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Where To Stay In New Orleans: 8 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

Where To Stay In New Orleans: 8 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

So you’ve booked your tickets to New Orleans and are ready to experience the Big Easy in all her glory… but where should you stay in New Orleans? That’s the number one question I get asked when people want to visit New Orleans, and I get it.

Deciding where to stay can make or break your trip to Louisiana, but don’t worry; I’ve got the inside scoop. 

I’ve been living in New Orleans for about seven years now, and I will share with you all of my best recommendations on where to stay in New Orleans, including the best hotels, best rentals, best luxury hotels… the whole shebang!

Map of New Orleans

Regardless of your budget, there’s a NOLA neighborhood ready to welcome you with open arms and a bowl of gumbo. Here’s a map of New Orleans to help you orient you with the locations we’ll discuss in further detail below.

Map of neighborhoods in New Orleans

The first thing you’ll need to know is that New Orleans is divided up into 73 neighborhoods, which…is excessive, yes, but every neighborhood has a distinct vibe and a unique history.

They also have some blurred lines, so some folks may think something is in X’s neighborhood, while others are hardcore about it being in Y’s neighborhood.

One block can make all the difference in the world here in New Orleans! Luckily, the New Orleans downtown area and all the surrounding neighborhoods are easily walkable, and the streetcar can easily get you from one side of New Orleans to the other.

From Mid-City to the Marigny, we’ll go over some of the most popular neighborhoods in New Orleans and which ones I think are the best for calling home while you explore the Crescent City.

Now, with 73 neighborhoods, not everyone could make the list, so even though they may not be included in this list of where to stay in New Orleans, neighborhoods like the Ninth Ward, Treme, Central City, Mid City, and the Bywater are all worthy of a few hours exploring these historic neighborhoods.

Some neighborhoods will have the word “Faubourg” in front of them, like Faubourg Marigny, which is French for “inner-city suburb,” that’s just a nod to our French heritage.

You’ll see a lot of little Easter eggs like this throughout your time in New Orleans, and it’s just one of the many reasons I love this city so much. Ready to find out where to stay in New Orleans? Let’s geaux!

Best Hotels in New Orleans by Category

New Orleans Neighborhoods by Category

  • For first-timers: Central Business District
  • For budget travelers: Marigny
  • For luxury travelers: Uptown
  • For families: Garden District
  • For foodies: Warehouse District
  • For nightlife: French Quarter

Where to Stay in New Orleans, Louisiana

1. Central Business District

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA street cars.
SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

If this is your first time visiting New Orleans, you probably want to be centrally located. Within walking distance of the major attractions, you can’t go wrong with the Central Business District in downtown New Orleans.

This area puts you at the front door of plenty of restaurants and boutiques while keeping you just far enough from Bourbon Street so you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

If you’re not planning on renting a car, the Central Business District is a great New Orleans neighborhood. It’s easily walkable to the most popular areas, and you’re on the New Orleans Streetcar Line, which can take you anywhere in the city.

Rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft are also popular options for getting around. I’d recommend a hop-on, hop-off tour, combining the best of both worlds.

The Central Business District is also where you’ll find Harrah’s Casino, the Mercedes Benz Superdome, and the Smoothie King Center, which is perfect if you’re looking to stay in New Orleans to catch a sporting event like the New Orleans Saints or a concert passing through.

This is also where you’ll find the bulk of New Orleans hotels. Not only are you within walking distance of popular tourist attractions like Jackson Square, French Market, and the St. Louis Cathedral, but you’ll also be in a great spot to watch Mardi Gras parades.

Things to do in the Central Business District

  • Take a tour on a New Orleans Streetcar
  • Sample some sin at Harrah’s Casino
  • Visit St. Louis Cathedral
  • Catch a sporting event at the Mercedes Benz Superdome or the Smoothie King Center

Accommodations in the Central Business District area

See Related: Best Summer Vacations in the U.S.

2. Marigny

Colorful old house in the Marigny neighborhood in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Tiago Fernandez / Adobe Stock

Faubourg Marigny, often called The Marigny, is just northeast of the French Quarter and is one of the best neighborhoods in New Orleans to stay in if you’re on a budget.

You can still walk to the river and the French Quarter, and you’re still in the middle of everything. Known for its artsy vibe, many local artists call this neighborhood home.

This is also where you’ll find the famously bustling Frenchmen Street, home to some of the best bars and live music in New Orleans, and Esplanade Avenue, which you may have heard referenced in a song or two. Take a neighborhood tour and learn all about the history and mystery of The Marigny. There are even carriage rides you can take for an extra special afternoon.

