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Alder Hotel - Uptown - New Orleans
4545 Magnolia St. New Orleans, LA 70115
View Map View Map888-626-5861

Category Archive: Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans

  1. Guide: Navigating the Freret Neighborhood and Uptown New Orleans

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    New Orleans has a lot of offer, as does the Uptown Freret neighborhood where the Alder hotel is located. You’ve probably also done your homework and have your sightseeing, dining and shopping options and preferences lined up. However, the idiosyncrasies of any city might throw off even a seasoned traveler. On top of that, online directions could be unreliable, transportation schedules confusing, and what looks like an easy 10-minute walk on the map might get you lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

    That’s why we’d like to help you navigate the Freret neighborhood and beyond with comfort and confidence, to make your stay in Uptown New Orleans as pleasant as possible. Here’s our guide to your transportation options, our top recommendations for places to see, and eat and shop at within walking distance, as well as the options for when you’re looking for a workout or a little pampering, and more.

    Transportation Options

    Parking

    The Alder Hotel offers free self-parking in the parking lot directly across the street. It’s relatively rare to find this amenity in New Orleans, so we hope you take advantage of it. There’s also street parking available near the hotel, but it might be limited depending on time of year and day.

    Streetcar

    The historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar line is within walking distance, about 20 minutes away. The streetcar stops on every block of St. Charles Ave., running from every eight to 20 minutes, depending on time of day and night (although please don’t quote us on that). The fare is $1.25 per person, and you can get passes ranging from one-day passes ($3) to month-long ($55).

    Our preferred and therefore most recommended walking route from the hotel to catch the St. Charles Ave. streetcar is to:

    • Take a left at the hotel’s entrance
    • Take Magnolia St. toward Napoleon Ave.
    • Make a right at Napoleon Ave.
    • Walk down Napoleon Ave. for about 10 blocks until you arrive at St. Charles Ave.

    Bus

    Besides the streetcar, another public transportation option is getting around by bus. There are three lines that stop within walking distance, with the #15 Freret St. line being the closest:

    • #15 Freret and Cadiz streets
    • #16 at S. Claiborne Ave. and Cadiz St.
    • #28 at Napoleon Ave. and Magnolia St.

    Walking

    Our guests often ask if the area near the hotel is safe for walking, and it generally is. Plus, the hotel’s close proximity to the Ochsner Baptist sprawling medical campus means you get the advantage of the dedicated security patrolling the area.

    Getting to the hotel from the airport

    You can get the shuttle service from the airport that will deliver you to our door, for $24.00 per person. Airport Shuttle Inc. is a minibus/van service located at baggage claim. To book your ride, click here.

    Taxi service is also available at baggage claim, with the $36 flat rate for one or two passengers, and $15 per person if more than two passengers are riding.

    Taxicab and ride-share services

    The ride-share options in New Orleans include Uber and Lyft (you can download their apps at the links). There’s also handful of taxicab services servicing the Uptown New Orleans neighborhood. We recommend:

    Distance

    If you are getting to places by car or public transportation:

    • French Quarter: 4.5 miles; a little under 20 minutes by car, depending on traffic
    • Central Business District: 3 miles; 15 minutes by car, 20 by streetcar
    • Warehouse/Arts District: 2.8 miles; 10-15 minutes by car, 20 by public transportation

    Fitness and Spa Services

    Our guests have the opportunity to use the 24/7 Anytime Fitness center (4600 Freret St.) free of charge. It’s located 0.2 miles from the hotel, which takes about five minutes to walk. Please stop by the front desk to check out a key.

    There is also a spa within walking distance, Spa Savoire Faire (5014 Freret St.). It’s a seven-minute walk, for 0.4 miles. Savoire Faire offers coupons for discounts on services. Guests can pick up a coupon from the Concierge at the front desk.

    Pets

    We are a pet-friendly New Orleans hotel. At The Alder Hotel, we welcome dogs and cats, and look forward to hosting you and your pets when you stay in Uptown New Orleans. You can review our pet policy here. If you are traveling with large dogs (over 50 pounds) or would like supervision for your dog while you sightsee, we recommend Zeus’ Place (4601 Freret St.).

    Top 10 Recommendations for Food and Drink Near the Alder hotel

    You’ll find more recommendations specifically for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and snoballs at the links below (see the “Eating and Drinking section), but here are our top 10:

    Bearcat Cafe2521 Jena St.

    Comfort food, vegan and gluten-free options.

    Less than a block off Freret Street and within walking distance of Ochsner Baptist Medical Center and the Tulane and Loyola University area, this full-service cafe offers lunch and breakfast plus micro-sourced, sustainable coffee. The menu is mostly comfort food, divided into “Good Cat” and “Bad Cat” sections. The lighter fare is full of gluten-free and vegan options. The hearty “Bad Cat” offers items like pork chops, burgers, and shrimp BBQ pasta.

    The High Hat Cafe, 4500 Freret St.

    Louisiana cookin’, where catfish and Gulf seafood (and pimento!) are the stars. 

    This casual neighborhood eatery specializes in the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana staples like catfish, Gulf seafood, and slow-roasted pork served along with a long cocktail menu. Pimento cheese is prominently featured in the house burger, specialty fries, and even deviled eggs.

    Bar Frances, 4525 Freret St.

    Wine pairings and small plates in a contemporary bistro setting.

    This airy bistro, located in the thick of Freret Street’s shopping and dining scene, features a large selection of natural wines plus a seasonal menu of small plates. It also offers full breakfast/brunch and dinner menus. During popular daily happy hour you can sip a variety of classic cocktails like Sazerac or Old-Fashioned for less than $10.

    The Company Burger4600 Freret St.

    Award-winning burgers with sides, shakes, and cocktails.

    We also recommend The Company Burger on Freret and Cadiz streets for its solid menu of delicious burgers, fries and milkshakes. The menu keeps it simple with the award-winning lamb, turkey, and beef burgers, plus sides, shakes, and cocktails. The “not burger” options are also kept simple: hot dogs, and grilled cheese and fried chicken sandwiches.

    Mojo Coffee House4700 Freret St.

    A cozy, welcoming hangout where you can grab small-batch roasted coffee, a vegan muffin and connect to wi-fi.

    You won’t find full kitchen service at this laid-back coffee house (the counter-service destination is more of a pastry-and-sandwich place), but for those mornings when you just need caffeine and a quick bite, nothing beats Mojo.

    Humble Bagel4716 Freret St.

    Small-batch, sustainably made bagels.

    Humble Bagel’s creations are made in-house daily, from scratch, with just five ingredients, and in small batches (the proprietors are big on minimizing food waste and using locally sourced ingredients when possible). The place is open till 1 p.m. daily, or until they sell out. The menu is kept simple — bagels, cream cheese, and breakfast combos like eggs, bacon, and lox — and it’s worth getting up early for.

    Cure4905 Freret St.

    Dimly-lit, upscale lounge inside a former firehouse on Freret Street with craft cocktails and small plates.

    A popular destination for cocktail lovers, Cure is a stylish, upscale lounge located inside a renovated firehouse. There you can sip your classic New Orleans cocktails surrounded by bottles of bourbons from around the world, including the hard-to-find, rare and reserve varieties. The well-reviewed menu offers a rotation of frequently changing cocktails made by seasoned mixologists along with small plates and bar snacks. If you’re coming in for lunch on a weekend, it would have to be on a later side, as Cure opens at 3 p.m.

    Blaze Pizza, 5001 Freret St.

    Signature and build-your-own pizzas plus salads in the 2,400 sq. ft. space.

    This is the second location for the Los Angeles-based, LeBron James-backed chain. (The first one opened in 2015 on O’Keefe Avenue in the CBD.) This restaurant is located on Robert Street and Freret near Dat Dog. It’s open till midnight Sun.-Thu., and till 2 a.m. Fri.-Sat. The menu is straightforward, featuring signature pizzas with some vegetarian options, and lots of kid-friendly toppings if you want to BYO pizza.

