Where to Stay in New Orleans: Top 8 Best Areas

If you’re not sure where to stay in New Orleans, keep reading. This blog post is going to help you decide the best areas to stay in New Orleans for your vacation.

New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana, located along the banks of the Mississippi River. It is famous for its cool vibe, legendary Mardi Gras festival and for being the home of many of the worlds most legendary jazz musicians. 

That’s before we even get to things like its stunning Cajun food, unique cemeteries, and history with voodoo. However, with so much to see and do in the city, it can make deciding where to stay in New Orleans quite challenging, especially for first time visitors. 

That’s why, in today’s article, I will be showing you some of the best locations in the city, explaining what each offers and telling you who it is best suited for. That way, you’re almost certain to find a location to make your stay in New Orleans as memorable as possible.

Best Areas To Stay In New Orleans: Tips & Info

Before we begin, I want to give you some tips and info. These will be things that you need to consider if you want to ensure you select the perfect part of New Orleans based on you and your needs.

For example, the French Quarter is the preferred option for most people who are coming to New Orleans to experience its unique history and culture. Filled with many of the oldest, most iconic buildings in the city, it will give you plenty of things to see throughout your stay.

If you are looking for vibrant nightlife or the best place to experience Mardi Gras, you simply have to stay on Bourbon Street. With its bars and clubs, it will let you party around the clock throughout your stay in New Orleans.

The Central Business District is primarily aimed at those travelling to the city to work. However, it is also a great place for anyone attending an event at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Faubourg Treme isn’t usually at the top of most peoples list when it comes to choosing where to stay in New Orleans. However, for anyone interested in the culture and history of the Creole people, there simply isn’t a better option.

Marigny and Bywater offer a lot of similar attractions to Faubourg Treme as well. However, this is an area that is probably better suited to those more interested in the Creole style of art and architecture than their actual history.

For those who love the great outdoors, Mid-City and Lakeview are ideal choices. Not only do they give you access to City Park and some of the largest remaining areas of bayou in the city, but they are also located close to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain.

For those who prioritise safety, Uptown and the Garden District have the two lowest crime rates in New Orleans. While primarily residential, they both have one distinct feature that will determine which you prefer. 

Uptown features a park that contains a zoo and athletic facilities, while the Garden District offers one of the best collections of historic mansions in the southern United States.

If you keep things like these, as well as other similarly important issues, in mind while reading, it will make choosing where to stay in New Orleans as quick and easy as possible.

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You might want to read: Where to Stay in New York USA, Where to Stay in Austin, USA, Where to Stay in Hawaii

Where To Stay In New Orleans, Louisiana: 8 Best Areas to Stay in New Orleans

So, now you know exactly what to look out for while reading, I’m going to show you what I believe to be the 8 best areas to stay in New Orleans. This should hopefully give you all the information you need, to make your trip to the city the journey of a lifetime.

Best areas to stay in New Orleans map

1. French Quarter, best area to stay in New Orleans for nightlife

Staying French Quarter for nightlife

We begin our search in a part of New Orleans known as the French Quarter. Located in the southwestern section of the city, the French Quarter is located between Canal Street and Frenchmen Street and is the most popular place for tourists to stay in New Orleans.

For starters, the entire French Quarter is designated as a national historic landmark, with many individual buildings being considered significant in their own right.

Due to its location in the city, it received relatively light damage from Hurricane Katrina, compared to most other parts of New Orleans. Combined with it being the first part of New Orleans to be settled, it means you’ll find many of the city’s oldest, most historic buildings here.

Almost every street in the French Quarter features a historic building or historic hotel, as well as live music venues that have hosted some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world over the years.

Perhaps the most famous building in the French Quarter is the St. Louis Cathedral. While the current structure was rebuilt in the 1850’s, the original church on this site was constructed in 1718, the same year New Orleans was settled. 

This makes it a fabulous place to enjoy the changing architecture the city has experienced through the years. It also opens out onto Jackson Square, a city park containing statues and buildings with red, exposed brick walls

In fact, the New Orleans French Quarter is one of those places that is simply brimming with things to do and see. You have the Tennessee Williams House, where the legendary playwright wrote and set many famous works.

You have the St. Louis Cemetery 1 & 2, which are fabulous examples of the iconic burial grounds New Orleans is famed for. You have the French Market, where you can purchase foods and wares synonymous with the city.

You even have specifically designed tourist attractions, such as the New Orleans Museum Of Death, New Orleans Jazz Museum, and Marie Laveau’s House Of Voodoo. That’s all without mentioning the world-famous Bourbon Street, which lies at the heart of the district. 

All in all, the New Orleans French Quarter is a fabulous place to stay, no matter what you’re looking for from your trip to New Orleans.

