Where to stay in New Orleans to walk everywhere – 4 BEST AREAS
Planning a trip to the vibrant city of New Orleans and wondering where to stay in New Orleans to walk everywhere?
I have described below the 4 best areas to stay in New Orleans, including the pros, cons, attractions, and dining options of each area.
I have also organized a map and handy summary table to quickly and easily choose the perfect neighborhood for your trip based on character, convenience, and budget.
And on my last trip to the city, I was also able to make a video on where to stay in New Orleans, so plenty of information to take a final decision.
Let’s have a start
Where to stay in New Orleans – In a nutshell
The table below compares the best 4 areas to stay in New Orleans to walk everywhere based on different factors. Click on the area name to check a full description of the neighborhood.
Swift left or right on the mobile to see all the columns
|Central, family-friendly, budget-friendly
|Busy streets on peak hours
|WWII Museum, Aquarium, Casino
|Historic, lively, dining variety
|Expensive, potential noise
|Jackson Square, Cathedral, Presbytere
|Exciting & Energetic
|Captivating & Enchanting
|Art, shopping, upscale dining
|Slightly further from French Quarter
|Contemporary Arts Center, Ogden Museum, Outlet
|Diverse & Classy
|Chic & Trendy
|Authentic, local cafes, quiet
|Frenchmen St, Washington Sq Park, Jazz Museum
|Local & Charming
|Genuine & Old days
I wrote more below about the transportation options for getting to and from Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport.
I just want here to mention the most affordable and eco-friendly alternative, the public bus, as easy as that.
You can get the Airport Express (Route 202), which connects the airport to downtown New Orleans.
Downtown – Best for families and value for money
- Pros: Prime central location, family-friendly atmosphere, budget-conscious lodging options, easy access to public transportation
- Cons: Busy streets during peak hours
- Attractions: The National WWII Museum, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Harrah’s Casino
- Restaurants and Cafes: Mother’s Restaurant, Willa Jean, Peche Seafood Grill, Ruby Slipper Café, Domenica
Venture into the vibrant heart of Crescent City by staying in Downtown New Orleans, a neighborhood that offers an ideal blend of culture, entertainment, and convenience.
Families looking for an affordable and accessible base to explore the city will appreciate the various lodging options available here, ranging from budget hotels to cozy vacation rentals.
I was recently in New Orleans with my family and I could not believe the bargain I found. It was a handy furnished apartment, within 5 minutes of walking from the French Quarter. More on it below
Downtown New Orleans boasts an array of attractions to keep visitors of all ages engaged.
The National WWII Museum is a standout, offering a fascinating journey through American history during the war. The museum’s immersive exhibits and powerful storytelling will captivate history buffs and casual visitors alike.
For a family-friendly adventure, head to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. With interactive exhibits and unique encounters, the aquarium offers an unforgettable experience for kids and adults alike.
If you’re feeling lucky, take a short stroll to Harrah’s Casino. This gaming hotspot offers an array of table games, slot machines, and entertainment options, providing a thrilling night out for adults.
Downtown New Orleans also serves as a culinary playground, boasting an array of delectable dining options.
Kick off your day with a visit to the Ruby Slipper Café, where you can indulge in their famous Eggs Benedict or savor a stack of mouthwatering pancakes.
For a taste of local flavors, make your way to Mother’s Restaurant, an iconic eatery known for its scrumptious po’boys and comforting Southern cuisine.
Craving Italian fare? Domenica offers a refined dining experience with its exquisite handmade pasta and wood-fired pizzas.
Alternatively, Willa Jean serves Southern-inspired classics with a contemporary twist, such as their renowned fried chicken sandwich or savory BBQ shrimp toast.
Complete your day with a visit to Peche Seafood Grill, a laid-back seafood haven offering a menu of sustainably-sourced dishes, from whole grilled fish to succulent Gulf shrimp.
Downtown New Orleans is not as famous for its nightlife and this is actually good because you will have a nice quiet sleep. For the lively scene, including bars, clubs, and music venues head instead to the French Quarter and more specifically to Bourbon Street.
The convenience and accessibility of Downtown make it an attractive option for families and travelers seeking a central base to explore the city on foot. You will be a stone away from the French Quarter, the Warehouse Shopping and Art district, and the Mississippi River.
Certainly, the downtown architecture is very modern and somehow boring if compared to the French Quarter, but that is a small price to pay, compared to the great value for money of the area.
If you are driving to New Orleans I suggest parking your car at the Poydras Center Parking Garage. That is where I usually find the best prices in the city. By the way, I have included this site as well as all the places I am mentioning in this post in my shared Google Map of things to do in New Orleans.
