As the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, the French Quarter exudes history. It houses centuries-old buildings and holds millions of stories. From museums to shops to bars and restaurants, there is plenty to do in the Quarter. Below are our top 12 things to check out during your next visit to the French Quarter…
Start your day in the heart of the neighborhood at Jackson Square. The picturesque square is great for sightseeing, picnics and entertainment. Street performers, fortune tellers and artists will entertain you for hours. The oldest active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States, St. Louis Cathedral, sits on Jackson Square and dates back to 1727.
Several museums in the area are worth checking out, but The Cabildo is one of the most historically significant buildings in America. During the Spanish colonial period, it was their governmental offices. Today, it is home to many exhibits honoring New Orleans’ past. To learn about the history of Mardi Gras, visit The Presbytere next door. If you’re a history fanatic, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a must-visit.
This iconic restaurant honors the city's history and culture through its cuisine, architecture and ambiance. The upscale establishment is especially known for “Breakfast at Brennan’s” and Bananas Foster, which they invented.
If you’re looking for a taste of New Orleans to take home, head to the French Market to shop outdoors. With food and trinkets, walking through the historic market is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.
Inside a 200 year old building that is dripping in history, Napoleon House serves the best Pimm’s Cup in town. Pair it with their signature Muffuletta for the true New Orleans feel.
Along Royal Street, you will find some of the best unique treasures for your home. M.S. Rau is one of the most noteworthy antiques shops in the country. Even if you can’t afford to buy anything, it is worth looking around. While you’re there, ask for a tour of the shop’s “secret rooms” - you won’t be disappointed!
Check out award-winning bartender Chris Hannah’s newest spot, Manolito. This postage-stamp sized restaurant and bar is a hidden treasure and offers great cuban drinks and light bites.
Don’t make a reservation and sit downstairs at this lively, classic Creole hotspot--it’s well worth the wait. Although it is located on Bourbon Street, it is a old school restaurant that still requires a coat for men. The food is delicious and the company around you will make it even more fun. The most lively time to go is during Friday lunch, which oftentimes ends up spilling into the dinner hour.
Located in Hotel Monteleone, the Carousel Bar has made the list for top 20 bars in the world. The main bar is made from a real carousel and slowly spins while your sip. If you can’t snag a seat on the actual carousel, the rest of the bar has cozy couches and live jazz.
A trip to New Orleans is not complete without live jazz music, and there’s no better place to hear it than Preservation Hall. Open nightly, the small establishment nearly sells out every night.
Just next to Preservation Hall, you’ll find Pat O’s-- home of the hurricane cocktail. It’s a tourist trap, but in the best possible way. Sit on the patio or sing your heart out at the indoors Piano Bar. It’s impossible not to have fun at this legendary watering hole.