Where you decide to stay in New Orleans will come down to what kind of experience you want to have. If you’ve come to party like a rockstar, then your choice will be much different from someone who really wants to go for a long morning walk and enjoy their coffee in solitude.
I’ve rounded up all the best areas to stay in New Orleans, along with specific highlights in each area and hotel recommendations.
The Best Areas & Neighborhoods in New Orleans
The French Quarter
If you’re coming to party and don’t plan to sleep until you go home, then stay here! This rowdy neighborhood is well known for its bars, nightlife, and street performers. If you’re a light sleeper or just interested in exploring this area for a few hours, don’t stay here!
French Quarter Highlights
- If you want to have a drink somewhere cool, visit The Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone.
- Don’t miss Royal Street for fun antique shops and a quieter vibe from the rest of the French Quarter.
- Curious about Voodoo? Visit Voodoo Authentica on Dumaine St. or take a Voodoo walking tour!
Where to Stay in The French Quarter
The Garden District
In my opinion, this area is the exact opposite of the French Quarter in terms of the party scene and rowdiness. Here you will find jaw-dropping homes, independent boutiques, and a much quieter vibe. This is a great area to stay if you want to stroll tree-lined streets with your morning coffee. It is only about 3 miles from the French Quarter, so it is still within easy reach of any sights you might want to see there.
One note, there are no Airbnb or short-term rentals here — it is illegal in this neighborhood.
Garden District Highlights
- The best area for shopping is Magazine Street.
- Take a walking tour if you want to learn more about the area, its history, and architecture.
Where to Stay in The Garden District
The Central Business District(CBD)/Downtown
This area is sandwiched between the French Quarter and the Garden District. The vast majority of hotels and the famous Canal Street, home to many nationally known brands, are in this area too. If you’re attending a sporting event or conference, this is an excellent area to base yourself. I did stay in this area, thinking it was an ideal central location and probably quieter than the French Quarter — both of those things are true, but it was still noisier than I would have liked.
I’m not a partier and am a light sleeper, so when I return to New Orleans, I will choose The Garden District instead. I did have a great stay at The Magnolia Hotel and recommend it if you’re going to stay in this area.
- Staying here will keep you in close proximity to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and upscale shopping on Canal Street.
- It is within walking distance of most of the major sights.
Where to Stay in The CBD/Downtown
The Arts/Warehouse District
This artsy neighborhood is much smaller than all of the others and is known for art galleries, museums, and hip cocktail spots — it’s a sophisticated slice of the city. Many old warehouses have been transformed into cool new spaces. It is a little quieter than the CBD or French Quarter and filled with more unique spots to stay — think high ceilings and exposed brick.
Arts/Warehouse District Highlights
- There are fabulous art galleries and two vegan-friendly restaurants on (or near) Julia Street.
- It is close to the National World War II Museum, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, and the Convention Center.
Where to Stay in The Arts/Warehouse District
The Marigny/Bywater Neighborhood
This up-and-coming residential neighborhood is filled with shotgun homes and Creole cottages. Over the years, it has grown into a hub of arts and culture for the city. You can expect to find art galleries, live music, markets, and more — some say the vibe is very “hipsterrific”.
Highlights of Marigny/Bywater
- Great nightlife, make sure to visit the music scene on Frenchmen Street or Bacchanal Wine.
- Enjoy a morning cup of joe at Crescent Park or Washington Square Park.
Where to Stay in Marigny/Bywater
New Orleans Travel Planning Help
Now that you know where you’re going to stay, you need to know where to eat and what to do! Check out these articles to finish planning your NOLA adventure.