    Dat Dog5030 Freret St.

    Affordable comfort food includes meat, fish, vegan, and veggie hot dogs and sausages with more than 30 toppings. Dog-friendly outdoor seating.

    Dat Dog’s both Uptown locations (3336 Magazine Street near Louisiana Avenue and 5030 Freret Street near Soniat Street) have dog-friendly outdoor seating, great for people-watching too. At its Freret Street location, the affordable Dat Dog dishes out a wide variety of meat, fish, vegan and veggie hot dogs, sausages, and other kid-friendly comfort food like burgers and chicken. The dogs and the sausages come with a choice of more than 30 toppings.

    Mint Modern Vietnamese Bistro & Bar5100 Freret St.

    Vietnamese classics with modern twists in the bustling corner location in the Freret Street corridor.

    Mint’s streamlined menu is modern indeed, packed with specialty rolls, several varieties of pho, banh mi, and a kimchi burger. One of the unusual specialty cocktails is Fishy Surprise, which is made with whiskey, Drambuie, grapefruit juice, and fish sauce.

    If you want to keep exploring, here’s our collection of resources, from the fun things you can do as a couple, or with your dog, plus where to get the best breakfast, find a comfy co-working spot nearby, and much more.

    Local Attractions & Things to Do

    Things to Do in New Orleans: Year-At-A-Glance

    Alder Hotel’s Top 12 Reasons to Stay in the Freret Neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans

    Your Itinerary: 24-Hours in Uptown New Orleans

    Our Neighborhood — Most Popular Attractions Near the Alder Hotel

    Architectural Landmarks — Uptown New Orleans

    Things to Do on Loyola and Tulane Campuses – Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans

    Essential Stops and Sights Along the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Route

    A Night on Freret Street

    Rainy Day Fun Near the Alder Hotel

    Eating and Drinking near the Alder Hotel

    10 Dishes That Define New Orleans and Where to Try Them Uptown

    New Orleans Food Bucket List, Uptown Edition

    Where to Get Breakfast Near the Alder Hotel Uptown

    Where to Find Snoballs near the Alder Hotel in Uptown New Orleans

    Coffee, Brunch, Lunch, and Co-Working Near the Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans

    Late Night Eats Uptown New Orleans

    Shopping Uptown

    Shopping Near Alder Hotel Uptown

    Shopping the Freret Market

    Edible Souvenirs From New Orleans

    Family-Friendly Uptown

    Uptown New Orleans: A Family-Friendly Itinerary

    Romantic Uptown

    Fun for Couples in Uptown New Orleans

    Dog-Friendly Uptown

    Fun with Fido in Uptown New Orleans

    Fit Uptown

    Staying Fit in Uptown New Orleans

    Uptown on a Budget

    Exploring Uptown New Orleans on a Budget

  2. Edible Souvenirs from New Orleans

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    Edible Souvenirs from New Orleans
    Photo courtesy of Peychaud’s Bitters on Facebook

    Southern Louisiana didn’t just spawn an entirely new musical form in jazz. It also engendered new cuisines — Creole and Cajun food — when Spanish, French, African, and Acadian influences have melded. And although it’s easy to buy a CD or stream New Orleans music online, finding authentic Cajun or Creole cuisine outside parish lines can be a challenge. In fact, a lot of people say the only place to eat real Louisiana fare is in a local’s kitchen.

    Fortunately, there is a variety of edible (and drinkable), travel-friendly souvenirs that will allow you to bring a taste of the Crescent City back home. Just be sure to carefully wrap and stash any liquids and sauces in your checked baggage, not your carry-on.

    Aunt Sally’s Original Pralines

    Where to buy: Aunt Sally’s Original Pralines, 810 Decatur St.; local gift stores.

    Sweet and nutty, these handmade confections consist of fresh cream, cane sugar and Louisiana pecans. Just don’t call them pray-leens! It’s prah –leens.

    A few stores throughout the Quarter sell high-quality pralines, but Aunt Sally’s, right by the French Market, has been doing it (right) for a long time. While there, stock up on houseware, cookbooks, Creole seasonings, Steen’s Cane Syrup, and other culinary souvenirs.

    Beignet Mix and Coffee With Chicory

    Where to buy: Café Du Monde, 800 Decatur St. at the French Market (or multiple locations)

    You’ll find many locations throughout New Orleans of this iconic establishment, both the cafe and the gift shop outposts. Or go to the mothership on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, and get a plate of sugar-dusted beignets with a cup of chicory-laced cafe au lait while you shop and people-watch.

    Cajun and Creole Seasoning

    Where to buy: Local supermarkets, grocery stores, gift shops.

    There’s plenty of authentic Cajun and Creole seasoning to recommend, and we’re only scratching the surface by mentioning Slap Ya Mama and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning blend. Most local grocery stores and supermarkets also carry chef-driven, proprietary seasoning blends that showcase Louisiana flavors, like the late, great Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic seasonings and Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning.

    Hand Grenade Drink Mix

    Where to buy: Local stores and supermarkets; wine and liquor shops; the Tropical Isle outposts in the French Quarter.

    Did you love this melon-flavored potent concoction while visiting New Orleans? You can take it home with you! Grab one of the few bottled varieties of the Hand Grenade’s secret recipe, and just add alcohol.

    King Cake

    Where to buy: Multiple locations, including local bakeries, grocery stores, and supermarkets.

    If you’re here during the Carnival season, which is between January 6 (referred to as Epiphany, or Twelfth Night) and Ash Wednesday (date varies each year), you can grab a King Cake to take with you on a plane or a car ride. Those festive Mardi Gras staples are pretty sturdy and should travel well. During Mardi Gras, they’re ubiquitous, ranging from the mass-produced to works of art, at every price point. Better yet, many local businesses will also ship (Randazzo’s, Haydel’s, Gambino’s, and many more).

    Olive salad

    Where to buy: Central Grocery, 923 Decatur St.

    It’s not just any olive salad in a jar, and those who have tasted Central Grocery’s muffuletta would understand that to even try to recreate this gem of a sandwich at home you would need the Lupo’s family Italian olive salad. (They also ship.) Now, finding the right bread for the muffuletta outside of Louisiana is another story.

    Many a visitor had also been known to stash a muffuletta too, for the car or plane ride home (well, depending on how long it is). If you wrap it thoroughly it should travel well. Beats anything you’ll be offered on the plane food-wise anyway.

    Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Mix

    Where to buy: Local stores; Pat O’Brien’s, 718 St. Peter St.; wine and liquor shops.

    If you’re a fan of this drink, you can find the famous Pat O’Brien’s hurricane mix in many local grocery stores and at Pat O’Brien’s French Quarter outpost. All you need to do is add ice and equal parts of rum and the mix.

    Peychaud’s Bitters

    Where to buy: Local supermarkets; grocery stores; wine and liquor shops.

    Peychaud’s is an essential ingredient of a proper Sazerac. The aromatic bitters have notes of vanilla, nuts and anise.

    Roux in a Jar

    Where to buy: Local supermarkets and grocery stores.

    Sure, you can make your own roux, but if you go for the ready-made to get you started, we (highly and subjectively) recommend Savoie’s Old Fashioned Dark Roux or RICHARD’S Cajun Style Roux (also dark).

    Steen’s Cane Syrup

    Where to buy: Local supermarkets; grocery stores; gift shops.

    Steen’s is the only American producer of sweet and mild sugar cane syrup. Drizzle it over pancakes or mix it into cornbread dough for a taste of Louisiana.

    Tabasco Hot Sauce

    Where to buy: The French Market, 1008 N. Peters St.; Pepper Palace, 1 French Market Pl.; local supermarkets; Tabasco Country Store, 537 St. Ann St.