You don’t have to travel far to hear live music in New Orleans. You’ll see many talented street performers all over the city, but Frenchmen Street has a reputation for having some of the best live music venues in New Orleans.

Think of it like a local’s version of Bourbon Street. It’s a little more laid back with a local vibe, and you’ll hear some of the best local musicians in the city.

While at it, head to the Bywater neighborhood next to The Marigny and check out JAMNOLA, an immersive, interactive, and sometimes psychedelic art installation celebrating New Orleans food, culture, music, and more.

Since the Marigny is adjacent to the Quarter, you won’t be far from all the action. Woldenberg Park is a beautiful waterfront park in New Orleans where you can sit and watch the boats make their way along the Mississippi River, a mesmerizing time suck, if I’m honest! If the urge to splurge strikes you, consider taking a sunset jazz cruise on the Steamboat Natchez.

Things to do in Marigny

  • Take in some live music on Frenchman Street
  • Take a carriage ride around the neighborhood
  • Lose yourself at JAMNOLA in neighboring Bywater
  • Get loose on a New Orleans jazz cruise

Accommodations in the Marigny area

See Related: Is New Orleans Safe to Visit?

3. Uptown/Audubon

People on the walking path in Audubon Park, New Orleans
zimmytws / Adobe Stock

If you’re one of the rare few who wants to get as far away as possible from the nightlife scene of the French Quarter and the downtown New Orleans area, then the Uptown/Audubon area is right up your alley. This is one of the best places to live in NOLA.

Home to Tulane University and Audubon Park, Zoo, and Aquarium, this historic area of New Orleans is flanked by ancient oaks, tons of greenery, and an endless list of fabulous restaurants you’ll want to try. This is also one of the areas in New Orleans where there isn’t much to choose from as far as hotels go.

This is much more of a residential area, but there is one amazing hotel that I’d recommend: the Parkview Historic Hotel. As the name suggests, you’ll be right by Audubon Park, one of the most beautiful parks in New Orleans. Plus, you’ll be right on the New Orleans Streetcar line, so you can easily zip on over to the downtown area.

Nearby, both Oak Street and Maple Street are hotspots for restaurants and shopping. Jacques-Imo’s, in particular, is one of the most unique restaurants in town. Not every day you get to dine outside in a truck bed!

Don’t worry. There’s an indoor dining room if that’s not your scene. Jacques-Imo’s serves Creole/Cajun food with a unique flare only found at Jacques-Imo’s. The plates are as vibrant as the atmosphere, and it’s one of the most popular restaurants in the area, so be sure to make reservations ahead of time.

Ironically, the Parkview Historic Hotel is one of the only hotels in this neighborhood, so book early if you plan to stay in Uptown! If you find that Parkview is booked, you may have better luck checking out the vacation rentals in the area. Since this is more of a residential area, you’ll get a feel for living in New Orleans while staying in a classic NOLA abode.

I’ve recently been finding good results with Vrbo for vacation rentals. Rentals are a great option if you’re planning on staying in New Orleans for longer durations since you typically have a full kitchen (and maybe even laundry) to save you some money cooking your meals. You might even be inspired to try cooking up some New Orleans grub! Shrimp creole is a good one to start with.

Things to do in Uptown/Audubon

  • Enjoy a stroll around Audubon Park
  • Take the kids to Audubon Zoo and Aquarium
  • Indulge in a bit of retail therapy
  • Grab some grub at Jacques-Imo’s

Accommodations in the Uptown/Audubon area

See Related: States to Visit in the USA

4. Garden District

Historical houses in the Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana
Kit Leong / Adobe Stock

The Garden District is hands-down the most beautiful neighborhood in New Orleans, but I may be biased since it’s where I call home! The Garden District and the Lower Garden District are where you’ll find some of the oldest, most historic homes in New Orleans. Even if you don’t stay in this neighborhood, spending an afternoon strolling around is worth your while.

You can take a self-guided tour or book a walking tour of the Garden District with a local guide who’ll chime in with all the fun facts along the way.

As the name suggests, the Garden District is known for its fragrant flowers and beautiful gardens that adorn countless homes in this area.

Depending on the time of year you visit, you could be blessed with the vibrant colors of the many crepe myrtle trees that pepper the streets, magnolias, sweet olive, or my favorite, the jasmine that takes over in the spring.

Several neighborhood parks, like Coliseum Park, have tons of green space, shade, and fountains, which the little ones will enjoy. St. Charles Avenue is beautiful, and if you don’t want to walk anymore, you can always hop on the St. Charles Streetcar to take you to your next destination.

