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Spending the Winter Holidays in New Orleans

Spending the Holidays in New Orleans

The holiday season in New Orleans is a magical time to visit. The weather has cooled off, but not to the point where you wouldn’t want to be outside. The city is bedecked with lights and dazzling decorations, and the streetcars are adorned with wreaths.

The festivities go into overdrive in December and January, so there’s much to choose from for both adults and kids alike. From the traditional Reveillon dinners to the winter-themed festivals and bonfires, you’re in for a spectacle and an unforgettable, unique experience.

Here are our picks on what to see, eat and do if you’re visiting during the months of December and January.

Parades

The Krewe of Krampus parade is dedicated to the mythological creature from the Central European forests, rolling through the Bywater, typically on a Saturday in early December (December 3 in 2022), starting at 7 p.m. Krampus and his army of mischief hand out lumps of coal and take great joy in behaving badly.

Three parades kick off the Carnival season on January 6, which is the Twelfth Night and falls on a Friday in January 2023. As usual, Phunny Phorty Phellows ride the streetcar from Uptown to Canal Street and back starting at 7 p.m. The walking Krewe of Joan of Arc parade rolls in at 7 p.m. from Jax Brewery in the French Quarter, and the Société Des Champs Elysée parade takes place starting at 7:30 p.m. on N. Rampart Street and Esplanade, going to the CBD, and following the N. Rampart/St. Claude streetcar route.

Festivals

Every December (December 15-18 in 2022), the LUNA Fête light show illuminates the Convention Center. The annual large-scale light and sound installations are breathtaking, and the fest is free and family-friendly.

One of those unique opportunities to immerse yourself in wintery activities is the popular and family-friendly festival that celebrates all things Christmas. The annual NOLA ChristmasFest is the only indoor Christmas festival in the area. It also takes place at the Convention Center, kicking off on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, and wrapping on Saturday, December 31, 2022.

Expect giant ice slides, a walk-through maze, and the gingerbread house display among many other attractions and rides. You can also take pictures with Santa, enjoy a 52×140-foot ice-skating rink, and have a snowball fight. Parents can take respite in the “adult lounge” (must be 21 or over to enter) overlooking the ice rink, and some friendly elves will be on hand to help wrangle the kids.

Concerts and Shows

St. Louis Cathedral Concerts is an excellent (and free) annual program that features some of the city’s greatest musicians, representing genres as varied as jazz, indie folk, zydeco, and gospel. The concerts last for about an hour and are held inside the cathedral throughout the month of December. Similarly, the historic St. Augustine church in Tremé also offers a few holiday concerts throughout the month of December.

Also, this time of year Tipitina’s has a stellar lineup of excellent shows on offer. This year, the December highlights include Anders Osborne’s Holiday Spectacular on Friday-Saturday, December 16-17, 2022, and Galactic on New Year’s Eve.

Holiday Displays

The Fulton Street pedestrian corridor is transformed into a winter wonderland of the Miracle on Fulton Street through the month of December. The free spectacle features light shows, enormous gingerbread displays, festive drinks, and spectacular holiday illumination galore.

Celebration in the Oaks, a beloved New Orleans tradition since the late 80s, had been selling out for years. It is a dazzling holiday lights festival scattered throughout the 25 acres of the City Park, including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Stroll through the magical grounds swathed in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, take a train ride or a holiday picture by the iconic Mr. Bingle, listen to the caroling, do some holiday shopping, or ride the historic carousel. The event runs starting on Thanksgiving Day through January 1, 2023.

Reveillon

Derived from the French word for “awakening,” Reveillon originally was a meal served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve in Creole households. Today, the tradition has been refashioned into elaborate set-course meals served at some of the city’s finest eating establishments. For a few years now the increasing number of restaurants is participating in bringing special, prix fixe Reveillon menus to the table. The list of participating restaurants includes an amazing roster of the grand dames of Creole elegance like Antoine’s and Arnaud’s, and many of the city’s iconic establishments (Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s, Tujague’s, and many more).

Some of the best restaurants in the city are also serving up tasty cocktails for Reveillon on the Rocks. Each year local bartenders create both classic and original cocktails to celebrate the Reveillon with holiday-themed sippers. Some of those are offered as lagniappe on the Reveillon menus, others can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Other Holiday Fun

The annual Running of the Santas event brings a pack of costumed revelers to the Warehouse District on Saturday, December 10, 2022. The party starts at 2 p.m. at the “South Pole” at Manning’s, followed by the boozy run at 6 p.m. that ends a few blocks away at Generations Hall (the “North Pole”) with more partying and a costume contest.

On Christmas Eve, bonfires will illuminate the levees on the opposite side of the Mississippi River, a spectacular tradition that dates back centuries. Check local newspapers for more information on where to find the bonfires, or ask your hotel concierge.

New Year’s Eve

Not surprisingly, New Orleans goes all out on New Year’s Eve with fireworks and public revelry. One of the main holiday events is the Allstate Sugar Bowl Parade, which is part of the Sugar Bowl festivities. It kicks off at Elysian Fields Avenue and Decatur Street at 2:30 p.m. on December 30, 2022, and rolls through the French Quarter, stopping by for a quick show by Jax Brewery. Expect big floats, marching bands, plenty of throws, and a general overload of glitz and pageantry.

Watch the fleur-de-lis drop at midnight at the historic Jax Brewery during the annual Dick Clark Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, which is coordinated with the same parties in New York and Los Angeles. As usual, it will be live-cast, featuring host Ryan Seacrest. Actor Billy Porter will co-host this year. Jackson Square will also host a free party and countdown with live music and general milling about, culminating with the fireworks over the Mississippi River at midnight. The fireworks can be seen from the East and West Banks of the Mississippi River from the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk to Crescent Park at the French Market.

For some French Quarter-style partying that involves much bead tossing, see if you can score an invite to any of the private balcony bashes, or pay a cover to access one of the balconies at the bars located all up and down Bourbon Street.

For the kids, the annual New Year’s Eve Kids’ Countdown to Noon at the Louisiana Children’s Museum is typically held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Shopping the Freret Market

Freret Street Market

In a city that’s decidedly not lacking in the art and farm markets, merch pop-ups, and food trucks, Freret Market stands out for its sheer size and the fact that it combines all those components — art, flea, food/farm, and live music. This open-air market is located at Freret Street and Napoleon Avenue and is held on the first Saturday of every month (except June-August) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Freret Market was started in September 2007 to revitalize the Freret business corridor. Since then, it’s grown to become a popular destination with special events and healthy attendance numbers. Besides the weekly food, art and flea vendors, the market regularly hosts local restaurant and catering business pop-ups and food carts. There are usually about 70 vendors total, plus live music, an area for kids; and pet adoptions available from Zeus Place, the market’s fellow Freret Street neighbor.