    These bottles dot tables worldwide, but the spicy, vinegar-based sauce is made only in Louisiana’s Avery Island — and has been produced by the McIlhenny family since 1868.

    Zapp’s Potato Chips

    Where to buy: Widely available in stores of any size, supermarkets, drugstores, etc.

    Kettle-cooked in small batches, these thick-cut potato chips come in distinctly Louisiana flavors like Spicy Cajun Crawtators and Cajun Dill Gator Tator.

    Zatarain’s New-Orleans-in-a-Box Mixes

    Where to buy: Local supermarkets and grocery stores.

    The local legend Zatarain’s has been packaging the flavors of the Crescent City in boxes of all-natural ingredients you can prepare at home since 1889 — like Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Red Beans & Rice. To jazz up your home cooking, also pick up some Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil seasoning.

    Get exclusive deals and discounts at our New Orleans hotel by signing up for our email list at https://alderhotel.com/email-offers/. Did you find a lower rate on your Alder Hotel room at the time of booking? Call us at 1.888.626.5861, and we’ll be happy to match that rate!

  3. Things to Do on Loyola and Tulane Campuses – Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans

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    Photo courtesy of Loyola University New Orleans on Facebook

    Nestled side by side on historic St. Charles Avenue, directly across from Audubon Park, you’ll find two of the nation’s foremost private universities: Tulane and Loyola. Their campuses house plentiful amenities for those lucky enough to be enrolled as students, but visitors and members of the community are also able to partake in many of these resources. From art galleries to cutting-edge fitness centers, here are a just few good reasons to visit the campus.

    Walk through to take in the history and the architecture

    Both historic campuses absolutely deserve a walkthrough thanks to their architectural significance and lush grounds. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, Tulane University’s campus occupies more than 110 acres and extends north to S. Claiborne Avenue through Freret and Willow streets. From Italian Renaissance to Mid-Century Modern, the campus boasts many styles and is known for its large live oak trees.

    Loyola’s sprawling main campus also faces St. Charles Avenue and the Audubon Park. Marquette Hall is the oldest campus building and is the iconic image of the university you’ll probably recognize the most.

    Check out a free music recital at Loyola

    Loyola University’s music program is considered one of the best in the nation. From jazz studies to ballet performance, students hone their skills under the tutelage of the nation’s most talented performers and teachers. What does this mean for you? Well, students need to practice performing — and they do so in a series of free recitals at the 400-seat Nunemaker Auditorium (third floor of the Monroe Science Complex, 6363 St. Charles Ave.) or at the 586-seat Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall (on the second floor of the Communications/Music complex located on the corner of St. Charles Ave. and Calhoun St.). When school is in session, check out up-and-coming musicians who are perfecting their skills. The recital schedule is available here.

    Grab a pint at The Ratskeller

    Built in 1966 and designed to resemble a German biergarten, Der Rathskeller (aka “The Rat”) remains a laid-back place to have a cold one. The Rat is a WOW Cafe and Wingery outlet, with a late-night menu available till 4 a.m. Pub grub ranging from chicken wings to fried mozzarella sticks is available, as are draft beers. On some nights, you can catch free jazz performances from students and visiting masters.

    Take a fitness class at Loyola

    Boasting a six-lane Olympic-sized pool, sauna, indoor tennis and racquetball courts, free weights and much more, the Loyola University Sports Complex isn’t just for students. You can get a week’s’ membership for just $25.

    Visit a free art museum and sculpture garden at Loyola (6363 St. Charles Ave., 4th floor of the Monroe Library)

    Loyola University’s Collins C. Diboll Art Gallery and Visual Art Center stars artifacts from the Belgian Congo, as well as rotating exhibits of student art, pottery and graphics. Afterwards, stroll through the university’s sculpture garden, located between Marquette and Bobet Halls.

    Visit the free Newcomb Art Museum at Tulane

    This museum sits on Tulane University’s campus, and it is free and open to the public. Past and present exhibitions have focused on works by contemporary women abstractionists and other contributions by women artists in the multi-disciplinary fields spanning art and design. Be sure you have a map handy, and check the hours of operation before you go, as the museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and between exhibitions.

    Go to Crawfest at Tulane

    Crawfest takes place once a year, but if you happen to be visiting New Orleans during April, you must check out this tribute to Louisiana’s favorite crustacean: two stages of music, more than 20,000 pounds of crawfish, and plenty of arts and craft vendors take over Tulane’s quad. It’s free for students and faculty, and for everyone else, a $15 wristband gets you access to all-you-can-eat crawfish, soda and water. Now that’s a hot deal.

    Visit The Mushroom (1037 Broadway St.)

    The Mushroom isn’t technically on Tulane’s campus, but it’s close enough to count. For more than 40 years, it’s been Uptown’s go-to indie record store. You’ll know you’re there when you see the psychedelic murals on the building’s exterior. Climb a concert-poster-papered stairway and arrive in the incense-scented shop, where it’s easy to while away an afternoon sifting through record crates and admiring intricate handmade glass pipes. It’s a trip back to your own college days — in the best possible way.

    Getting to the campuses from the Alder Hotel

     Need to stay close to the Tulane or Loyola campuses? The Alder Hotel is only a little over a mile away, which translates to an under 10-minute ride by car, about 10 minutes on streetcar, or, if you like to walk, it might take about 20 minutes.

    Navigating this part of Uptown is also very simple. The historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar line will bring you right to either campus. It stops on every block of St. Charles Ave., running from every eight to 20 minutes, depending on time of day and night. The fare is $1.25 per person, and you can get passes ranging from one-day passes ($3) to month-long ($55).

    If you’re walking, we recommend the following route from the hotel to catch the St. Charles Ave. streetcar: Take a left at the hotel’s entrance, then take Magnolia St. toward Napoleon Ave.

    Make a right at Napoleon Ave. and walk down Napoleon Ave. for about 10 blocks until you arrive at St. Charles Ave.

    Want to walk all the way? Just reach St. Charles Ave. and continue towards the river until you see the Audubon Park and the university campuses across the St. Charles Ave. from the park.

    Also, remember: The Alder Hotel offers free self-parking in the parking lot directly across the street. It’s relatively rare to find this amenity in New Orleans, so we hope you take advantage of it!

    Stay in touch and save on rates and more at the Alder Hotel by signing up for our email list at https://alderhotel.com/email-offers/. If you find a lower rate on your Alder Hotel rooms at the time of booking, call 1.888.626.5861 to let us know, and we will match that rate!

  4. October in New Orleans

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    October in New Orleans

    Get ready! October is an amazing time to be in New Orleans, and we’re not just talking about Halloween. October is packing over a dozen music and foods festivals alone, not to mention the milder temps you’d want to be here for. Here are the highlights of what’s going in New Orleans in October. 

    Oktoberfest
    October 4-5, 11-12, 18-19
    New Orleans throws its version of Oktoberfest over the three weekends in October at Deutsches Haus in Mid-City, to celebrate the city’s rich German history with all the usual trappings, including authentic food and live music.

    Art for Art’s Sake
    October 5
    One of the best attended art events in the city, this annual fundraiser is an open house for the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) and an opportunity to browse the shops and galleries in the CBD district and along the commercial stretch of Magazine Street. Enjoy extended hours, special deals, live music, and beverage sampling.

    Beignet Festival
    October 5
    This annual extravaganza returns with a free, daylong party at the Festival Grounds in City Park (4 Friedrichs Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is your opportunity to sample over 30 renditions of the beloved beignet, from traditional sweet treats swimming in powdered sugar to savory options bursting with seafood and cheese. There will be vegan and gluten-free beignets to accommodate every diet, and awards will be given in several “Best of” categories once again. Don’t forget to vote for your pick! 

