New Orleans has always held a layer of intrigue among those living in the United States. An intrigue that has grown internationally, making the city of the top tourist destinations in the country.
Bourbon Street and the French Quarter stoke the majority of this fascination. Whether that be through the early morning raucousness or events like Mardi Gras.
But those that choose to explore beyond those heady streets, will quickly fall in love with a city teeming with history and architectural marvels. Beyond downtown, you’ll discover a world of voodoo and haunting legends, alternative artists districts, and laidback streets where jazz musicians play with a deep and unabiding passion.
To help you uncover a different side of the Big Easy, here is our guide on where to stay in New Orleans.
Best Places to Stay in New Orleans
Are you in a hurry and want to book directly? These are the best hotels and vacation rentals in New Orleans to suit every budget.
The Best Hotels in New Orleans
First time to New Orleans? First-timers will appreciate the Central Business District.
The neighborhood knocks on the door of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter while providing easy access to each popular area around the city via the iconic streetcars. With that said, each part of town will appeal to a different style of traveler. Whether you’re in town for a “classic” NOLA experience or wanting to explore the city’s unique history.
Best Luxury Hotel in New Orleans: Maison de la Luz
In the Arts District, the Maison de la Luz is a place of opulence and one of the best luxury hotels in New Orleans. Steps away from the French Quarter, the hotel is your perfect retreat from the nearby action.
Each room has unique and ornate decor that encapsulates the elegance of the Roaring Twenties in France, or the Jazz Age as it was here in NOLA. Each room operates as its own guesthouse, offering floor-to-ceiling windows, shrouding the spacious rooms in natural light. Guests will love the grand soaking tub, the resplendent hardwood floors, and the bathroom parlor. The historic hotel is the perfect place to stay to capture a storied chapter in New Orleans’ past.
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Best Mid-Range Hotel in New Orleans: Pontchartrain Hotel
In the Garden District, Pontchartrain Hotel combines historic elegance with value for money. On St. Charles Avenue, the hotel was built in the 1920s with stylish rooms and decor to match. Decor, mind you, that has lost none of its splendor in the ensuing decades.
Guests can enjoy the Cable TV and the option for a separate seating area. A great choice after a long day exploring the gorgeous neighborhood. Before dining out on Magazine Street enjoy Pontchartrain’s Bayou Bar and the bottom-floor Jack Rose restaurant. The hotel’s location is the envy of many. You’ll be a short ride away from the French Quarter and within walking distance of many attractions, from art museums to historic cemeteries.
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Best Budget Hotel in New Orleans: Auberge NOLA Hostel
If you’re looking to have a great time in New Orleans without shattering your budget, then unpack your bags at Auberge NOLA Hostel. Within a refurbished Victorian home, Auberge NOLA encapsulates the hostel experience. The vibe is laidback and tucked away from the revelry, allowing guests time to recuperate before the hostel leaders once again take them on a deep dive into New Orleans’ nightlife.
Accommodation here is clean and comfortable, with multiple dorm rooms and bathrooms. The homestyle layout is a great departure from the rigidity of many inner-city hostels. This allows you to feel right at home as you cook in a kitchen as familiar as your one at home.
The large outdoor space is great for meeting people from around the world, with staff spending plenty of time getting to know each and every guest. The staff is often travelers just like you, who know what to experience you’re looking for. They’re a great help when looking for local tips and hidden gems.
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The 6 Best Areas to Stay in New Orleans
There are quite a few different neighborhoods in New Orleans, but the main tourist areas are mostly situated around the Missippi River. If you are a first-time visitor to New Orleans we suggest choosing a place to stay that is either in the French Quarter, the CBD or the Warehouse District as that is where most of the tourist attractions are situated. We are going to highlight the 6 neighborhoods in New Orleans that we think are the best places to stay.
1. The French Quarter / Bourbon Street
The go-to spot for many first-timers, the French Quarter is one of the best places to stay in New Orleans. For those traveling to the Big Easy to indulge in the revelry that has made the city so famous, then the French Quarter ticks all the boxes.
It’s the part of town that first comes to mind when most plan their trips. In New Orleans’ downtown, the quarter is the historic core, where all of the city’s influences combine into an enticing melting pot. Discover everything that makes New Orleans what it is today, from old-world French and Spanish architecture to Cajun and Creole heritage and cuisine. Not to mention a whole lot of live jazz music.
By day, you can roam the grid streets, lined by iconic balconies, old-school saloons now slinging delectable eats, and the “quieter” Bourbon Street, where hedonism lurks behind every window. Continue to wander until you come across Jackson Square, where street performers play and fortune-tellers wait to work their magic.
