Places to Stay in New Orleans
February 28, 2005 9:19 PM   Subscribe

I am going to New Orleans in October. Can anyone recommend good places to stay and things to do?
posted by mystic cheezewhiz to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Place D'Armes, while a little pricey, is a stone's throw away from Jackson Square. Nice place, I highly recommend it.

I had a great time just wandering around the French Quarter. I took a couple of the walking tours that are held most nights and used that as my basis for this I wanted to come back to.

My personal highlights were the Cathedral of St Louis, St Louis Cemetery No. 1, standing outside and looking up into the LaLaurie Mansion, the touristy-as-hell but necessary (nay, compulsory!) Cafe Du Mondefor coffee and beignets, and finding places like Erzulies.

An amazing place, thick with atmosphere. Go soak it up.
posted by mikeybidness at 9:40 PM on February 28, 2005

Take a walking tour of the French Quarter. The "ghost tours" are really great if you actually find the right guide - avoid those in costume, you'll get more cheese and less history. The group that ran our tour started off in O'Flaherty's Pub, which was a plus. I'm pretty sure it was these guys.

Pretty much any restaurant in the Quarter is worth a shot, but my wife and I especially liked the Red Fish Grill (think it's on Bourbon Street). Muriel's on the northwest corner of Jackson Square is also quite good, and close to the Cafe du Monde for dessert.

If you're feeling literary, in Pirate's Alley next to the cathedral you'll find a bookstore in what used to be William Faulkner's house.

If you're planning on spending any amount of time in the Quarter, get a room there. The walk or taxi in is a pain. (Especially if you're going to be out late drinking, you want to be close to your room.)
posted by caution live frogs at 9:48 PM on February 28, 2005

Herbsaint is a really good restaurant. Small, kinda trendy, but absolutely wonderful food.

In fact, I'd say it was the best restaurant I went to last year.

The spare ribs were heaven and the gnocchi were fantastic.
posted by tomierna at 10:15 PM on February 28, 2005

I wouldn't stay in a hotel in New Orleans for anything -- there are so many bed and breakfasts that are really great. What kind of price range are you looking for?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 10:21 PM on February 28, 2005

I think this was kinda discussed before
posted by fourstar at 10:41 PM on February 28, 2005

Take a cable (trolley?) car out to the Garden District. Not much to do per se, but some great homes to gawk at, if you're into the architechture. If you ask around someone might point out Anne Rice's house to you. Same house that's on the cover of "The Witching Hour" (yep, she used her own house).
posted by zardoz at 11:12 PM on February 28, 2005

I've stayed at the Ursuline Guest House (on the edge of the Quarter) a few times. No website, but the number is 800.654.2351. It used to be around $100 a night, but that was a few years ago. They serve complementary wine in the courtyard every evening if you're in the mood to meet some of the other guests. Also, they used to serve a very light breakfast of pastries, etc. I like the history of it: It was originally the first brothel in New Orleans to be owned by a black woman. These days, it's about 50/50 gay to straight guests.
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:52 PM on February 28, 2005

The Monteleone is a classy old big hotel in the Quarter, with the added bonus of a giant sign on the top that says HOTEL MONTELEONE in giant neon letters so you know which way to go when you're drunk. Not cheap but also not stoopid expensive.

Wandering the Quarter is fun; at night it's Disneyland for frat-boys.

The Palace Cafe on Canal is good and not too expensive. Napoleon House in the Quarter is likewise good and not too expensive.

Mother's is faboo and cheap. You want... oh, hell, I can't remember what sandwich it was, but it had debris. You want debris. Debris is powerful good.

The aquarium right by the river is very nice.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:28 AM on March 1, 2005

As someone has pointed out, this has been covered many times, so check those out. Most of the answers are just advice you could get out of any guide book (ex. cafe du monde) but there are a few gems.

Wandering the Quarter is fun; at night it's Disneyland for frat-boys.

While I understand what this member is saying, please don't believe that statement.

Borboun street at dark is the cliched frat boy hangout, but that's one street and even then mostly at night. Different parts of the quarter are completely different from the other, each with their own strengths. An example is royal street has a ton of antiques.

The best part of the french quarter is walking around and finding things on your own, so I wouldn't go with a list of things to do from day to night.
posted by justgary at 1:00 AM on March 1, 2005

In the French Quarter, Coop's on Decatur is a good, very reasonable hole in the wall with a big menu of traditional Louisiana fare. Locals eat there. Also, for breakfast go to Croissant D'or on Ursaline for their great quiches, croissants, pastries and coffees - again, inexpensive and superior. Get there either early in the morn or late, cuz there's gonna be a line in primetime, but it's worth it. (BTW, it is in a beautiful old ice cream parlor of tile and neon and was featured in the film Cat People.)

