Exploring Uptown New Orleans on a Budget

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

Free parking from Alder

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

The sightseeing

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

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

For under $25, you can also hit the historic Audubon Zoo located at the rear of the park (you can save money by buying tickets online). The elephants, tigers, white alligators, monkeys, and other animals make a visit to this beautifully landscaped zoo a must.

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

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

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

Eating and drinking

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

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

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

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

Guy’s Po-Boys is a no-frills, budget-friendly, 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.

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.

Coming from the people helming Commander’s Palace, including co-founder and owner Tory McPhail, the former executive chef at Commander’s, Picnic Provisions & Whiskey is a 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.

A great on-the-go option on the bustling Magazine Street, Tal’s Hummus 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.

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

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 dinner recommendation, it’s a great pick for brunch and lunch as well.

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

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

Want to see some local music for a small cover? The venues we recommend in our guide to the 24-hour itinerary in Uptown New Orleans often have covers as low as $10, especially for their earlier shows, so check those out.

Happy exploring Uptown New Orleans on a budget! We promise you, it’s very doable.

Late Summer in New Orleans

Don’t let the hot temps stop you from eating, drinking, and strutting your stuff through the late summer in New Orleans. From block parties to food and music fests to running in a fancy dress and/or drinking beer for a good cause, August has got something going on every weekend, with the fun spilling into September with the immensely popular Southern Decadence festival over the Labor Day weekend. Celebrate the end of summer and ease into fall with these August and September happenings in New Orleans.

COOLinary, August 1-31

There’s no better time to try out an award-winning restaurant during your visit, or revisit an old favorite, than in August and September. For the month of August the COOLinary dining program offers discounted dining deals at participating restaurants located all over the city, and even stretching as far as Harvey and Kenner.

COOLinary was conceived as a citywide promotion to lure diners to local restaurants during the slower summer months. Over a decade in existence, this annual culinary tradition keeps growing. Dozens of participating local restaurants run the gamut from the iconic to the smaller, more casual ones. Make a reservation today, and bon appetit!

Museum Month, August 1-31

During the month of August, be sure to take advantage of the Museum Month deal, when you can visit any of the participating museums for the price of membership of any one of them. The one-time admission fee to some local museums can run over $20, so this is a great opportunity to explore on the budget. The fees for the smaller museums are probably the best deal, ranging from $30 to $35 annually. You can buy a membership upon arrival.

Satchmo SummerFest, August 4-5, 2023

Satchmo SummerFest remains one of the August highlights and just the respite you’ll need from the summer trifecta of heat, humidity and afternoon downpours. This popular annual festival, traditionally held over the three days of the first weekend of August at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at The Mint (located at the beginning of Esplanade Avenue on Decatur Street in the French Quarter), is easy to navigate and get to. The lineup is always stellar, with the best of the brass bands and the who-is-who of the Louisiana and New Orleans music scenes, and the mixture of indoor-outdoor activities to keep you cool and dancing.

And, don’t forget about the food! As in previous years, dozens of the best local restaurants will be vending everything from crepes to meat pies to snowballs. Festival staples like beer and snoballs also keep returning, in addition to the cocktail stands selling margaritas, spiked lemonade, and mimosas.

Wear plenty of sunscreen. We’ll see you at The Mint!

Fidelity Bank White Linen Night, August 5, 2023

Started in 1994 in an attempt to attract visitors to that revived area (now known as Arts District New Orleans), White Linen Night has been growing steadily, attracting more visitors and vendors every year. This popular, block-party style art event is held on the first Saturday in August in the Warehouse District, essentially serving as an open house for the galleries clustered on the 300-700 blocks of Julia Street. That whole area is blocked off, hosting several stages for live music and dozens of food and drink stands. About 20 galleries on and around Julia St. are open to the public.

The block party is free (you can buy food and beverage tickets on-site); the annual after-party at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) is a ticketed event (free to CAC members). While there’s no dress code, as the event’s name suggests, consider wearing white.