For amazing restaurants wander along Royal Street, where the beguiling architecture is matched only by the mouthwatering cuisine. Stop by the famed Cafe du Monde for what some say are the best beignets in the city before exploring a whole range of art galleries and stores slinging storied antiquities.
While music and drinking are woven into the fabric of New Orleans, perhaps its real heritage is its connection with voodoo. There is an air of mystery and haunting spirits in NOLA and aside from the spellbinding cemeteries, it can be felt most within the French Quarter.
From Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral to Chartres and Pirates Alley, there lies the tales of ghosts and kings, queens and leaders who met their end. Join a ghost tour to learn more about the city’s haunted history.
As the moon hovers above the town, Bourbon Street is packed to the rafters with endless patrons jumping between bars and clubs holding a sazerac or hurricane. The home of Mardi Gras, the infamous street is arguably the party hotspot of the United States. For something less low-key (just slightly) wander down to the bustling Frenchmen Street where live music venues rule the hour.
Top Rated Hotels in The French Quarter
2. Central Business District / City Center
On the other side of Canal Street, just steps away from bodacious fun in the French Quarter is the Central Business District. The CBD best balances the raucousness of Bourbon Street with a more local vibe, where young professionals end their workday with a drink or two at any one of the trendy nearby bars.
While staying in the French Quarter puts many attractions on your doorstep, it can be a little overwhelming for a lot of travelers. If you’re someone that appreciates their beauty sleep, or “have been there done that” then the Central Business district provides a handy alternative.
Among the high-rises are a whole host of hotels, offering comfortable and/or upscale accommodations. While the city’s streetcar network begins and ends right in this part of town. New Orleans features four streetcar lines that disperse around the city in each direction. Head to many of the districts on this list from the colorful neighborhood of Marigny to the historic sites within the Garden District.
This makes the Central Business District a great spot for couples and families. Both of whom will appreciate the easy access to a buffet of tourist attractions and fine dining. One of those attractions is the Superdome, the home of the city’s beloved New Orleans’ Saints. Watch your hometown team go to work close to your own New Orleans hotel before enjoying a short trip to either Bourbon Street or the many pubs along Magazine Street.
Other popular attractions include the expansive National World War II Museum and the Audobon Aquarium of the Americas. The latter of which is one of the top things to do in town for traveling family.
For those in need of some daytime retail therapy, then the CBD is home to the South Market District. Here, you’ll find a whole host of boutique shops, and national chains perfect for changing up the wardrobe or simply enjoying a break from the hot NOLA sun. At night, switch things up by enjoying the local atmosphere at rooftop bars or unassuming pubs.
Better yet, have a night at the Orpheum Theater. The historic building is over a century old, with mesmerizing acoustics and performers ready to inspire.
Top Rated Hotels in the Central Business District
3. The Garden District
For those traveling to the Big Easy for more than just cocktails and beads, then the Garden District is where to stay in New Orleans. Fed by the historic, Charles Streetcar line, the world’s oldest continuous streetcar, it’s scenic and easy to get to New Orleans’ French Quarter. Not that you’ll be in a rush to leave.
The Garden District may be conveniently located, but it’s a historic area in its own right. One worth exploring on one of many strolls or bike rides. You’ll quickly discover how it got its name, as you wander its many leafy streets noted for the towering oaks and Victorian-era mansions that wouldn’t be out of place on a plantation. The local streets undulated under the pressure of growing roots as if nature could swallow it whole at any moment. Explore on your own or join a tour to discover the rich history of the area.
Along the way, you’ll discover the iconic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. There is no place in the U.S. that has as many hauntingly beautiful cemeteries. The kind that becomes popular, but remains respectful and not a tourist trap. The above-ground cemeteries are due to New Orleans being at or above sea level. Out of fear of rising and water-logged bodies, the city is laden with ornate tombs. At the Lafayette Cemetery, you’ll find many foundation settlers and even the Mayfair witches.
However, the Garden District is much more than just interesting history and ornate gardens. Home to Magazine Street, a huge thoroughfare that runs from the Arts District to the Uptown, the Garden District is a foodie haven. The street and surrounding blocks are lined with trendy dining options serving anything from classic southern comfort food to the local flavor of Cajun and Creole.
From one end to the other, you can treat yourself to a culinary adventure. Must visits include Stein’s Deli and the stately Commander’s Palace. The latter features stunning architecture and a large food hall where the community gathers.