Some of the must-see spots in the Garden District include the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, which is directly across the street from the historic Commander’s Palace restaurant.

The cemetery dates back to 1833 and is still in use today! Another notable find is the Buckner Mansion, which fans of American Horror Story will recognize as Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies from season 3.

Fun fact: my great-grandfather was Henry Sullivan Buckner, the house’s original owner! He sold it in 1923, and it became the Soule Business School until 1983 when it was purchased (not by me, sadly) and transformed back into a private residence. 

The Buckner Mansion is just two blocks from St. Charles and is easy to get to by streetcar. Remember that it is currently a private residence, so you won’t be able to go inside, but you can snag a selfie from the gate.

And don’t forget to check out Magazine Street. This bustling area is home to even more local restaurants and shopping opportunities, especially in the antique shop department. On the weekends, Magazine Street is packed with pedestrians enjoying the beautiful scenery, restaurants, cafes, and stores.

Both District Donuts and Stein’s Market and Deli are my top picks. District Donuts is my favorite spot for coffee, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be tempted to try one of the incredible donuts they’re known for.

Stein’s is right next door, and this no-frills, all-flavor deli seems ripped out of New York. Like a true New York deli, there isn’t a lot of seating, so plan to grab your sandwich and head elsewhere, like Coliseum Park, to enjoy it.

Things to do in the Garden District

  • Enjoy a tour of this stunning neighborhood
  • Have a picnic lunch at Coliseum Park
  • Spend a day of shopping and dining along Magazine Street

Accommodations in the Garden District area

5. Warehouse District

National World War II Museum sign on the Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana
SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

The Warehouse District sits between the Lower Garden District and the Central Business District, and it’s a great spot to use as a home base while you take a bite out of the Crescent City. Historically, the Warehouse District was used primarily for storing goods that arrived via the Mississippi River.

In anticipation of the World’s Fair in the 1980s, the neighborhood was transformed to include more restaurants, businesses, art galleries, and residences and has since become a bit of an extension of the Central Business District.

Other major attractions in the Warehouse District include the National World War II Museum and Mardi Gras World. If you visit the World War II Museum, give yourself enough time to see it all! You could easily spend an entire day here.

Mardi Gras World is another excellent option, and this year-round attraction will pull the curtain back and give you the history of Mardi Gras, including viewing past costumes worn by the royal courts of historic Krewes and seeing a Mardi Gras float in person.

The floats are hand-made by local artists who spend the year crafting these mesmerizing floats, and you might even get to see an artist in action!

The Arts District is also within the Warehouse District, and just a few blocks from the museum, Julia Street is known for its many art galleries. Even if you’re not planning on picking up some art to take home, spend some time checking out these talented artists… who knows, you might find something that’ll complete your home!

Most art galleries will generally ship their work, so you won’t deal with it on the plane ride home. On the first Saturday of the month, the Arts District of New Orleans (ADNO) hosts a monthly Art Walk, where all of the galleries and museums of ADNO are open all day, and many jazz it up a bit with some refreshments and live music. 

Naturally, you will want to try the food when you come to New Orleans. You’ll be right in the culinary action, from celebrity-owned fine dining eateries like Emeril’s to iconic casual spots like Mother’s.

Booking a food tour is one of the best ways to learn (and taste) the iconic food New Orleans is known for. Gumbo, po’boys, snoballs, and beignets are just the tip of the iceberg regarding New Orleans cuisine.

Suppose you’ve never experienced Cajun or Creole food before. In that case, I’d recommend taking a local food tour first so you can learn the history, try some different options, and then try them across multiple restaurants in town.

One restaurant’s gumbo might not do it for you, but another restaurant might win you over! I’m intentionally picking on gumbo here because there are so many variations. You’re bound to find one you like.

Things to do in the Warehouse District

  • Learn about humanity’s greatest struggle at the National World War II Museum
  • Delve into local history at Mardi Gras World
  • Enjoy the Art Walk along the Arts District of New Orleans
  • Grab a bite at Emeril’s or Mother’s, or…
  • Get FAT on a Warehouse District food tour

Accommodations in the Warehouse District area

See Related: Things to Do on the Mississippi River

6. Algier’s Point

Levee Trail in Algier's point, New Orleans
PieterDaAfrican / TripAdvisor

If you like to take the path less traveled, then Algier’s Point is right up your alley. Located on the West Bank (which is actually east of New Orleans, but that’s a different story), Algier’s Point is New Orleans’ second oldest neighborhood.