    Tremé Fall Festival
    October 5 
    This local fave throws a serious party in the blocks connecting Henriette Delille, Tremé and Gov. Nicholls Streets in one the nation’s first African American neighborhoods during the first weekend of October, just as the weather is getting nice. Most of the action is centered in front of the historic St. Augustine Church on the 1100 block of Henriette Delille Street. Expect entertainment from New Orleans musical royalty and food trucks and vendors from some of New Orleans’ best eateries. The festival is donation-based.

    Mac n’ Cheese Fest
    October 12
    This free annual fest is held at the Louis Armstrong Park and keeps expanding to accommodate its growing popularity. This year, it will feature a judged competition among the dozens of mac ‘n’ cheese dishes from Louisiana restaurants, pop-ups and food catering businesses, an artist market, and an eating competition.

    New Orleans Film Festival
    October 16-23
    To date, the New Orleans Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in the South and is the longest-running one festival of its kind in the state. The festival has grown to the point of attracting thousands of attendees and industry insiders, plus more than 400 filmmakers and over 200 films annually. It’s one of the few film festivals in the nation that showcases Oscar-qualifying films drawn from all three Academy-accredited categories: Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short. Venues include Broad, Orpheum and Prytania theaters, and the festival’s hub, the Contemporary Arts Center.

    Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival 
    October 18-20
    Presented by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the free, over-decade-old fest always sports an eclectic lineup, consistently booking a mix of young talent alongside seasoned blues veterans. And that’s before you even consider the wide variety of BBQ vendors that surround Lafayette Square throughout the weekend.

    Just like in the past years, there will be two stages of music and a huge arts market. As always, the event will include copious amounts of barbecue, with some of the best barbecue vendors in the region. Past vendors have included McClure’s, Blue Oak BBQ, The Joint, and many, many others. The spread will honor several regional styles, with an emphasis on Louisiana — made easier than ever with the recent proliferation of BBQ restaurants on the New Orleans dining scene. Beyond BBQ, there will be, of course, options for vegetarians, plus vegan and gluten-free fare.

    Krewe of Boo
    October 19 
    Krewe of Boo is one of the city’s most impressive parades outside of carnival season. This Halloween procession kicks off at 6:30 p.m., starting at Elysian Fields Ave. and rolling through the Quarter to the Warehouse District. Expect plenty of floats and dance troupes, all themed after monsters, spooks, and general ghostly goodness that’s not too scary even for the youngest kids.

    The parade is brought to you by Kern Studios, so expect the usual 3-D fiberglass and papier-mâché extravaganza. Parade-goers are encouraged to come in costume. Expect plush toys, candy and unique, eco-conscious throws. The fun ends with a ticketed post-parade costume party.

    Additionally, that morning the Krewe hosts its annual New Orleans Zombie Run. This two-mile race starts at 9 a.m. and ends at noon, both at the Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant (701 Tchoupitoulas St.). Participants are encouraged to come dressed as zombies and monsters. Registration for the race begins at 7:30 a.m. You can also pre-register online.

    Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
    October 25-27
    This massive annual undertaking has started small, eventually becoming a mega fest with thousands of costumed attendees, big headliners, art installations, and a weekend of great music among the oaks. These days Voodoo Fest is considered second only to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in attendance. The fest will be held at the New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds (4 Friedrichs Ave.). Because parking will be limited we recommend hopping on the streetcar that runs along N. Carrollton Ave. and will bring you right to the City Park.

    Halloween
    October 31 
    In New Orleans, Halloween is much more than just a night for kids to go treat-or-treating, although there’s much to do with the little ones for Halloween too. Teeming with costume balls, street parties, and, of course, the Krewe of Boo parade, the two weeks leading up to the day itself are packed with some ghoulish, outlandish treats.

    Not to be confused with another, Halloween-weekend Voodoo Fest, which is a massive music festival, Voodoo Authentica‘s VoodooFest will be held inside and outside the shop on the day of Halloween, from 1 to 9 p.m. There you can shop for potion oils, gris gris bags, voodoo dolls, plus African and Haitian art; witness an ancestral healing ritual, or speak to the priests about this version of faith.

    Throughout October, the historic Hermann-Grima House, located in the French Quarter (820 St. Louis St.), changes up its historical tours to explore the mourning spaces of the 19th century. During a guided tour you’ll explore the property while learning about the religious and cultural significance of death for the families living here in the 19th century.

    You can also take any of the themed and historic tours offered this time of year, from the popular haunted tours to the vampire and voodoo tours in the French Quarter or the cemeteries tours in Mid-City or Uptown. One of the tours offered, the French Quartour Kids Spooky Tour, caters specifically to kids ages 4-8, leaving the gore out. (Also, check out this guide to family-friendly Halloween events.)

    Or, you can all trek Uptown to see some over-the-top decorated houses. The lawns at St. Charles Ave. and State St. and at Magazine and Second Streets, in particular, go above and beyond with scores of skeletons, holograms, music, and dazzling lights.

    Looking for some grownup fun? Strut your stuff and see some fabulous costumes on Frenchmen St. in the Marigny, where a massive street party has been breaking out for years on Halloween night. Things really get going after 10 p.m., and there are plenty of bars to duck in and out of to recharge and replenish.

  5. Have a New Orleans Summer

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    In the summer hotel rates are at their lowest, and there’s plenty to do indoors and out. Even in the heat and humidity, we are happily eating, drinking, dancing, mingling, strutting, and even running. From brass bands to block parties to parades to running in a fancy dress (or from the New Orleans version of “the bulls”), there’s something going on every weekend. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss if you’re in New Orleans this summer.

    Start off with a lovely, smaller French Market Creole Tomato Festival (June 8-9) that celebrates the arrival of the beloved Creole tomato. In its 33rd year, the free festival will again feature two live music stages, cooking demos on the Culinary Stage, kid’s activities, and the return of the Bloody Mary Market in Dutch Alley.

    Produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the free Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival (June 22–23) features top Cajun and Zydeco musicians from New Orleans and Acadiana on two stages at the Louis Armstrong Park, plus a big arts market, cooking demos, and numerous food options from local vendors, with emphasis on Cajun and Creole food. This year, the Grammy winners (and festival regulars) The Lost Bayou Ramblers will headline again along with the Grammy nominees Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers.

    This year’s Independence Day weekend is shaping up to be spectacular as usual, filled with special events, fireworks, and — this being New Orleans — great food and music. Kick off the festivities with Go 4th on the River celebration, a free Dueling Barges fireworks show over the Mississippi River at the Riverfront.

    Gear up for the best in R&B, hip-hop, jazz, and blues with ESSENCE Festival (July 5-7), held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the Convention Center. Beyond the concerts held each night of the fest at the Superdome, the free daytime activities at the Convention Center include motivational seminars, beauty and style presentations, celebrity interviews, cooking demonstrations with top chefs, and lots more.

    The always-impressive music lineup this year includes Brandy, Doug E. Fresh, Missy Elliott, Sheila E., Mary J. Blige, Nas, Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, and more. Former First Lady and best-selling author Michelle Obama will make an appearance too, her first at the fest, to discuss her recently published memoir.

    Running of the Bulls brings Encierro to New Orleans on July 12-14, except the bulls are the Big Easy Rollergirls. San Fermin in Nueva Orleans pays annual homage to the world-famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain, running through the CBD starting at the Sugar Mill.

    Celebrate the French National Day in America’s most French city during the annual Bastille Day Fête at the New Orleans Museum of Art (June 12-14), and at the block party on Saturday, July 13 in the 3100 block of Ponce de Leon Street in the city’s historic Faubourg St. John neighborhood, adjacent to Esplanade Avenue. Live music and kid-friendly events abound, while dozens of local vendors present their food and drinks, many with a French flavor.