Stay in the French Quarter if:

  • You want to visit Jackson Square or the St. Louis Cathedral
  • You want to see some of the most iconic buildings in New Orleans
  • You want to enjoy the attractions located here
  • You want an area filled with culture
  • You want to stay in a traditional New Orleans hotel
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2. Bourbon Street, one of the most famous nightlife strips in the world

Bourbon street in new orleans

Our second destination of Bourbon Street is actually a section of the French Quarter, running from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue. It is considered to be the single most popular destination in New Orleans, drawing more than 17 million visitors per year and being responsible for a third of the city’s operating budget.

Bourbon Street is quiet during the day, and comes alive at night. It is filled with a huge range of bars, restaurants and clubs, serving cocktails, beers, and Cajun style New Orleans cuisine, while offering entertainment like dancers and live music.

Speaking of live music, of all the music venues in the city, perhaps none are as famous as New Orleans Musical Legends Park. An outdoor venue, it offers free performances of the style of Jazz New Orleans is famous for. It even has a number of sculptures and tributes dedicated to New Orleans Icons.

It probably comes as no surprise then that Bourbon Street is the most popular destination for those visiting the city for Mardi Gras. Each February, New Orleans hosts one of the largest Mardi Gras festivals in the world.

Floats and parades fill the streets, bars and clubs put on their best events and promotions, while revellers party around the clock. Mardi Gras may be a citywide festival, but the bars and general vibe of Bourbon Street make it the best place to stay in New Orleans to experience the festivities in all their glory.

While Bourbon Street largely prioritises nightlife, it is within walking distance of the rest of the attractions located elsewhere in the French Quarter. This makes Bourbon Street a fabulous place to stay so you can enjoy every second of your trip, without having to worry about how you get back to your hotel each night.

While we’re on the subject, Bourbon Street contains some of the best hotels in New Orleans. Like everything else in the city, New Orleans hotels have their own distinctive style. Whether you prefer luxury hotels or boutique hotels, the options here are sure to keep you immersed in your surroundings.

Stay in Bourbon Street if:

  • You want to see some of the live music the city is famous for
  • Nightlife is a priority on your trip to New Orleans
  • You want to learn about a New Orleans Icon
  • You want to indulge in traditional Cajun cuisine
  • You want to stay in one of the best hotels in New Orleans
  • You are visiting for Mardi Gras
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3. Downtown/Central Business District, where to stay in New Orleans for first time

Downtown New Orleans for first timers

The Central Business District is located immediately to the south of the French Quarter, with the two separated by Canal Street. As the name may suggest, this is the part of the city that operates a little more normally, with countless businesses and corporations located here.

While the district as a whole prioritises business, perhaps the most popular area is at the junction of Magazine Street and Julia Street. Not only will you find numerous office blocks here, but there is also an abundance of hotels and restaurants, ideal for catering to the workers, no matter how far away they’ve come from.

Magazine Street even contains a huge number of parking lots. This provides the upmost convenience for anyone who prefers to travel in a car as opposed to using public transport to get to work each morning.

The Central Business District doesn’t just have to be a place for those travelling for work though. For starters, in its southern end is the Warehouse District. Historically, this was the part of the city that was dedicated to warehousing and manufacturing.

However, in recent years, with the way shipping has evolved, these industries began to burn out. The area took a downward turn for a number of years, until the 1984 Worlds Fair shone a light on it.

With many seeing the potential of the Warehouse District, investment and redevelopment exploded. Now, many of the warehouses have been converted into some of the best hotels, bars, restaurants, art galleries and condos in the city.

There’s also the Mercedes Benz Superdome. A venue that hosts many of the city’s largest events, it is primarily home to the New Orleans Saints of the NFL. This makes the Central Business District a great place to stay in New Orleans for anyone coming to see a game or a show.

If all of that isn’t enough, the French Quarter is just a short distance away, and you even have a unique way to visit it. The Charles Avenue Streetcar line is the oldest continually operating streetcar line in the world, having been in operation since 1835. 

It travels along the Mississippi Riverfront, going from the Central Business District, across Canal St and into the French Quarter. This allows you to take in some history and stunning views on your way between two of New Orleans most popular areas.

Stay in Downtown/Central Business District if:

  • You are travelling on business
  • You are coming to watch the New Orleans Saints or attend another event at the Mercedes Benz Superdome
  • You are travelling with a car
  • You want to visit the French Quarter but don’t want to stay in it
  • You are a fan of art galleries
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4. Faubourg Treme, prime location to stay in New Orleans for Creole history

Often referred to as Treme and officially listed as Treme/Lafitte, Faubourg Treme is located to the northwest of the French Quarter. It was originally known as “back of town”, but had its name changed in an attempt to revitalise the area.