Many people never leave the French Quarter when they get to N.O., but that is really only a tiny part of the city. Go uptown to the the Maple Leaf on Oak St. (off Carrolton), one of N.O.'s premiere music clubs. Check and see who's playing at Tipitina's at the corner of Napoleon St. and Tchoupitoulas. The Rock N' Bowl is a bowling alley where all of the area's finest musicians play (I sat in one fuzzy night).

The best jazz club is Snug Harbor, on Frenchman St., just on the other side of Esplanade from the Quarter.

I always grab a Bloody Mary at the Pontalba Cafe on Jackson Sqaure. They're good and spicey with a pickled stringbean.

The N.O. Art Museum is very good, along with the Aquarium and Audubon Zoo.

The streetcars run from the edge of the Quarter, Canal St. up St. Charles thru the Garden District all the way uptown to Claiborne.

This only barely scratches the surface.
posted by wsg at 2:49 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

We stayed at the St. Charles Guest House a few summers ago. A block from the streetcar and close to just about everything else.
posted by Buck Eschaton at 4:35 AM on March 1, 2005

We stayed here last time we went. You feel like a part of the neighborhood and it's not far from Frenchman St where Snug Harbor and Cafe Brazil are for good music. Check out OffBeat magazine for who is playing where and when. As for resturants, Irene's Cuisine is one of my favs in the quarter, kinda pricey, but great food. Acme Oyster House is also a good place. And Port of Call has the best burgers I've had anywhere. My SO and I are going the last weekend in April for JazzFest and I'll be there at Halloween, so if you're going around that time drop me an email. I' be glad to meetup and tell you about tons other interesting local spots.
posted by white_devil at 5:32 AM on March 1, 2005

I'll second Coop's - the food is good and their jukebox allows you to download all sorts of crap. It's the only place you'll be able to eat (good) jambalaya and listen to Front 242.

As far as downtown/Quarter lodging, we usually stay at Hotel Villa Convento at 616 Ursulines. The rooms are comfortable, the prices are fair, and Croissant D'or (also previously mentioned) is right across the street (or next door, if you are staying in that set of rooms) and great for shaking off that hangover.

Unless you are a early-20's Real World wannabe, chances are you will want to avoid Bourbon Street. However, there are plenty of other really interesting spots down there to hit - you just have to walk around, and find gems like Aunt Tiki's (formerly the Hideout) or Ol' Toones Saloon next to the HoB.

For good Uptown hangouts, try The Avenue Pub on St. Charles, The Balcony and The Bulldog, both on Magazine.
posted by kuperman at 5:49 AM on March 1, 2005

This is from my notes I always forward when someone asks me about a place that I've only visited (they are recommendations from friends in New Orleans):

Not sure what your budget is -- other than "relatively cheap." I think all of the below are in the $90-$150 range. Some anti-recommendations: Ramada and Radisson are both dumps.

The best rates are usualy found on the travel Web sites, like and

A less expensive option might be to stay just across the river on the Westbank, where there are typical chains that are around $50-$80/night. You'd save on parking, too.

Holiday Inn
301 Rue Dauphine
don't let the fact that this is a Holiday Inn scare you away - it is a great hotel for the money

Ambassador Hotel - It's a funky converted warehouse.

A Quarter Esplanade

Embassy Suites
315 Julia Street

International House

Hotel Monaco New Orleans

Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel
817 Common Street
Phone: 1 504-525-1111
There's another Renaissance in New Orleans, but we don't know anyone who has stayed there.

There's also no shortage of guesthouses in almost any neighborhood you would want to hang out in. For example,

I opted for the International House when I went, and enjoyed the room and the location.
posted by safetyfork at 6:34 AM on March 1, 2005

I move that one of your meals should be at the Gumbo Shop in the french quarter.
posted by squidlarkin at 9:28 AM on March 1, 2005

We stayed at the 1870 Banana Courtyard bed & breakfast and had a great time. It's at the southeast corner of the FQ (Esplanade & Rampart). Very quirky, as you'll quickly gather from the website.
posted by me3dia at 11:32 AM on March 1, 2005

Mena's is excellent Cajun food. It's essentially the same menu as Acme Oyster House, but cheaper and better. They're also right down the street from each other.
posted by wsg at 12:04 PM on March 1, 2005

I had the best steak of my life at Ralph and Kacoos in the French Quarter.

There are delightful little shops and cigar bars throughout the French Quarter.

If you're at all gothy, take the street car from Canal St. down to the above ground cemetaries, but don't bother with the guided tour. Just walk a little behind the tour if you need to hear the spiel.

I actually really like the aquarium along the river as well. It's a nice oasis from the more frenetic tourist stuff.

It's my favorite city in the country to visit. There's very little that isn't delightful to look at (although there *are* better smelling cities around).

Have fun.
posted by Gucky at 12:30 PM on March 1, 2005

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