In conclusion, Downtown is one of the best areas to stay in New Orleans for budget-conscious travelers. You will also be within walking distance of the French Quarter, a must-experience in New Orleans. With its central location, family-friendly atmosphere, and diverse attractions, Downtown New Orleans offers an unforgettable experience for visitors looking to walk everywhere during their stay.
French Quarter – Best for cultural heritage and nightlife
- Pros: Rich cultural heritage and architecture, Bustling nightlife scene, Array of dining experiences
- Cons: Premium-priced accommodations, Potential noise levels
- Attractions: Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, The Presbytere
- Restaurants and Cafes: Café du Monde, Antoine’s Restaurant, Napoleon House, Brennan’s, Coop’s Place
The French Quarter is reason number 1 to visit New Orleans. There is so much character, cultural heritage, and beautiful architecture in this neighborhood of the city. Although accommodations in this area can be pricier, the memories created here are worth every penny.
Begin your exploration in the iconic Jackson Square, where the past and present converge.
This historic plaza is surrounded by a myriad of architectural gems, including the awe-inspiring St. Louis Cathedral. Marvel at the intricate stained glass windows and grand design before making your way to The Presbytere.
This engaging museum offers a deep dive into the colorful history of Mardi Gras and the resilience of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Bourbon Street is one of the most (in)famous streets in the USA, and of course a must-visit. However, don’t limit yourself to that only.
Have a walk along Royal Street, much quieter and cozy, where you will find many boutique galleries and shops selling locally made items. I bought on my last trip a spicy sauce that I am still enjoying so much with my grilled meat.
Head northeast of the French Quarter (towards Marigny) to wander around the most peaceful area of the neighborhood, with beautifully restored houses.
Are you traveling with small kids? Have a stop at the Cabrini Playground to mix with local families.
Satisfy your appetite with the diverse culinary offerings in the French Quarter.
Start your day at the legendary Café du Monde, where you can savor a plate of pillowy beignets and a steaming café au lait.
For a mid-day treat, head to Napoleon House, a centuries-old establishment serving up mouthwatering muffuletta sandwiches.
Book a table at Antoine’s Restaurant for dinner, the country’s oldest family-run eatery. Indulge in sumptuous Creole cuisine amid opulent surroundings.
Alternatively, Brennan’s offers a memorable meal with classics like turtle soup and banana foster.
For a more relaxed atmosphere, Coop’s Place is a must-visit, dishing up delicious Cajun and Creole favorites in a casual setting.
The French Quarter truly comes to life after dark, making it a paradise for nightlife enthusiasts.
Wander along the energetic Bourbon Street, where an abundance of bars, jazz clubs, and music venues await.
Stay at the beginning of the street for the loudest party, or decide to walk up for a more subdued night.
Important tip. Booking a hotel near Bourbon Street is probably not a great idea unless the windows have fantastic noise insulation. To make your life easier, I have suggested three accommodations below where you will have a quiet night.
In conclusion, the French Quarter presents a unique and unforgettable New Orleans experience that is second to none. From its rich cultural heritage and stunning architecture to its thriving dining scene and nightlife, this neighborhood is perfect for those who want to be at the epicenter of excitement. While premium accommodations and potential noise levels might be a consideration, the unrivaled charm of the French Quarter is sure to captivate every visitor.
Warehouse District – Best for art and shopping
- Pros: Rich art scene and galleries, Bustling shopping district, Upscale dining and nightlife
- Cons: Slightly further from the French Quarter
- Attractions: Contemporary Arts Center, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Riverwalk Outlets
- Restaurants and Cafes: Cochon, Meril, Compère Lapin, St. James Cheese Company
Discover the Warehouse District, a neighborhood that offers a delightful fusion of art, shopping, and culinary delights.
Although it’s slightly further from the French Quarter, this area provides a unique New Orleans experience that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Art enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to explore the district’s numerous galleries and museums.
One of my New Orleans highlights is the Contemporary Arts Center. This is a place I suggest visiting even if you do not actually stay in this area.
They have amazing exhibitions, sometimes provoking, certainly unique, from emerging, local and international artists.
Meanwhile, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is a treasure trove of regional art, displaying an extensive collection that pays homage to the South’s rich cultural heritage.
Shoppers will find themselves in paradise within the Warehouse District’s bustling shopping scene.
You will find eclectic boutiques, antique shops, and designer stores.
Finally, head to the Riverwalk Outlets for amazing bargains and fantastic value-for-money food.
