Essential Guide to the French Quarter [Updated]

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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!

New Orleans Bourbon Street

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.

» Looking for more travel inspiration in the United States? See our U.S. Summer Vacation Ideas and 12 U.S. National Parks to Visit. Here are a few more fabulous U.S. Cities to visit.

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.

Bourbon Street Hotels
Bourbon Street Hotels

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.

Stop by Jackson Square as you stroll around the French Quarter and make your way down Bourbon Street. You’ll want to pop into shops, stop for a Hurricane cocktail at Pat O’Brien’s, order a drink in a crazy plastic cup on Bourbon Street (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get there).

If you’re ready for some shopping, head to the Colonnade to browse the shops and go into the French Market to do a little food crawl around the stalls. A stop at Cafe du Monde for Beignets and a cafe au lait is a must.

Tours to Book

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!

French Quarter travel guide

Tours to Book:

Where to Stay in New Orleans

It can get noisy and crazy, and all kinds of fun, on Bourbon Street, but if you don’t want to be that close to the action, we recommend staying within the French Quarter, where you can easily get to everything that’s happening.

The hotels we recommend are:


The French Quarter is a place that must be experienced because it is a place like no other. From its rich history, music and food this essential guide will steer you towards all that is going on.

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Essential Guide to the French Quarter [Updated]

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

  1. Janeen @ Green Global Travel says:

    Great easy breakdown of New Orleans! Everyone has got to try beignets in New Orleans!

  2. 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!

  3. 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 😉

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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’!!

  7. Anne | Girl Chasing Sunshine says:

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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!!!

  11. Ynah CA says:

    Nice post! Definitely a great help when it comes to exploring New Orleans! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  12. 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!

  13. 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

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

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