The Coolest Neighborhoods in New Orleans

Frenchmen Street, in the Marigny district of New Orleans, is just one of several great places to hang out in the city
Frenchmen Street, in the Marigny district of New Orleans, is just one of several great places to hang out in the city | © Andriy Blokhin / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Carolyn Heneghan
2 June 2021

New Orleans remains a beloved travel destination for explorers from across the world thanks to its colorful cuisine, music and friendly atmosphere, which culminates in the annual Mardi Gras. Planning a trip to the Cajun capital? Here’s our guide to the trendiest neighborhoods to visit in New Orleans, Louisiana, aka Nola.

St Roch

Architectural Landmark
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The interior of St Roch Market is inspired by Nola's traditional market eateries | © W Rush Jagoe V / Courtesy St. Roch Market

Want a taste of the real New Orleans? Head to this historic foodie neighborhood, which is known for its hip restaurants and independent art galleries. The first stop on any visit should be St Roch Market, a former fish market turned food hall with 11 dining options – think fresh, local oysters and seafood inspired by the flavors of New Orleans at Elysian Seafood or colorful Mexican-inspired dishes at Chido. The award-winning craft cocktail bar serves up classics alongside in-house concoctions such as the Mayhaw Hurricane, a delicious blend of strawberry-infused rum with passion fruit, pineapple, lime and hibiscus-grenadine.

Tremé

Architectural Landmark
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Sculpture in Louis Armstrong Park. New Orleans, Louisiana.
Tremé is seen as the birthplace of jazz in the Big Easy | © James Quine / Alamy Stock Photo

This soulful neighborhood north of the French Quarter dates back to 1783. The oldest African American neighborhood in the United States, it is renowned as the birthplace of jazz in New Orleans. Today, the jazz scene is in full swing at characterful bars such as Kermit’s Tremé Mother-in-Law Lounge, which was founded by trumpeter and singer Kermit Ruffins – who many will know from his role on the HBO series Treme. You can also catch concerts and open-air movies at Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park. Looking for somewhere to eat in Tremé? Willie Mae’s Scotch House and Dooky Chase Restaurant are both institutions known for their delicious fried chicken. Don’t forget to check out the Backstreet Cultural Museum, which gives a fascinating insight into the traditions of the city.

Algiers Point

Architectural Landmark
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algiers new orleans houses louisiana wooden
Wooden houses form a core element of the Algiers Point landscape | © simon leigh / Alamy Stock Photo

This quiet suburb on the West Bank of the Mississippi River is connected to downtown by one of the country’s oldest ferry lines, which has been running for more than three centuries – as a bonus, it offers an unbeatable view of the New Orleans city skyline. The neighborhood is characterized by handsome Creole cottages, ornately embellished timber houses, small art galleries and local pubs. Discover handcrafted glass artworks and homewares at Rosetree Blown Glass Studio and Gallery and then catch live jazz at Old Point Bar or enjoy local specialties such as barbecued shrimp, seafood gumbo, po-boys and muffuletta at the Dry Dock Cafe.

Warehouse District

Museum, Market, Architectural Landmark
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View of WWII warplanes displayed inside the National World War Two Museum in the Warehouse District of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
The National WWII Museum is home to several warplanes | © Faraway Photos / Alamy Stock Photo
As the name suggests, this New Orleans neighborhood features dozens of converted brick warehouses that have been transformed into restaurants, bars, coffee shops and boutiques – check out the James Beard Award-winning Peche Seafood Grill, which serves up local seafood cooked over live fire alongside iconic dishes such as Louisiana shrimp roll and seafood gumbo. The area is also home to the National WWII Museum, which features a rich collection of artifacts and thought-provoking exhibitions that bring history to life and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which offers the opportunity to discover exciting local artists. For more art, head to the contemporary galleries of Julia Street, where First Saturday Gallery Openings are held every first Saturday of the month, starting at 6pm.

St. Claude Avenue

Architectural Landmark
Map View
reds-chinese
Red’s Chinese is a local eatery popular among the young, creative community of Nola | © Red’s Chinese

Discover New Orleans’s bohemian side on the St Claude Corridor, which has emerged as an exciting entertainment and dining destination in recent years. Catch improv comedy or take a comedy class at the New Movement and check out emerging contemporary art at the Front. You’ll also find plenty of affordable dining at local restaurants. Try farm-fresh vegetarian dishes at the Sneaky Pickle, such as broccoli toast with tofu cashew cheese, or Chinese fare with a Southern twist at Red’s Chinese – think craw rangoon, kung pao pastrami and cheeseburger fried rice.