When it comes to dining, the Warehouse District doesn’t disappoint.
Cochon is a favorite between locals and travelers. It is one of the best places to enjoy the typical Southern dishes, all made with locally-sourced ingredients.
Meril, another culinary gem in the area, is renowned for its innovative small plates and lively atmosphere.
For a taste of Caribbean-inspired cuisine, visit Compère Lapin, where you can savor creative dishes like a curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi.
Finally, don’t miss St. James Cheese Company, a haven for cheese aficionados, with its selection of gourmet sandwiches and artisanal cheese boards.
Nightlife in the Warehouse District is definitely more upscale than in Bourbon Street.
You can find chic bars and lounges around Fulton Street and St Peters Street, like Après Lounge or the Metropolitan Events if you are into a club with a DJ.
In conclusion, the Warehouse District provides a refreshing alternative to the more tourist-centric neighborhoods of New Orleans. With its thriving art scene, bustling shopping district, and diverse dining options, this area offers a unique and fulfilling experience for those who venture slightly beyond the French Quarter. The slightly increased distance may be a consideration for some, but the Warehouse District’s distinct charm and character make it well worth exploring.
Marigny – Best for an authentic atmosphere
- Pros: Authentic and laid-back atmosphere, Local cafes and pubs, Quiet, yet offers access to vibrant dining and nightlife
- Cons: Less tourist-oriented
- Attractions: Frenchmen Street, Washington Square Park, New Orleans Jazz Museum
- Restaurants and Cafes: Ayu Bakehouse, The Franklin, The Marigny Brasserie, Paladar 511, The Spotted Cat Music Club
Step off the beaten path and experience a slice of genuine New Orleans in the Marigny neighborhood.
This charming area offers a relaxed atmosphere, reminiscent of the city’s earlier days, while still providing access to an array of enticing bars and restaurants.
Begin your exploration of Marigny with a leisurely stroll through Washington Square Park. This serene green space is perfect for a picnic or simply relaxing under the shade of oak trees. There is a small playground too, handy if you are traveling with kids.
Just a few blocks away, the New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrates the city’s musical heritage, housing an impressive collection of instruments, recordings, and exhibits that pay tribute to jazz legends.
For a taste of Marigny’s dining scene, start your day at Ayu Bakehouse, where you can enjoy a warm pastry and a cup of fresh coffee.
For lunch, head to The Marigny Brasserie, a neighborhood favorite serving a delightful fusion of Creole and American cuisine.
If you’re in the mood for Italian fare, Paladar 511 is a must-try, offering mouthwatering pizza and pasta dishes in a cozy setting.
As the sun sets, experience Marigny’s unique blend of tranquility and nightlife at The Franklin, a sophisticated bar and restaurant offering craft cocktails and small plates.
For live music enthusiasts, The Spotted Cat Music Club is an iconic venue showcasing local jazz and blues artists (check it out in my video in the Marigny session). This place offers great music both during the day and at night.
Although the Marigny neighborhood may not cater specifically to tourists, its authentic charm and vibrant dining options create a one-of-a-kind experience.
It’s perfect for those seeking a quieter stay while still having access to the city’s bustling nightlife and eateries.
In conclusion, Marigny offers a refreshing escape from the typical tourist hotspots, transporting visitors to a time when New Orleans was a bit quieter and more laid-back. With its genuine atmosphere, local cafes and pubs, and easy access to lively dining and nightlife, Marigny is an excellent choice for visitors looking to experience the city’s true character.
Convenient Airport Transportation Options
New Orleans offers a variety of convenient transportation options for getting to and from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).
- Public Transportation: Affordable and eco-friendly. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) operates the Airport Express (Route 202), which connects the airport to downtown New Orleans. This budget-friendly option is perfect for travelers looking to save money while also reducing their carbon footprint. The bus runs frequently and provides a comfortable ride.
- Airport Shuttle: A hassle-free ride to your destination. The official airport shuttle service is a popular choice for travelers seeking a stress-free ride to their accommodation, both comfortable and efficient. Unfortunately, starting February 2023, the Airport Shuttle can receive bookings only from groups (10 people or more) and not anymore from individuals.
- Ride-hailing Apps: Personalized and on-demand. Companies like Uber and Lyft operate in New Orleans, providing a convenient and personalized transportation option. Just book the car once at the airport with the provider app.
- Taxis: Classic and reliable. Taxis are a classic and reliable transportation choice. Taxi stands are located outside the airport’s baggage claim area, and rides can be easily hailed upon arrival. Fares are typically metered, ensuring a fair price for the journey.