    Some of the best restaurants and bars in town celebrate Tales of the Cocktail on July 16-21. Since 2002 the festival has grown from an annual walking tour of historic New Orleans cocktail bars into a series of dinners, tastings, seminars, and more. This year will be its 17th, with Royal Sonesta as the new hotel host and the Highball as the official festival drink. Expect over 300 events crammed into six days, including the always-popular “best of” Spirited Awards and many cocktail-themed parties.

    Satchmo SummerFest (August 2-4), named so after one of Louis Armstrong’s nicknames, started as a tribute in 2001, on Armstrong’s 100th birthday. It has been traditionally held on the first week of August and marked by strong attendance. The three-day festival is held at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint at the foot of Esplanade Avenue., and will have music all weekend on its two outdoor, tented stages. Other events will include a Sunday morning Jazz Mass at the historic St. Augustine Church in Tremé, seminars and film screenings, kid’s activities, and a second-line parade.

    Browse the galleries on the White Linen Night on Saturday, August 3 (or its cheeky cousin, the Dirty Linen Night). In its 25th year, White Linen Night is a block party and an open house for galleries on the 300-700 blocks of Julia Street in the Warehouse District, with three stages for live music and dozens of food and drink stands. About 20 galleries on and around Julia St. will be open to the public, with an after-party traditionally held at the Contemporary Arts Center.

    The Dirty Linen Night (Saturday, August 10) usually follows the White Linen Night on the second Saturday in August. It’s similar in format, though looser in structure and spanning more territory. Although Dirty Linen Night does riff off White Linen Night, it wasn’t created to compete with the Warehouse District event but to promote the many galleries and shops of Royal Street. The multi-block party takes over the 200-1000 blocks of Royal Street and some cross streets and adjoining areas in the French Quarter, including Jackson Square and Dutch Alley. About 40 galleries are expected to participate again this year, plus a number of shops and restaurants.

    The Red Dress Run (also on Saturday, August 10) isn’t exclusive to New Orleans, but the local participants take it up a notch by costuming on top of wearing their best and/or most outlandish red dress, regardless of gender. This is an annual fundraiser run for local charities organized by hashing groups (adults-only, non-competitive social running clubs) all over the world. They call themselves “drinking clubs with a running problem” and the local group is no exception. Any adult can participate with registration, and the run traditionally starts at Crescent Park, though the route will not be publicized until the day of the run.

    The incomparable Southern Decadence festival (August 29 – September 2) is traditionally held on the Labor Day weekend. It started as a going-away party in the early 70s but now considered the fifth largest event in New Orleans. This massive four-day festival celebrates LGBT culture and attracts participants from all over the world. Just like every year, most activities will be centered in and around the French Quarter, with lots of block parties and dance parties at bars and clubs on Bourbon Street, plus two parades.

    There’s no better time to try out an award-winning restaurant or revisit the old favorite than August, thanks to the annual COOLinary program. COOLinary was conceived 15 years ago by New Orleans & Company (formerly the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau) as a promotion to lure diners to local restaurants in the slower summer months — the month of August especially — during which the restaurants all over the city offer discounted dining deals. This year, the deals follow the same format as in the previous years: the prix fixe three-course dinner and brunch menus don’t go over $39, and the two- to three-course lunch menus don’t exceed $20. Over 100 restaurants are expected to participate.

  6. Your Itinerary: 24-Hours in Uptown New Orleans

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    The Uptown New Orleans area near the Alder Hotel is full of interesting and exciting destinations, most of which you can easily reach on foot, although you can just as easily hop on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar. Sightseeing, dining, shopping — it’s all within reach and doable — even if you’re pressed for time. Here’s our 24-hour itinerary for things to see and do around the hotel, so grab a comfortable pair of shoes (and maybe an umbrella for those sudden afternoon showers), and let’s explore.

    Morning: Breakfast at the Riverbend and a streetcar ride
    We suggest you start the day with breakfast at the Camellia Grill, a landmark diner beloved by locals and visitors alike since 1946 and famous for its pecan pie, “freezes” and generous omelets. To get to the Camellia Grill, walk to the nearest streetcar stop on St. Charles Avenue ($1.25, exact change; or get a $3 day pass for unlimited rides).

    Our preferred and therefore most recommended walking route from the hotel to catch the St. Charles Ave. streetcar takes about 20 minutes:

    • Take a left at the hotel’s entrance
    • Take Magnolia St. toward Napoleon Ave.
    • Make a right at Napoleon Ave.
    • Walk down Napoleon Ave. for about 10 blocks until you arrive at St. Charles Ave.

    The ride on the historic streetcar is high on top of the many visitors’ bucket list because it’s the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world (since 1835), and because it affords a very easy and pleasant way to see the Garden District and Uptown areas. Once you hop on, head all the way to the Riverbend to Camellia Grill, and take in the magnificent sights of the mansions and historic homes lining up under the canopy of oak trees along St. Charles Avenue. The Italianate, Victorian and Greek Revival architecture of Uptown is unique, and many of the original mid-19th century mansions have been immaculately preserved and are surrounded by the impressive gardens.

    Late morning: Audubon Park and Zoo; Loyola and Tulane campuses
    After breakfast either hop back on the streetcar or, if you feel like it, walk for about 13 blocks until you reach the beautiful campuses of both Loyola and Tulane universities, and, right across St. Charles Avenue, the historic Audubon Park. A must-stop, this magnificent park is perfect for a stroll. Lined with hundreds of ancient live oaks, it features a 1.8-mile jogging path, playgrounds, picnic shelters, a lagoon, recreation areas, and a zoo.

    Located within the park, the Audubon Zoo is one of the top zoos in the country, full of lush vegetation and exotic animal exhibits. The Zoo features rare white alligators, sea lion shows, a carousel, and the award-winning Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle natural habitat areas.

    The historic campuses of the Loyola and Tulane, with their landscaped grounds and architecture ranging from Italian Renaissance to Mid-Century Modern, are also worth a visit. You’ll be getting two for one, basically, since they’re located so close to one another.

    Afternoon: Lunch and shopping on Magazine and Freret streets
    Magazine Street runs parallel to St. Charles Avenue, about 10 blocks apart. It might be too much to walk the entire strip, but it’s packed with restaurants, boutiques, unique vintage and costume shops, and cafes — so you can have your pick without straying too far from one destination to another. So, shop away, or grab a sidewalk seat at any of the many great little coffee shops to caffeinate and people-watch. Nearby, Freret Street is another vibrant commercial corridor that’s packed with shopping destinations, art galleries, and restaurants (many of which have spacious outdoor or balcony seating).

    For lunch, there are several fabulous options on and around Magazine and Freret but we love La Petite Grocery, High Hat, and The Company Burger. Alternatively, you can head to the incomparable Commander’s Palace (elevated Creole fare and a 25-cent martini lunch special!), and then walk around in the historic Lafayette Cemetery #1 located right across the street (either self-guided or as part of the guided tour). It’s one of the oldest cemeteries in the city and features a number of historically significant above-ground tombs.

    Late afternoon: Happy hour in the Lower Garden District
    At this point, it’s happy hour! So head to Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar to take advantage of its popular happy hour (4-6:30 p.m. daily) and a full-service oyster bar: the raw oysters are 50 cents, and Superior’s signature frozen pomegranate mojito is two-for-one. Another option is The Avenue Pub, an iconic Lower Garden District pub boasts fireplaces, tin ceilings, a balcony overlooking St. Charles Avenue, a pool table, and sidewalk and patio seating. The downstairs bar is open 24/7 and the small kitchen churns out high-quality pub grub. For beer nerds, the daily tap rotating menu is posted online.

    Evening: Dinnertime! And the options are endless
    There are numerous options Uptown, from high to low and casual to iconic. Where you head for dinner depends on whether you’re looking for something more casual and on the budget, want to cross off a few items from your New Orleans food bucket list, or want to fully immerse yourself in experiencing a night out somewhere busy and packed with nightlife and action. (See our dining guides below to help you pick a perfect dining destination.)

