Five New Orleans Neighborhood Bars

New Orleans Dives

New Orleans is a great place for drinking. With actual bike tours dedicated to the craft of cocktails, we take our alcohol pretty seriously. While there’s no shortage of high-brow bars around town, with their award-winning mixologists and vintage liquor cabinets, sometimes you just want simple. So for those craving an authentic local New Orleans experience with some cheap beer and great conversation with some real New Orleans characters, we’ve rounded up the top neighborhood dives, from Uptown to Downtown.

Uptown Dive Bars

Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge, University Area

Brother’s III Lounge, Magazine Street

Downtown Dive Bars

Claire’s Pour House, French Quarter

The Friendly Bar, Marigny

BJ’s Lounge, Bywater

See full story on New Orleans Dive Bars: Uptown and Downtown

by Elizabeth Heideman on April 24, 2014



Festivals In New Orleans

The word “FUN” is nearly synonymous with the term Festivals in New Orleans. New Orleans is known to be a fun town, full of festivities, parades, music, food, art, and the Mississippi River.

Mardi Gras is just one of the many New Orleans festivals that this city can boast, and it is a very big one, indeed. From January until its huge parade on Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras is the big draw to the Big Easy. But there are other New Orleans festivals going on all year round in this town that never seems to sleep.

The French Quarter Festival runs during four days in mid-April where non-stop 275 hours of musical entertainment can be enjoyed on twenty stages. The festival attracts more than 500,000 participants for this New Orleans music fest. Begun in 1984, the French Quarter Festival is the largest free music festival in the South. A multitude of musical genres such as traditional and contemporary jazz, R & B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, classical, opera, Zydeco, Latin World, International, and children’s music are represented. Food and drink is available in beautiful Jackson Square and a free shuttle service will take you from stage to stage.

The Satchmo Summerfest is an event that music lovers everywhere should not miss. This New Orleans jazz fest is dedicated to the life and music of New Orleans born Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. It is a free music festival enhanced with speakers, seminars and food and drink.

There is no Christmas like Christmas New Orleans Style, a festival held during the month of December. Food, romance, art, architecture and music, this festival has it all. Enjoy the gospel choirs in the St. Louis Cathedral. Feel like a little child again as you stroll or ride along the oak trees all lit up in City Park. See the homes gaily decorated in the Garden District. Every nook and cranny of New Orleans is ready for the holidays during the entire month of the season.

Don’t miss the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April and May. The music tents are set up in Heritage Square and Louisiana Marketplace along with a showcase of original handcrafted clothing, gorgeous leather goods and crafted musical instruments, along with a colorful array of paintings, photographs, sculptures and one-of-a-kind jewelry items. You will find delectable food items in Congo Square, Heritage Square and the other food areas selling such wares as Po-Boys, Cajun Jambalaya, Alligator Pies, Beignets, Crawfish Bisque, Pralines, and fresh pies to name a few items. It is food and music galore. On the crafty and cultural end, there are “villages” set up to represent the various heritages such as Louisiana Folklife Village where Cajun musicians handcraft accordions, boat builders ply their craft, and you will learn the traditions of Mardi Gras Indians and Marching Clubs. The Native American Village will introduce you to a real pow-wow with traditional dances, drumming and singing.


City Park New Orleans

In City Park New Orleans you will find yourself in a 1300 acre public park. This is about half the size of New York City’s Central Park and that is one large public space, indeed! The nature and scenery here are tremendously impressive. The park was built in 1853, establishing itself as one of the oldest public parks in America. City Park is located on City Park Avenue, once known as Metairie Road. It lies along what remains of the Metairie Bayou.

New Orleans City Park
City Park New Orleans

 Within City Park New Orleans can boast ownership of the largest collection of live oak trees the world over, some as old as 600 years. If you are looking for more New Orleans travel info beyond the Mardi Gras festivities and the Garden District, take a close look at City Park. It boasts dozens of attractions for the tourist and native alike. If you travel to New Orleans, go to City Park for the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, especially if you are traveling with kids. This quaint amusement park is over one hundred years old.

Ride the miniature train or the small roller coaster; the children will have a blast! Wooden carousels are difficult to find these days, but City Park has one of the few that remain. It is a carved wooden carousel and unique in its own way.

There is a place called Story Land within City Park; New Orleans loves to entertain children with this fairy tale-themed playground. The twenty-six fairy tale exhibits from recognizable stories that children love are ready to be climbed on and make excellent photo opportunities for you.