Owing to its popularity among local students, you’ll have access to a thriving nightlife scene that’s also easy on the wallet. While local accommodation options run to full length from hostels to high-end with the odd hip hotel.
Best Places to Stay in The Garden District
4. Faubourg Marigny & Treme
Bringing bohemian flair, jazz clubs, and Cajun bistros to the city, these two overlapping districts are some of the best places to stay in New Orleans. Although just blocks east of the French Quarter, it’s not a far stretch to call Faubourg Marigny and Treme “off the beaten path.”
Faubourg Marigny has an eclectic edge which is home to local artists and expansive warehouse studios. While most take the streetcar westward toward the Warehouse and Garden Districts, all it takes is a short trip in the opposite direction to find yourself among nothing but locals and the odd curious traveler. Here, the historic buildings and balconies are lathered with bright colors that create a kaleidoscopic neighborhood with surprises around every corner.
Although Frenchmen Street could easily be seen as an extension of Bourbon Street, it’s within Faubourg Marigny. In fact, its charm and vibe encapsulate the neighborhood best. Here, locals rule the nightlife scene. Essentially abandoned in the mid-20th century, creatives moved in and transformed the neighborhood into a hub of free expression, whether that be with a paintbrush or a brass instrument. There is an appreciation for the effervescent tunes that float through the night sky from the jazz clubs. The revelry is communal and the drunken stupor of Bourbon Street is not nearly as prevalent.
Outside of Frenchmen, those staying within Faubourg Marigny and Treme will find themselves alongside Esplanade Avenue. The thoroughfare connects to two major districts, with the former being a top spot for young travelers, while families will have much to love in Treme, aka Mid City.
Esplanade Avenue is lined with beautiful French Creole homes and revitalized shotgun cottages. Just blocks away is another must-see cemetery, St. Louis No.1 home to the burial site of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen. Eventually, the road reaches City Park, a New Orleans oasis. This is where you’ll find the Children’s Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the New Orleans Botanical Garden. Alongside Audobon Park, in Uptown, City Park is the go-to spot for picnics and enjoying some respiteful shade.
In both areas, visitors will find a range of budget to mid-range hotels. Many of which help showcase the compelling local culture.
Top Rated Hotels in Faubourg Marigny & Tremme
5. The Warehouse District
Within walking distance of the city center, those who choose to stay in the Warehouse District will find themselves balancing both sides of life in New Orleans. From the banks of the Mississippi River to Highway 90, travelers will be surrounded by homestyle BBQ joints, third wave cafes, and trendy shopping all within refurbished warehouses that once laid abandoned.
Now showcasing every bit of its newfound personality, it won’t take long for visitors to figure out why this part of town is also known as the Art District. While Faubourg Marigny has an underground art scene, the Warehouse District is less subtle about its offerings. As you walk along Julia Street you’ll over two dozen galleries showcasing local work. While Camp Street, in the center of the neighborhood, is home to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
Despite these highlights, this part of town remains unassuming and easy to look past, especially for first-time visitors. Between the French Quarter and the Garden District, you could easily bypass the Art District on the streetcar. But for those that stick around, you’ll experience a different side of New Orleans.
By day, venture into the Riverwalk Outlet Mall or cruise along the famed Mississippi. Before turning your attention to any one of the award-winning restaurants in the district. As the stars start to shine, forego Bourbon Street and listen to the local musicians plying their trade at the Howlin’ Wolf.
Top Rated Hotels in the Warehouse District
For travelers who have been around the block and are wondering where to stay in New Orleans, then Uptown may be the answer. A perfect choice for those looking to escape the inner city and Bourbon Street, Uptown is a quiet location with ample parks and local activities.
Like the Garden District, you’ll find plenty of leafy streets and historic architecture here. St. Charles Avenue cuts through the center of town offering easy access to downtown on the streetcar. But Uptown is far enough away from the French Quarter that you’ll feel like you have your own community to get to know.
Along the famed avenue, you’ll wander by mansion after mansion once home to the city’s elite. They’re now as much a part of local life as the towering oaks that look over them. The neighborhood is splendid to explore on foot, with another highlight being Prytania Street.
What helps make Uptown great for families, is not just its relaxed location but the beautiful Audobon Park. Here, playgrounds, the Tree of Life, and the Audobon Zoo create days’ worth of fun for the little ones. While in the hot summer months, families can enjoy Cool Zoo, an amusement park packed with water attractions that will refresh the whole crew.