    Late Night: Live Music and Dancing

    For some late-night entertainment Uptown, take the streetcar downtown all the way to the Lee Circle and step inside Circle Bar, a cozy venue that feels as intimate as a friend’s house and offers a nightly eclectic mix of live music ranging from country to metal to hip-hop. Another option is to head back to the Riverband to see who is playing at the iconic Tipitina’s.

    Explore our Uptown guides to help you get the most of your 24 hours Uptown:

    Food and Drink
    New Orleans Food Bucket List, Uptown Edition
    Where to Get Lunch Near the Alder Hotel Uptown
    Where to Get Breakfast Near the Alder Hotel Uptown
    Coffee and Brunch Near the Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans
    Late Night Eats Uptown New Orleans
    A Night on Freret Street

    Sightseeing
    Guide: Navigating the Freret Neighborhood and Uptown New Orleans
    Essential Stops and Sights Along the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Route
    Our Neighborhood — Most Popular Attractions Near the Alder Hotel
    Architectural Landmarks — Uptown New Orleans
    Things to Do on Loyola and Tulane Campuses – Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans
    Exploring Uptown New Orleans on a Budget

    Shopping
    Shopping Near Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans

    More
    Uptown New Orleans: A Family-Friendly Itinerary
    Fun with Fido in Uptown New Orleans
    Fun for Couples in Uptown New Orleans

  7. 10 Dishes That Define New Orleans and Where to Try Them Uptown

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    bread-pudding-uptown-new-orleans

    When you think of the must-try food in New Orleans the culinary wonders spread far beyond the French Quarter and the iconic Creole and Cajun restaurants. You can easily find delicious renditions of the New Orleans and southern staples that make the food-bucket lists for very good reasons in many restaurants Uptown. From the ambitious newcomers to the old-world landmarks — there’s much to recommend for you to try.

    There’s a slew of restaurants along the St. Charles Avenue streetcar route, so you can hop on and off the streetcar while sampling your way between Canal Street and the Riverbend. The commercial stretches of Magazine and Freret streets are also packed with restaurants and cafes, many with ample sidewalk and balcony seating. Here’s a list of our favorite dishes that define New Orleans and where to try them Uptown.

    1. Bread Pudding

    What do you do with the leftover French bread? You make a classic Creole dessert, the bread pudding!

    Where to try it: One of the best places in the city to try it is at Commander’s Palace. This grand dame of Creole cuisine is a beloved landmark that’s been occupying a tree-lined block across the street from Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District. Along with the turtle soup, the Commander’s version of this dish is legendary. Dubbed the “Queen of Creole Desserts,” the Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé is bread pudding whipped into a light fluffy soufflé, served with whiskey sauce added tableside.

    1. Gumbo

    One of Louisiana’s most famous dishes, excellent gumbo is easy to find anywhere in New Orleans, it just depends whether you like your gumbo with darker or lighter roux, and with meat or seafood (or laden with both). Most restaurants include at least two versions on the menu, the meat and the seafood, and tend not to stray too far from the classic Cajun and Creole recipes.

    Where to try it: At Pascal’s Manale, for one. This family-owned institution is over 100 years old, and its chicken andouille gumbo is excellent. Gumbo du Jour is whatever Chef Tory McPhail wants to create on any given day at Commander’s Palace, but we can guarantee that it will be exceptional. Or pair your seafood, or chicken and Andouille gumbo at Frankie & Johnny’s with the restaurant’s famous red beans and rice. The High Hat Cafe also offers great gumbo (we also recommend its fried catfish). Part old-fashioned diner, part neighborhood bar and part Deep South food destination, the High Hat Cafe is located in a once sleepy neighborhood thoroughfare bordering Tulane University. Now revitalized, the Freret Street corridor is a food and entertainment destination in its own right. Another plus? It’s only two blocks from the Alder Hotel.

    1. Jambalaya

    This flavorful one-pot, rice-based dish is right up there with gumbo when it comes to the well-deserved international fame, and can be found in many New Orleans restaurants. This staple traditionally incorporates stock, meat, seafood, long-grain rice, and vegetables (like the “holy trinity” also used in gumbo — bell pepper, onion and celery). The main distinction is that the Creole version has tomatoes and the Cajun recipe does not.

    Where to try it: We highly recommend the Creole jambalaya at Jacques-Imo’s, which comes as an appetizer, but, really, so many restaurants do it really well it’s difficult to single out the true standouts.

    1. Pain Perdu

    This breakfast and brunch mainstay means “lost bread,” referring to the dish’s ability to resurrect stale and otherwise lost to most purposes bread. For this version of French toast French bread is soaked in eggs and milk and then fried (sometimes deep-fried) or grilled, which results in a crisp and buttery exterior and a soft and custardy inside.

    Where to try it: Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar, hands down. Surrey’s has two locations, both Uptown on Magazine Street. Its acclaimed Pain Perdu part of the full breakfast menu of Southern staples. You can wash down this fluffy, sugar-coated gem with one of Surrey’s incredible organic juices.

    1. Po-Boys

     A po-boy is a sandwich (just please don’t call it that) that comes in as many versions as there are ingredients to stuff inside a loaf of French bread. Some of the classics are fried seafood, like oysters or shrimp, but the ingredients vary all the way up to French fries. 

    Where to try it: Jacque Imo’s, Guy’s Po-Boys, Mahony’s, Domilise’s Po-Boy & Bar, Zara’s Lil’ Giant Supermarket & Po-boys — the list goes on, and depends on whether you want to enjoy your po-boy to go or on premises. The cash-only lunch staple Guy’s and Zara’s the grocery market are more casual, while the restaurants are the sit-down affairs.

    1. Raw Oysters

    One of the quintessential New Orleans food experiences is having a dozen raw, and the deals are especially sweet during the happy hour.

    Where to try it: Head to the Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar, located in a high-ceilinged, imposing building on the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon Avenues with some of the best views of St. Charles Avenue in the city. The full-service oyster bar doles out 50-cent raw oysters during the popular happy hour, which you can enjoy with Superior’s signature frozen pomegranate mojito.

    Also on the streetcar’s route on St. Charles Avenue, Luke offers a deal on raw oysters for its happy hour (75 cents), complemented by the French/German menu. If you’d like a really well-made martini with your dozen raw, head to the iconic Pascal’s Manale, where oysters are shucked right in front of you and a happy hour is a decades-long tradition.

    1. Red Beans and Rice

    In the past, Monday was traditionally laundry day in New Orleans, and also the day for having red beans and rice. Our laundry schedules aren’t that rigid anymore, but you can still find a delicious plate of beans and rice around town, usually accompanied by a hunk of smoked sausage. While many restaurants still feature it as a Monday special, you can still find on many menus on any day of the week.

    Where to try it: Uptown, we recommend the renditions served up at Joey K’s (as a cup standalone or with smoked sausage) or at Gris-Gris (complimentary, on Mondays).

    1. Snoballs

    If you’re here in March through October no New Orleans visit would be complete with trying a local snoball. These heavenly, frozen concoctions of finely shaved ice and flavored cane sugar syrup are uniquely Southern and come with an explosion of favors.

    Where to try it: Your best options near the Alder Hotel are SnoWizard Snoball Shoppe with a creamy and sweet Mexican vanilla flavor as one of the standouts, or Plum Street Snoballs. Pink lemonade, bananas Foster, nectar cream, and vanilla orchid cream are just a few flavors you’ll find at this cash-only joint with ample outdoor seating. Another New Orleans treat, yakamein, is available alongside classic snoballs at Red Rooster Snoball Stand (open year round; look for Yet-Ca-Mein on the menu).

