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 and 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.
No day of exploration begins without a breakfast fit to fuel, and Lamara Kitchen offers just that. Far from the hearty shrimp & grits or chicken & waffles, Lamars’s menu features plant-focused and organic bites such as chickpea breakfast bowls, a variety of housemade toasts and dairy-free yogurt parfaits. You can also grab-and-go with their selection of loose-leaf tea, smoothies, coffee and chai. It’s the perfect pick-me-up to get you moving throughout this unique neighborhood.
Bayou Road is a historic stretch of land filled with locally-owned shops, restaurants, attractions and nightlife. Browse Community Book Center’s extensive library of African diaspora-centered literature or check their calendar of events for writer’s workshops and book signings. Afterward, make your way to King & Queen Emporium and shop hand-crafted body butters, soaps, incense, oils and more.
Once your shopping needs are satisfied, head toward the waters of the Bayou on a Blue Bike - the official bike share program of New Orleans. Simply download to register, find the bike nearest to you, and start pedaling. Ride along the picturesque Esplanade Avenue where you’ll pass by breathtaking Creole mansions, the historic Edgar Degas House and Le Musée de f.p.c. and eventually, end up at New Orleans City Park.
After your bike ride near the Bayou, stop over at Parkway Tavern and grab a few poboys, Zapps’ cips, and drinks for an impromptu picnic at the park or by the water. The oak tree-lined ambiance and bayou breeze make a great backdrop for any outdoor dining experience. It was even named one of our top picnic locations!
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 paddle boards (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.
New Orleans Museum of Art is a sight in itself - the beautiful building sits besides 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 beside NOMA. Over 60 sculptures by renowned global artists live here and serve as constant inspiration to Bayou St. John residents, and the travelers who seek out the garden as well.
One of the most special parts about traveling in 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 is a place you go to experience just that. 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.
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, and 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.
While we love spending a relaxing day (or weekend, or more) in Bayou St. John, there are some events in the neighborhood that change the atmosphere of the neighborhood from serene to festive. These include New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Bayou Boogaloo, Praise Fest and Mardi Gras’ annual Endymion parade are a few of the big events that take place on our near the bayou.