Red Dress Run, August 12, 2023

Traditionally held on the second Saturday of August, the Red Dress Run isn’t exclusive to New Orleans, but the local participants take it up a notch by costuming on top of wearing their best and/or most outlandish red dress, regardless of gender. This is an annual fundraiser run for local charities organized by hashing groups (adults-only, non-competitive social running clubs) all over the world. They call themselves “drinking clubs with a running problem” and the local group, New Orleans Hash House Harriers (NOH3), is no exception.

The run starts and ends at Crescent Park at 2300 N. Peters St., though the whole two-mile route is kept secret until the day of the event. The beer starts flowing at the pre-party with live music at 9:30 a.m., and you can usually spot some of the sweaty Red Dress runners spilling into the night later that day. If you decide to run, online registration is available, a red dress is a must, and you must be 21 to participate.

Dirty Linen Night, August 12, 2023

The Dirty Linen Night, as you may have guessed, takes after another annual art event, the White Linen Night. It follows the White Linen Night exactly one week after, on the second Saturday in August. Although the Dirty Linen Night riffs off the White Linen Night, it’s not meant to compete with the Warehouse District event but was conceived to promote the many galleries and shops of Royal Street. It is similar in format, though looser in structure and spanning more territory.

The multi-block party takes over the 200-1000 blocks of Royal Street and some cross streets and adjoining areas in the French Quarter, including Jackson Square and Dutch Alley. Dozens of galleries participate each year, plus a number of shops and restaurants. The food and drinks served, like dirty rice and dirty martinis, cheekily run with the theme. This outdoor event is free.

The Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival, 2023 dates TBA

If you’re in town during the second half of August, check out the annual Burlesque Festival, an international event that brings together the best of local talent and some big international names. Dancers, emcees, comics, singers, and variety-act performers will be doing two shows nightly at two locations, Harrah’s and House of Blues. The main event is typically held on Saturday at the Civic Theatre, featuring a classic striptease competition accompanied by a live jazz band. The winner is crowned the “Queen of Burlesque.”

Southern Decadence, August 31 – September 4, 2023

This massive Labor Day extravaganza started in the 1970s and is now considered one of the biggest draws to the city after Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, ESSENCE Festival, and the French Quarter Festival. The popular festival celebrates the LGBTQIA+ culture and attracts participants from all over the world. Southern Decadence usually kicks off (and closes) with a midnight dance party at its 24/7 hub, Bourbon Pub/Parade. A free show/block party on Saturday is held at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets. The annual Southern Decadence Grand Marshal Parade on Sunday also ends up there. The theme is different every year. You can buy passes, including VIP, online to access the events that charge an entrance fee and may sell out.

National Fried Chicken Festival, September 30 – October 1, 2023

September brings a lot to the table in New Orleans, and Fried Chicken Festival is one of the many highlights. Held at the New Orleans Lakefront, the fest features several outdoor stages for music and cooking demos. Expect celebrity chef cameos, dozens of well-known fried chicken vendors coming from all over the region, VIP and chill lounges, and cooking and eating contests. Daily tickets, weekend passes and VIP options are available.

Our Neighborhood — Most Popular Attractions Near the Alder Hotel

There’s plenty to explore around the Alder Hotel, even on foot. Mostly, this area of the city is heavily residential, with 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.

Molly’s Rise and Shine on Magazine Street, the followup to nationally buzzed-about Turkey and the Wolf, is also worth a visit. Its menu is 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.

A bright, quaint daytime cafe best known for its hearty American breakfast, Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe is yet another option. 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.

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. Any time of day, catfish is the star of the menu of the Louisiana-meets-the-Delta High Hat Cafe. Also, check out Mint Modern Vietnamese Bistro & Bar for several varieties of pho, banh mi, or a kimchi burger (we love this place!).

Guy’s Po-Boys 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. A great on-the-go lunch option on the bustling Magazine Street, Tal’s Hummus 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 fresh to order.

At least two more Magazine Street lunch options among the post-pandemic newcomers we can recommend are the ramen bar Nomiya and Picnic Provisions & Whiskey, a family- and dog-friendly indoor/outdoor, casual spot from the people helming Commander’s Palace, including co-founder and owner Tory McPhail, the former executive chef at Commander’s.

