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Alder Hotel - Uptown - New Orleans
4545 Magnolia St. New Orleans, LA 70115
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Category Archive: Things To Do in New Orleans

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

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    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’s 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 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 the 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 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 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, as the museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and between exhibitions.

    Stop 4: 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: Circle Bar (1032 St. Charles Ave.)

    At this point, it’s probably happy hour somewhere — which means it’s time to kick back with a drink. Take the streetcar downtown to the traffic circle (don’t forget to feast your eyes on the palatial St. Charles Avenue estates as you pass). At the Lee Circle, 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.

    Stop 6: Ogden Museum of Southern Art (925 Camp St.)

    To get to the Ogden, also get off at the Lee 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 donation 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 7: 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 the world-renowned jazz musicians to burlesque to beloved Louisiana acts like Lost Bayou Ramblers.

    Stop 8: 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: the raw oysters are a steal, washed down with Superior’s signature frozen pomegranate mojito.

    Stop 9: 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. The downstairs bar is open 24/7 and the small kitchen churns out quality pub grub. The menu is limited and can’t accommodate food allergies, but you’re guaranteed at least a burger and fries. For beer nerds, the daily tap rotating menu is posted online.

     Stop 10: Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar (715 St. Charles Ave.)

    Marcello’s is family-owned and operated, with locations in Lafayette and Baton Rouge in addition to New Orleans. It’s classy/casual, with a large wine selection and Sicilian & Northern Italian fare like mussels and the antipasti board. You can select your bottle of wine from Marcello’s racks as you would in a store, at prices below the traditional restaurant wine list markups. The restaurant is located in a historic 1930s building and has outdoor seating.

     Stop 11: 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” list 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 on St. Charles Avenue and outdoor seating. Ask the knowledgeable staff for pairing recommendations off the restaurant’s eclectic wine list.

    Stop 12: 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 are flank the staircase at Desi Vega, with a daily happy hour.

    Spot 13: 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, has 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 state-of-the-art A/V system.

    Stop 14: Luke (333 St. Charles Ave.)

    Luke joins an impressive roster of CBD’s notable restaurants with its prime location and a 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, and 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.

  2. 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

  3. Guide to the New Orleans Art Markets

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    French Market

    There are a few quality indoor and open-air art markets in New Orleans, so you have choices all year round in addition to all the great galleries in the French Quarter, Warehouse District, and on Magazine Street Uptown. Prices range from a few bucks to four digits, and the options are plentiful, from the souvenir trinkets to unique local art. Whatever you’re on the hunt for, you can find a piece of art with your name on it at these New Orleans art markets.

    Artists of Jackson Square

     Where: 700 Chartres Street, Jackson Square, French Quarter

     Where: Open daily

     Hours: 5:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

     Although technically not a market under any organization’s umbrella, the art lined along the fence and on the sidewalks of Jackson Square and the Pontalba buildings flanking it often rivals what you might find in a gallery on Julia Street. The loose, self-regulated colony of artists that, weather permitting, displays their original artwork day in and day out, is as essential to the scene as the historic buildings themselves. All vendors have a permit from the city, and quite a few of them have been selling in Jackson Square for decades. You’ll find them all year round, but more artists come out on weekends, in the evenings, and during big events like Mardi Gras.

    Arts Market of New Orleans

     Where: Palmer Park, S. Claiborne and S. Carrolton Avenues, Carrollton/Uptown

     When: Last Saturday of every month

     Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

     The Arts Market New Orleans is the Arts Council’s free, open-air, family-friendly monthly marketplace that features between 80 and 130 artists, both local and from all over the Gulf Coast. You’ll find affordable paintings, photography, ceramics, and glasswork, plus everything from jewelry to soap. Food vendors and live music are also featured.

    French Market

     Where: 700-1010 Decatur Street, French Quarter

     When: Open daily

     Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.               

     This sprawling open-air mall was founded in 1791, which makes it the oldest continually operating public market in the country. You can spend hours strolling through this six-block market reminiscent of traditional European markets, from the daily flea market at the end of Esplanade Avenue, through the farmers market stalls, and all the down to Cafe du Monde on Decatur Street. Vendors offer their creations in all price ranges. Depending on the time of year you visit the French Market, you might walk into a festival taking place, and there’s a good chance you’ll be hearing live music on any given day.