Today’s Freret Market is a vital part of the renaissance that Freret Street has been experiencing. The eight blocks stretching from Downtown to Uptown New Orleans parallel to St. Charles Avenue are known as a popular destination for food, shopping, and entertainment. The street hosts many restaurants, specialty shops, art galleries, bars, coffee shops, and more. It’s also home to the annual Freret Street Festival, held on the first Saturday in the spring (March and April). The festival has been growing since the mid-1990s, with over 100 vendors participating in the past.

The weekly sampling of food vendors at the Freret Market includes Iacovone Kitchen with a fresh, chef-driven menu of panini, pulled pork and whatever is in season, Jazzy Keto, a low-carb catering company that specializes in cauliflower-mash bowls of blackened chicken, vegan veggie and Cajun shrimp, and Not Cho Average Nachos (gourmet nachos, that’s right).

There are many opportunities to indulge your sweet tooth (check out Keyala’s Pralines) and get some locally made soap, candles, jerky, or pepper jelly. There are also plenty of art, flea and vintage vendors, farm stalls, and local merchants selling furniture, clothing, jewelry, and more.

Freret Market is located near the University District, which contains the Tulane and Loyola campuses. The area is easy to navigate and get to from the French Quarter and other areas by car and public transportation. There’s off-street parking in the lot at the corner of Cadiz and Magnolia Streets, and plenty of street parking on adjacent streets.

And, please note: 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!

Uptown New Orleans: A Family-Friendly Itinerary

While some other parts of the city may be more known for their late-night entertainment options, Uptown, with its child-friendly food scene, ease of navigation via streetcar, and vibrant, walkable commercial corridors like Magazine and Freret streets, offers a wide variety of things to do with kids. There are great bookstores, parks and playgrounds, tours, cafes, restaurants, museums, and shops that are perfectly suitable for the under-18 crowd.

Attractions

St. Charles AvenueMagazine, and Freret streets are packed with shopping destinations, art galleries, and restaurants (many of which have spacious outdoor or balcony seating). Freret Street is also home to a market, held on the first Saturday of every month except June-August, and a festival, held in the spring. Both events feature live music and plenty of food vendors. Magazine and Freret Streets are easy to walk, and you can take a streetcar along St. Charles Avenue for a mere $1.25.

The majestic, oak tree-lined St. Charles Avenue is one of the most beautiful streets in the country, if not the world, with blocks upon blocks of spectacular mansions and landscaped gardens. The ride on the historic St. Charles Avenue line streetcar is high on top of many visitors’ bucket lists 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.

To take in all the beauty of the Italianate, Victorian, and Greek Revival architecture of Uptown, you can just walk around. Many of the original mid-19th-century mansions have been immaculately preserved and are surrounded by impressive gardens. Both self-guided and guided tours are available daily in the Garden District and Uptown — on foot or by bus or car (free for kids under 6). Kids and adults alike might also like visiting Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, one of the oldest cemeteries in the city, located in the heart of the Garden District, between Washington, Sixth, Prytania, and Coliseum streets (Please note that as of winter 2022 the cemetery is closed for repairs).

Another must-stop, especially if you have kids in tow, is the magnificent Audubon Park. Located in the historic district of Uptown near the picturesque campuses of Tulane and Loyola universities, Audubon Park is perfect for a stroll or a picnic (bring some bread to feed the ducks). 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.

The Audubon Zoo is one of the top zoos in the country, full of lush vegetation and exotic-animal exhibits. The younger kids may like riding the zoo’s Swamp train, and older kids can try the Safari Simulator ride. The Zoo features rare white alligators, a komodo dragon, sea lion shows, a carousel, and the award-winning Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle natural habitat areas. During the warmer months, you may want to bring your bathing suits and splash in the Zoo’s mini water park, the Cool Zoo.

Few things are more family-friendly than catching a movie, and the classic Prytania Theatre is a century-old movie theater, and the only single-screen one left in Louisiana. Inside, you’ll find plush red seats and a tiny coffee stand with excellent gelato and espresso for the adults plus kid-friendly snacks.

Eating and Drinking

Uptown is packed with restaurants that feature kid-friendly menus and/or menus catering to children specifically. These are but a few highlights, starting with St. James Cheese Company, home of the $5 Mini Moo sandwich. Targeting the “smaller cheese lovers,” it’s made with Hook’s white Cheddar cheese grilled on wheat bread and comes with chips and fruit. The kids will probably also love the shop’s cheese and charcuterie boards, which change daily and come with bread and an assortment of condiments.

We also recommend The Company Burger on Freret and Cadiz streets for its solid menu of delicious burgers, fries, and milkshakes; and the famous Camellia Grill diner with an extensive breakfast menu. The affordable Dat Dog at its Freret and Magazine locations dishes out a wide variety of meat, fish, vegan and veggie hot dogs, sausages, and other kid-friendly comfort food like burgers and chicken. Your kids will be happy to know that the dogs and the sausages come with a choice of more than 30 toppings.

For local comfort food with homestyle Creole and Cajun fare like po-boys and jambalaya, try Joey K’s on Magazine Street. The menu is very kid-friendly, with chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and fried seafood. The seafood-focused Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar has great views of St. Charles Avenue, an oyster bar, and a kids’ menu that goes beyond chicken tenders, with items like grilled shrimp and grilled chicken pasta alfredo.

Do your kids like ramen? A post-pandemic newcomer Nomiya is a traditional ramen joint that serves a simple, delicious menu. Just pick your broth and the toppings, and maybe supplement with edamame and pork buns. There’s also mochi ice cream with rotating flavors.

For more New Orleans staples your kids might like, head to the beloved local lunch staple, Guy’s Po-Boys, or Picnic Provisions & Whiskey, a family- and dog-friendly casual comfort food spot that has outdoor seating.

You have many choices when it comes to trying food from all over the world, both the spots old and new. For a classic, well-done Mexican cuisine head to Taqueria Corona. The whole family can share generous portions of tacos, burritos, and other staples.