Uptown, however, isn’t just for traveling families. In fact, owing to its duo of universities, its food, and nightlife scene is infused with youthful energy. Staying in the area, means you are close by to Tulane and Loyola, which are both worth exploring. On Oak Street, you can join students looking for a bit to eat at any one of the street’s restaurants slinging cheap eats. Here, you’ll also find thrift stores, boutiques, and bars, including the Maple Leaf Bar. The latter is one of the top live music bars in New Orleans.
Visitors will find a range of hotel options in Uptown. Including several historic hotels.
Best Places to Stay in Uptown
Where to Stay in New Orleans for the First Time: Central Business District & Warehouse District
While the simple answer may be to flock to the French Quarter, there’s something to be said enjoying a central location. Both the Central Business and Warehouse districts enjoy envious proximity to the fun, attractions, and nightlife offered nearby. But they also present their own highlights.
Importantly, there is no shortage of accommodation options in either location. So it will suit a vast range of travelers, whether that be solo visitors, couples or families.
Staying in either of these areas will also help you explore the rest of New Orleans with ease.
Best Place to Stay in New Orleans for Nightlife: The French Quarter & Faubourg Marigny
If you’re one of the many traveling to New Orleans to let your hair down, then you already know you’ll be staying near Bourbon Street.
Home to Mardi Gras, vibrant buildings, and endless action, day and night the entire French Quarter is a veritable hive of excitement. While the famous street features 13 blocks teeming with every kind of bar and club under the sun.
But for something different, Marigny delivers in spades. It’s here you find nightly musical revelry on Frenchmen Street. Further into the neighborhood is the St. Claude corridor, renowned for its alt-rock, reggae, and metal music with divey bars and plenty of locals.
Where to Stay in New Orleans for Families: Garden District & Uptown
An extension of one another, the Garden District and Uptown are the best places to stay in New Orleans for families. There’s is an abundance of free things to do from exploring the banks of the Mississippi and mansion-laden streets to hanging out in the local parks.
Both areas are popular with local families, so you won’t have a problem finding family-friendly restaurants and hotels. Outside of the downtown area, you’ll have more room to park the rental car, while the St. Charles Streetcar will get you into the city without trouble.
Home to the Riverwalk and just a short walk to Canal Place, the Arts District is the place to stay for traveling shoppers.
The Riverwalk is where you’ll find the Outlet Collection that features over 75 retailers and ample restaurants. Its location along the Mississippi creates a scenic shopping experience as you wander between the seemingly endless options.
At the end of Canal Street, the Canal Mall is a world-class shopping location with a wide range of local, national, and international brands. Perfect for luxury shoppers, you’ll find everything from Louis Vuitton to Tory Burch.
Where to Stay in New Orleans for Sightseeing: The French Quarter & Garden District
Aside from its nightlife, New Orleans is celebrated for its intricate history. The city so blurs the line between truth and legend that mythology has become a prominent part of its story.
For the best sightseeing, the French Quarter is packed with attractions. The first additions to the many cobblestone streets were laid in 1718 followed by dozens of historic buildings. Highlights include the 18th century St. Louis Cathedral and the Spanish colonial Cabildo. Within the stone walls of many buildings are the tragic tales of historical figures, that met their end in gruesome circumstances. Of at least that’s the story, join a ghost tour to learn more.
To further explore the city’s somber but enlightening antebellum past, visitors should explore the Garden District on a guided tour.
Our Money Saving Tips for New Orleans:
New Orleans is a popular year-round destination. People flock to the city during Mardi Gras and later in the height of summer. But they also travel to the Louisiana city to escape the northern winters. To save money on hotels, try and time your trip to coincide with the shoulder seasons, spring and fall.
Don’t be afraid to stay outside the French Quarter. Discover a new side of the city, from Magazine Street to Esplanade Avenue, while saving a few dollars. It helps that the streetcar will take you to much of the city while requiring a meager $1.25 per ride. Later enjoy the ample happy hours so you can drink on the cheap, letting the free live music carry you the rest of the way.
Getting Around New Orleans:
Although hot, it’s a lot of fun to explore New Orleans on foot or bike. Such is the concentration of most visitors, once out of the French Quarter, it’s easy to feel like you’re exploring off the tourist trail. The city is flat and its constant surprises egg you on even when the legs are getting weary.
Although New Orleans isn’t home to a world-class public transport system, the city’s famed streetcars are as handy as it gets. Cheap, easy and sometimes 24/7 the trolleys will deliver to you many top neighborhoods. But staying near one should be at the top of the requirements when choosing New Orleans hotels.
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