    Freret Market

     Where: Freret and Napoleon Streets, Freret/Uptown

     When: First Saturday of the month except for July and August, with two markets in December

     Hours: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

     Freret Market was born in 2007 as part of the revitalization effort of the commercial corridor of Freret Street and has been impressively successful since. This open-air market combines the elements of art, food and flea markets, and features dozens of 90 vendors offering everything from crepes to dog adoptions. The market also features special events, local restaurant and catering business pop-ups and food carts, and live music. Freret Street kicks it up with an annual festival on the first Saturday of April, with many participating vendors who are also the market regulars.

    Palace Market Frenchmen

    Where: 619 Frenchmen Street, Marigny

     When:  Open daily

     Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 7 p.m. – midnight; Thursday – Saturday 7 p.m. – 1 a.m.

    This open-air night market gets a lot of foot traffic thanks to its prime location on the historic Frenchmen Street in the Marigny, just steps from the French Quarter. It features a diverse rotating collection of over 80 local illustrators, painters, jewelers, sculptors, and more. If you want to bring home some handmade New Orleans-themed art, this is the place to get it.

    Piety Market in Exile

    Where: New Orleans Healing Center, 2372 St. Claude Avenue, Bywater

    When: Second Saturday every month, with additional holiday markets throughout the year

    Hours: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

    After a five-year stint at the Old Ironworks on Piety Street in the Bywater, Piety Market has found a new home at the New Orleans Healing Center, which is located across the street from St. Roch Market in the lively St. Claude Avenue corridor. This bustling market is a must for local art, craft, vintage and flea market merch, and it also features live acoustic music and pop-up food.

    SecondLine Arts & Antiques

     Where: 1209 Decatur Street, French Quarter

     When: Thursday – Sunday

     Hours: Thursday – Sunday 5:30 p.m. – midnight; Friday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

     Located on a busy block of Decatur Street not far from the French Market in the French Quarter, SecondLine Arts & Antiques gets a lot of foot traffic in its expansive indoor and outdoor spaces. The inside is crammed with both the funky, junkyard-type salvaged pieces of ironwork, signs and windows, and the more serious antiques. Right outside, the art and flea market is filled with furniture and tons of local art, all priced to move quickly.

    Zele NOLA

     Where: 2841 Magazine Street, Garden District

     When: Open daily

     Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday noon – 5 p.m.

     Located on Magazine Street between 7th and 8th streets, this permanent indoor market features more than 100 shops under one roof. There you’ll find locally made art, clothing, crafts, home decor, and jewelry you can take home. The eclectic inventory is mostly handmade, and maintains the green theme by featuring recycled and repurposed items.

  4. Our Neighborhood — Most Popular Attractions Near the Alder Hotel

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    There’s plenty to explore around the Alder Hotel, even on foot. Mostly, this area of the city is heavily residential, with the late-19th century houses and small commercial properties drowning in lush greenery. The grand mansions under the canopies of live oaks of St. Charles Avenue are a few blocks away, and so is the shopping and dining strip of Magazine 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 has 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.

    Just walking down the Freret Street corridor 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. In the morning, hit up the dim and cozy Mojo Coffee House or the Rook Cafe for vegan pastries and locally roasted coffee.

    Need something more substantial first thing in the morning? The fun, upbeat Slim Goodies Diner on Magazine Street won’t steer you wrong with its inventively named slammers (different kinds of scrambles, from meaty to vegan, served with hash browns). Another inexpensive option is the Camellia Grill, a legendary Carrollton Avenue diner that’s 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.

    For lunch, try alligator sausage at the affordable Dat Dog, or have a craft cocktail at Cure and a glass of award-winning wine at Bar Frances come happy hour. Catfish is the star of the menu of the Louisiana-meets-the-Delta High Hat Cafe, and the recently revamped gastropub Freret Beer Room focuses on pairing craft beer with modern American cuisine (sandwiches, salads, cheese, and charcuterie boards).

    Cuban, Mexican and Central American fare like fish tacos and fried yucca plus excellent margaritas have earned Sarita’s Grill a loyal local following; and check out Mint Modern Vietnamese Bistro & Bar for several varieties of pho, banh mi, or a kimchi burger.

    The very photogenic St. Charles Avenue is probably best seen out of its historic streetcar, which you can ride for all of $1.25 from the CBD/downtown all the way upriver (exact change required, or get passes online). The street has retained a good number of historically significant 19th-century mansions, and you’ll find a lot of them in the Garden District section of Uptown.