Tito’s Ceviche & Pisco is another solid option for a family dinner, with a menu laden with traditional Peruvian dishes. Dinners at the Senegalese Dakar NOLA feature multiple courses, some served family style in homage to west African dining traditions. All three of these restaurants on Magazine Street serve excellent Mediterranean food, from the quick-service, on-the-to Tal’s Hummus to Misa with a lovely patio for outdoor dining to the award-winning chef Alon Shaya’s Saba, with very sharable Israeli culinary classics.

For a sweet treat, check out Piccola Gelateria. In addition to small-batch, house-made gelato and sorbetto in over a dozen flavors, this classic Italian-style gelato shop offers crepes (savory with meat, sweet with Nutella, and vegetarian). The whole family will also love the award-winning Gracious Bakery + Cafe (with two Uptown locations). All desserts and baked goods are top-notch, and there are house-cured salmon bagels and breakfast sandwiches. 

DISTRICT. Donuts. Sliders. Brew. on Magazine and Jackson streets also has a sophisticated coffee menu plus donuts and sliders. The tiny District Donut & Coffee Bar located on the corner of Arabella and Magazine streets offers a smaller menu, though still packed with coffee and espresso options, plus kolaches, biscuits, donuts, and sandwiches.

We hope you enjoy some family time exploring all that the area around the Alder Hotel has to offer!

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 room at the time of booking, call 1.888.626.5861, and we will match that rate, too.

Fun with Fido in Uptown New Orleans

pet friendly new orleans hotel alder hotel uptown new orleans

New Orleans is a dog city, and there’s no reason to leave your four-legged family member at home when you travel to New Orleans, or at a hotel while you’re here. Here’s a list of places in Uptown New Orleans where you and your dog will always be welcome, plus a big dog run located elsewhere, but it’s easy to get to from Uptown (and your dog will thank you).

We Are a Pet-Friendly Hotel

We welcome dogs and cats at the Alder Hotel 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 need supervision for your dog while you sightsee, we recommend Zeus’ Place (4601 Freret St.).

Parks and Dog Runs

The Wisner Dog Run, located inside the free, city-run Wisner Playground at 4877 Laurel Street, is fenced off, so you can let your dog play off-leash with other well-socialized dogs. It’s not huge, at only 8,500 square feet, but the off-leash areas are not easy to come by in any city, and this one is part of a little urban park, so it also comes with access to benches, water fountains, and some shade — all in the middle of a busy Uptown area.

Another option is to hit the urban oasis of the historic Audubon Park. You and your dog can enjoy the lagoons, a tranquil 1.8-mile jogging path, picnic shelters under the live oaks, and much more. The Riverview portion of the park, also known as The Fly, is located behind the Audubon Zoo and along the Mississippi River. It’s a popular spot to have a barbeque or a crawfish boil, toss a frisbee, or simply sit by the river and watch the sun go down. The Fly is open till 10 p.m. and is equipped with picnic areas, ample parking spaces, and public restrooms.

The so-called “Dog Levee” is an informal park near the corner of Leake Avenue and Magazine Street (100-7198 Magazine Street). It has a paved walking path but is not fenced off. If your dog loves to swim and is not a flight risk when off-leash this is a good place to take a dip.

The last recommended place on the list is not located Uptown, but it’s not far, worth the trip, and easy to get to. The largest off-leash dog run in New Orleans, NOLA City Bark, is located in the sprawling City Park that extends from Mid-City into Lakeview. This fenced-off dog park occupies a 4.6-acre plot of land and has separate play areas for small and big dogs. It also has hills and water fountains for the dogs to enjoy, plus a water play area and doggie pools. For humans, there are also water fountains, shade pavilions, restrooms, and walking paths.

Please note that NOLA City Bark is gated and you’ll need a key card/permit to enter. This is to ensure that all dogs that use the park have been properly vaccinated, and spayed or neutered. You can apply for a temporary permit on the NOLA City Bark website.

Dog-Friendly Bars and Restaurants

There are plenty of dog-friendly restaurants and bars Uptown and elsewhere in the city. If there’s outdoor seating, like a patio or sidewalk tables, chances are all well-behaved dogs will be welcome. Uptown, check out the blocks-long commercial corridors of Magazine and Freret streets in particular, filled with sidewalk cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating and courtyards.

These few places stand out, however, as especially well-suited for your canine friends to visit.

Dat Dog‘s both Uptown locations (3336 Magazine Street near Louisiana Avenue and 5030 Freret Street near Soniat Street) have dog-friendly outdoor seating. The Magazine Street location is great for people-watching, and both locations have popular happy hours and lots of craft beer.

Another popular Magazine Street establishment, the Bulldog Uptown, located on the corner of Magazine and Pleasant Streets in the heart of the Garden District, features a huge, dog-friendly patio. There’s fresh water put out daily for all furry friends.

Eat indoors or outdoors, and bring your family and your pup to Picnic Provisions & Whiskey (741 State St.). Coming from the people helming Commander’s Palace, including co-founder and owner Tory McPhail, the former executive chef at Commander’s, this casual family-friendly spot serves comfort food cold and hot.

The lovely patios at St. James Cheese Company (the Uptown location at 5004 Prytania Street) and the Rusty Nail (1100 Constance Street, on the corner of Constance and John Churchill Chase, where the Warehouse District ends and the Lower Garden begins) are also popular among the dog lovers. What’s more enjoyable than having a leisurely drink on a spacious patio, surrounded by lush greenery, while your dog lounges at your feet?

Want to stay in touch and save on rates at the Alder Hotel? Sign up for our email list at https://alderhotel.com/email-offers/! And 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.

Your Itinerary: 24-Hours in Uptown New Orleans

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 many visitors’ bucket lists 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 impressive gardens.

For more breakfast ideas, read our guide to where to get breakfast near the Alder Hotel.

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 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. Here are some ideas on what to do on Loyola and Tulane campuses.

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 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. (Please note that as of 2022, it closed for maintenance and repairs.)

Here are more of our suggestions on where to get lunch, brunch and coffee in the area.

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 and a full-service oyster bar. Another option is The Avenue Pub, an iconic Lower Garden District pub that boasts fireplaces, tin ceilings, a balcony overlooking St. Charles Avenue, a pool table, and sidewalk and patio seating.

