There are thousands of restaurants, bars, hotels, and venues to choose from in New Orleans – so how do you get started choosing where to stay and what to do? We’re here to help! Peruse some of our favorite places to stay below, plus top bars, restaurants and venues. Of course, we always suggest taking a Mardi Gras World tour as part of the fun! But as you can see, there are plenty of other incredible ways to explore New Orleans.
French Quarter Hotels
Audubon Cottages: There’s nothing more charming than these historic 1800s cottages, upgraded with completely luxurious amenities – think turndown service and a heated, saltwater pool. With a location in the heart of the French Quarter, Audubon Cottages feels like an elegant step back in time.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel: Stunning chandeliers set the tone from the moment you step inside the lobby at the Bourbon Orleans, just steps away from Jackson Square. If location is your top priority, look no further than this beautiful French Quarter hotel.
Chateau Hotel: The calm and peaceful courtyard at the Chateau Hotel is a dreamy respite in the bustling French Quarter. The hotel sits within a meticulously restored 18th-century mansion.
Dauphine Orleans Hotel: A The buildings at the Dauphine Orleans date back to the early 19th century and tap into New Orleans’ history: the hotel bar was once a bordello in the city’s red light district.
Hotel Le Marais: The totally modern décor is a striking juxtaposition to this hotel’s location in the middle of the French Quarter. Marvel at the sophisticated lounge inside – you’ll truly feel transported to Europe.
Hotel Mazarin: The Hotel Mazarin harks back to traditional French style, featuring sumptuous décor with antique details. Truly a stunner.
Hotel St. Helene: Be sure to look down at this French Quarter hotel: the ebony- stianed hardwood floors are original! The marble walk-in showers, however, are a thoroughly modern (and luxurious) touch.
Hotel Royal: Royal Street is one of the most picturesque streets in all of New Orleans, and this hotel is in the heart of it. Originally a Creole townhouse dating back to 1827, Hotel Royal is now a charming, contemporary hotel.
Other New Orleans Locations
Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport: Close to New Orleans metro areas like Metairie and Kenner, the Crowne Plaza is just minutes from the New Orleans airport and downtown.
Melrose Mansion: If you seek quieter lodging that’s still close to the French Quarter, this beautiful hotel – in a renovated Victorian mansion – is an ideal choice in the Faubourg Marigny.
The Whitney Hotel: Downtown and the Central Business District are in the midst of a renaissance, with new restaurants and developments around every corner. The Whitney is in the heart of this bustling area, set within a historic building finished with modern amenities.
Five Fun Bars
21st Amendment at La Louisiane: We love this bar for its elegant upgrades on classic cocktails. Case in point? Their Sazerac, which uses honey syrup rather than the traditional sugar cube for added richness and floral notes.
Bourbon “O”: Looking for a bar on Bourbon Street? Bourbon “O” is the place to be, from its signature cocktails to a polished atmosphere just steps from the street’s famous hustle and bustle.
May Baily’s Place: Tucked inside the Dauphine Orleans hotel, May Baily’s Place harks back to the city’s early days when it was home to an operating red light district. In fact, the bar was once an operating bordello – although now it’s only home to fine cocktails and a sophisticated atmosphere.
Vive!: Located inside the Hotel Marais, Vive! is a modern cocktail lounge with added amenities – think outdoor seating by the pool and sophisticated lighting to set the mood.
Patrick’s Bar Vin: An elegant gathering in the French Quarter that features a robust wine list, beers from the owner’s homeland (Belgium), and curated cocktails. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed – all the better to enjoy a beautiful glass of wine.
Five Fabulous Restaurants
Grand Isle: If you’re craving fresh Gulf seafood, this restaurant delivers in all forms, from raw oysters to boiled crawfish to softshell crab and beyond. They also have a large selection of “turf” offerings, including chicken and steak.
Compere Lapin: Many people have compared New Orleans to the Caribbean, and this restaurant draws on both those influences for a nouveau-Caribbean cuisine. The owner, Nina Compton, is a Top Chef television show alum.
Café du Monde: Well, it’s not necessarily a restaurant, but it’s definitely fabulous. Remember, it’s cash-only, and beignets always come three to an order.
Parkway Po-Boys: Fresh and crusty bread is the start to a perfect po-boy, and Parkway has perfected the process. We’re partial to their fried shrimp po-boy.
Brennan’s: An absolute New Orleans classic. If you can sneak away during the day, they offer champagne happy hour specials starting at 2 p.m.
Willa Jean: Part bakery, part restaurant, Willa Jean is a new spot in the Central Business District with a beautiful interior, delicious drinks, and homey, Southern-style food with a fresh twist.
Five Fab Music Venues
Spotted Cat: On Frenchmen Street, this bar-meets-music-venue doesn’t charge cover – they just ask that you order a few drinks and enjoy the music (don’t forget to tip the bartender!). The acts there range from traditional jazz to acoustic guitar and more.
d.b.a.: With local and regional acts nightly, an outdoor patio, and a huge selection of wine, beer, and spirits, d.b.a. is a great spot to stick around for the entire night. Try going on a Tuesday, when Treme Brass Band plays in its weekly residence.
Tipitina’s: Located Uptown on a quiet, tree-lined corner, Tipitina’s features funky acts in a unique, two-story setting. It was named for one of Professor Longhair’s most famous songs.
House of Blues: The New Orleans location of the House of Blues stays true to local roots from the food menu to the musical acts. Head upstairs for an unparalleled view of the bands.
The Orpheum: Newly and beautifully restored, The Orpheum is a grand theater with incredible acoustics. It also features a bar on every level of the theater!