head over to Mona's Cafe & Deli. This Lebanese restaurant serves classics like falafel, hummus, and chicken kebabs.
Where to Stay in Mid-City
NOLA Jazz House Hostel - An optimal accommodation for those looking for a cheap accommodation option in New Orleans.
There are both mixed and female only dorm-style rooms at the NOLA Jazz House Hostel with shared bathrooms. There are also common areas that are shared, including a kitchen, lounge, and deck. Free breakfast and drinks in the evening are offered as well.
NOLA Jazz House Hostel is the perfect accommodation to meet new people and make friends while exploring the Big Easy.
The Drifter - A mid-range hotel with classic minimal decor in the guest rooms. There are guest rooms available with double beds or bunk beds with standard design and amenities.
The Drifter Hotel is a good option for those who don't want to pay a high price for accommodation but want private rooms and bathrooms. There is a swimming pool for guests to enjoy and many New Orleans attractions are in close proximity to this hotel. It's one of the best budget hotels in New Orleans.
Canal Street Inn - A high end hotel option in Mid-City. The Canal Street Inn is located in a beautiful house with classic New Orleans charm. Each guest room of the inn is decorated with its own unique design. Some guest rooms are larger, with full seating areas.
The Canal Street Inn offers many shared spaces for guests to enjoy, including parlors, a dining room, and a garden terrace. Staying at the Canal Street Inn allows guests to truly feel like a part of the community.
The traditional beauty of this property is a top reason to choose it as your accommodation while visiting New Orleans.
Marigny is the neighborhood you go to if you want the next best thing.
This area of New Orleans is home to some of the best nightlife outside of Bourbon Street, but with a more subdued atmosphere. When it comes to where to stay in New Orleans, Marigny is one of the best options for those who want an authentic and artistic experience.
If you tried out the French Quarter and want a change of pace, listen to some live jazz music in Marigny. This area has streets full of restaurants, bars, and music venues.
Frenchmen Street is the main hub of businesses and nightlife. Jazz clubs are popular in this part of town and you can hear live performances any night of the week.
Walk the quieter residential streets and admire some of the unique architecture of the neighborhood. There are historic houses with Creole and Greek revival influences.
Cajun and Creole food are prominent in this New Orleans neighborhood.
Stop at Marigny Brasserie for Cajun-inspired dishes with a more modern twist. If you're looking for a truly local spot to hear live music any night of the week, grab a drink at Buffa's and stay for the authentic music.
Three Muses is popular for its live music and small plates of food. If you're not sure whether you want Southern food or something a bit more international, Three Muses has a little bit of everything.
Recommended Experience: Frenchman Street Live Music Crawl
Where to Stay in Marigny
Frenchmen Hotel - A budget-friendly hotel option in the heart of Marigny. This quaint hotel packs a ton of character in its colorful interior design and decor. Rooms are small but come with the standard amenities, such as a free continental breakfast available daily for all guests.
The Frenchmen Hotel is a family-friendly accommodation and has a pool for guests to enjoy. It is also in a good location with major attractions within walking distance, including Bourbon Street.
Frenchmen Orleans 519 - An apartment-style accommodation in the center of Marigny. Each apartment comes with a separate living area and full kitchen. The apartments are all modernly furnished.
This type of accommodation is optimal for those traveling in a larger group or for families. Guests can take advantage of cooking their own meals in the full kitchen. Parking and a swimming pool are available in this hotel.
It is also located within close proximity to some of New Orleans top attractions.
Royal Frenchmen Hotel and Bar - A boutique hotel at the end of Frenchmen Street. This luxury hotel in Marigny provides guests with a unique chance to stay in a classic New Orleans building with a stylish decor to match. It is one of the best hotels in New Orleans because of its character and history.
Guests can enjoy either a continental or buffet breakfast in the morning and rent bicycles to explore the neighborhood in the afternoon. The Royal Frenchman Hotel and Bar offers a relaxing garden and is located near a quiet park.