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, including some live local music, check out the Maple Leaf Bar, Le Bon Temps Roule, Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar, The Saint Bar & Lounge, or Gasa Gasa. Yet another option is to head back to the Riverbend to see who is playing at the iconic Tipitina’s.

Explore our Uptown guides to help you get the most out 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

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

Here at the Alder Hotel, we know you don’t want to miss out on all the great food New Orleans has to offer. Fortunately, plenty of outstanding breakfast, brunch, and just-coffee options are just a short walk from our doorstep. From gluttonous to gluten-free, there’s an option to suit every palate. Here are our favorite picks, plus a few top recommendations on the best spots to co-work while you’re in town.

Coffee

Gracious Bakery + Cafe (4930 Prytania Street)

The award-winning Gracious Bakery + Cafe has another location Uptown, at 2854 St. Charles Avenue, on the corner of 6th Street in the Garden District. All baked goods and breakfast sandwiches are top-notch, and there are house-made granola and house-cured salmon bagels.

French Truck Coffee (4536 Dryades Street)

Sandwiches, toast, pastries, and the best iced cold-drip coffee New Orleans has to offer, all served in a high-ceilinged, Edison bulb-hung space — that’s what you’ll find at French Truck Coffee. There’s no better way to while away a morning, an iced latte in hand.

Humble Bagel (4716 Freret Street)

Humble Bagel’s creations are made in-house daily, from scratch, with high-quality ingredients, and in small batches (the proprietors are big on minimizing food waste and using locally sourced ingredients when possible). The place is open from 7 a.m. till 1 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, 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.

La Boulangerie (4600 Magazine Street)

Tarts, scones, quiches, and muffins at this French bakery and cafe are almost too pretty to eat, and all menu items are hand-prepared according to traditional recipes. Sit at a sidewalk table with an almond croissant and a cafe au lait and feel like you’ve been transported to Paris.

Mojo Coffee House (4700 Freret Street)

Stacks of local alt-weeklies? Check. College radio on the speakers? Check. Free wi-fi and plenty of table space for settling in and working for the long haul without receiving dirty looks from a barista? Check. Chalkboard menu? Check. This dim, cozy coffee house features all the coffee shop staples, plus its own locally roasted beans. Try the Mojo blend in a cup or take home a bag of beans as a souvenir. Sandwiches and pastries round out the menu. For those mornings when you just need caffeine and a quick bite, nothing beats Mojo.

Raw Republic (4528 Magazine Street)

Raw Republic’s cold-pressed, organic juices are a healthy way to kickstart your day. The bright, modern storefront offers coffee, smoothies, salads, cereal, and grab-and-go vegan fare, too. Though the storefront is tiny, a staircase leads to an upstairs room with balcony seating — perfect for people-watching while sipping your green juice. They also deliver.

The Rook Cafe (4516 Freret Street)

The Rook, a quiet hangout popular with the locals, serves vegan pastries and locally roasted coffee. Free wi-fi and shelves lined with books and tabletop games are also a draw. The cozy coffee shop also hosts frequent gamers’ nights and pop-ups.

Brunch

Another Broken Egg Cafe (2917 Magazine Street)

This is a popular brunch destination on the bustling commercial corridor of Magazine Street with pancakes, brunch specialties like crab cake Benedict and eggs with crawfish and Andouille, signature omelets, and specialty spiked cold brews and Bloody Marys served in mason jars.

Bearcat Cafe (2521 Jena Street)

While New Orleans is known for rich, decadent breakfasts like eggs Benedict (poached eggs, hollandaise and bacon layered over English muffins), not everyone wants heavy meals every day, even when on vacation. Maybe you’re looking for a break from indulgence, or maybe you adhere to a gluten-free, vegan lifestyle. Whatever your dietary requirements may be, you’ll find a delicious meal that satisfies them at Bearcat’s airy, industrial-chic space.

Molly’s Rise and Shine (2338 Magazine Street)

The followup to nationally buzzed-about Turkey and the Wolf is also worth a visit. Only open Thursday through Monday, from 8 a.m. till 2 p.m., Molly’s serves a mean breakfast/early brunch full of items like bagel bites, burritos, the star special, the Grand Slam McMuffin (pork patties, hashbrowns, onions, American cheese), but also lighter fare like the roasted carrot yogurt.

Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe (7801 Panola Street)

A bright, quaint daytime cafe best known for its hearty American breakfast. Since opening in 1998, Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe has become a New Orleans fixture, known for some of the best breakfast in the city. Panola serves classics like Eggs Benedict, Crabcakes Benedict, and a host of specialty omelets from open to close (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.), along with hot-plate lunch specials every weekday.

Slim Goodies Diner (3322 Magazine Street)

An inexpensive local hangout with Southern staples and plenty of local color. Some of the house specialties are the inventively named slammers (different kinds of scrambles, from meaty to vegan, served with hash browns). The Creole Slammer, for instance, comes with a biscuit and crawfish étouffée. There’s also a lovely patio.

The Camellia Grill (626 S. Carrollton Avenue)

This legendary New Orleans diner has been serving hearty omelets and pecan pie since 1946. There will probably be a line, but it moves quickly, and you can get breakfast all day.

The Ruby Slipper Cafe (2802 Magazine Street)

This locally owned mini-chain is a must-go for heaping Southern staples like eggs cochon, shrimp and grits, and bacon praline pancakes. It’s got its award-winning formula down with generous portions, killer cocktails, upbeat and quick service, and a down-home vibe. Even if there’s a wait, it will be worth it.

Lunch

Ancora (4508 Freret Street)

Ancora’s pizza is made Neapolitan-style, using wood-burning ovens and without commercial yeast. Ancora makes its own starter, and the dough takes three days to prepare from start to finish, with a crust that is unique to New Orleans. Drinks include seasonal Italian sodas, craft cocktails, and wines from the Campania region of southern Italy. Ancora is located in a renovated building next to High Hat Cafe.

Apolline (4729 Magazine Street)

Set in a renovated double shotgun cottage, Apolline spotlights chef Michael Shelton’s creative use of local ingredients in modern Southern dishes like veal sweetbreads and crawfish bisque. Impress your date with some elevated dining, New Orleans style, or bring the family for brunch/lunch.

Casamento’s Restaurant (4330 Magazine Street)

A staple and a go-to destination for fresh seafood since 1919, Casamento’s is as New Orleans as it gets. Head on over to enjoy the oyster bar nestled inside a small, mosaic-tiled space, but also try any and all of the seafood offerings on the menu. Casamento’s should be on every local’s and visitors’ bucket list.