As one of the oldest neighbourhoods in New Orleans, it has great historical significance. For starters, it was the main neighbourhood for free people of colour during the time of slavery. This allows it to offer a unique insight into the past that you may not experience elsewhere in the city.

While traditionally an ethnically mixed neighbourhood, it has particular significance for the Creole people. Creole can have a variety of definitions but largely refers to black people in the southeast of America, whose ancestors were linked to the French or Spanish colonies.

They have distinctive styles of everything from food and music to the Voodoo religion that is popular with the older generations. For anyone wanting to experience any of these things, Faubourg Treme is a true hidden gem of the city.

Restaurants serve cuisine that you are unlikely to find elsewhere, making the area a real treat for your tastebuds. Meanwhile, the distinctive southern charm will make you feel welcome wherever you are visiting from.

If you want to delve even deeper into the history, there are plenty of establishments available to help you do just that. For example, you have the New Orleans African American Museum.

The brick walls of the museum were originally built in 1828 on former plantation lands, to form what is considered the finest Creole Maison De Maître in New Orleans.

Featuring exhibits of art and historical artifacts, located within a building containing as much history as the items it displays, there may not be a better place to get a true sense of the culture of the area than right here.

You also have the St. Augustine Church, the oldest African American Catholic parish in the United States. Both of these are located along the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail, making Faubourg Treme a prime location to stay in New Orleans for anyone interested in Creole history.

Stay in Faubourg Treme if:

  • You are interested in the history of the city and the Creole people
  • You want to sample Creole food
  • You want to stay in one of the oldest parts of the city
  • You are looking for cheap hotels
  • You want to follow the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail 
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5. Marigny/Bywater, northeast of the French Quarter

Marigny/Bywater is located to the northeast of the French Quarter, separated from it by Frenchmen Street. It lies right on the bank of the Mississippi River, making it a perfect place to sit and sip your morning coffee while watching one of the most famous bodies of water in the world flow by.

Both of the neighbourhoods survived largely unscathed from Hurricane Katrina, due to their higher elevation and the natural levees along the Mississippi River. Considering both were already listed on the National Register Of Historic Places, it has only elevated their standing as some of the most history rich parts of New Orleans.

Located on lands that once featured a plantation, it was bought and developed by the Creole people in the early 1800’s. This is clearly visible in its unique architecture, which features a blend of French, Spanish and Caribbean styles.

As the rest of the city has evolved, Marigny and Bywater have largely managed to retain their traditional charm, with Creole Cottages and Shotgun Houses being renovated as opposed to replaced.

Over the years, countless famous Jazz musicians have made the area their home. The local community has embraced their music, helping them to grow and reach the highs they eventually achieved. 

Perhaps the best place to experience the style of the neighbourhood first-hand is at The Aquarium Gallery & Studios. A rotating art gallery displaying a range of local art, it is a fabulous opportunity to not only see a historic area but discover how it has influenced the people who live there to this day.

For those that want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter, the east end of Bywater is also one of the best places in the city to eat. The area around Royal Street features numerous buzzy restaurants, making it an ideal place to have a quiet night out, no matter your personal taste.

Stay In Marigny/Bywater If: 

  • You want to enjoy stunning views of the Mississippi River
  • You plan to visit The Aquarium Gallery & Studios
  • You want to see where some of the worlds greatest jazz musicians lived and grew up
  • You want to sample traditional Creole cuisine in a slightly quieter environment
  • You want to take in some historic architecture
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6. Mid-City/Lakeview, a residential neighborhood in New Orleans

Mid-City and Lakeview are two centrally located districts, found just south of Lake Pontchartrain. Straight off the bat this makes it a great place to stay for anyone wanting to travel across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the longest bridge over water in the world.

However, it is another “natural” location that is perhaps the best reason for many to stay in Mid-City or Lakeview. The location in question is City Park, one of the most visited urban parks in the United States.

Approximately 50% larger than Central Park in New Your City, it isn’t just a place to enjoy the great outdoors. Much like its more famous counterpart, it is filled with sites and attractions to keep all manner of visitors happy.

For starters, it houses the New Orleans Museum Of Art. Opened in 1911, it is one of the oldest fine art museums in New Orleans. It contains more than 90 sculptures and 40,000 objects, covering more than 5,000 years of history. It even hosts events and joint showings with other museums, making it a must visit location for art lovers.

There is the New Orleans Botanical Gardens. Here, not only can you find more works of art, but you can enjoy strolling through a range of unique and beautiful flowers and plants.

If a large park wasn’t family friendly enough already, it even contains the Carousel Gardens Amusement park. Here you’ll find rides and attractions to keep the whole family entertained for hours.

With gondola rides, boat rentals, festival grounds, a dog park, fishing spots, a sculpture garden, a water park, horse stables, historic structures, multiple museums and even a welcome center and gift shop, the attractions at City Park go on forever.