Ted Gormley Stadium was built in the 1930s as a public works project and then renovated in 1992 for the Olympic Trials held in New Orleans. It seats 26,500 people and is used for various games and competitions. There’s also another stadium in the park, known as the Pan American Stadium. This stadium is home to the Jesters, a New Orleans soccer team of the highest caliber. Other soccer games and school-level football games are regularly played at the stadium.

New Orleans Museum of Art

Do not miss the thirteen acres given over to create the New Orleans Botanical Garden located in City Park. Here you will find a lush collection of temperate, tropical, and semitropical plants. The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is another do-not-miss attraction here. It is one of the best museums located in the South.

New Orleans Museum of Art

For those who don’t play professional sports but still want to get out there and compete a little, City Park does not disappoint. Take a run on the 400 meter track (which was also used at the “Track and Field” Trials), hit a few balls on a tennis field, take out a boat on a lagoon, fish to your heart’s content in a lake, tour the bayou, or check out the horses in the stables.

If you are a lover of the arts but you also want to be outside instead of inside an art museum, check out the Syndey and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. View more than thirty works of sculpture in the beautifully landscaped garden built in 2003. Within City Park there are also historic sculptures such as the Peristyle, Pop Bandstand and the Casino Building, all built before 1920. In 1937, the Pop Fountain was built.

City Park New Orleans hosts a calendar of events such as free concerts, plant sales and various fundraising events.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Officially, the New Orleans Superdome was renamed the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2011. You will not hear that term from many locals though. In neighborhood circles, it is still referred to as simply, The Superdome. Thanks to the strong structural support of the Superdome, many victims of Hurricane Katrina were able to take shelter in the huge arena, seeking shelter from the storm. Since that catastrophic event, the arena has been remodeled and reopened during a spectacular televised Monday Night Football reopening on September 25, 2006.

New Orleans Superdome
Mercedes-Benz Superdome

New Orleans Saints

The Superdome hosted six of football’s famed Super Bowl games with the seventh (Super Bowl XLVII) being held there in February of 2013. This is more than any other venue. Thanks to the visionary New Orleans businessman Dave Dixon (June 4, 1923-August 8, 2010), the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was built, after much discussion and planning. It was designed in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis, who also designed the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library. In Mr. Dixon’s honor, a portion of Girod Street has been renamed in his honor. New Orleans will be forever grateful to this pioneer who had the vision of bringing pro football to the city in the late 50’s. The New Orleans weather, with rainy summers and high humidity, made a good argument for a permanently domed, air-conditioned stadium. The New Orleans Saints played their first game at the Superdome on September 28, 1975. Whether you are a huge sports fan or not, the Louisiana Superdome is a sight to see. Now decorated in beautiful lights at night, coordinating with the season, it is a must stop on your trip to The Big Easy.

Bourbon Street New Orleans

If you are traveling to New Orleans for an event at the New Orleans Superdome, there are many hotels and motels nearby that are convenient to the arena. Its proximity to the French Quarter, the Central Business District and the Lower Garden District make the surrounding area an appealing location for tourists to stay. There is the Holiday Inn Downtown, which is the closest to the Superdome, at less than half a mile away. Also downtown are the Quality Inn and Suites which is within walking distance of the Superdome at just a few blocks from the French Quarter’s Bourbon Street. The newly renovated Hyatt Regency on Loyola Avenue has 1,193 guest rooms and 95 suites for its visitors. Keeping up with the trends, each room is outfitted with an iPod docking station and stone baths. This beautiful, spacious hotel is also home to Borgne, a John Besh restaurant, one of the city’s great chefs. Besides being the author of various cookbooks and owner of several other restaurants around the city, Besh was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award which is given to those that are labeled as the best and brightest in the food and beverage industry. Also located in the Hyatt is a convenient 24-hour fresh market and a 2,000 square-foot Starbucks

If a chain hotel is not your cup of tea, there are numerous boutique hotels within walking distance also. Take the Loft523 hotel: here you will have spacious loft rooms with the luxury only a boutique hotel can accommodate. If you truly want a luxurious experience while in town, check out a luxury hotel such as the Ritz-Carlton on Canal St. Indulge in the marble bathrooms and the thirsty terry cloth robes there after taking in the sights of exciting New Orleans.

Don’t forget to check out what’s going on in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. You are sure to find a concert or sporting event there while you are visiting the city.

Cruises From New Orleans

If you are interested in food, music, history and partying, there are cruises from New Orleans that will let you enjoy a little bit of the culture in New Orleans before you set sail to other ports. There are some extremely popular cruise lines that sail right out of New Orleans. Ocean lines such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival and others all offer cruises out of New Orleans.

