Essential Guide to the French Quarter [Updated]

New Orleans Bourbon Street
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Want to plan a trip so you can experience the French Quarter in New Orleans for yourself? You’ve heard about Mardi Gras and all the fun (and sometimes debauchery) that takes place on Bourbon Street. You’ve heard about the great restaurants and cocktails in New Orleans. Now it’s time to visit, and see it for yourself!

The French Quarter is unlike anywhere else in the United States. There’s always something going on. Whether you’re there to party, to try some great southern food, or to seek out the Jazz music that makes New Orleans famous, you’re going to love it!

Our essential guide to the French Quarter of New Orleans will help you plan your trip with the best hotels, things to do and see, and places to eat and drink in the French Quarter.

There’s even more information about the French Quarter below the image, so be sure to scroll down!

French Quarter travel guide

What to Do in New Orleans

New Orleans, and the French Quarter in particular, is a hotbed of activity at all times. There are regular events in the city that draw huge crowds like Mardi Gras in February and the New Orleans Jazz Festival in April, but even when there’s not an event going on, there’s plenty to do.

One of our favorite things to do in New Orleans is a self-induced food crawl. Check out all the specialties you’ll find in New Orleans, along with where to find them, in our food post. After that, it’s time to check out the cocktail bars. Wandering around Bourbon Street at night will lead to a few more drinks, for sure.

On the cultural side of things, check out the St. Louis Cathedral, walk through Jackson Square to see the artists and painters at work, and take a tour of Mardi Gras World, where all the big parade floats are made.

If you’re ready for some shopping, head to the Colonnade to browse the shops and the French Market. A stop at Cafe du Monde for Beignets is a must. 

Want to plan ahead and book some of the activities in our guide so you’re ready to hit the ground running when you get to New Orleans? You can use the links below to pre-book activities in New Orleans on Viator. Save time and money!

Where to Stay in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Finding the right hotel in New Orleans comes down to whether you want to be right in the middle of the action, or slightly outside of the action. It can get noisy and crazy, and all kinds of fun, on Bourbon Street, but if you don’t want to be that close, at least stay within walking distance, so getting to the restaurants listed above is reasonable. All of our recommended hotels are with a few blocks of the action.

Airbnb

If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet, there are some really great options from Superhosts that can offer a more comfortable, feel-at-home, experience than a hotel. (As an Airbnb Associate, I earn when you book through this link.)

Hotels

Royal Sonesta Bourbon Street – If you want to stay right in the action, then this is the best hotel. It’s a truly iconic French Quarter hotel Read reviews on Trip Advisor | Book a stay on Booking.com

Hotel Monteleone – iconic hotel in a perfect location, home of the famous Carousel Bar Read reviews on Trip Advisor  | Book a stay on Booking.com

JW Marriott New Orleans – upscale modern and a bit removed from the action so it’s quite Read reviews on  Trip Advisor  | Book a stay on Booking.com

Sheraton New Orleans – also upscale and modern and on the same street as the JW. This is a great alternative to staying on Bourbon Street Read reviews on  Trip Advisor  |  Book a stay on Booking.com

Essential Guide to the French Quarter [Updated]

30 thoughts on “Essential Guide to the French Quarter [Updated]

  1. hannah says:

    I had no idea that New Orleans was like this! It sounds brilliant and I love France so may have to check it out some day!

  2. Paul (The Travelling Boomer) says:

    Now you made me want to go back to Nawlins and have some beignets and those deep-fried shrimp. NOLA is one of the great cities of North America, and it would be worth a visit even without the walk-around Hurricane cocktails 😉

  3. Jocelyn says:

    I went to NOLA this past January for work and got to stay at Hotel Monteleone…it was lovely. And Cafe Beignet is right next door. I liked the size of their beignets better than Cafe du Monde, but the taste of the du Monde ones were better.

    I so want some right now 🙂

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Yes, Hotel Monteleone is great! We went to the Cafe Beignet too but I didn’t like the texture of their beignets as well. They’re a little more dense. I like the light and fluffy ones.

  4. Stacey Valle says:

    You know what! You just reminded me about this place! I made a goal to fly out on the weekend in domestic country since I go to work and school now. I have few cities in mind but completely forgot about this place! Ahhh, this is making me excited now! haha, thanks for this post!

  5. Dawn Kealing says:

    Wow, this is brilliant! It’s most definitely a huge help when it comes to exploring New Orleans! Thanks for all the info, the cafe sounds amazing, definitely a ‘Don’t Miss’!!

  6. Anne | Girl Chasing Sunshine says:

    Digging New Orleans and its French old world charm. Great job in making this informative guide about the place! 🙂

  7. Erica says:

    Laura, I might have to print this out. New Orleans has been on my list for the longest time (especially after watching the movie Chef) and I think when I visit my mom in Texas this year, I’m going to drag my family on a road trip there! Thanks for this!

  8. Nic from Roaming Renegades says:

    Awesome, love these info cards you do, so useful! This is where we would head straight away I think when we eventually get round to visiting New Orleans, wonderful city!

  9. Lucy says:

    A brief and easy guide which I can save in my gallery or Pinterest board and use when needed – it’s just perfect!! Thank you!!!

  10. Revati says:

    Now the french quarter is definitely one place I’m DYING to see in NOLA. I’ve seen bits of it in movie, and it looks magical!

  11. Donald says:

    This guide will really help as I am going in November with my niece for 4 nights . This will check off one on my bucket list

  12. Pingback: Taste the World: 21 Top Foodie Destinations | Savored Journeys

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