This makes it a great place to visit, no matter your tastes, as does the fact that it contains the largest remaining sections of bayou inside the city.

With its central location between Mid-City and Lakeview, it makes either a great option if visiting the park is one of your main considerations when deciding where to stay in New Orleans. That said, Mid-City is a better choice for those wanting to be nearer the city centre, while Lakeview is better for access to Lake Pontchartrain.

Stay in Mid-city/Lakeview if:

  • You want to visit the New Orleans Museum Of Art
  • You want to be centrally located
  • You want a family friendly location
  • You want to visit City Park
  • You want to explore Lake Pontchartrain
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7. Uptown, a residential area in southwest corner of New Orleans

Our penultimate destination of Uptown is located in the southwest corner of New Orleans. A largely residential area, it is recognised as one of the two neighbourhoods with the lowest crime rates in the city. That makes it a great option for anyone who is concerned about safety on their trip to New Orleans.

Being largely residential, it is much quieter than most parts of New Orleans. Shops, restaurants and bars are all geared to the local community. While this won’t be right for everyone, it is perfect for those who are looking to get a truly authentic experience of the city.

In terms of attractions, there isn’t much in Uptown that will wow most visitors. However, there is one option in the southwest of the district that will draw some attention, and that is Audubon Park.

The park covers 350 acres of land along the bank of the Mississippi River and has been open to the public since 1871. The land was originally used as a plantation but was purchased by the city in order to hold the World Cotton Centennial World Fair in 1884.

Unfortunately, only one remnant from that time still remains, due to the 1915 New Orleans Hurricane, that being a large iron ore from the Alabama State Exhibit. In modern times, the most popular attraction of the current park is Audubon Zoo. 

Home to more than 2,000 animals, it gives visitors a chance to get up close and personal with some of the iconic local wildlife, such as alligators, as well as more exotic options, such as gorillas, lions and orangutans. They even have an incredibly rare white leucistic, blue eyed alligator.

If the zoo isn’t for you, there is plenty of wildlife to be found in the park itself. It is particularly popular with birds who use it as a watering point on migrations, with species including egrets, herons, cormorants, anhingas, ducks and ibis all being a common sight here. 

For those who aren’t interested in wildlife, the park even includes a number of athletic facilities. Options such as a golf course, swimming pool, tennis courts, horse stables and an athletic field all provide great options for those looking for a little outdoor recreation.

Stay in Uptown if:

  • You prioritise staying in a safe neighbourhood
  • You want to make use of the athletic facilities
  • You want to explore Audubon Park or are a fan of bird watching
  • You want to visit Audubon Zoo
  • You want to stay in an area with an authentic feel
  • You want beautiful views of the Mississippi River
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8. Garden District, one of the two safest neighborhoods in New Orleans

The final stop on our list is the Garden District, located in the south of New Orleans. Much like Uptown, the Garden District is one of the two safest neighbourhoods in the city and is, for the most part, residential. 

Developed throughout the 1800’s by residents who didn’t want to live near the Creole people, many of the buildings were designed as opulent plantations. More than 20 of these still stand almost untouched.

When combined with its location along the bank of the Mississippi River, this makes the Garden District a great place to see New Orleans as it may have looked hundreds of years ago.

Stay in Garden District if: 

  • You want to stay in one of the safest parts of New Orleans
  • You are a fan of historic mansions
  • You prefer a more residential area

So, that’s the 8 best areas to stay in New Orleans. While most of you will have chosen where to stay in New Orleans by now, there will surely be others with a few remaining doubts.

That is why I am now going to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions people have about New Orleans, in order to try and help you to decide as well.

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What Is The Best Area To Stay In New Orleans?

This varies depending on why you’re visiting New Orleans, however most will find the French Quarter*** the best place to stay in the city. It’s great range of historical sites and attractions will keep everyone entertained, no matter what they are looking for from a stay in New Orleans.

What Is The Safest Area To Stay In New Orleans?

If you prioritize safety during your trip to New Orleans, you should strongly consider staying in either Uptown*** or the Garden District***. These largely residential areas have the lowest crime rates in the city, allowing you to enjoy a safe, calm and carefree stay in New Orleans.

Is It Better To Stay In The French Quarter Or Downtown New Orleans?

Downtown New Orleans*** is a great place for those travelling on business to stay, as it is the central business district. However, for the majority of tourists, the French Quarter is far superior. Containing Bourbon Street as well, it offers more attractions than anywhere else in New Orleans.

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Conclusion

New Orleans is a wonderful and unique city. Hopefully, this article should have given you everything you need to determine exactly where to stay to have the best time possible during your trip.

All that’s left is for you to start getting things booked, so you can go and experience everything New Orleans has to offer for yourself.

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