    St. Charles Avenue hosts one of the best collections of historic houses in the South, including the “Wedding Cake House” (5807 St. Charles Ave.), the 1896 Colonial Revival home with lots of Victorian splendor to offer; the “Anthemion” (4631 St. Charles Ave.), which used to house the Japanese consulate; the “Smith House” (4534 St. Charles Ave.), built in 1906 for the president of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange, William Smith; the “Elms Mansion” (3029 St. Charles Ave.), a 1869 architectural wonder; and the “Diocesan” (2265 St. Charles Ave.), designed and built by the prominent local architect James Gallier.

    Another St. Charles Avenue gem that deserves a mention is the Milton H. Latter Memorial Library, a restored neo-Italianate limestone mansion built in 1907 for a wealthy merchant, Mark Isaacs. Inside, you’ll find the original ceiling frescoes and murals, and the well-preserved formal rooms on the first two floors.

    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.

    Of course, don’t miss the magnificent Audubon Park that contains the Audubon Zoo and faces the historic campuses of Tulane and Loyola. Both boast an architectural mix of styles of the 19th century and modern, with the backdrop of large live oaks.

    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. Get some locally made New Orleans-centric gear at Dirty Coast or Fleurty Girl, or satisfy your costuming and vintage needs at Funky Monkey and Miss Claudia’s Vintage Clothing & Costumes.

    If you’d like a dozen raw oysters with your martini, head to the iconic Pascal Manale, where oysters are shucked right in front of you and the happy hour is a decades-long tradition. For live music, the iconic Tipitina’s and the Maple Leaf Bar cannot be beat, both a short ride away. There’s also something going on at Gasa Gasa, be it a movie screening, live music, or a krewe party.

    Finally, 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, 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 (Double JeopardyDracula, etc.).

    And right across the street is the incomparable Commander’s Palace (elevated Creole fare and a 25-cent martini lunch special!), a slice of classic New Orleans, not to be missed.

    Happy exploring near the Alder Hotel!

  5. Shopping the Freret Market

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    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 80-90 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 of the annual Freret Street Festival, held on the first Saturday in April. The festival has been growing since the mid-1990s, with about 200 vendors participating last year.

    The weekly sampling of food vendors at the Freret Market includes Iacovone Kitchen with fresh, chef-driven menu of panini, Gulf shrimp and rice bowls, Soulful Solutions NOLA (healthy versions of New Orleans’ soul food faves), and The Creole Caveman (allergy-friendly, gluten-free Creole-inspired fare with many vegan offerings). You can also expect to see some of the local catering businesses and food trucks every week, such as La Cocinita, a gem of a food truck that dishes out the Venezuelan-inspired Latin American street fare, and Any O’Cajun, which serves Southern favorites like corn-and-crab bisque. While at the market, make sure you stop by the Gachi stall, to check out the artisan-crafted tea sustainably sourced from small farms and co-ops.

    There are many opportunities to indulge your sweet tooth (check out Keyala’s Pralines), 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!

  6. Uptown New Orleans: A Family-Friendly Itinerary

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    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 early April. 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 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.

    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 the 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.

    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 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 Street location 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 already kid-friendly, but there’s also a kids’ menu — with grilled cheese, fried shrimp and catfish, and more. 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 the grilled shrimp and grilled chicken pasta alfredo.

    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 locations Uptown). 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.

    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 Avenue, Magazine 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 from noon till 4 p.m. The event features live music and plenty of food vendors. Magazine and Freret Streets are easy to walk, and you can take a streetcar all the way 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 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.

    To take in all the beauty of the Italianate, Victorian and Greek Revival architecture of Uptown, you can take your kids on a free walking tour. Many of the original mid-19th century mansions have been immaculately preserved and are surrounded by the 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.

    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. Tickets are $22.95 for adults and $17.95 for kids ages 2-12 (Cool Zoo is $12 extra).

    Another remarkable destination for the kids is the Louisiana Children’s Museum, a 30,000 sq. ft. space of over 100 interactive exhibits that include a climbing wall, art studio, and mock cafe. Tiny tots have they own play area. And last but not least, the Maple Street Book Shop is a treasure trove of all things Louisiana and offers free storytime for kids on Saturday mornings.

    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 Hook’s 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 (prices range from $12.50 for three items to $30 for 10).

