New Orleans French Quarter Places You Have To Visit!
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Bienvenue to the French Quarter, an American district that’s famous for indulgent food, the sound of jazz music floating on the air, street artists, old world architecture, and a spirit that’s so soulful you’ll be a different person when you leave!
A rich melting-pot of cultures, but with an especially French influence, this Creole and often Cajun city is so full of activities it’s almost impossible to name them all.
New Orleans is mysterious and downright spooky at times, but it’s also a city that feels like it is in constant celebration of something…life in general, perhaps?
And while there are a million lists folks have complied of things to do in the French Quarter, this is my list of a few bonafide favs.
Maybe you have only a day or two to spend…
Or maybe you’re looking for some special recommendations to fill in your itinerary!
No matter the reason, these are among my favored places in the French Quarter!
Stroll Through Jackson Square
As if the romance of the French Quarter wasn’t enough, taking a stroll through Jackson Square is a great way to top off this old New Orleans experience. A melange of New Orleans vibes, its a perfect blend with the sound of brass bands drifting in the air mixed with the Parisian aesthetic of the 17th-century Place des Vosges.
Jackson Square is one of my favorite places for a walk after lunch, a very picturesque place with flowering bushes and beautifully laid out landscaping, hard to find a better way to walk off those decadent Creole gourmet meals!
It’s is steeped in history and while it’s sadly part of the checkered past of American History, it’s also the spot where Louisiana became part of the US as part of the Louisiana Purchase. And if you find yourself nostalgic for Paris, it holds a semblance to France’s beautiful city - iron fenced gardening surrounded by buildings lined with wrought iron balconies and wooden shutters.
Indulge at Arnaud’s
Eating at Arnaud’s is not only a classic, it’s a must! It’s indulgent with it’s Creole menu that’s got an old-fashioned American spirit. And the dining room is beautiful! Restored turn-of-the-century rooms are bright and airy with the feeling of bon vivance. The service is traditional and the feeling is joyful!
I highly suggest making a reservation for the famous Sunday Morning brunch, because not only is the food fabulous, but the jazz trio will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Arnaud’s is also located in the French Quarter, making it very convenient to the rest of your historic itinerary.
Make reservations and make them ahead of time, as far ahead as when you are planning your entire trip! Arnaud’s is a popular place and it’s very difficult to get in without one.
Don’t skip dessert! Depending on the dessert, they often make quite a display of them at the table-side! It’s fun and very nostalgic.
Go upstairs to visit The Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum, named for successor and daughter of Count Arnaud. It’s FILLED with incredible parade gowns that you won’t want to miss, (see details below.)
Connected to Arnaud’s is the perfect spot for a classic cocktail, notably the French 75, which they are famous for. The bar is both opulent and intimate. Annnnnd you can bring your drink up with you to the Mardi Gras Museum (yep, drink and learn? Yes, please!)
Wow yourself at The (somewhat secret) Germaine Cazenave Wells “Mardi Gras Museum”
This isn’t something you see everyday. Seriously. It’s a small museum, it’s free, and it’s completely filled with vintage Mardi Gras Parade ballgowns you can’t see anywhere else. See old New Orleans at it’s most creative - Bacchus inspired costumes covered in massive grapes made of beads, headdresses fit for kings and queens, rhinestoned lavish mantle capes cascading down the walls onto the floor in a grand display.
Wells Arnaud was queen for more than 22 Mardi Gras balls from 1937 - 1968 and her collection is something to behold! She was, understandably, a queen of more Mardi Gras balls than any other woman in the history of Carnival! You’ll feel like her afterwards - like a person excited to celebrate life, New Orleans, and fun!
Celebrate with a Tiki Experience!
Step into the fun, dark, atmosphere of Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 for a totally different New Orleans French Quarter Experience! The drinks are fantastic, the decor is spot-on, and the music is an exotica delight.
Pro Tip: If you aren’t yet a connoisseur of tiki drinks, be careful! They are so delicious and easily consumed that you’ll find yourself drunk as a skunk very quickly. They may taste like mostly fruit juices, but these drinks aren’t your typical bourbon street faire! Tiki drinks sneak up on you…
And if you want to be able to recreate your new tiki cocktail favs:
Go dress shopping like it’s 1950
Don’t let the name fool you, the French Quarter dress shop, Trashy Diva, is anything but trashy. With several styles to choose from in multiple fabrics, Trashy Diva sells dresses that have a vintage vibe, but are brand new. Many of the fabrics are Southern or New Orleans inspired and will make you feel like a beautiful dame straight out of The Notebook or a Marilyn Monroe film. Feeling a little naughty? Head on over to their lingerie shop that’s abundant with silk stockings, gorgeous bedroom unmentionables, and other fabulous goodies.
For More Inspiration…
Photos by Sam Rich & Jolie Goodnight