The French Quarter: Made up of about 90 square blocks with Jackson Square at its center, this section is also known as the Vieux Carré (Old Square) and is bordered by Canal Street, North Rampart Street, the Mississippi River, and Esplanade Avenue. The Quarter (or FQ) is full of hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars, stores, residences, and museums. The most historic and best-preserved area in the city, it’s the focal point for most first-time visitors. Explore the neighborhood in detail with our French Quarter walking tour.
Faubourg Marigny -- Bordering the eastern edge of the French Quarter across Esplanade Avenue, the Marigny boasts the city’s premier nightlife center: famed Frenchmen Street. Named for 6 rebellious French dudes who were hung here for promoting formation of a new government (in 1768—8 years before the Declaration of Independence), Frenchmen Street is a must-visit haunt for music lovers and anyone seeking a scene. This small Creole suburb is populated by old-time residents, young urban dwellers who’ve moved in recently, and a thriving LGBTQ community.
Bywater -- This riverside neighborhood past the Faubourg Marigny, a hotbed of renovation and gentrification, still has its share of modest and rundown homes set amid sparkling renovations and artily rehabbed shotgun shacks. Historically, the area was also home to immigrants, free people of color, and artisans; today many studios still dot the area, along with new hipster bars, cafes, celebs, and the freshly-minted Crescent Park.
Mid-City/Esplanade Ridge -- Stretching north from the French Quarter to City Park, Esplanade Ridge hugs either side of Esplanade Avenue (once the grande avenue of New Orleans’s Creole society, rivaling St. Charles Avenue). Crossing Esplanade is the historic Bayou St. John waterway, adjacent to the lovely Faubourg St. John neighborhood.Booming, popular Mid-City also encompasses City Park, and its residential neighborhoods stretch upward toward Lake Pontchartrain.
Faubourg Tremé -- Directly across Rampart Street from the French Quarter, this dense 19th-century Creole community is one of the oldest African-American neighborhoods in the country. Home to many of the city’s best musicians, it is seeing some post-Katrina gentrification, but remains a dynamic, organic residential community, as highlighted in the HBO series named for the area. Once considered unsafe for tourists, it’s much improved and more populated, though as in many parts of the city, it has its share of crime, and it is not advisable to walk through the area at night or solo.
Central Business District -- In the 19th century, Canal Street divided the French and American sections of the city. Historically New Orleans’s main street, it’s a far cry from the days of yore when white-gloved ladies and seersuckered men shopped this grand avenue. But several fine hotels, restaurants, and renovated theaters are evidence of Canal’s impending renewal. Uptown of Canal Street is the CBD, also roughly bounded by the elevated Pontchartrain Expressway (Business Rte. U.S. I-90) between Loyola Avenue and the Mississippi River. This hotbed of hip houses New Orleans’s major business and government offices, along with some of the city’s most elegant hotels, best restaurants, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Within the CBD is the Warehouse District, which was just a heap of abandoned warehouses some 20-ish years ago. With the efforts of some dedicated individuals and institutions, it has evolved into a thriving residential and commercial neighborhood and is still growing madly. Besides cool loft conversions, terrific restaurants, and hot music clubs, the area also houses the city’s lively arts district, with major museums and myriad galleries along Julia Street.
Uptown/The Garden District -- Bounded by St. Charles Avenue (lakeside) and Magazine Street (riverside) between Jackson and Louisiana avenues, the Garden District (GD) remains one of the most picturesque areas in the city. Originally the site of a plantation, it was subdivided and developed as a residential neighborhood for wealthy Americans who built elaborate homes and gardens, some still existing. See our Garden District walking tour. The Garden District is located “uptown”; the neighborhood west of the Garden District is also called Uptown (the term is used for the direction and the area, just to confuse us). The Lower Garden District (LGD) refers to the segment between the Pontchartrain Expressway (I-90) and Jackson Avenue.
The Irish Channel -- The area bounded by Magazine Street and the Mississippi River, Louisiana Avenue, and the Central Business District got its name during the 1800s when more than 100,000 Irish immigrated to New Orleans and found (mostly blue-collar) work. Not much has changed. The quiet residential neighborhood, where the run-down mixes comfortably with the fixed up, is speckled with some amazing churches, a few good restaurants, a whole lotta good dive bars, and the occasional cobblestone street.
Algiers Point -- Directly across the Mississippi River and connected by ferry, Algiers Point is another original Creole suburb, largely unchanged if a little less lively than it was during the once-booming days of the railroad and dry-docking industries.
Central City: This sleepy neighborhood of shotgun houses was the city center for a thriving population of Irish, German, and Jewish immigrants in the early 1800s, as well as working-class African-Americans (including jazz legends Jelly Roll Morton, Buddy Bolden, and Professor Longhair). But hard times fell, blight set in, and while it’s still home to many, it’s long been eschewed by tourists. That’s changing with the recent blossoming of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, a renovated destination now home to worthy eateries and attractions, including the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, the Jazz Market and the Casa Borrega, a pioneer on the street. It’s an easy walk from the St. Charles Streetcar (Euterpe St. stop), but other than that it’s best not to stray far from OCH (as it’s known)
Carrollton/Riverbend: Once a resort destination for French Quarter denizens (a whopping 5 miles away—or an overnight train ride in the mid-1800s), this is now a charming, solidly middle- and upper-middle-class bedroom [‘]hood. The St. Charles streetcar makes the big turn here, as does the entire neighborhood, following the arching Mississippi River, after which the Maple Street and Oak Street stops both lead to sweet stretches for shopping, noshing, and hanging with the locals. Head riverside of St. Charles to stroll Maple Street; lakeside for Oak Street.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.