    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 Street location 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 already kid-friendly, but there’s also a kids’ menu — with grilled cheese, fried shrimp and catfish, and more. 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 the grilled shrimp and grilled chicken pasta alfredo.

    For a sweet treat, Sucre on Magazine Street cannot be beat for its Parisian patisserie feel and dozens of amazing confections. The whole family will enjoy the cakes and the macaroons, and there is a serious beverage menu for the adults to enjoy. 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 location 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.

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

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

    The New Orleans dance card is full all year round, from major music and culture events like Jazz Fest to honoring just about every type of food we enjoy in Louisiana with its own festival, to the unique traditions like Super Sunday and Reveillon. Check out these annual events grouped by the season.

     Winter

    The weather is mild, the streetcars are decked with wreaths, and the city is alight with the holiday sparkle. The family-friendly Celebration in the Oaks and NOLA ChristmasFest keep the dazzle going. The ChristmasFest is the only indoor Christmas festival in the area, taking over the Convention Center starting in the third week of December and wrapping on New Year’s Eve. The fest features giant slides, inflatables, rides, a gingerbread house display, and the New Orleans’ only ice-skating rink.

    Celebration in the Oaks is a beloved New Orleans tradition that has been around for over 30 years. It’s a dazzling display of holiday lights scattered throughout the 25 acres of the City Park, including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. The park is swathed in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, with hundreds of visitors strolling through the grounds, riding the historic carousel and the miniature train, photo-opping with the iconic Mr. Bingle, and enjoying the caroling and the holiday shopping. Celebration in the Oaks typically opens on Thanksgiving weekend and runs up to the first week of January.

    During the second weekend of December, the LUNA Fête light show illuminates part of the New Orleans Central Business District, on and around the Lafayette Square. The annual large-scale light and sound installations are fascinating, and the fest is free and family-friendly.

    The bonfires on the bayou, concerts at St. Louis Cathedral and Reveillon dinners are also the New Orleans holiday traditions that make the season so special. The New Year’s Eve in Jackson Square, the Sugar Bowl in the Superdome, and the popular Tet Fest, which celebrates the Lunar New Year with the help of the largest Vietnamese communities in the country, all ring in the new year. The Dick Clark Rockin’ New Year’s Eve near the historic Jax Brewery in the French Quarter features a live fleur-de-lis drop at midnight and the countdown on Jackson Square, followed by the fireworks over the Mississippi River and the night of revelry.

    Just when the rest of the country settles down we’re just getting started, with the Twelfth Night marking the beginning of the Carnival season (always on January 6) with three parades. Phunny Phorty Phellows board the St. Charles streetcar line Uptown and ride it to Canal Street and back, with toasts and revelry along the way. In the French Quarter, the Krewe of Joan of Arc walking parade rolls from Jax Brewery and celebrates St. Joan’s birthday with medieval pageantry. Société Des Champs Elysée rounds up the night of festivities. Time for the first beads of Mardi Gras and king cake!

    Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) always falls on a Tuesday, but the actual dates, occurring sometime between February 3 and March 9, change every year depending on Easter, tied to the Catholic calendar and counting 47 days before Easter Sunday. This year, Mardi Gras falls on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, and there’s much to see and do (check out the comprehensive guides here and here to get an idea of the scope of the Carnival).

    Once that’s over, it’s time to celebrate Valentine’s Day in one of the most romantic cities in the country! Need ideas of what to do as a couple near the hotel, in the Uptown area of New Orleans? We have suggestions!

    Spring

    The lovely weather brings the endless festivals this time of year, with BUKU Music + Art Project, New Orleans Wine & Food Experience and the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in March (don’t miss the “Stella!” shouting contest on Jackson Square). Also on the menu is the massive annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, including several parades and block parties, and the Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday, a treasured tradition dating back to the 19th century and held on the Sunday closest to St. Joseph’s Day (March 19), which falls on Sunday, March 15, 2020 this year. Presented by the Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the Louisiana Cajun Zydeco Festival is a free weekend event held at Louis Armstrong Park (March 28-29, 2020).

    The spring’s heaviest hitter is, of course, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, with its multiple stages and excellent lineup. The Bayou Boogaloo is held over three days in late May on the picturesque banks of Bayou St. John in Mid-City, and the Freret Street Festival in early April is getting bigger every year. Then there is the immensely popular French Quarter Festival (April 16-19, 2020), one of the largest free music festivals in the U.S., with multiple stages set throughout the French Quarter.