Cure (4905 Freret Street)

A popular destination for cocktail lovers, Cure is a stylish, upscale lounge located inside a renovated firehouse. There you can sip your Old-Fashioned surrounded by bottles of whiskey 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. This would have to be lunch on a later side, as Cure opens at 4 p.m. every day.

Dat Dog (5030 Freret Street; 3336 Magazine Street)

Dat Dog’s both Uptown locations have dog-friendly outdoor seating, great for people-watching too. At both locations, 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.

Guy’s Po-Boys (5259 Magazine Street)

Guy’s has been a beloved local lunch staple since the early 1990s. It’s often voted among the top five po-boy shops in the city, if not the top. The fried shrimp po-boy is definitely among the best in the city.

High Hat Cafe (4500 Freret Street)

This casual neighborhood eatery on the corner of Freret and Jena streets 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. How about a Southern feast of catfish with hushpuppies, braised greens, and black-eyed peas for brunch? Or try the Gumbo Ya-Ya with sweet potato salad. You’ll feel like you’re in an old-fashioned diner, only with a full bar. The tall glass windows offer a prime opportunity to people-watch.

La Petit Grocery (4238 Magazine Street)

La Petite Grocery, the former 19th-century neighborhood grocery, was transformed by owner-chefs Justin Devillier in 2010. A 2016 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: South, Devillier puts his creative spin on traditional New Orleans cuisine with dishes like blue crab beignets and shellfish stew.

Mint Modern Vietnamese Bistro & Bar (5100 Freret Street)

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.

Misa (4734 Magazine Street)

A welcome addition to the increasingly thriving Middle Eastern newcomers on Magazine Street, Misa offers Israeli and Lebanese specialties on its menu and outdoor dining. The small dining room and the patio are both lovely and cozy, and a great way to pass some time people-watching while gorging on lamb kebabs and housemade desserts.

Nomiya (4226 Magazine Street)

Nomiya defines itself as a New Orleans ramen bar and sticks to it by serving the traditional, pork-based tonkotsu plus two more types of broth. The menu is simple: pick your broth and the toppings, and maybe supplement with edamame and pork buns. The mochi ice cream flavors rotate.

Piccola Gelateria (4500 Magazine Street)

In addition to small-batch, house-made gelato and sorbetto in over a dozen flavors, this classic Italian-style gelato shop offers crepes (savory with meat, sweet with Nutella, and vegetarian). Piccola Gelateria sources local milk and cream, and sells its own, custom-blended, micro-roasted espresso. The place opens at noon, and could also serve well as a brunch destination.

Picnic Provisions & Whiskey (741 State Street)

Coming from the people helming Commander’s Palace, including co-founder and owner Tory McPhail, the former executive chef at Commander’s, this casual family-friendly spot serves comfort food cold and hot. Check out the mouthwatering hot fried chicken thighs along with a buttermilk biscuit and Cajun potato salad (crawfish boiled potatoes, sweet corn, chopped egg topped with crushed jalapeño Zapp’s chips). Eat indoors or outdoors, and bring your family and your pup.

Saba (5757 Magazine Street)

Alon Shaya’s Saba is the award-winning chef’s love letter to Middle Eastern cuisine, with a focus on Israeli culinary classics. Everything here, from hummus to labneh to falafel is worth sampling and very sharable. Saba is open for lunch Friday through Sunday.

Tal’s Hummus (4800 Magazine Street)

A great on-the-go option on the bustling Magazine Street, Tal’s is a quick-service-style tiny spot that specializes in Israeli-inspired food such as falafel, hummus, pita sandwiches, platters, kebabs, salads, and more. It’s fresh, quick, delicious, and made to order.

Taqueria Corona (5932 Magazine Street)

Taqueria Corona is a go-to for the whole family if you’re craving well-done classic Mexican food like tacos and burritos. The house margarita is a good deal, and tasty, too. This Uptown sit-down is popular for very good reasons and always seems to be packed, but the service is efficient, so you’ll be seated quickly. Taqueria Corona is not just our lunch recommendation, it’s a great pick for brunch and dinner as well.

Tito’s Ceviche & Pisco (5015 Magazine Street)

Tito’s Ceviche & Pisco is chef Juan Lock’s ode to the Peruvian culinary traditions, including ceviche, the national dish of his home country, and pisco sour, a popular national drink. The menu is laden with traditional Peruvian dishes made with love and fresh, local ingredients. Dine as a family, or bring a date — you won’t be disappointed either way.

The Company Burger (4600 Freret Street)

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 house burger comes with a fried egg, two patties, and bacon. The “not burger” options are also kept simple: hot dogs, and grilled cheese and fried chicken sandwiches.

Best Places for Co-Working Near the Alder Hotel

There’s something to be said for exploring a new city while leaving your everyday life and responsibilities behind. But occasionally, circumstances dictate that you bring your work on the road. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s a reality for many travelers. The silver lining? At many co-working locations, you can accomplish your tasks while soaking up uniquely New Orleans experiences — and see a side of the city that’s hidden from most tourists. These co-working destinations are less than two miles from the Alder Hotel, and all offer free wi-fi or public computers, along with a little lagniappe of grand, historic settings. The coffee shops and cafes listed above are also a good bet if you want a good, strong cup of locally sourced coffee while you work.

Howard-Tilton Memorial Library (Tulane University, 7001 Freret St.)

The Tulane library offers all the perks of being a student, without the stressful final exams. Situated on Tulane University’s lush, live oak-filled campus, this six-story library is a haven of solitude, and it’s open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily (after that hour, only library cardholders may enter the building). Visitor computers are available on the first floor of the Research Help Center, but wi-fi is limited to student use only. Head to the third-floor stacks if you’re seeking a quiet study area, or grab a cup of locally roasted coffee at PJ’s on the first floor.

Latter Branch Public Library (5120 St. Charles Ave.)

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this gorgeous 1907 neo-Italianate mansion on St. Charles Avenue would be worth a visit even if it didn’t offer all the amenities of a public library. The limestone building was donated to the city of New Orleans in 1958, and its beauty has been preserved: think chandelier-hung, antiques-furnished reading rooms, Dutch ceiling murals and mahogany paneling. On the more technology-centered side, there’s printing, wi-fi (out-of-town visitors get a free one-hour pass with a valid I.D.), computers for public use, and outdoor garden seating. It’s a way to be productive while experiencing a very New Orleans setting.