Dinner options abound, too. Our top recommendations include Appoline or Bistro Daisy for their romantic settings and high-end Southern/French cuisine, the iconic Casamento’s for oysters and other types of local seafood, chef Alon Shaya’s Saba or the family-friend Misa for elevated Middle Eastern cuisine, and the ever popular Taqueria Corona for great margaritas and family-style classic Mexican food.

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.), an 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 which contains the Audubon Zoo and faces the historic 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.

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’s Manale, where oysters are shucked right in front of you. For live music, the iconic Tipitina’s and the Maple Leaf Bar cannot be beaten, 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.). Please note that as of December 2022, the cemetery is closed for maintenance and repairs.

And right across the street is the incomparable Commander’s Palace (elevated Creole fare), a slice of classic New Orleans, not to be missed.

Happy exploring near the Alder Hotel!

Guide to the New Orleans Art Markets

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 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

When: 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

Arts Market at City Park

Where: 8 Victory Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119 (City Park’s Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn) –

When: Second Saturday of every month

Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Arts Market at Marsalis Harmony Park

Where: 2299 Dublin St., New Orleans, LA 70118

When: Last Saturday of every month, except the December market, which occurs in advance of Christmas.

Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

LUNA Fête Arts Market

Where: The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Pedestrian Park (900 Convention Center Blvd.)

When: December 15 – 18, 2022

Hours: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The Arts Market New Orleans is the Arts Council’s free, twice-monthly open-air, family-friendly monthly marketplace. All exhibited artwork is original and made by hand and created by a rotating roster of more than 300 juried regional 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. The Arts Market also includes the annual Luna Fete.

French Market

Where: 700-1010 Decatur Street, French Quarter

When: Open daily

Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 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 June, 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 about 70 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 held in the spring, with many participating vendors who are also 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 at Beanlandia

Where: 3300 Royal Street at Piety Street, Bywater

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

Hours: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Piety Market returned to its original location after a few years of being held at the New Orleans Healing Center (it was then rebranded as Piety Market in Exile). The Old Ironworks on Piety Street in the Bywater is a 25,000-square-foot former furniture factory that has been reborn as Beanlandia, a community center and home to the Krewe of Red Beans. 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: 10 a.m. – 8 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 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.


Where: 2841 Magazine Street, Garden District

When: Open daily

Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 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.

Guide: Navigating the Freret Neighborhood and Uptown New Orleans

New Orleans has a lot to 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, eat and shop within walking distance, as well as the options for when you’re looking for a workout or a little pampering, and more.

Transportation Options


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 the time of year and day.


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 the 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.


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.


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 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 a handful of taxicab services servicing the Uptown New Orleans neighborhood. We recommend:

  • United Cabs, Inc., (504) 522-9771
  • New Orleans Carriage Cab, (504) 207-7777
  • Coleman Cab, (504) 586-0222


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 the 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

Check out the 24/7 Anytime Fitness center (4600 Freret St.). It’s located 0.2 miles from the hotel, which takes about five minutes to walk. 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.


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.

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, grilled cheese, and fried chicken sandwiches.

Mojo Coffee House4700 Freret St.

A cozy, welcoming hangout where you can grab small-batch roasted coffee, and 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 New Orleans 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

October in New Orleans

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 food festivals alone, not to mention the milder temps you’d want to be here for. Here are the highlights of what’s going on in New Orleans in October. 

Art for Art’s Sake

October 1, 2022

The Magazine Street Merchants Association‘s Art for Art’s Sake features more than 100 businesses stretching the entire length of Magazine Street offering free white wine as well as art shows, special deals, promotional sales, and live music.


October 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22, 2022

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.

Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival

October 14-16, 2022

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.

Tremé Fall Festival

October 22, 2022 

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, 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.

Krewe of Boo

October 22, 2022, & October 21, 2023 

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 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.


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 7 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. Ask your concierge for tour recommendations.

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.

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

TBA 2023

This massive annual undertaking 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. [The fest was canceled for 2020-2022 but plans to return in 2023.]