    1. Southern Breakfast Staples

    This is a loose term for a few of the New Orleans breakfast and brunch staples, including eggs done every which way, plus the ubiquitous shrimp and grits and biscuits and gravy. Many places do all those things right, but a few stand out. For instance, the Mardi Gras sandwich at Camellia Grill is a must try. Stuffed with turkey, bacon and corned beef, it’s a meal in itself, and worth joining a fast-moving line of students, visitors and locals waiting for a seat. The classic 1940s diner is also famous for its grilled pecan pie and cherry-chocolate slushies, served by the white-jacketed staff.

    Another inexpensive local hangout with Southern staples and plenty of local color, the upbeat Slim Goodies Diner does many different kinds of scrambles, from meaty to vegan, called slammers. Try the Creole slammer, which comes with a biscuit, crawfish étouffée and hash browns.

    A locally owned mini-chain with one location Uptown, Ruby Slipper hits all the right notes when it comes to brunch mainstays but with a distinctly Louisiana twists. This brunch queen’s acclaimed house specialty is BBQ shrimp and grits.

    1. Turtle Soup

    This Louisiana classic is considered a delicacy in many cultures across the globe. The silky Creole version, served with a touch of sherry (and sometimes with grated or chopped egg, and more sherry tableside), can be found in many classic New Orleans restaurants that serve Creole dishes.

    Where to try it: Everything you decide to try on Chef Tory McPhail’s haute Creole menu at Commander’s Palace will be top notch, but the turtle soup is a must. You’ll also love the iconic Upperline and its turtle soup. Hands down one of the most romantic Uptown restaurants, this award-winning local favorite has been housed in an 1877 townhouse for decades. Thanks to the owner and hostess, JoAnn Clevenger, who is a collector, Upperline’s walls and shelves are covered with hundreds of paintings, pottery, sculpture, photography, and Jazz Fest posters. The menu is elevated contemporary Creole, and there’s a three-course prix fixe option if you’re not sure what to get.

    We hope you try all these classic New Orleans dishes while you explore Uptown!

  8. Exploring Uptown New Orleans on a Budget

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    You don’t have to drop serious cash anywhere in New Orleans to have a great time, and Uptown is no exception. You can still eat really well and get around for a little over a dollar to see some astonishingly beautiful sights. Here are our budget-friendly recommendations near the hotel.

    Free parking and working out from Alder

    First of all, Alder offers complimentary self-parking in the parking lot directly across the street from the hotel — take full advantage as street parking in the area is limited, and commercial parking lots could be pricey.

    How about working out for free? Our guests have the opportunity to use the 24/7 Anytime Fitness center (4600 Freret St.) free of charge (it’s a five-minute walk from the hotel). Please stop by the front desk to check out a key.

    The sightseeing

    For just $1.25 per ride, hop on the historic streetcar that runs along St. Charles Avenue. It can take you all the way to Canal Street (the French Quarter is just across the street), and to the Riverbend in the opposite direction. Many visitors use this opportunity to soak up some incredible views of the stately mansions and live oak trees the Garden District and Uptown are famous for. If you plan to hop on and off the streetcar, you can buy one-, three-, or five-day Jazzy passes online. We also highly recommend taking the streetcar to Lafayette Cemetery #1 (1427 Washington Ave.) for a (free) self-guided walking tour.

    Next,  enjoy the urban oasis of the historic Audubon Park. This 350-acre public park, where New Orleanians have come to relax since 1898, has a 1.8-mile jogging path, tennis courts, riding stables, soccer fields, plus an area behind the Audubon Zoo and along the Mississippi River called The Fly that is great for walking.

    For under $20, you can also hit the historic Audubon Zoo located at the rear of the park (save $3 if you buy tickets online). The elephants, tigers, white alligator, monkeys, and other animals make a visit to this beautifully landscaped zoo a must.

    While you’re in the area, why not walk through the grounds of two historic universities, located next to each other? You’ll spot the campuses of Tulane and Loyola universities right across Audubon Park. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, Tulane University’s campus occupies more than 110 acres and extends north to S. Claiborne Avenue through Freret and Willow streets. From Italian Renaissance to Mid-Century Modern, the campus boasts many styles and is known for its large live oak trees.

    Loyola’s sprawling main campus also faces St. Charles Avenue and the Audubon Park. Marquette Hall is the oldest campus building and is the iconic image of the university you’ll probably recognize the most. Both campuses absolutely deserve a walkthrough thanks to their architectural significance and lush grounds.

    Also, take note: The Newcomb Art Museum on Tulane University’s campus is free and open to the public. Past and present exhibitions have focused on works by contemporary women abstractionists and other contributions by women artists in the multi-disciplinary fields spanning art and design.

    Eating and drinking

    For a well-priced breakfast, head to the Riverbend area, and hop off at the Camellia Grill (626 S. Carrollton Ave.), a classic diner where white-jacketed staff members serve up cheeseburgers, grilled pecan pie, and cherry-chocolate slushies. Get in line and find out why Camellia Grill has been an institution since 1946.

    Need a caffeine fix? Mojo Coffee House (4700 Freret St.) is a cozy, welcoming hangout where you can grab small-batch roasted coffee, a vegan muffin, and connect to wi-fi.

    For lunch, grab a cheese plate or a sandwich from St. James Cheese Company, and sit outside for some people-watching. Dat Dog’s both Uptown locations (3336 Magazine Street near Louisiana Avenue and 5030 Freret Street near Soniat Street) have dog-friendly outdoor seating, great for people-watching too. The very affordable Dat Dog dishes out a wide variety of meat, fish, vegan and veggie hot dogs, sausages, and other comfort food like burgers and chicken. The dogs and the sausages come with a choice of more than 30 toppings.

    We also recommend The Company Burger on Freret and Cadiz streets (4600 Freret St.) for its affordable menu of delicious burgers, fries and milkshakes. The menu keeps it simple with the award-winning lamb, turkey, and beef burgers, plus sides, shakes, and cocktails. The “not burger” options are also kept simple: hot dogs, and grilled cheese and fried chicken sandwiches.

    The family-owned and wallet-friendly Sarita’s Grill (4520 Freret St.) is a good option for both dinner and lunch. This Mexican and Cuban popular eatery has a loyal local following, and you’ll understand why once you try Sarita’s fish tacos or housemade guacamole.

    Piccola Gelateria, a classic Italian gelateria with crepes and Italian flatbread sandwiches, can satisfy a craving for something sweet with over a dozen flavors of its small-batch, housemade gelato and sorbetto (and the crepes come in both savory and sweet options). Piccola Gelateria also sells its own, custom-blended, micro-roasted espresso.

    For sipping on the budget, hit a happy hour at the James Beard Award winner Cure (4905 Freret St.) or Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar (4338 St. Charles Ave.). Sidle up to Superior’s 32-foot French zinc bar and enjoy the 50-cent raw oysters and Superior’s signature frozen pomegranate mojito (two for one during the happy hour).

    Want to see some local music for free? The early shows (7-9 p.m.) at the iconic Circle Bar (1032 St Charles Ave. at the Lee Circle) are usually free, a nightly eclectic mix of live music ranging from country to metal to hip-hop.

  9. Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans Gives Birth to Ezra James Nyssen

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    Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans gives birth to Ezra James Nyssen (1/15/19)-nicknamed “EZ Breesy” since he was born on Drew Brees’ birthday.

    Alexis and Justin Nyssen live in Houma, LA and wanted to stay somewhere closer to Ochsner Baptist, where their doctor and midwives were located, as their due date approached.

    Alexis said, “I didn’t want to have a baby on the Interstate trying to get to the hospital!” So, the Alder Hotel Uptown was recommended to them by the hospital staff.

    They checked in on Monday night, and around 3 a.m. Alexis’s water broke and the labor pains started quickly. They knew the baby was coming—fast! Justin ran down to the parking lot to get the car to take Alexis to the hospital. He was barely gone 5 minutes, and when he returned to the room the baby was already coming! Three big pushes later—and baby Ezra was born! There was momentary panic, but as soon as “EZ” took his first breath they knew everything would be alright.

