A few weeks back I went to one of my favorite cities to ring in 2019. It’s somewhere I am never done exploring: New Orleans. The Southern city is one of my favorites, so when my friend mentioned she would be there over New Year’s Eve, and without any other plans, I invited myself along.
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On New Year’s Day, I woke up early to spend some time exploring one of New Orleans’ most beautiful neighborhoods. I was staying at The
It was just a few blocks from Magazine Street, the main thoroughfare through the Garden District. It was an easy walk, but it’s one of the bike-friendly streets if you prefer that option.
I started with a coffee and walked most of the way down the street over the course of an hour or so, stopping to photograph all the different types of architecture and quirky corners along the way. I saw satsuma trees and street art, corner stores and chic cafes. Plastic googly eyes placed on century-old iron gates.
Where to Eat and Drink in the Garden District
One of the best things about staying in this neighborhood is the abundance of places to eat and drink, two of the biggest draws to the city. Emeril’s Delmonico, Toup’s South, and Jack Rose (the Royal Red pasta!) are a few blocks away. Fat Boy Pantry, Turkey and the Wolf, Cafe Reconcile, Mais Arepas, and Dryades Public Market came recommended in a handy map supplied by The
The iconic Commander’s Palace further down in the district. Juan’s Flying Burrito and Sucre are among my other favorites on Magazine Street.
For much-needed fuel, French Truck Coffee is there to serve you coffee and pastries. District Donuts Sliders Brew may be known for its breakfast, but it has treats all day. For drinks, I went to the balcony of The Avenue Pub to watch the amateur fireworks over a craft beer. The Courtyard Brewery is another great hangout for beer lovers like myself because they brew their own and also carry other brands.
What to See and Do in the Garden District
The neighborhood is also home to some of the rich and famous in the blocks between Magazine and St. Charles. This house was previously owned by Anne Rice, who wrote the novel Interview with a Vampire.
The Garden District Walking Tour in New Orleans showcases some of the neighborhood’s landmarks. See the colorful shotgun homes and the sprawling Greek Revival mansions. You can also do a self-guided version.
And while you’re in the district, don’t miss Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, where the most famous of the city’s past residents are buried in above-ground tombs. The National World War II Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Museum of Southern Food and Beverage were to the north of my hostel, but all are excellent.
Where to Shop in the Garden District
Magazine Street, in particular, is fantastic for shopping, especially if you’re into funky boutiques and vintage shops like I am. Trashy Diva is one of my favorites, selling chic vintage-inspired dresses and accessories as well as lingerie. St. Claude Social Club offers stylish accessories from brands that represent the city.
DNO, Dirty Coast and Fleurty Girl sell clever New Orleans-inspired clothing and gifts. Garden District Book Shop is an independent bookstore that specializes in local and regional authors.
Where to Sleep in the Garden District
The Quisby was my base during my five days in New Orleans, a cool hostel that offers free breakfast and has a 24-hour bar. I’d stayed there last year for one night, but this time I really got to experience it. They have comfy bunk beds and large lockers to store all your stuff, along with ensuite bathrooms. They also have private rooms.
Last year, I also stayed at The Pontchartrain Hotel, which is one of my favorite places I’ve stayed in recent years. The 1927 hotel is a favorite of Mardi Gras crowds and has been restored in recent years to welcome a new generation of revelers. The rooms have chic touches and the hotel is home to Jack Rose, a fantastic restaurant, and two bars (one on the roof!).
The Henry Howard Hotel is set in an 1800s townhouse with 18 unique rooms. Each features vintage furniture, local artwork, and premium toiletries. They also sell prints and maps of the Garden District.
There’s also the Hotel Indigo and many bed and breakfast and inns in the Garden District. Airbnb is another option, but keep in mind that New Orleans limits the number of short term rentals to prevent the rising cost of living. If you decide to rent, pick a property that is either shared with the owners or a carriage house within a larger house. Rentals are no longer allowed in this neighborhood.
Have you explored New Orleans’ Garden District?
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