Mac n’ Cheese Fest

TBA 2023

This free annual fest is held at Louis Armstrong Park and keeps expanding to accommodate its growing popularity. Over the years, it had featured 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. [Please note that the festival was canceled for 2020-2022, but expects to return in 2023.]

Fun for Couples in Uptown New Orleans

Uptown New Orleans

New Orleans is considered one of the most romantic destinations in the country, if not the world. It’s easy to have a great time on a date in practically any part of this city, but Uptown holds its own against, say, the French Quarter, by bringing its historic past as the “American sector” and its unique charm into the equation.

There you’ll find majestic mansions under the canopies of the centuries-old live oaks, charming, dimly lit restaurants, modern cafes, shopping for blocks, photogenic streetcars, and iconic bars with world-class live music pouring out on any given night. Impressing your loved one doesn’t need to break the bank, either. In New Orleans, even a morning stroll in the park could bring on the magic. Here are our suggestions for some fun activities for couples in Uptown New Orleans.


Whether you would prefer to linger with a cocktail or want to have a quick yet solid breakfast at a diner, Uptown has no shortage of high-to-low options. If you’re looking for an inexpensive local hangout with Southern staples and plenty of local color, 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). The Creole Slammer, for instance, comes with a biscuit and crawfish etouffee.

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.

If you are coffee-and-a-pastry-for-breakfast people, the incomparable Gracious Bakery + Cafe has two locations Uptown, at 2854 St. Charles Avenue on the corner of 6th Street in the Garden District, and at 4930 Prytania Street. All baked goods and breakfast sandwiches are top-notch, and there are house-made granola and house-cured salmon bagels.

Looking for a cozy, welcoming hangout where you can grab small-batch roasted coffee, and a vegan muffin, and connect to wi-fi? Mojo Coffee House is the spot. You won’t find full kitchen service at this laid-back coffee house but for caffeine and a quick bite, nothing beats Mojo. French Truck Coffee has the best iced cold-drip coffee New Orleans has to offer,  served in a high-ceilinged, Edison bulb-hung space.

Another excellent option is the beautiful La Boulangerie, a French bakery and cafe with all the menu items hand-prepared according to traditional recipes and sidewalk tables.

If you can swing an early breakfast, Molly’s Rise and Shine and Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe  are both excellent choices.

Molly’s serves a mean breakfast 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. And, 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. Both are open from 8 a.m. till 2 p.m.

St. Charles Streetcar

Not just a means of public transportation, the historic St. Charles Avenue line streetcar is on many visitors’ bucket lists because it’s the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world (since 1835). It will set you back $1.25 per person, and the route is as scenic as it gets, with the columned mansions surrounded by impressive gardens and wrought-iron fences. Take it either all the way from Canal Street to the end of the line by the River, or hop on and off along St. Charles Avenue to take in the sights.

Walking Tours

Spend some time taking in the extraordinary beauty of Uptown’s many architectural styles. Whether you prefer to explore on foot, by car or by bus, both self-guided and guided tours are available daily. You can just walk around the historic district spotting celebrity houses and marveling at the gardens, or hop on the streetcar to visit the historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. (Please note that as of Fall 2022 the cemetery is still temporarily closed for repairs.)

Audubon Park and The Fly

The streetcar also brings you right to the urban oasis of historic Audubon Park. Located near the picturesque campuses of Tulane and Loyola universities, Audubon Park is perfect for a stroll among the oaks and the lagoons, or a picnic (bring some bread to feed the ducks). The area behind the Audubon Zoo and along the Mississippi River, known as The Fly, is a lovely spot to simply sit and watch the boats go by.


Magazine and Freret streets and St. Charles Avenue are all commercial hubs with block after block of shopping destinations. Magazine Street in particular is worth (an easy walk) for about 10 blocks, which are packed with sidewalk cafes, galleries, antique stores, vintage boutiques, and funky local costume stores. 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.