Cruises out of New Orleans
Cozumel - Cruises from New Orleans

Get to New Orleans a day or two early, before your cruise sails, and enjoy all that New Orleans has to offer before you take off. If you can purchase a New Orleans vacation package, it will hopefully include a couple of night's stay at a luxury New Orleans hotel, vouchers for some of the tourist attractions and a fun-filled itinerary that will not let you miss out on anything and get you to your cruise ship on time.

New Orleans has a newly built port that is a pleasure to sail out of or in to. There are shops at the port, and it is a short walk to tourist attractions such as Jackson Square and the French Quarter. Enjoy yourself before you set out on a Norwegian Cruise line that will take you to the Western Caribbean to ports in exotic places such as Cozumel, Costa Maya and Belize and then back to party in New Orleans. Cruises from New Orleans take you to exotic and relaxing places, but it is always wonderful to come back and look forward to even more fun in the Big Easy.

Carnival Cruises From New Orleans

Carnival Cruises will leave New Orleans's port and take you to beautiful Cozumel in Mexico with stops in Progreso and Yucatan. Or perhaps you want to book a cabin on one of the Royal Caribbean cruises from New Orleans.

Carnival Cruises from New Orleans
Carnival Cruises

Whether you arrive early and tour New Orleans or decide to visit the city after your cruise ship returns to the New Orleans port, there is plenty to see here. Do not let this opportunity to see New Orleans pass you by! The city has recovered and rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc and left many without homes or businesses. But the French Quarter was not damaged, and over the years residents have returned to remodel, rebuild and make the town even better than it was before. Entertainers such as musicians, artists and chefs who cook the world-famous Creole and Cajun dishes are back to welcome you and make your visit, no matter how long or short, a visit you will never forget. If time permits, a visit to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a must. Housed in the Riverwalk Marketplace, it is a short distant from departing cruise ships.

As you embark on your cruise out of New Orleans on the Mighty Mississippi, take a long look at the wonderful, unique view of this one of a kind city that sparks the imagination and inspires musicians, cooks and architects the world over. If you love photography, make sure you have your camera ready to go. Setting sail, you will be at a vantage point to take wonderful photographs from the river's view.


Audubon Zoo New Orleans

Audubon Zoo New Orleans is the number one family attraction. When you visit New Orleans, be sure to put at the top of your list. When you take a look at any New Orleans travel info guide, you will most certainly see the Audubon Zoo listed as one of the main to-do items, especially if you are looking for a family outing while in town. It is known as one of the United States’ best zoos.

Siberian Tiger
Tiger at the Audubon Zoo New Orleans

The Zoo has animals from all over the world, including exotic ones, on its fifty-eight acres of natural living environments. Don’t miss the authentically built habitat exhibits. The Louisiana Swamp makes you feel as though you are truly getting a look at how the animals there live.You will also get a chance to look at the endangered whooping cranes. Other endangered species on view here include Amur leopards, originally from countries in the Far East.

White Alligators

Get a look at the rare white alligators at this amazing zoo. The exceptional white tigers, Rex and Zulu, call the Audubon Zoo their home also. Audubon Zoo claim to fame in the Garden District,is a combination zoo, water park and nature institute. The Cool Zoo is a place to cool off and have fun after touring the zoo. There is something for everyone in your family to appreciate at this tourist attraction. The kids will surely enjoy the Cool Zoo, a splash park where they can get away from the heat of the day and get nice and wet. You will all be smiling going down the Alligator Water Slide, running through the Spider Monkey Soaker and water-spitting snakes! There is a separate area for the toddlers and younger children to splash around, too.

The children and adults will love to take a look at the two Asian elephants housed here, namely Panya and Jean. Watch them swim in their giant pool and entertain onlookers with their presentations. There is also the Audubon’s Dinosaur Adventure to discover.

You are in New Orleans, so why not stroll through a swamp? You can do that at the Audubon Zoo New Orleans style. You’ll find rocking chairs located here and there as you make your way through the swamp area so you can take a moment to relax and take in the view. But don’t fret about feeling you are in the middle of nowhere – there’s an air-conditioned restaurant and you are actually in uptown New Orleans!

Audubon Zoo
Great Blue Heron Hunting at the Audubon Zoo

Monkey Hill

Monkey Hill was designed with the terrain of New Orleans in mind: the city is virtually devoid of hills. Build a 28-foot hill, the builders reasoned, and give New Orleans its highest point in order to show residents what an actual hill is.

Another cool way to view NOLA’s zoo is to take a ride on the Zoo Train. Audubon Zoo New Orleans is fairly large, but if you manage your time and make a plan beforehand, you can see it all in one day of fun.

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