Must Sees in the French Quarter

Published June 3rd, 2020 by Book NOLA

sitting man painting in front of fence with hanged paintings

There is so much to do and see when you come to New Orleans! The French Quarter is an absolute must, but what do you actually see when stroll into the Quarter? Is it the historic buildings? The restaurants and cute boutiques? What are you actually there to look at? We've got you covered, in case you had no idea of an answer to those questions. Here are some key things to catch when you're in the French Quarter!

Dauphine Street: Downtown New Orleans is host to many famous streets that each have some new and unique to offer, Dauphine Street is one such street. Dauphine is home to several interesting, and delicious restaurants and shops. While you’re there, take pop in and have a bite to eat from Killer Po-boys, or ponder on your mortality at the Museum of Death. Take a stroll through Washington State Park, which sits on the northernmost corner of Dauphine Street. If you’re in the mood for something more paranormal, definitely stop by the Dauphine Orleans hotel, which is rich with history and rumored to be haunted by ghosts!

Woldenberg Park: Named after philanthropist Malcolm Woldenberg, Woldenberg Park sits just off the French Quarter, and lines the Mississippi River. This park is the perfect place to go for a quiet morning run or leisure bike ride before the city wakes up. If you’ve had a long day out sightseeing in the French Quarter, stop by the park and enjoy the sunset and the cool breeze that rolls over the Mississippi. On a normal day, you might find yourself the audience to local musicians playing in the park, but for a weekend in May, Woldenberg Park becomes home to one of New Orleans’ favorite festivals, the French Quarter Fest!

Carousel Bar: New Orleans has no shortage of quirky and unique surprises, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Carousel bar. Tucked away at the Hotel Monteleone, is this hidden gem of a bar and lounge. What makes this bar unique isn't just its name, but the fact that it is New Orleans’ first, and only, rotating bar. Here, you can chill with Marvin, the head mixologists and historian, who has been serving the public since 2002. You can also indulge in the bar’s signature cocktail selection, which has a wide range, varying from a traditional old fashioned, to a more fun tequila sunrise. You can also enjoy some live music when you venture into this treasure hidden at Hotel Monteleone.

French Market: The French market is an open-air market that sits just off the River Front. The French Market was originally a Native American trading post but evolved over time as French and Spanish colonists opened the market to traders around the world. Today, it is a cultural hub, for locals and tourists who want to buy and sell goods and services. The market spans 5 blocks, and here you can find a variety of local produce, handmade arts and crafts, retail shopping, and a host of delicious food. The French Market is a great way to experience some of the various cultures found in New Orleans, while also being near some of New Orleans’ best sights and noted eateries, like the Mississippi River, Jackson Square, and Cafe du Monde.

Bourbon Street: Have you really been to New Orleans if you haven’t strolled down Bourbon Street with a hurricane in hand? The answer is not really. Bourbon Street surprisingly was not named after the brown liquor, but instead after a royal French family. It is now one of New Orleans’ most famous sidewalks, made recognizable by its neon lights, lively music, and balconies decorated with hundreds of hanging beads. Few things are like taking a stroll down Bourbon while being surrounded by crowds, open-door shops, and festive revelry! New Orleans is the ultimate party town, and while you’re here you might as well join in the fun and take in some of the iconic bars, restaurants, and clubs.

Ursuline Convent: Travel back in time, when you visit this museum that was once home to the Ursuline nuns. If you’re a history buff, into architecture, or simply mildly interested in Catholicism, then the Old Ursuline convent will definitely appeal to you. Although its structure is simple, it is one of the best surviving examples of French colonial architecture that can be viewed today! The convent did serve as a home for nuns, but throughout its history, it has also been used as a school, a meeting place for the Louisiana legislature, and today, along with two churches, it forms the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop: Named after the diplomat, spy, and local hero Jean Lafitte, this bar is noted as being the oldest structure used as a bar in the U.S. The bar is rich with history, and it’s kind of impossible to go there without hearing tales about the pirates that hid out in the bar and their daring adventures. Head down to Lafitte’s for a cold beer, dimly lit lighting, and an ambiance that is sure to transport you back through history!

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