Since it’s located across the river, that can be a deal breaker for some… but let me explain. While you can rely on the bus or a rideshare app to get you to and from the Point, there’s a much better (and cheaper) way: the ferry.

The Algiers Ferry departs every 30 minutes, and it takes about 30 minutes from boarding to cross the Mighty Mississippi. You’ll have some of the most incredible views of the New Orleans skyline during your transport, and at just $2, it’s a steal.

The ferry drops you off on Canal Street right next to the aquarium, and from there, you can set off on foot or take the streetcar to your next adventure. The views of New Orleans from the Point are delightful, and the Mississippi River Trail is a beautiful trail that hugs the Mississippi River while going all around Algier’s Point. If you’ve got the time, add it to your list of things to do in New Orleans!

On the other side of Algier’s Point, you can take the Chalmette Ferry to the West Bank and explore historic areas like the Chalmette Battlefield, the site of the last battle on U.S. soil with a foreign power. The Chalmette also runs every 30 minutes, so if you miss one, another will be along shortly!

Just be sure you’re back in The Point before the last ferry of the day; otherwise, you’ll be looking at a pricey taxi to get you back to the other side of the river. There are no bridges on this side of the river, only the Crescent City Connection (also known as U.S. Highway 90), and it’s a long walk from Chalmette.

Things to do in Algier’s Point

  • Catch some views of the city from the Algiers Ferry or the Chalmette Ferry
  • Pay your respects at Chalmette National Cemetary
  • Hike the Mississippi River Trail

Accommodations in the Algier’s Point area

7. Metairie

Lakeshore park in New Orleans
FLHarlock / TripAdvisor

New Orleans’ next-door neighbor, Metairie, is perfect for folks looking to have more adventure in their travels. Yes, Metarie is its city (with a population of about 140,000), and even though it’s not a New Orleans neighborhood, I still think it deserves a spot on the list. Hear me out:

Assuming you have a car or are renting one while you’re in New Orleans, staying in Metairie allows you to travel outside of the Big Easy and check out the surrounding area, like Lake Pontchartrain and the Northshore.

From here, you can travel across the lake and explore natural areas like Fontainebleau State Park or take a Honey Island swamp tour through Louisiana’s wetlands. Both are excellent options if you hope to see some wildlife, especially alligators, while in town.

Speaking of wildlife, if you want to experience Louisiana’s wetlands, drive to Marrero and enjoy the hiking trails at Barataria Preserve.

The hiking trails within the 26,000-acre preserve are all under three miles, so you can mix and match to fit your schedule, or better yet, jump on a swamp tour and see the preserve from a whole new perspective. If you’re a thrill seeker, head over to Zip Nola for a one-of-a-kind zipline that will have you soaring over the swamps!

It’s easy to jump on the interstate from Metairie, and you’re also closer to the airport. If you don’t have a car, you’re better off finding a hotel to stay in New Orleans because having to rideshare into the city can get pricey, and the public transportation from Metairie to New Orleans isn’t that reliable.

Should you rent a car in New Orleans? Every traveler is different, but we have some thoughts on renting a car in New Orleans. Even though Metairie feels like a completely different part of Louisiana, you’re actually very close to some of New Orleans’ most beautiful parks and natural areas.

Metairie is very close to New Orleans City Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the country. Over 1,000 acres of ancient oaks, sprawling green space, sculpture gardens, the New Orleans Botanical Garden, and more are here.

City Park is also home to the New Orleans Museum of Art and several kid-friendly attractions, including Storyland, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Riding on the historic carousel is a time-honored tradition here in NOLA, so pick your favorite animal and spin.

One of my favorite restaurants in this area is Landry’s Seafood House. Located right over the lake in the Bucktown/Lakeshore area, this waterfront restaurant in New Orleans has some of the best views in town. And if the views don’t win you over, the menu sure will. The crawfish bread is a must-try!

Things to do in Metairie

  • Spend the day at Fontainebleau State Park
  • Take a Honey Island swamp tour
  • Relax at New Orleans City Park
  • Go nuts ar Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
  • Go zip lining at Zip Nola
  • Take in some culture at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Accommodations in the Metairie area

See Related: Things to Do in Houston, Texas

8. French Quarter

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA at St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.
SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

C’mon you already know this place. Regarding the New Orleans nightlife scene, the French Quarter wins the gold, so we’ve saved it for last. New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood is known worldwide for its bar scene, specifically on Bourbon Street, one of the most popular destinations to visit in the US.

If you’ve never experienced Bourbon Street’s sights, sounds, and smells, then you should definitely add it to your bucket list. It’s definitely the most popular area to stay in New Orleans, even for non-drinkers.

