But there’s more to the Big Easy than the frozen drinks on Bourbon Street.
It’s essential to branch out during your visit. The Garden District, the Central Business District (aka CBD), the Marigny, Bywater, and Mid-City (among other neighborhoods) all have their own distinct style, vibe, and personality.
And, since each is going to shape your experience, you want to pick an area to stay that fits your style.
To help you plan your trip, here is my breakdown of the best neighborhoods in New Orleans for visitors (as well as suggested accommodations in each).
But, first, some frequent questions I get asked about staying in New Orleans:
What’s the best neighborhood for sightseeing?
This one is pretty simple: the French Quarter. Yes, it’s packed with tourists, but if sightseeing is on your agenda, then a stay here is a must.
What’s the best neighborhood for families?
If you’re traveling as a family, Mid-City is the place for you. In addition to hugging up against the expansive City Park, the area is also home to the Louisiana Children’s Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
What’s the best neighborhood for shopping? The Warehouse District is filled with great shops and boutiques. Make sure you hit Magazine Street, which stretches into the Lower Garden District as well.
What’s the best neighborhood for foodies? Tremé and the 7th Ward are excellent for people who travel with their stomach and taste buds in mind. There are new trendy spots but also a handful of excellent traditional Creole and Cajun restaurants.
What’s the best neighborhood for history?
While lots of people might point the history buff to the French Quarter — and understandably so — the Garden District is a more tranquil neighborhood that is worth exploring, replete with 19th-century mansions and historic cemeteries.
What’s the best neighborhood for hipsters? The Marigny and neighboring Bywater are chock-full of dive bars, art galleries, and cool restaurants with an all-around hip vibe. Frenchmen Street boasts a bunch of great jazz bars and bohemian hangouts.
What’s the best neighborhood overall?
It’s hard to pick just one neighborhood in a city where each district has its own unique flavor and style, but I’m going with the French Quarter, because that is usually the one that lures people here in the first place.
So, with those questions answered, here’s a breakdown of each neighborhood, with suggested accommodations, so you know precisely where to stay in New Orleans:
Where to Stay in New Orleans for Sightseeing: the French Quarter
This famed historic neighborhood is the central spot for most visitors to the Big Easy. The debaucherous district — where you can walk around with a potent Hurricane drink in hand — is also loaded with famous restaurants, small museums, and cocktail bars. It may get crowded at times, but the French Quarter is most definitely worth spending time in, as it’s one of the great neighborhoods in North America.
Best places to stay in the French Quarter:
BUDGET: City House Hostel — City House Hostel is one of the most centrally located, budget-friendly accommodations in town. The bunk beds in the dorms don’t have privacy shades, but the mattresses are quite comfortable. There’s a kitchen for guests and a fun common room with foosball. MIDRANGE: Villa Convento — Rumored to be the “House of the Rising Sun” from the famed 1960s song by the Animals, Villa Convento is steeped in history. Housed in a former convent from the 1830s, the villa has loft, balcony, and courtyard rooms, all of which are bedecked with antique furniture. LUXURY: The Ritz-Carlton — Situated in the southwest corner of the Quarter, the Ritz-Carlton is the epitome of luxury. Rooms are decorated with the commissioned work of local artists; some have balconies overlooking the Quarter. They also feature signature robes, marble bathrooms, Asprey bathroom amenities, soundproof windows, and high ceilings.
Where to Stay in New Orleans for Families: Mid-City
Just about a 10-minute ride on the streetcar, Mid-City feels hours away from the decadence of the French Quarter. The neighborhood is made up of stately houses along Canal Street and quirky and cute bungalows down side streets. There are a number of great restaurants — such as Parkway Bakery & Tavern, home of one of the best po’ boy sandwiches in town — as well as a set of fantastic museums, such as the Louisiana Children’s Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art. City Park, a huge swath of green that is an oasis of tranquility, can also be found here.
Best places to stay in Mid-City:
BUDGET: India House Hostel — This budget-minded hostel smack in the center of Mid-City has male-only, female-only, and mixed dorm rooms. Bunks don’t have privacy dividers but the mattresses are comfortable. In addition to the usual hostel amenities, such as a nice common space and kitchen, India House also has a swimming pool. MIDRANGE: Lucky Inn — Quirky and bohemian in spirit, the Lucky Inn is a small boutique hotel with a lot of style and personality. It has spacious king-sized bedrooms fit for the whole family. LUXURY: Inn at the Old Jail — As the name suggests, the landmark Victorian building was an actual jail in 1902 and then became a library before being transformed into a comfortable and spacious hotel. Each room is a suite, so there is room for the whole family.
