Central Business District Best Place To Stay For Sightseeing
The Central Business District is also the downtown area of New Orleans and this neighborhood is a great mixture of commercial offices, nice shops, upscale restaurants as well as museums and concert halls.
Just 15 minutes walk west from the French Quarter, the Central Business District is sandwiched in by the Warehouse / Arts District to the south. So by staying here you will still have great access to all the major attractions of New Orleans.
The Central Business District is a very colorful neighborhood that offers something for every taste whether you are a shopaholic, luxury traveler, or party animal.
The best way to discover this neighborhood is simply to head to Canal Street and check out the tons of shops, cafes, and museums there. You should also take the Canal Street Ferry to enjoy a trip along the Mississippi River!
Once you hit the road your wanderlust soul might want to continue to trip, so, if you are looking for other travel destinations around New Orleans I highly recommend you check out these Dallas and Houston travel guides!
Things to do in Central Business District
- Try and buy some fruit wines at NOLA Tropical Winery
- Go for a stroll at Lafayette Square
- Visit Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church
- Enjoy a tram ride on the historic St. Charles Streetcar line
- Enjoy a nice meal at Commerce Restaurant
- Check out the shops at Canal Street
If You Recovered From Covid
If you recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the past 90 days , you do NOT need to get a test 3-5 days after travel. People can continue to test positive for up to 90 days after diagnosis and not be infectious to others. You also do not need to self-quarantine after travel. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms after travel, isolate and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.
Things To See And Do In Mid
- Explore the 1,300-acres of lush and magical landscapes that make up New Orleans City Park.
- See the 64 incredible sculptures that are spread throughout The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA.
- Visit the gilded statue of Joan of Arc, which dates back to the late-19th-century.
- Stop and smell the roses at the New Orleans Botanical Garden.
- Ride the colourful carousel at the Carousel Gardens.
- See your favourite characters come to life at Storyland.
- Play a round of 18 at City Putt.
- Dine on delicious seafood dishes at The Blue Crab.
- Eat incredible homestyle meals at Russells Marina Grill.
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The Cbd & Warehouse District
TripSavvy / Christopher Larson
These two centrally-located neighborhoods are often grouped together and both lie between the French Quarter and the Lower Garden District. If you book a hotel in New Orleans, its likely youll find yourself in the CBD, home to many big businesses, hotels, and government buildings in New Orleans, as well as the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Next door, the Warehouse District houses many of the citys high-end art galleries.
While not the most picturesque or exciting New Orleans neighborhoods, youll find some of the most prominent museums in the city here, the largest being The National WWII Museum. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Louisiana Childrens Museum, and the Confederate Hall Memorial Museum are all within walking distance of each other , as are several popular restaurants like Cochon, Peche, and Compere Lapin.
The Pitot House, a preserved home and museum, is a good example of the Creole country estates that once lined the Bayou. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, youll find cute restaurants, coffee shops, and neighborhood bars. Just beyond Bayou St. John is the Fair Grounds, the oldest racetrack in the country and yearly host to The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Chill In Jackson Square
Jackson Square is a historic park in the centre of New Orleans. Back in the day it provided an important setting for the agreement of the Louisiana Purchase that made it a US state. Today, its a perfectly manicured garden for the public to sit and relax.
When I was there part of the French Quarter Festival was set in there, allowing the public to enjoy the music for free.
Another wonderful spot in New Orleans to watch the locals, enjoy a picnic and take some pics.
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Top Things To Do In The French Quarter:
- Soak up the atmosphere over a coffee in historic Jackson Square
- Shop for souvenirs along the six blocks of the French Market
- Go on a ghost tour New Orleans is the most haunted city in the United States after all!
- Visit the statues of Benito Juarez and Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans
- Tour Gallier House for a glimpse into the affluent family life of this 1857 residence
- Go people-watching in one of the cajun themed coffee shops
- Enjoy river views from Woldenberg Park
- Explore quirky museums including the Historic Voodoo Museum, Museum of Death, New Orleans Jazz Museum and Historic New Orleans Collection
- Go on a steamboat cruise along the Mississippi River
- Visit Lalaurie Mansion a beautiful 1800s house hiding a dark history
- See the oldest cathedral in the United States St. Louis Cathedral
- Walk the 182m length of Pirates Alley where youll find boutiques, bookshops and cafes
Love to tan? Check out the 15 best beaches in New Orleans!
Muffaletta On The Mississippi
I dream of this sandwich. Im not joking or exaggerating Ive had a lot of sandwiches in my life but this really stands out as one of the best .