Plenty of tours in the French Quarter highlight the historic buildings, world-famous restaurants, charming streets, and even the paranormal side of the French Quarter.

Few people know that New Orleans actually invented the modern-day cocktail, and you can try the drink that started it all, the Sazerac, at any restaurant or bar in New Orleans, but if you want to go straight to the source, visit The Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt Hotel.

Though it’s technically one block shy of being in the French Quarter, we will keep it in this neighborhood just this one time. Another excellent option is the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone. The bar is a working carousel that dates back to 1949, and it’s easily one of the most unique bars in New Orleans and maybe even the whole world!

As one of the only carousels in the world where you must be 21+ to ride, it’s a must-see attraction while visiting New Orleans. Yes, it does actually spin, but don’t worry, it takes about 15 minutes to make a full circle, so you won’t be getting dizzy.

While you’re strolling down Bourbon Street, be sure to swing by Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. This historic building was built in the 1700s and somehow managed to survive two massive fires in the 1800s that destroyed the city, and today it’s the oldest building in the country being used as a bar and is a national historic landmark. Cheers to that!

Don’t forget to take in all of the historic buildings, architecture, amazing restaurants, and antique shops while cruising through the quarter. Sure, it’s a swell place to grab a drink on the go (yes, you read that right. You can get your drinks to-go and walk around the French Quarter with them), but there’s so much more to the French Quarter than Bourbon Street!

Royal Street, for example, runs parallel to Bourbon Street and is chock full of antique stores, boutiques, historic hotels, and jazz clubs where you can listen to live jazz music. Speaking of music, catch a show at Preservation Hall, one of the world’s most respected music venues and easily one of the best places to listen to live jazz music.

During the day, take a stroll down to the River Walk and take in the beautiful Mississippi River views, explore Jackson Square, or take a tour through St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, one of the most haunted cemeteries in New Orleans.

After a long day of cruising through the quarter, treat yourself to a meal at one of the many restaurants in the French Quarter. If you’re feeling fancy, make a reservation at Antoine’s, one of the oldest restaurants in the country.

The restaurant’s 14 dining rooms have a unique Louisiana theme; many feel like they’re dining inside a museum! If you’re trying to keep it casual, you can’t go wrong with Olde Nola Cookery, a longstanding favorite with tourists and locals searching for authentic Louisiana cuisine.

Things to do in the French Quarter

  • Take a tour of the historic French Quarter
  • Wander around Jackson Square
  • Order a Sazerac at The Sazerac Bar in The Roosevelt Hotel
  • Catch a jazz show at Preservation Hall
  • Make a reservation at Antoine’s for the meal of a lifetime
  • Enjoy a stroll along the River Walk

Accommodations in the French Quarter area

Accommodation Type Pros Cons
Hotels Central location, amenities, services Expensive, crowded, limited space
Bed and Breakfasts Personalized experience, local charm, breakfast included Limited availability, shared spaces, less private
Vacation Rentals More space, kitchen facilities, privacy Can be expensive, may not have hotel amenities
Hostels Budget-friendly, communal atmosphere, social events Shared accommodations, limited privacy
Camping Budget-friendly, outdoor experience Limited amenities, may not be centrally located
Couchsurfing Free, local experience, social connections Limited availability, safety concerns
House Sitting Free, local experience, privacy Limited availability, may require pet or house care

FAQ

What are the best neighborhoods to stay in New Orleans?

Since there are more than 70 neighborhoods in New Orleans, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to stay in New Orleans.

The French Quarter, Central Business District, Warehouse District, and Lower Garden District are some of the best neighborhoods in New Orleans to stay in since they’re the closest to the most popular attractions in New Orleans, and it’s where the majority of the hotels in New Orleans are located.

How far in advance should I book my hotel in New Orleans?

The earlier, the better! A general rule is to book your hotel 1-3 months in advance. New Orleans has more than 400 festivals every year, plus Mardi Gras, which can quickly fill up hotels in the city.

Sporting events and concerts can also draw crowds and book hotel rooms in nearby neighborhoods, like the French Quarter and the Central Business District. You’re more likely to get a better rate if you book a few months in advance, so if you can lock in your dates, book it!  

How do I choose the best hotel in New Orleans for my needs?

First, determine what sights you’d like to see while staying in New Orleans. Using a map like Google Maps is helpful so you can see where everything is.

From there, choose a few centrally located hotels within walking distance of your top must-see attractions. Once you’ve got a few hotels picked out, you can see if any of them have amenities (like breakfast, a gym, pool, etc.) that pique your interest, and if it fits your budget, book it!

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