    Justin called 911 and then the midwives at Ochsner Baptist. One of the midwives ran over from the hospital with everything needed to take care of mommy and baby. EMS came shortly after, and both were taken to the hospital for precaution. They were released on Thursday with a happy and healthy bundle of joy.

    It wasn’t the birth they had planned for, but it certainly was “EZ”. They couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. They were extremely thankful to all the Alder staff, Ochsner midwives and EMS that came to the rescue and look forward to returning to the Alder next time they’re in New Orleans!

    Shortly after returning home, here’s what Lexy had to say, “after returning home and with very minimal convincing are in the process of changing his name to Ezra James-Alder Nyssen to always remind us of the way we welcomed our sweet boy”.

    Pictured: Hotel General Manager Erin Boreros, dad Justin Nyssen, mom Alexis Clough—and, of course, baby Ezra!

  10. New Orleans Food Bucket List, Uptown Edition

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    When you think of the must-try food in New Orleans the culinary wonders spread far beyond the French Quarter and the iconic Creole and Cajun restaurants. It seems there’s a handful of new places opening every month, adding to the stellar roster of delicious food you’ll likely won’t find anywhere else. Then there are the old (sometimes decades- or even centuries-old) favorites that make the food-bucket lists for very good reasons. The Uptown area is no exception — from the ambitious newcomers to the old-world landmarks — there’s much to recommend for you to try. Here’s just a sampler of our favorites.

    There’s a slew of restaurants along the St. Charles Avenue streetcar route, so you can hop on and off the streetcar while sampling your way between Canal Street and the Riverbend. For breakfast or brunch, try the Mardi Gras sandwich at Camellia Grill (626 Carrollton Ave.), a classic 1940s diner where white-jacketed staff members serve up delicacies ranging from grilled pecan pie to cherry-chocolate slushies. Stuffed with turkey, bacon and corned beef, it’s a meal in itself, and worth joining a fast-moving line of Tulane students, tourists and locals waiting for a seat.

    Another inexpensive local hangout with Southern staples and plenty of local color, the upbeat Slim Goodies Diner (3322 Magazine St.) does many different kinds of scrambles, from meaty to vegan, called slammers. Try the Creole slammer, which comes with a biscuit, crawfish étouffée and hash browns. And, the locally sourced green eggs and ham breakfast sandwich at Satsuma’s Uptown location (7901 Maple St.) comes with a serious coffee selection. The green part is basil pesto, by the way.

    For oysters, head to Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar (4338 St. Charles Ave.), located in a high-ceilinged, imposing building on the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon Avenues with some of the best views of St. Charles Avenue in the city. The full-service oyster bar doles out 50-cent raw oysters during the popular happy hour, which you can enjoy with Superior’s signature frozen pomegranate mojito.

    Also on the streetcar’s route, Luke (333 St. Charles Ave.) offers a deal on raw oysters for its happy hour (75 cents), complemented by Executive Chef Erick Loos’ French/German menu. The menu’s seasonal ingredients come from the Gulf and local farms and are highlighted in dishes like stuffed P&J oysters, and Creole seafood and sausage gumbo. If you’d like a really well-made martini with your dozen raw, head to the iconic Pascal Manale (1838 Napoleon Ave.), where oysters are shucked right in front of you and a happy hour is a decades-long tradition.

    Everything is worth trying at the James Beard Award winner Chef Donald Link’s wildly popular restaurant Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave.). Herbsaint predates Katrina and remains the flagship of the Link Restaurant Group (which runs several businesses including Peche, Cochon and La Boulangerie). Herbsaint has been, and continues to be, on many “Best Restaurants” list, for reasons that will become clear as soon as you dig into its crispy goat, or shrimp and fish ceviche. The French-Southern menu sports some Italian influences (evident in the presence of housemade gnocchi and spaghetti), with a spotlight on local, seasonal produce and sustainably sourced seafood and meats.

    For an outstanding gumbo and fried catfish head to High Hat Cafe (4500 Freret St.). Part old-fashioned diner, part neighborhood bar and part Deep South food destination, High Hat Cafe is located in a once sleepy neighborhood thoroughfare bordering Tulane University. Now revitalized, the Freret Street corridor is a food and entertainment destination in its own right. Another plus? It’s only two blocks from the Alder Hotel.

    For lighter fare, like a well-curated cheese board, perhaps paired with a glass of wine, check out St. James Cheese Company (5004 Prytania St.), also home of the kid-friendly $5 Mini Moo sandwich. Wine and small plates rule at Bar Frances (4525 Freret St.), a lovely bistro with a seasonal menu and a large selection of natural wines, so that’s another solid bet for a great cheese plate. Yet another contender in that category is Cure (4905 Freret St.), a chic, dimly lit craft cocktail bar with a leafy patio and award-winning concoctions.

    For something more substantial, the romantic La Crepe Nanou, located on the corner of Robert and Prytania Streets, a fantastic selection of sweet and savory crepes. Patois (6078 Laurel St.), helmed by Chef Aaron Burgau, puts a local spin on mussels, grilled Gulf shrimp and southern staples like sweetbreads in a lovely, softly-lit setting.

    For authentic Sicilian cuisine by the renowned Chef Nick Lama head to Avo (5908 Magazine St.). The seasonal menu is bursting with seafood (try the charred octopus) and homemade pasta dishes. The interior is gorgeous, but see if you can score a table in the candlelit courtyard.

    For a taste of Creole New Orleans like turtle soup and fried green tomatoes, the iconic Upperline (1413 Upperline St.) is a must-try. Hands down one of the most romantic Uptown restaurants, this award-winning local favorite has been housed in an 1877 townhouse for decades. Thanks to the owner and hostess, JoAnn Clevenger, who is collector, Upperline’s walls and shelves are covered with hundreds of paintings, pottery, sculpture, photography, and JazzFest posters. The menu is elevated contemporary Creole, and there’s a three-course prix fixe option if you’re not sure what to get.

    Another grand dame of Creole cuisine, Commander’s Palace (1403 Washington Ave.) is a beloved landmark that’s been occupying a tree-lined block across the street from Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District. Everything you decide to try on Chef Tory McPhail’s haute Creole menu will be top notch, but the turtle soup and Creole bread pudding soufflé (dubbed the “Queen of Creole Desserts”) are a must.

    For satisfying lunch options, try the house burger at The Company Burger (4600 Freret St.). It comes with a fried egg, two patties, and bacon. And all hot dogs at Dat Dog (with two Uptown locations, 3336 Magazine St. and 5030 Freret St.) come with a choice of more than 30 toppings. Both locations also have dog-friendly outdoor seating.

    If you’re here in March through October no New Orleans visit would be complete with trying a local snoball. These heavenly, frozen concoctions of finely shaved ice and flavored cane sugar syrup are uniquely Southern and come with an explosion of favors. Your best options near the Alder Hotel are SnoWizard Snoball Shoppe (4001 Magazine St.) with a creamy and sweet Mexican vanilla flavor as one of the standouts, or Plum Street Snoballs (1300 Burdette St.). Pink lemonade, bananas Foster, nectar cream, and vanilla orchid cream are just a few flavors you’ll find at this cash-only joint with ample outdoor seating. Another New Orleans treat, yakamein, is available alongside classic snoballs at Red Rooster Snoball Stand (2801 Washington Ave.).

    For more dessert options, we heartily recommend small-batch, handcrafted Italian gelato at Piccola Gelateria (4525 Freret St.), which comes in classic and experimental flavors including bananas Foster, caramelized fig, and pistachio. Finally, Sucre (3225 Magazine St.) cannot be beat for its Parisian patisserie feel and amazing macaroons the whole family could enjoy. 

    Bon appetit!

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