I have friends who, like me, have been to New Orleans several times. However, unlike me, they pretty much head for Bourbon Street and the French Quarter every time they go. Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve never been to Bourbon Street, by all means, you should go. It’s a wild, always-a-Friday-night-party scene that’s fun to experience at least once. However, New Orleans has so much more to offer in terms of entertainment. So I urge you to branch out a bit and take in some of the other fun neighborhoods that make this unique city a place I never get tired of exploring.
A first step toward breaking away from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter might be Frenchman Street in the Marigny neighborhood. It’s just a 15-20 minute walk from the French Quarter and has several blocks of bars and restaurants with live music. At one time, the “music strip” that runs roughly from Esplanade Ave. to Royal St. was much more of a neighborhood hangout. Even though tourists have certainly found it, the street maintains a feel of local authenticity, and those who come seem more intent on finding a spot to listen to great music than just partying in the street.
Extra: If you want to stretch your exploration muscles a bit more and crave a quiet spot for a nightcap, Hotel Peter and Paul is just a short walk from Frenchman Street. Enjoy a craft cocktail or glass of wine at the Elysian Bar at this former historic church, school, rectory, and convent that has been transformed into a delightfully quirky, high-end boutique hotel. Have a seat at the artfully carved bar, or step outside to the garden courtyard to enjoy your drink under the stars.