Marigny

Building, Market
Map View
New Orleans, Louisiana - June 20, 2014: Jazz band playing at the Spotted Cat Music Club in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Jazz musicians at the Spotted Cat, an iconic music venue on Frenchmen Street | © Peek Creative Collective / Alamy Stock Photo
Travel past the far edge of the French Quarter from Canal Street and you’ll arrive at Faubourg Marigny, often referred to as Marigny. It’s arguably best known for the bustling Frenchmen Street, a popular strip of music clubs, bars, restaurants, tattoo parlors and more. In-the-know tourists and local hipsters come together to sip bourbon and $3 beers while enjoying live music in venues such as Hi-Ho Lounge on St Claude Avenue, or the Spotted Cat and the Maison on Frenchmen.

Bywater

Architectural Landmark
Map View
music-box-village-new-orleans
Music Box Village is a vibrant venue offering food, drinks, and live music with a bohemian twist | © Music Box Village New Orleans

Head further east to discover Bywater, which shares the same eclectic nature of Marigny – but dials up its dedication to grimy late-night dive bars and artsy, hedonistic bohemia. Experiences in the Bywater include everything from full-scale music and visual arts productions at Music Box Village or Castillo Blanco Art Studios – home of the infamous Krewe of Chewbacchus – to a dip in the Country Club’s formerly clothing-optional pool.

Lower Garden District/Irish Channel

Architectural Landmark
Map View
United States, Louisiana, New Orleans. Shops on Magazine Street.
Independent shops characterize bustling Magazine Street | © Jason Langley / Alamy Stock Photo

On the opposite side of the French Quarter and downtown area sit the Lower Garden District and Irish Channel neighborhoods, which sometimes overlap depending on the map. The architecture in this area is distinctly different from other areas of town; 19th-century mansions and cottages tower over sides streets and major commercial strips, such as St. Charles Avenue, Prytania Street and Magazine Street. While here, window-shop for vintage clothes and antiques on Magazine St, before grabbing a pint from New Orleans-style Irish pubs such as Parasol’s and Tracey’s and hopping on a streetcar to your next destination.

Carrollton/Riverbend

Architectural Landmark
Map View
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The Carrollton/Riverbend area is renowned for its multicultural eateries | © Zack Smith / Visit New Orleans

The oak-lined streetcar route Carrollton Avenue runs through this busy Uptown neighborhood, ending where the Mississippi River bends and St. Charles Avenue begins. In addition to various local shops and small businesses, the Carrollton/Riverbend area is home to a slew of restaurants featuring both global cuisines, including Barcelona Tapas and Lebanon’s Cafe and Southern favorites, such as Brigtsen’s and Carrollton Market. Oak Street also offers its own series of shops and restaurants alongside popular entertainment venues, such as Maple Leaf Bar and Jacques-Imo’s Café.

Freret

Architectural Landmark
Map View
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Many of the eateries in Freret offer al fresco dining | © Zack Smith / Visit New Orleans

Freret is technically the name of a major thoroughfare running through Uptown New Orleans, but it also refers to the street’s busiest commercial stretch and its immediate surroundings. The area has undergone a major renaissance in the past decade – today, the streets are alive with new bars, restaurants and music venues catering to a young, hip crowd, including students at the nearby Tulane and Loyola universities. Leave time to enjoy a craft beer at Freret Beer Room, an upscale cocktail at Cure, plus live music at Gasa Gasa.

Mid-City/Bayou St John

Architectural Landmark
Map View
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Mid-City/Bayou St John is Nola’s laid-back sports-bar hub | © Scott Simon / Visit New Orleans

Another New Orleans waterway worth visiting is the Bayou St John, plus the Mid-City neighborhood situated around it. Mid-City tends to have a more low-key and laid-back vibe than other popular areas, though it’s chock-full of neighborhood bars that see traction during the NFL and college football season, World Cup and other peak sports-viewing hours. Mid-City has its own established and up-and-coming locales, including Banks Street Bar & Grill, Twelve Mile Limit and SideBar Nola.

Lakeview

Architectural Landmark
Map View
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Lakeview is smattered with examples of turn-of-the-century architecture | © Paul Broussard / Visit New Orleans

Lakeview was one of the neighborhoods hit hardest in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee breaks, but it has bounced back in a big way. The architecture and layout of the neighborhood’s homes and streets nod to a sense of old-world charm, which differs from the European feel of the French Quarter. In addition to strolls along the lakefront at sunset, make the most of a wide range of local shops, restaurants and neighborhood grocery stores along the bustling stretch of Harrison Ave.

French Quarter

Historical Landmark
Map View
Royal Street at the intersection with Dumaine Street, French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Royal Street is one of the prettiest thoroughfares in the French Quarter | © Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

No list of not-to-miss New Orleans neighborhoods would be complete without mention of the French Quarter. Architecture lovers will appreciate the Spanish design influences around the city, which defy the neighborhood’s historical name. Bourbon Street may be the tourist go-to in the French Quarter (or New Orleans in general), but this area offers a great deal more than bars and strip clubs. Plan to stroll along the Mississippi River, consider joining on a guided ghost and cemetery tours, plus eat at historical restaurants such as Antoine’s and Galatoire’s.

Mandi Keighran contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on June 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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