Propeller (4035 Washington Ave.)

Looking for blazing-fast wi-fi, free coffee, printing, scanners, copy machines, and a community of like-minded individuals? This 10,000-square-foot, industrial-chic space is the spot. Co-working desks can be rented by the day or month. And if you need to organize a presentation during your visit, there are projector-equipped conference rooms available to rent. Propeller is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but 24/7 access is available to its members or anyone for a fee.

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 room at the time of booking, call 1.888.626.5861, and we will match that rate, too.

New Orleans Food Bucket List, Uptown Edition

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 The Camellia Grill (626 S. 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.

For satisfying lunch options, try the house burger at The Company Burger (4600 Freret St.) or the fried shrimp po-boy at Guy’s Po-Boys. The burger 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.

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 raw oysters, which you can enjoy with Superior’s signature frozen pomegranate mojito.

Another option is Casamento’s Restaurant (4330 Magazine St.). A staple and a go-to destination for fresh seafood since 1919, Casamento’s is as New Orleans as it gets. Head on over to enjoy the oyster bar nestled inside a small, mosaic-tiled space, but also try any and all of the seafood offerings on the menu. Casamento’s should be on every local’s and visitors’ bucket list.

Also on the streetcar’s route, Luke (333 St. Charles Ave.) offers a raw bar complemented by Executive Chef Erick Loos’ Creole-inspired menu that features plenty of seafood and local ingredients. The menu’s seasonal ingredients come from the Gulf and local farms and are highlighted in dishes like BBQ Gulf oysters and trout Amandine. If you’d like a really well-made martini with your dozen raw, head to the iconic Pascal’s Manale (1838 Napoleon Ave.), where oysters are shucked right in front of you.

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” lists, for reasons that will become clear as soon as you dig into its grilled tuna sandwich, or shrimp and fish ceviche. The French-Southern menu sports some Italian influences (evident in the presence of housemade spaghetti), with a spotlight on local, seasonal produce and sustainably sourced seafood and meats.

For 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, has a fantastic selection of sweet and savory crepes. Patois (6078 Laurel St.), helmed by Chef Aaron Burgau, puts a local spin on mussels, scallops, and southern staples like seasonal gumbo 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.

The 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 Meg Bickford’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.

Set in a renovated double shotgun cottage, Apolline (4729 Magazine St.) spotlights chef Michael Shelton’s creative use of local ingredients in modern Southern dishes like veal sweetbreads and crawfish bisque. Impress your date with some elevated dining, New Orleans style, or bring the family for brunch.

At La Petit Grocery (4238 Magazine St.), the James Beard Award-winning chef and owner Justin Devillier puts his creative spin on traditional New Orleans cuisine with dishes like blue crab beignets and shellfish stew.

If you’re here from March through October no New Orleans visit would be complete without 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 flavors. 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 (3025 Magazine St.) cannot be beat for its Parisian patisserie feel and amazing macaroons the whole family could enjoy.

Bon appetit!

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

The Freret neighborhood, where the Alder Hotel is located, is full of historic destinations, architectural landmarks, lush greenery, delicious culinary adventures, and fun shopping. There’s plenty to see, do, eat, and drink around here. Here are our top 12 reasons to stay at the Alder Hotel in the historic Freret neighborhood.

1. Free 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 grab this opportunity pronto! There’s also street parking available near the hotel, but it might be limited depending on the time of day and year.

2. You Can Bring Your Pet

We are a pet-friendly New Orleans 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 need supervision for your dog while you sightsee, we recommend Zeus’ Place (4601 Freret St.).

Want to take your furry friend with you wherever you go? No problem! The Freret neighborhood, like much of New Orleans, is very dog-friendly. You’ll find a few parks and dog runs nearby, and plenty of restaurants and cafes in the area that will welcome your dog and put out a water bowl.

3. Navigation Is Easy

You can explore much of the neighborhood on foot, but, the most popular way to do it is to ride the historic streetcar along St. Charles Avenue. You can ride for $1.25, exact change; or get a $3-day pass for unlimited rides (also, check out our preferred and therefore most recommended walking route from the hotel to catch the St. Charles Ave. streetcar).

Take the streetcar from the CBD/downtown all the way upriver, or anywhere in between, as the streetcar stops on almost every block 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 impressive gardens. Heading into Carrolton and toward the Mississippi River, the imposing facades and sprawling balconies become generously mixed with the more modest but still well-preserved shotguns and thriving local businesses, including some of the best bars and restaurants in the city.

4. Shopping and Entertainment on Freret Street

One of the main attractions in the neighborhood is Freret Street, named after an antebellum New Orleans mayor. The stately mansions mix with the historic shotguns, surrounding the thriving eight-block corridor of Freret Street between Napoleon and Jefferson avenues. Due to the robust recovery and development efforts led by the locally-owned small businesses, developers, and the city administration, the street got an injection of much-needed business and renovation and is showing no signs of slowing down. The neighborhood enjoys its own monthly market and an annual festival, both held along Freret Street’s commercial strip. It even has its own Carnival krewe, Krewe of Freret, which parades during Mardi Gras and hosts a summer stroll.

5. The Lively Commercial Corridor of Magazine Street

Magazine Street runs parallel to St. Charles Avenue, about 10 blocks apart. Just like Freret Street’s revitalized strip, the 13 blocks of Magazine Street are meant to be walked. It’s the main commercial artery that the Garden District and Uptown share, and it’s crammed with restaurants, bars, sidewalk cafes, and dozens of retail stores where you can buy local art, antiques, vintage clothing, funky costumes, and more.

6. Numerous Options for Eating and Drinking Your Way Through the Neighborhood

Just walking down the Freret Street or Magazine Street corridors will bring you to the top-notch (and some of the most diverse) shopping and entertainment destinations. Of course, there’s plenty to eat and drink there as well.

You can start your 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. For lunch, try alligator sausage at the affordable Dat Dog. Catfish is the star of the menu of the Louisiana-meets-the-Delta High Hat Cafe, and The Company Burger offers potent house cocktails along with its milkshakes and lamb burgers.

Is it happy hour yet? Have a craft cocktail at Cure or a glass of award-winning wine at Bar Frances. For another popular happy hour, head to Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar to take advantage of its full-service oyster bar and Superior’s signature frozen pomegranate mojito. Another option is The Avenue Pub, the iconic Lower Garden District pub that boasts fireplaces, tin ceilings, a balcony overlooking St. Charles Avenue, a pool table, and sidewalk and patio seating.

