Bayou St. John is nestled within Mid-City - a beloved neighborhood known for off-the-beaten-path adventure and fun. It’s the perfect mixture of big-city appeal with just the right amount of smaller community feel. Paddle along the Bayou’s waters and grab a po-boy stuffed with shrimp, or gather a group of friends for an evening at a local beer garden. The choices are endless and all yours. Breakaway from Bourbon Street and explore our 10 ways to experience New Orleans’ Bayou St. John. 

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Rebecca Todd, New Orleans Tourism

Pretty accurate name here: one hour, and it’s a blast. This HIIT class alternates between two zones to provide a well-rounded workout. Cardio exercises on the treadmill wake up your muscles and increase your heart rate, while a TRX zone on the floor focuses on building strength, stability, coordination, and flexibility. Hour Blast has five locations: Uptown, Downtown, Lakeview, Elmwood, and Metairie. Be sure to book your class in advance–and prepare to break a sweat.

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Jeff Schiffman

If a natural setting is more your style for your daily workout, head to Audubon Park for a group exercise class with local fitness guru, Jon Sloan. Formerly known as Big Easy Bootcamp, Swoot by Jon Sloan Fitness offers both Sw!tch HIIT classes and bootcamp sessions for clients of all interests and experience levels. Classes are different every day of the week and provide a fun and challenging way to get your sweat on with a group of like-minded individuals, many of whom are LGBTQ+ or allies.

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Image Courtesy of Romney Studios

From Pilates and yoga to Megaformer classes and cycling, Romney Studios is a one-stop-shop for a challenging one-hour workout. The Megaformer classes utilize the Lagree Method to strengthen and tone through high intensity, low-impact exercises, and the studio’s latest offering, BOUNCE, is a trampoline-based workout that not builds muscle and promotes healthy digestive and lymphatic systems. Simply pick the class that’s best suited for your body and schedule at one of two Magazine Street locations: Uptown or Lower Garden District.

 

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Meg Becker, Cyclebar

For proof that Cyclebar is a workout wonderland for LGBTQ+ travelers, look no further than its daily schedule, which is packed with pop-diva themed classes to get your energy and heart rate up. Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X, and Lizzo are just a few of the artists featured in these hour-long, indoor sessions. Classes are led by experienced instructors who aim to motivate and empower, all while you enjoy a rotation of energetic tunes and music videos in a supportive and encouraging community. 

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Rebecca Todd

This is the class to join if you’re looking for an experience that tailors to the mind, body, and spirit in a setting that features dazzling New Orleans architecture. Yoga practitioner and instructor Nina Boasso leads classes every Saturday morning in Jackson Square, with classes sometimes offered in the Cabildo itself or in Presbytere on the other side of St. Louis Cathedral. Both buildings feature historic, Spanish-colonial architecture. Classes can be booked here.

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Photographer- Rebecca Todd

Waterfront activities at the Bayou

Bayou St. John isn’t named arbitrarily - the neighborhood’s namesake waterway is perhaps the highlight of this Mid-City micro-neighborhood. The bayou makes for a tranquil place to picnic, watch the sunset, toss a frisbee, or even practice yoga. Most notably, you can easily rent kayaks or paddleboards (try here or here) and get on the water yourself, taking in views you’ll only find in this neighborhood. Don’t forget to grab a few Instagram-worthy shots for your timeline.

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Justen Williams, New Orleans and Co.

Explore NOMA

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is a sight in itself. The beautiful building sits beside Big Lake in City Park and beckons any traveler looking for an art fix. But another gem is the FREE Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden that sits behind NOMA. Over 60 sculptures by renowned global artists live here and serve as constant inspiration to Bayou St. John residents, and all who visit the park. 

 

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Photographer- Paul Broussard

Hang out at Pal’s Lounge

One of the best parts about traveling to New Orleans is the welcoming atmosphere. It’s a perfect combination of Southern hospitality and a “come as you are” policy at each doorstep that gets visitors booking their next trip before they’ve even returned home. And Pal’s really embodies that energu. A favorite among locals and visitors alike, this dive bar is the perfect place to cheer on the Saints and try out some new brews or their signature Gingerita. 

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Photographer- Rebecca Todd

Have dinner at a local favorite

As you can tell by now, Bayou St. John is a treasure trove of hidden gems. Grab dinner at one of the adorable local spots you’ll stumble upon in the neighborhood: Lola’s for sangria and paella, 1000 Figs for Mediterranean fare, Café Degas for French food under twinkling lights, and Santa Fe to satisfy your Mexican cravings. All are great for solo dinners, date nights, or group dinners - they’re cozy and low-key with cuisine & cocktails that don’t disappoint.

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Photographer- Paul Broussard

Lagniappe (a little somethin’ extra)

While we love spending a relaxing day (or weekend, or more) in Bayou St. John, there are some events that pivot the atmosphere of the neighborhood from serene to festive. Highlights include New Orleans Jazz and Heritage FestivalBayou Boogaloo, and Mardi Gras’ annual Endymion parade just to name a few.