Lunch and Dinner

Uptown has many cozy, romantic spots for either a lingering lunch or a romantic dinner date. La Crepe Nanou, located on the corner of Robert and Prytania Streets, is an intimate French bistro with a fantastic selection of sweet and savory crepes and a wine list to complement them. It’s consistently voted as the “most romantic” on various lists for its ambiance. Another small, French-Italian bistro, Lilette, boasts a heated patio, cozy booths and a sophisticated, sharable menu. Patois puts a local spin on mussels, grilled Gulf shrimp and southern staples like sweetbreads in a lovely, softly-lit setting.

You’ll find exposed brick, chandeliers and gleaming hardwood floors at Coquette, another sophisticated Magazine Street destination with a locally sourced menu and craft cocktails. Choose from the small and big plate menus, or put yourselves into the chef’s capable hands with a five-course blind tasting.

For authentic Sicilian cuisine head to Avo. 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, perfect for a special occasion.

We also recommend both Apolline  and Bistro Daisy for their romantic settings. 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.

Bistro Daisy is a quaint eatery nestled in a charming cottage located in the heart of Uptown New Orleans. It’s been open since 2007 and is named after the owners Anton & Diane Schulte daughter. As the name suggests, it’s a bistro, with fresh, seasonal and often local ingredients on the French-leaning menu. Expect elevated takes on the Gulf fish, leg of duck confit, and bouillabaisse.

La Petite Grocery, the former 19th-century neighborhood grocery, was beautifully 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.

Two more good date spots are the Misa (lovely patio) and Alon Shaya’s Saba. Both are located on Magazine Street and feature Middle Eastern cuisine.

Last but not the least, you haven’t gotten a taste of classic romantic New Orleans if you haven’t visited Pascal’s Manale Restaurant. Watch the oysters getting shucked in front of you in this dark-paneled, elegant space with a martini in hand, and maybe stay for dinner to sample Pascal’s legendary BBQ shrimp and veal Picatta.

A Movie

Few things are more romantic than catching a classic movie in a century-old theater, especially on a rainy day. Prytania Theatre is the oldest theater in the city 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. Prytania screens the classics like Citizen Cane and Casablanca regularly, and cult classics at midnight.

Happy Hour

Pizza Domenica on Magazine Street offers excellent wine and draft beer lists as well as half off its wood-fired pizzas (some of the best in New Orleans) daily, 3-5 p.m. If you’d like to share some wine, head to Bar Frances on Freret Street, to sample its excellent selection during a generous happy hour.


Dance the sultry night away at the iconic Tipitina’s, which has hosted everyone from world-famous acts in town for Jazz Fest to local brass bands and the Mardi Gras Indians. The Maple Leaf Bar, with its tin ceiling and a hopping dance floor, has live music every night at 10 p.m., including some of the best brass bands in the city every Tuesday. Don’t miss that.

Have fun being out and about!

Want some exclusive deals and discounts on your stay 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 room at the time of booking, call 1.888.626.5861, and we will match it!

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

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 is a po-boy for every budget and palate in New Orleans at the annual Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. (The last one was held on November 6, 2022.) And though the date for the 2023 festival hasn’t been announced yet, you can be sure you will be able to sample the best po-boys the city has to offer.

The Oak Street fest is usually held between the 8100 and 8800 blocks of Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood. About 35 vendors 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.

And, of course, this being New Orleans, there is live music, with stages set up on side streets to avoid the Oak Street foot-traffic congestion of the past years. A second line usually opens the fest at 10 a.m., forming at Oak and Carrollton streets.

In all past years, the admission was free, but you had 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? At the previous fest, attendees could get their hands on the po-boys faster by getting one of the two passes.

One option was a $20 “fast pass” to enter the fast lane. The VIP pass ($99) granted access to the Oak VIP lounge with a balcony and a front-row view of the main stage, plus food and drinks, including specialty cocktails.

In the festival’s 14 years of existence, some of the best restaurants in the city have competed in six “Best of” categories: seafood, oyster, shrimp, sausage, pork, and beef. Past winners included the wildly popular Red Fish Grill’s BBQ oyster po-boy and Bratz Y’all’s Drunk Pig. The 2022 winners included the Parkway Bakery & Tavern‘s deep-fried buffalo shrimp Bahn mi, Boucherie‘s 12-hour roast beef sandwich, and fried oyster mushroom po-boy from Voodoo Vegan.