Although this accommodation is a hotel, it feels more like a New Orleans bed and breakfast.
How to Get Around New Orleans
Getting around New Orleans is relatively easy. For starters, the city itself is easily walkable. If the weather is nice and you are in the mood to go for a nice walk, its ideal to explore New Orleans by foot. Individual neighborhoods are laid out for locals and visitors to discover while walking.
Where to stay in New Orleans may come down to its access to public transportation. Luckily, public transportation is accessible from many popular neighborhoods.
If you want to hop around from one neighborhood to another, the next best mode of transportation in New Orleans is the streetcar.
This popular type of public transportation is not only practical, but also a top attraction on its own. The New Orleans streetcars are historic in nature and provide a charming way of getting around town. The streetcars and buses are both run by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority.
A one way trip on the streetcar if $1.25, which is significantly cheaper than many other public transportation options in major cities in the USA. If you are planning to use public transportation often throughout your stay, get a Jazzy Pass for unlimited rides. The Jazzy Pass can be purchased for one, three, five, or 31 days.
Buses are another convenient mode of transportation in New Orleans. Bus routes are much more extensive than streetcar routes. Buses and streetcars have the same fare and the Jazzy Pass can be used on buses as well.
Taxis and ride share services are also available throughout New Orleans. Of course, these options are a bit more expensive than public transportation but can be beneficial if you are traveling longer distances with less time to spare.
Top 10 Sights to See in New Orleans
The sights of New Orleans are unlike those of any other city in the United States. It's not as much about the skyscrapers as it is about the soul of the city.
Finding your way through the top attractions of New Orleans not only means seeing the sights, but also tasting the flavors and experiencing the culture of the city.
Jackson Square is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most photographed spots in all of New Orleans. It is located within the French Quarter. It is where you can also find the famous St. Louis Cathedral.
Jackson Square is an important part of New Orleans history. It has many historic buildings, including the Pontalba Apartments. These apartments are the oldest in the United States. It is a picturesque area of the city and great for those who love history.
Mardi Gras World
Don't be bummed if you can't make it for Mardi Gras in February. Although Mardi Gras can be the best time to visit New Orleans for those who like to party, you can still get a taste of the festival whenever you are in town. Visit Mardi Gras World and you'll feel like you're at Mardi Gras any time of the year.
This massive indoor warehouse houses tons of Mardi Gras floats. Many of them are created and worked on within this warehouse. Take a walk around the space and see some of the amazing crafted floats that make Mardi Gras such a special event in New Orleans.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
A cemetery might not normally be on your list of things to see while on vacation, but then again, New Orleans is not your typical vacation. The St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 happens to be one of the top sights to see in the city.
There are three different St. Louis Cemeteries in New Orleans. This one is the oldest and the sight where many famous New Orleans residents are buried. The graves are above ground, making this cemetery look more like a miniature city of buildings than a regular cemetery.
Recommended Experience: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 Walking Tour
Mercedes-Benz Superdome for a Saint's Game
Known as just the Superdome by locals, this is the home to the beloved New Orleans Saints. If you're in Who Dat nation during football season, try to score yourself tickets to one of the Saints' home games.
The Superdome is located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, which makes it easily accessible to many New Orleans hotels and public transportation. Even if you're not a big football fan, the electric atmosphere and experience of watching the Saints on their home turf is undeniable.
There really isn't anything quite like Bourbon Street. The street itself is 13 blocks long and is home to some of the wildest bars and nightlife in New Orleans. Popular music, along with jazz, can be heard from all sorts of bars along this strip.
It's a party all day long on Bourbon Street, so be prepared to for a fun time.
And in case you didn't know, drinking on the street is legal in New Orleans. The French Quarter is full of "go-cups", so you can bring your drink to go while you hop from bar to bar.