There are numerous options to have an unforgettable dinner 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.)

Two of our favorites won’t ever steer you wrong: The James Beard Award winner Chef Donald Link’s Herbsaint, the flagship of the Link Restaurant Group (which runs several businesses including Peche, Cochon and La Boulangerie), and Desi Vega’s Steakhouse, an elegant, high-ceilinged classic steakhouse with a few local touches, located inside the Lafayette Hotel, a French Regency-style 1916 landmark overlooking Lafayette Square.

7. The Historic Audubon Park and Zoo

The magnificent 19th-century, 350-acre Audubon Park that contains the Audubon Zoo 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 much more. 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.

8. Loyola and Tulane Universities

Right across Audubon Park, you’ll find the campuses of Tulane and Loyola universities. Both boast an architectural mix of styles of the 19th century and modern, with the backdrop of large live oaks. 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. Note that the Newcomb Art Museum on Tulane University’s campus is free and open to the public. Past and present exhibitions have focused on contributions by women artists in the multi-disciplinary fields spanning art and design.

You can find Loyola’s sprawling main campus adjacent to Tulane and facing St. Charles Avenue and Audubon Park. It was established in 1904 on the land purchased by the New Orleans Jesuits in 1889. Marquette Hall is the oldest campus building and is the iconic image of the university you’ll probably recognize the most.

9. Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Temporarily closed for maintenance and repairs as of 2022.

No Uptown architectural tour is complete without hitting the above-ground Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 on Washington Avenue, in the heart of the Garden District. It’s the oldest of the seven city-operated cemeteries in New Orleans, with some interesting society tombs (the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Home For Destitute Orphan Boys among them) and over a thousand family tombs. The iconic cemetery has served as a popular backdrop for many music videos and movies over the years. Right across the street is the incomparable Commander’s Palace, where you will find elevated Creole fare and a 25-cent martini lunch special.

10. Ochsner Baptist Medical Center

The hotel’s close proximity to the Ochsner Baptist sprawling medical campus means you get the advantage of dedicated security patrolling the area. It’s also one of the best, fully staffed medical centers in Louisiana, should you need any medical services during your stay.

11. Enjoying a Workout During Your Stay

Staying at the Alder Hotel means you’re within walking distance from Anytime Fitness (the 4600 Freret St. location), which offers state-of-the-art cardio machines, free weights and exercise classes. Ask the concierge for directions; it’s just a five-minute walk away.

12. Catching a Movie at the Longest Continually Operated Theater in the South

More than a century old, the family-run Prytania Theatre screens first-run features daily, and hosts screenings of classic movies every Wednesday and Saturday. Grab some buttered popcorn, or a gourmet treat from the espresso bar, and sit back and enjoy the show.

Want to dig deeper? Explore our up-to-date Uptown guides to help you get the most out of your stay:

Food and Drink
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

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
Shopping the Freret Market
Edible Souvenirs From New Orleans
Guide to the New Orleans Art Markets

Planning Your Itinerary
Your Itinerary: 24-Hours in Uptown New Orleans
Rainy Day Fun Near the Alder Hotel
Uptown New Orleans: A Family-Friendly Itinerary
Fun with Fido in Uptown New Orleans

Don’t Miss Freret Street Festival

Freret Street Festival
Photo by Derek Bridges

One of the most anticipated spring events in the always-stellar lineup of the festival season in New Orleans, the Freret Street Festival stands out as the biggest neighborhood festival in the city. This free festival is typically held in late March or early April (the 2022 fest was on March 26) on the stretch of Freret Street from Napoleon to Valmont. It’s only a five-minute walk from the hotel!

In previous years, the festival featured about 200 vendors, including many food vendors and popups, Big Easy Rollergirls, a kids’ area, and pet adoptions from Zeus Place, the fellow Freret Street neighbor. The three stages host a great lineup of live, local music (past acts included Where Y’Acht, Little Freddie King, and Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers), dance demos, and much more.

The festival has been growing since the mid-1990s as a vital part of the renaissance Freret Street is currently experiencing. The eight blocks stretching from Downtown to Uptown New Orleans parallel to St. Charles Avenue are known as a popular destination for food, shopping and entertainment. The street hosts many restaurants, specialty shops, art galleries, bars, coffee shops, and more.

This time of year, the weather will most likely be glorious, so dress light, but don’t forget the sunscreen, as you’ll be likely to spend a day in the sun. The Freret Street Festival is located near the University District, which contains the Tulane and Loyola campuses. The area is easy to navigate and get to from the French Quarter and other areas by car and public transportation. There’s off-street parking in the lot at the corner of Cadiz and Magnolia Streets, and plenty of street parking on adjacent streets.

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

St. Charles Avenue Streetcar by Sharon Mollerus on flickr

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

There’s a way to see New Orleans’ Uptown, Garden District, Carrollton, and Central Business District (CBD) neighborhoods that are historically accurate, affordable, and entertaining. It’s called the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, and a ride costs $1.25. Best of all, the streetcar stop is less than a mile away from the Alder Hotel — about a 15-minute walk. Here’s what to know before you go and which destinations are worth a visit, organized by street addresses as you head further from Uptown and then downtown.

Streetcar Facts

Stroll to the intersection of St. Charles Avenue and Cadiz streets, where the streetcar stops. If you want to head downtown, stand on the riverside (south) of St. Charles Avenue. If you are heading further Uptown, stand on the lakeside (north) of St. Charles Avenue. Have exact change — $1.25 for a one-way ride, or $3 for a Jazzy Pass, which gives you unlimited rides for the day.

Pay the driver and settle into a vintage mahogany bench. St. Charles Avenue streetcars are not air-conditioned and are not wheelchair accessible, although that will change soon (the city’s other lines using red, not green, streetcars are wheelchair accessible, by the way).

To make a stop, simply pull the horizontal cord running across your window to signal to the driver that you want to get off. Ideally, you should exit using the rear doors, but this recommendation is often ignored by locals and visitors alike.

Stop 1: Audubon Park (6500 Magazine St.)

