The Esplanade Ridge Historic District is home to one of New Orleans’ most prestigious Creole neighborhoods. With a number of notable boulevards including Esplanade Avenue, Ursulines Avenue, Broad Street and Bayou Road, Esplanade Ridge offers visitors the comfort of a home away from home experience with the ability to explore and discover new things throughout the day. This guide will show you how to spend a day in the tree-lined, Victorian escape that is Esplanade Ridge.

Rebecca Todd, NOTMC

Stay in Esplanade Ridge

Its centralized and convenient location makes Esplanade Ridge the ideal visitor homebase. By streetcar, bus, bike or foot, some of New Orleans’ greatest areas of attraction are accessible from the Bed & Breakfasts located along Esplanade Avenue. La Belle Esplanade is the perfect B&B for a girls trip to New Orleans or try Ashton’s Bed & Breakfast for a romantic getaway. For a more adventurous visitor, venture just a few blocks away to the Inn at the Old Jail for an overnight stay at the historic New Orleans Jail and Patrol Station, built in 1902 and restored in 2013.

Rebecca Todd, NOTMC

Start your day with Pagoda Cafe, a small boutique café recently turned into a worker-owned cooperative. This cafe is open Tuesday-Sunday serving homemade baked goods, artisan sandwiches and breakfast tacos. With ever-changing daily and seasonal specials, there’s always something new on the menu. Their outdoor patio makes for breakfast with a view. 

Justen Williams, NOTMC

Explore Esplanade Avenue

Schedule a tour at Le Musee de fpc and immerse yourself in the historic house museum dedicated to the legacy of free people of color. Or book a tour at the historic Degas House Museum and learn more about the renowned artist behind the French Impressionist movement. Their intimate guided tours make for the perfect activity during a day out in Esplanade Ridge. 

Justen Williams, NOTMC

After the awakening and powerful experience of Le Musee de f.p.c., cultivate your curiosity at Community Book Center. This cultural hub serves as more than just a bookstore. In addition to their specialization in African literature, Community Book Center also offers fabrics, clothing, jewelry and body products. This space is also home to a number of community events including book signings and seminars. 

Justen Williams, NOTMC

Lunch in the Ridge

After an afternoon filled with cultural excursions and experiences, indulge in the many options for lunch along Bayou Road and beyond. Enjoy a New Orleanian favorite: oysters! The Half Shell on the Bayou offers oysters year-round. Or opt for authentic Caribbean cuisine at Coco Hut

Justen Williams, NOTMC

Don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth at this whimsical pastry shop. Cupcake Fairies specializes in cupcakes, cake-pops and customized treats. These delectable desserts make the perfect New Orleans take-away. 

Justen Williams, NOTMC

Wind down your day with an evening of Whiskey & Sticks. This lounge on Bayou Road offers premium whiskey and cigars in a casual setting with outdoor patio seating. 

Paul Broussard

End with dinner on Esplanade Avenue

Esplanade Avenue in the ridge is one of the most romantic spots in the city for date night with your loved one. Whether you’re trying to impress, or just want to end the evening with friends, there’s an array of restaurants that won’t disappoint. Enjoy traditional French cuisine at Café Degas, or delicious paella at Lola’s. Santa Fe is your spot for tacos, and Nonna Mia has pizza, pasta and calzones. Let’s not forget 1000 Figs, which specializes in Mediterranean cuisine with lots of vegetarian options available.