Bourbon Street is perfect for those who want to party, day or night (or both). It's definitely worth having a look at, even if partying isn't your thing, because it is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Audubon Park is a recreational wonderland and a favorite outdoor space for both locals and visitors. This urban park has been in New Orleans for more than 100 years and is a popular attraction when visiting the Big Easy.
There are plenty of different outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy at Audubon Park. Walking and jogging paths are found throughout the park. There are playgrounds for children and a swimming pool open in the summer months. Sports such as tennis and horseback riding are also available.
Come to Audubon Park to experience one of these activities or simply just enjoy nature in New Orleans' backyard.
Also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras is by far the biggest and most popular attraction in New Orleans. It marks the last day of Carnival and the beginning of lent on Ash Wednesday.
The people of New Orleans take Mardi Gras seriously, so if you are in town for the festival, you're in for the time of your life.
Mardi Gras is known for its over the top parades with decorative floats and costumes, wild celebrations, and lots and lots of beads. One of the best things about Mardi Gras? Everyone is welcome to celebrate and watching the parades are completely free.
Mardi Gras krewes, or private clubs, are made up of members who plan and decorate their parade. There are bunch of krewes who fund these parades, and put together, make up the festivities of Mardi Gras.
St. Charles' Streetcar
It's kind of rare that a mode of public transportation would actually be one of the top attractions in a city, but the St. Charles' Streetcar is worth the experience.
Hop on one of these historic streetcars that run along St. Charles Avenue to get a relatively cheap look into many of New Orleans' neighborhoods. The St. Charles streetcar famously passes by many beautiful New Orleans mansions and historic areas. This is a fun and relaxing way to see the city.
Magazine Street is one of New Orleans' most popular thoroughfares. It stretches for six miles and is full of shopping, dining, and entertainment. It is a main street that shouldn't be missed when visiting New Orleans.
Taking a walk along Magazine Street is ideal, as it is very walkable and easy to pop in and out of shops. Some of the city's most loved restaurants are located in this area, as well as many coffee shops and art galleries.
National World War II Museum
For a little bit of history, visit the National World War II Museum. This museum is located in the Central Business District and is a military museum that showcases the history of the war.
There are many exhibits about first-hand experiences, interactive galleries, and videos that explain the events of World War II. For anyone who is a history buff, this museum is well laid out and has highly detailed exhibits.
Other Recommended Experiences to Have in New Orleans
Top 3 Day Trips from New Orleans
New Orleans is packed with things to do and places to see, but there's also many attractions just outside of the city worth traveling to for a day. Whether you're looking for history or gambling, there are a lot of places to visit just within reach of New Orleans.
Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation is a historical attraction just one hour outside of New Orleans. It is a very popular day trip from the city and allows people to experience the South's past. Oak Alley Plantation is a beautiful property which was named for the oak trees that line the road towards the grand southern house.
Oak Alley Plantation was built in the 1800s and the land produced sugarcane. Visitors can walk through the furnished house to get a sense of how people lived during that time period. There are also exhibits on slavery and the civil war where visitors can learn more about the plantation's history.
Honey Island Swamp, Louisiana
Louisiana is bayou country. Check out Honey Island Swamp for a true bayou experience. It is located just 45 minutes away from New Orleans but once you step foot in the area, you will feel like you're a world away.
Hop on a flat bottom boat in the area and a local guide can show you around the bayous. They are known for alligators so it's best to stick with a professional when exploring this area. Taking a boat ride in Honey Island Swamp will give you an authentic Louisiana bayou experience.
Biloxi is one of the Gulf's famous destinations. Its location along the coast, as well as its casinos, are a main attraction for visitors. Biloxi is only one hour and thirty minutes from New Orleans, making it an easy day trip from the Big Easy.
Biloxi is not as high energy as New Orleans but it has its fair share of popular attractions. Press your luck at the Beau Rivage, one of the areas most famous casinos. If gambling isn't your thing, there is also plenty of beachfront access in Biloxi to keep any beach lover happy.
What to Pack for New Orleans
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