Youll find them all over New Orleans but on my food tour of New Orleans they told me that the best one was to be found at the Central Grocery near the French Market. This is basically whats in it, but I think it was the obvious love I could taste in the putting it together that made it taste as absolutely sensational as it did.
- 1 10 round loaf Italian bread with Sesame
- 1 cup Olive Salad
- 1/4 lb Capicola or deli ham
- 1/4 lb Mortadella
- 1/8 lb Sliced Mozzarella
- 1/8 lb Provolone
I took mine down to the Mississippi River and ate on the river bank as demonstrated in the video above.
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Bonus: The Bywater The Best Kept Secret In New Orleans
The Bywater is probably the most beloved neighborhood in New Orleans among locals. Its more laid back than most anywhere in the city and is a great spot to just kickback and shoot the shit with friends.
Most appreciated is the fact that The Bywater is still pretty rough around the edges. This makes it a huge hit with hipsters and artists and because of their presence, The Bywater has a distinctly quirky vibe.
Infrogmation of New Orleans
Of course being New Orleans, there is plenty to do in The Bywater at night. Local legends like Music Box Village and Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits are among the most popular places to drink in the neighborhood and come highly recommended.
Because of The Bywaters long boulevards and leisurely pace, wed actually say that this is one of the best areas in New Orleans to Stay without a car. Just go outside and go for a stroll who knows what you may find here.
Our Favorite Area: French Quarter
The French Quarter is located near the Mississippi River, in the center of the city. It is known for being the oldest and most multicultural district in New Orleans.
Among the main attractions of the French Quarter are the French Market and the St. Louis Cathedral.
Bourbon Street is in this area and is home to the best nightlife in New Orleans, including bars, venues with live jazz music, and clubs.
The French Quarter is also the best area to stay in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, as it is where most of the events take place. In addition, it is the LGBT-Friendly neighborhood of the city par excellence.
This neighborhood has several tram stations on its main avenues and at meeting points such as the French Market, Woldenberg Park, and the New Orleans Aquarium, so moving to other areas is not a complicated task.
It is important to take into account that this area is highly prized during dates such as Mardi Gras, so it is recommended to book accommodation in advance, as hotels tend to fill up quickly and the cost increases as celebrations approach.
The French Quarter is the best area to stay in New Orleans for its central location, public transport connections, variety of hotels and nightlife.
Why is this a recommended area to stay in NOLA:
- Best area for sightseeing
- Best area to stay without a car
- Gay-friendly area
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French Quarter Where To Stay In New Orleans For The First Time
The French Quarter is the historic area and the most famous part of New Orleans. Here you will discover an amazing food scene, vibrant nightlife, all the main landmarks as well as great museums and art galleries. Thats why my pick for first-timers is definitely the French Quarter!
Bourbon Street is the home of Mardi Gras and where you will find strips of bars and clubs with crazy parties all year long. Whilst New Orleans is known for its great jazz music scene, in Bourbon Street, you will find places pumping out all genres.
FUN FACT: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams lived in French Quarter for more than 40 years and wrote 2 of his major plays A Streetcar Named Desire and Vieux Carré here. There is also the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival dedicated to him.
Besides music, there is a tonne of things to see on Royal Street, enjoy Spanish Creole architecture, and countless amazing galleries and shops. Dont forget to make a stop to have a great meal in one of the old creole restaurants!
In French Quarter there are many accommodation options for all budgets. Since it is the most popular area in New Orleans, I highly recommend you to make a booking in advance. If youre already as excited as I am, lets check out the best hotels in French Quarter.
Walk Down Bourbon Street
Walking down Bourbon Street is one of the best free things to do in New Orleans. Do it a few times, at different hours of the day, to see how it changes as the days and night goes on.
Youll see so many characters down here, its probably the best place in the city for making friends, and is the best spot for people watching. Of course, youll probably want to go in the bars as you go, but that will cost. Make the most of any drink deals youre offered and remember that in New Orleans its perfectly ok to walk around with an open alcohol container, you can even carry them from bar to bar.
This means you dont have to drink up and spend loads of money. Winner!
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Where To Stay In New Orleans
If youre looking to know where to stay in New Orleans, what neighborhoods to visit, and how to get around in this city, this guide is for you.
Tourism is a major industry in New Orleans. And for a good reason! This city has some of the best vacation destinations, rich history, and a thriving arts scene.
A trip to New Orleans is an experience like no other. From the French Quarter to the Garden District, this city of Creole beauty will surprise you with its sophistication and uniqueness.