Where to Stay in New Orleans for Shopping: Warehouse District
Also known as the Arts District, the Warehouse District boasts tons of galleries and a handful of museums. There is also a slew of impressive restaurants, bars, and sleek hotels with rooftop pools. Those who like shopping should point themselves to Magazine Street. The long street, flanked by unique and quirky shops and boutiques, stretches into the Garden District and beyond. It’s also a nicely situated part of town, wedged between the rowdy French Quarter and the more tranquil Garden District.
Best places to stay in Warehouse District:
BUDGET: The Auberge Hostel — The Auberge is a fun hostel with a party spirit. The dorm rooms are mixed and offer comfy bunk beds complete with lockers to store your stuff. MIDRANGE: Holiday Inn Express — This hotel is your typical Holiday Inn and the best value for your money in the area. There is a large fitness center, a complimentary breakfast buffet, and a business center. LUXURY: Roami at The Brandywine — Complete with a great rooftop view, the Brandywine consists of eight fully furnished, fully stocked apartments of various sizes. Each unit has a washer and dryer for when you want to refresh your shopping and partying clothes for the next day.
Where to Stay in New Orleans for Foodies: Tremé and the 7th Ward
These neighboring districts are brimming with excellent eateries. New Orleans is one of the best dining towns in North America, and winnowing the options down just one (or in this case, two) neighborhoods to eat in is next to impossible. But if you want some traditional Creole and Cajun fare, Tremé and the 7th Ward are where to eat your fill.
Best places to stay in Tremé and 7th Ward
BUDGET: HH Whitney House — Budget accommodations in Tremé and the 7th Ward are not particularly easy to come by. This charming bed & breakfast is one of the most affordable in the area, with large rooms and enormous, comfortable beds. MIDRANGE: Degas House — This unique B&B gives includes a free walking tour. You also get a Creole breakfast complete with mimosas and/or Bloody Marys. The large rooms have wooden floors and four-poster beds. LUXURY: La Belle Esplanade — This charming Victorian inn from the 1880s only has five suites (and comfortable ones at that). Rather than offering a cooked breakfast, each suite is catered with local food products. The suites are large, and each one is unique, complete with cheery colors and antique furniture.
Where to Stay in New Orleans for History Lovers: Garden District
After the French Quarter, the Garden District may be the second most popular neighborhood in the Crescent City. The plus-sized mansions, the sturdy, sprawling oak trees, the historic cemeteries, and the great restaurants (including the famed Commander’s Palace) make the Garden District one inspiring and atmospheric place. The district oozes with the past, particularly from the 19th century.
Best places to stay in the Garden District:
BUDGET: The Quisby — Housed in an old hotel from the 1920s, the Quisby is a fun hostel with a 24-hour bar. Each bunk has a reading light and an outlet nearby. The hostel is just over the border in the Warehouse District. MIDRANGE: St. Charles Coach House — Located on historic St. Charles Street, Coach House is a boutique hotel that brings back regulars for its charm. Rooms are spacious, and all have Keurig coffee makers, large TVs, and thick, comfortable mattresses. LUXURY: Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast — This really is a grand Victorian house, one of the most stunning in the neighborhood. The rooms have antique furniture, Egyptian cotton towels, balconies, and jacuzzi hot tubs. There is also a huge luxurious breakfast too
Where to Stay in New Orleans for Hipsters: The Marigny
Located just east of the French Quarter, the Marginy’s main drag is Frenchmen Street, which is flanked by hip and cool bars and jazz clubs that are far less touristy than anywhere in the Quarter. The neighborhood is highlighted by historic, shotgun-style houses, while hipster cocktail bars and great restaurants are sprinkled throughout.
Best places to stay in the Marigny:
BUDGET: Creole Gardens Inn — The rooms are on the smallish side, and the amenities are fairly basic, but the beds are thick and comfortable. Each room is unique, and the service from the couple who run the place is warm and welcoming. MIDRANGE: Lamothe House Hotel — The individually designed rooms are outfitted to make you think you may have just woken up in 19th-century New Orleans. LUXURY: Serenity in the Marigny — This is an über-comfy bed & breakfast and spa. Each of the spacious rooms is uniquely designed and the New Orleans-style breakfast is fantastic.
New Orleans has a slew of neighborhoods, each with its own personality and vibe. Choosing where you stay is going to shape your stay here. While thee city isn’t always walkable (especially in the summer heat), there’s a robust trolley system that can get you between neighborhoods.
Book Your Trip to New Orleans: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Need a Guide?
New Orleans has some really interesting tours. My favorite company is Take Walks. They have expert guides and can get you behind the scenes at the city’s best attractions. They’re my go-to walking tour company!