    Crescent City Classic, the annual 10K run, is one of the largest athletic events in New Orleans. Held on the Saturday before Easter Sunday each year, this year’s race falls on Saturday, April 11, 2020. Runners take off from Jackson Square, run through the French Quarter and the Tremé, then up the majestic Esplanade Avenue all the way to City Park.

    Ready for more parades? New Orleans is one of the most Catholic cities in the country, and it celebrates Easter (Sunday, April 12, 2020) with three big parades, brunches, and parties all over the city.

    Summer

    Hotel rates are at their lowest and there’re plenty to do indoors to escape the heat. The best restaurants and bars in town celebrate the ever-growing Tales of the Cocktail in July and COOLinary New Orleans with prix fixe menus in August. You can also browse the galleries on the White Linen Night (or its cheeky cousin, the Dirty Linen Night).

    The city comes to life for the Satchmo SummerFest and a slew of events over the Fourth of July and the Labor Day weekends, like Go 4th on the River, the Essence Festival at the Superdome, and the incomparable Southern Decadence festival.

    The French Market Creole Tomato Festival is one the smaller fests to enjoy, and Running of the Bulls brings Encierro to New Orleans, except the bulls are the Big Easy Rollergirls! And, speaking of running, the Red Dress Run, held on the second Saturday of August, is a fun fundraiser to don the red outfit and brave the heat for.

    Fall

    The temps are down and it’s time to hit the city’s parks and squares. The endless stream of food and drink fests continues with Boudin, Bourbon, and BeerNOLA on Tap (the largest beer fest in the Gulf South that benefits the LA SPCA), Tremé Fall Festival, Restaurant Week New Orleans in mid-September, Crescent City Blues & BBQ, Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival, and the Fried Chicken Festival. Phew!

    Held on the first Saturday in October (October 3, 2020), Art for Art’s Sake has grown and into a citywide phenomenon since the ‘80s, packed with openings at Julia Street galleries and special events along Magazine Street.

    The fall in New Orleans also means the Saints football and Carnaval Latino in mid-October. New Orleans does Halloween like no other city, including the Krewe of Boo parade (Saturday, October 24, 2020) and the massive Voodoo Music + Arts Experience held in the City Park.

    Rounding up the fall festivities is a four-day feast of events, when the Tigers of Grambling State meet the Jaguars of Southern University for the annual Bayou Classic, starting with a Thanksgiving parade and featuring a slew of amazing marching bands. Thanksgiving Day is also a traditional opening of the season at the racetrack, when the locals and visitors alike don their most elaborate and outrageous hats and stream to the Fair Grounds, kicking off the holiday season in a uniquely New Orleans style.

    As you can see, there’s something always going on in New Orleans throughout the year, and we’d love to see you no matter what season. If you find lower rates on your Alder Hotel room(s) at the time of booking, call 1.888.626.5861, and we will match those rates! Stay in touch and save on rates and more at the Alder Hotel at https://alderhotel.com/email-offers/!

  8. Spending the Holidays in New Orleans

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    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 even 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 the 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 on Saturday, December 7, 2019. The parade starts at 7 p.m. on the corner of Royal and Lesseps streets by Parleaux Beer Lab, and ends at Bratz Y’All! (617-B Piety Street). Krampus and his army of mischief will be handing out lumps of coal and, most likely, behaving badly.

    Three parades kick off the Carnival season on Monday, January 6, 2019 (Twelfth Night). Phunny Phorty Phellows will again ride the streetcar from Uptown to Canal Street and back starting at 7 p.m. The walking Krewe of Joan of Arc parade will roll in at 7 p.m. from Jax Brewery in the French Quarter, and the Société Des Champs Elysée parade will take 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
    During the weekend of Dec 12-15, 2019, the LUNA Fête light show will illuminate part of the New Orleans Central Business District, on and around the Lafayette Square. 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 takes place at the Convention Center, kicking off on Friday, December 20, 2019, and wrapping on Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

    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.

    Head to the Champions Square at the Superdome on Sunday, January 27, 2020 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) for a mega tasting of the King Cakes from the city’s best bakeries. The annual King Cake festival benefits pediatric programs and the Ochsner Hospital for Children.