Begin your streetcar adventure by heading further Uptown to Audubon Park. You should see the live oak trees, running paths, lakes, and playground equipment from the streetcar, but if not, just pull the cord when you hit Calhoun Street. Take a stroll through the 350-acre public park, where New Orleanians have come to relax since 1898. At the very rear of the park lies the Audubon Zoo. The elephants, tigers, white alligators, monkeys, and other animals make a visit to this beautifully landscaped zoo a must.

Stop 2: Tulane and Loyola Universities (6363-6823 St. Charles Ave.)

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 the 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 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 deserve a walkthrough thanks to their architectural significance and well-landscaped grounds.

Stop 3: Newcomb Art Museum (6823 St. Charles Ave.)

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 abstractionists and contributions by women artists in the multi-disciplinary fields spanning art and design. Be sure you have a map handy, and check hours before you go.

Stop 4: The Camellia Grill (626 Carrollton Ave.)

By this time, you’ve probably worked up an appetite. Head further Uptown, to the Riverbend area, and hop off at the Camellia Grill, a classic diner where white-jacketed staff members serve up delicacies ranging from grilled pecan pie to cheeseburgers and cherry-chocolate slushies. There may be a line of Tulane students, tourists, and locals waiting for a seat, but it’s well worth the delay. Get in line and find out why Camellia Grill has been an institution since 1946.

Stop 5: Ogden Museum of Southern Art (925 Camp St.)

To get to the Ogden, also get off at Harmony Circle. You’ll find this museum a block away on Camp Street, which runs parallel to St. Charles Avenue. The Ogden puts a spotlight on the visual arts and culture of the American South, holding some of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Southern art in the U.S. The museum was founded in 1999 with donations of more than 600 works from New Orleans businessman Roger H. Ogden’s private collection and has grown since to include more than 4,000 works.

Stop 6: Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) (900 Camp St.)

The CAC is a must-stop and a Warehouse District staple, with an impressive roster of events ranging from world-class visual arts exhibitions to performing arts shows. There’s always something cooking up at this vibrant cultural hub: art camps, workshops, avant-garde music shows, and much more. The building, a historic 1905 warehouse located between Andrew Higgins Drive and St. Joseph Street one block from Lee Circle, is a sight to behold. Inside, it’s a 30,000-square-foot dazzling maze of sunlit open spaces, site-specific art installations, theaters, studios, and an atrium.

If you happen to be here in August, the CAC hosts a massive and popular White Linen Night on the month’s first Saturday. The first Saturday in October is reserved for another important art happening, Art for Art’ Sake. The CAC’s party calendar is full year-round, however, with the venue hosting everything from world-renowned jazz musicians to burlesque to beloved Louisiana acts like Lost Bayou Ramblers.

Stop 7: Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar (4338 St. Charles Ave.)

You can’t miss the imposing building on the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon Avenues, so hop right off for some seafood-centric Creole fare with some of the best views of St. Charles Avenue in the city (and some prime parade-watching spots if you’re here during Mardi Gras). The decor has a lot going for itself too: gigantic windows, a 32-foot zinc bar imported from France, vintage wood floors and beadboard ceilings salvaged from the New Orleans’ long-gone landmarks, antique French dining chairs, oversize wall mirrors, and porch and patio seating.

The menu is Louisiana classics, from po-boys to whatever fresh catch is swimming in the Gulf. Take advantage of the popular happy hour and a full-service oyster bar: deals on raw oysters, washed down with Superior’s signature frozen pomegranate mojito.

Stop 8: The Avenue Pub (1732 St Charles Ave.)

This iconic Lower Garden District pub boasts fireplaces, tin ceilings, a balcony overlooking St. Charles Avenue, a pool table, and sidewalk and patio seating. Under new ownership since 2022, the pub churns out quality grub and features a ton of craft beer.

Stop 9: Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave.)

James Beard Award winner Chef Donald Link’s wildly popular restaurant 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” lists for reasons that will become clear as soon as you dig into its crispy goat, or shrimp and fish ceviche — or anything. The menu is best described as French-Southern, with 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.

Herbsaint offers a great view of St. Charles Avenue and outdoor seating. Ask the knowledgeable staff for pairing recommendations from the restaurant’s eclectic wine list.

Stop 10: Desi Vega’s Steakhouse (628 St. Charles Ave.)

Desi Vega’s Steakhouse is an elegant, high-ceilinged space with street views and lots of room. It’s located inside the Lafayette Hotel, a French Regency-style 1916 landmark overlooking Lafayette Square. The menu is classic ribeye and filet mignon, seafood, and sides, but with local touches like Andouille and crawfish mac ‘n’ cheese named after Freddie McAfee, a former New Orleans Saints player. Two full bars flank the staircase at Desi Vega, with a daily happy hour.

Spot 11: Gallier Hall (545 St. Charles Ave.)

This historic Greek Revival building overlooks the charming Lafayette Square in New Orleans’ Central Business District (CBD) and has a colorful past. Built in 1845–53, it used to house the City Hall, hosted many events during the Reconstruction and Huey Long eras, and is still in use today. Such important New Orleans figures as Jefferson Davis, General Beauregard, and, most recently, the local R&B legend Ernie K-Doe lay in state in Gallier Hall. It also remains a focal point of the Uptown Mardi Gras parades.

The building is considered to be one of the finest works of architect James Gallier, standing three stories tall and featuring Tuckahoe marble and two rows of fluted Ionic columns. Inside, Gallier Hall is a treasure trove of grand ballrooms full of paintings, antique frames and mirrors, clocks, Steinway pianos, and dozens of chandeliers. A large-scale renovation has been completed in March 2018 as part of the city’s tricentennial celebration, refurbishing the period details and installing a state-of-the-art A/V system.

Stop 12: Luke (333 St. Charles Ave.)

Luke joins an impressive roster of CBD’s notable restaurants with its prime location and brasserie vibe. Executive Chef Erick Loos helms the kitchen, and his French/German menu has a Creole flavor and highlights fresh, seasonal ingredients that come from the Gulf and local farms in dishes like stuffed Gulf oysters, Creole seafood, and sausage gumbo. The elegant dining space contains a raw bar, and you can get raw oysters for a bargain during Luke’s happy hour. Other highlights are Luke’s massive burger and its famous French 75 as well as other bartender-created specialty cocktails.

Well, there you have it. From there, you can walk or take the streetcar down to Canal Street to kick off a night in the French Quarter, or ride back Uptown and call it a night. Either way, you’ll have gotten in a full day of sightseeing, eating, and drinking.