Where To Stay In The French Quarter
Most of the best hotels in the city are clustered in and around the historic French Quarter. Whether youre in town to go wild at Mardi Gras, party on Bourbon Street, or explore the NOLAs storied history, the French Quarter has it all. Major attractions like Jackson Square, the French Market, and Preservation Hall are all located in the French Quarter, which makes it the perfect pick for first-time visitors.
If you want to be within walking distance of the French Quarter but away from the hustle and bustle of Bourbon Street, the Central Business District is chock full of luxury hotels and affordable boutique hotels. The adjacent Arts and Warehouse District is not only home to some of the coolest hotels near the French Quarter, but youll be surrounded by some of the citys best bars, restaurants, and art galleries.
For those wanting to stay in a more local and residential area, the Garden District boasts tree-lined streets, palatial mansions, manicured gardens, and tons of places to sample the local cuisine. Jazz lovers should consider basing themselves in the Marigny neighborhood, which has with some of the citys best live music venues. But no matter where you stay in New Orleans, there are tons of great hotels to choose from!
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Garden District The Coolest Neighborhood In New Orleans
The Garden District is located on the south side of New Orleans downtown . It is a very cool area famous for its historic mansions, elegant boutiques, and nice cafes. The best way to enjoy the Garden District is simply by having a stroll along beautiful streets, spotting colorful mansions, and enjoying chic cafes in between.
If you are a person like me who loves to be surprised by streets that come up with new things around every corner, you will enjoy this stroll for sure!
If you head uptown you will reach the Lower Garden District. It is not as fancy as the garden district but here you will find many pubs and budget-friendly restaurants. Another great way to wander around this neighborhood is by renting a bike. By bike, you can easily reach other neighborhoods and also enjoy some time in the parks.
Of course, the laid-back, elegant neighborhood of the Garden District offers many nice accommodation options too. Here are some of my favorite places I chose for you:
Where To Stay In New Orleans Near The Airport
New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport has a number of hotels very near to it. Try the Hilton New Orleans Airport. Less than one mile away, the hotel offers a free shuttle service on-demand – just give them a call when you arrive, and they’ll pick you up shortly.
The Hilton offers a choice of rooms or suites, which are clean and comfortable. There are also a number of on-site amenities, including a 24-hour fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and a restaurant that shows sporting events on big-screen TVs.
The Best Western Plus New Orleans Airport Hotel is another good choice, especially if you’re traveling with the kids. There is a free shuttle to and from the airport. The hotel prides itself on being very family friendly, and offers family rooms and kid-friendly TV programming in the rooms. Breakfast is free and there is also a swimming pool.
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The Experience Flying Into New Orleans Airports
New Orleans is a high-traffic location for incoming tourists to the nearby airport, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
You will have many different options on how you will make the 11 mile trip from the airport to New Orleans. You can even make a few stops before checking into your hotel or Airbnb, whether it is to get a bite to eat or see some of the historical landmarks.
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How To Choose The Right Hotel For Your Stay In New Orleans
When it comes to choosing where to stay in New Orleans, there are several things you need to take into account.
First, what type of traveler are you? Do you like buildings with a history or do you crave the most up to date rooms and an amazing fitness center? Do you like to be in the touristy action or do you prefer a more local vibe?
Whatever your preference, there is a hotel in New Orleans for you. Here, I break down each neighborhood and the top hotels I choose from when there.
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If You Are In A Hurry
Here are the best places to stay in New Orleans from luxury to budget. They all have great reviews and great locations!
Wyndham Garden Baronne
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Here is a map of New Orleans with all the 5 areas I will be talking about in this travel guide, so you can easily visualize them:
Best Hostel In Faubourg Marigny: Madame Isabelles House In New Orleans
Tastefully decorated and bursting with New Orleans charm, you wont find a better hostel in Faubourg Marigny. Set in the heart of the neighborhood, this property offers private and dorm-style accommodations with comfortable beds. The hostel also boasts a garden, large deck, ad a hot tub.
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Learn More About New Orleans And Louisiana
For more about travel to the Big Easy, read 10 Ways to Find Romance in New Orleans or How to Enjoy Christmas in New Orleans Like a Local. To learn about the other side of Louisiana, check out this story about Shreveport-Bossier.
Do you have any tips or questions about visiting New Orleans on a budget with kids or free New Orleans attractions? Let us know in the comments below!
Jennifer Close loves to explore and take new adventures with her family down the street, across the country and around the world. She writes about her adventures on her family travel blog, Two Kids and a Map. This story originally posted in 2010 and was updated in 2017.