    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 Poguetry featuring the Lost Bayou Ramblers on Friday, December 13, 2019, Anders Osborne’s Holiday Spectacular on Friday-Saturday, December 20-21, 2019, 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 December 26, 2019. 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, is celebrating its 33rd anniversary this year, and had been selling out for the past few years. It’s 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 the day after Thanksgiving and through January 1, 2020.

    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 (68 last year) 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 (Brennan’sGalatoire’sSylvain, 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 7, 2019. The boozy run starts at 3 p.m. at the “South Pole” (Apres, 608 Fulton Street), followed by the open bar and costume content at Generations Hall (the “North Pole”).

    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 New Year’s Eve 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 2:45 p.m., 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 and studded with celebrities and special guests. 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. You can watch the fireworks at the Riverfront or in Crescent Park. The park offers fantastic views onto the river, and will be open to the public till 1 a.m.

    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, both the Zoo and the Louisiana Children’s Museum host early countdowns. The Zoo Year’s Eve at the Audubon Zoo “parties” from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a Pepsi toast, costumed characters, and of course, the Audubon’s wildlife menagerie, while 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.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
    On Monday, January 20, 2020, New Orleans will celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day with a block party at the historic Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, a celebration program at Al Davis Park, and a parade.

  9. 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.

  10. Must-Try Po-Boys at the Po-Boy Festival

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    Photo courtesy of Oak Street Po-Boy Festival

    One thing New Orleanians can agree on, the po-boy satisfies hunger like nothing else. The once-humble sandwich has gone high-class in recent years, with top chefs serving their own inventive takes. But you can still find hearty 12-inch versions spilling fried shrimp and oysters for under $15 in local corner stores.

    There will be a po-boy for every budget and palate in New Orleans at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival on Sunday, November 3, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. You will be able to sample the best po-boys the city has to offer. The fest will be held between the 8100 and 8800 blocks of Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood. About 35 vendors will present more food than you could shake your fork at, with over 60 varieties of the delicious sandwich alone — plus beer, specialty cocktails, and desserts.

    Stages for live music will be set up on side streets to avoid the Oak Street foot-traffic congestion of the past years. A second line will open the fest at 10 a.m., forming at Oak and Carrollton streets.

    Like last year, admission is free, but you have to get a $5 wristband at the fest to purchase the po-boys (it’s OK if one person in the group buys multiple po-boys, according to the event organizers). Hate the long lines? This year attendees can get their hands on the po-boys faster by getting one of the two passes. One option is a $20 “fast pass” to enter through the fast lane.

    The VIP pass ($99) grants access to the Mellow Mushroom on Oak VIP lounge and balcony and the front-row view of the main stage. There you’ll find beer, plus food from the Parkway Bakery and Tavern and other vendors, and specialty cocktails.

    Just like in the past years, some of the best restaurants in the city will once again compete in six “Best of” categories: seafood, oyster, shrimp, sausage, pork, and beef. Past winners included Red Fish Grill’s BBQ oyster po-boy and Bratz Y’all’s Drunk Pig.

    To give you just a taste of what to expect, the Mid-City-based po-boy king Parkway Bakery and Tavern will bring one of its wildly popular signature creations, “The James Brown” po-boy — slow-cooked roast beef topped with fried Gulf shrimp and smothered in gravy. The ever popular Godfather po-boy from Vincent’s Italian Cuisine marries three savory meats: Italian sausage, meatballs and daube meat (beef slow-cooked in a red sauce, like a brisket) and tops them with mozzarella cheese. Redfish Grill will again offer its signature BBQ oyster concoction, flash-fried and tossed in Crystal BBQ sauce. Metairie’s NOLA Boils & Catering kicks it up with an escargot po-boy while Oceana Grill will be offering its oyster Rockefeller po-boy (with housemade sauce).

    There will be plenty of creative concoctions for the adventurous taste buds too, with game, elevated touches, and Asian and Caribbean flavors. An in the dessert category, check out Bananas Foster po-boy from Walkers BBQ (maybe after you try their signature cochon de lait version), and strawberry and Nutella tiramisu po-boy from Crêpes à la Cart.

    As with any fest, there will be an art market and a kids’ area. The festival is rain or shine, pedestrian- and bike-friendly, and pets are welcome. Parking options will be limited, so consider biking or taking the St. Charles Avenue streetcar (get off at the Oak Street stop).

    We can’t wait to see who wins this year!

     

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