To give you just a taste of what to expect, here’s a sample menu from some of the past vendors. And don’t worry, most do come back year after year, so all this deliciousness will be within reach once the next fest rolls around.

The fest regular, the Mid-City-based po-boy king Parkway Bakery and Tavern, has been known to impress with its incredibly popular signature creation, “The James Brown” po-boy — slow-cooked roast beef topped with fried Gulf shrimp smothered in gravy. The ever-popular Godfather po-boy from Vincent’s Italian Cuisine marries three savory types of meat: Italian sausage, meatballs, and daube meat (beef slow-cooked in a red sauce, like brisket) and tops them with mozzarella cheese. Redfish Grill has repeatedly offered its signature BBQ oyster concoction, flash-fried and tossed in Crystal BBQ sauce. Metairie’s NOLA Boils & Catering kicked it up one year with an escargot po-boy while Oceana Grill keeps offering its oyster Rockefeller po-boy (with housemade sauce).

There are plenty of creative concoctions for the adventurous taste buds too, with game, elevated touches, and Asian and Caribbean flavors. In the dessert category, expect items like strawberry and Nutella tiramisu po-boys from Crêpes à la Cart.

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

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

Best Haunted Houses in New Orleans and Nearby

Scout Island Scream Park New Orleans
Photo courtesy of Scout Island Scream Park on Facebook

Sure, every old house in New Orleans has a story — and more often than not, a spooky past — but what if you want to be scared in the here and now? Fortunately, there are plenty of fantastic haunted houses in the greater New Orleans area.

Read up and choose the haunt that fits your fancy (and don’t forget to wear your costume when you go).

The Mortuary Haunted House

September 24 – November 5, 2022 (not every day)

4800 Canal St., New Orleans

The cobwebs and monsters in the house are fake, but the cemeteries surrounding it and the ghosts inside are real. This haunted house was established in 2007 in the actual former mortuary that was in operation till 2004. The Mortuary features multiple floors, all with gruesome tableaus that include a mangled medical scene, a crypt, and a bizarre circus.

New Orleans Nightmare

September 23 – October 31, 2022 (not every day)

319 Butterworth St., Jefferson

This haunted house replaced the beloved House of Shock, which closed in 2017 after 25 years. It bills itself as the largest and longest outdoor haunted attraction in Louisiana and stands on the House of Shock’s former site near the Huey P. Long Bridge. The two-story Spanish colonial mansion features a  courtyard and has escape rooms and high-tech features throughout its attractions with creepy names like Cursed Voodoo and Museum Macabre. The haunted house doesn’t have the satanic/heavy metal themes of its predecessor but promises to be plenty scary (and therefore inappropriate for kids under 12).

Boo at the Zoo

October 21-23, 2022

Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., New Orleans

Looking for a kid-friendly Halloween experience (or something that won’t give you an anxiety attack)? Boo at the Zoo is Audubon Park’s annual Halloween party held during normal zoo hours, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. There’s a costume contest, trick-or-treating, a spooky train ride, and live music. The activities are designed for kids under 12, and all games and treats are included in the admission.

Things to Do in November in New Orleans

Photo courtesy of Celebration in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park on Facebook

At almost 377,000 residents, New Orleans is a relatively small city — but over 19 million tourists who visit each year mean The Big Easy boasts the amenities, dining and cultural scene of a bustling metropolis. The result? During the high tourist season (which runs from October through May), there are more events during any given week than any one person could attend.

November brings a heady mix of food, football, festivals, and fun. Here’s a sampling of things to do in November in New Orleans — and just remember, if you can’t get to all these events, you can always come back next year.

Mid-City Art Studios Open House

November 1, 2022

Mid-City Art Studios is located at 4436 Toulouse Street. This former Century Graphics Building, a 19th-century brick industrial structure, now houses 15,000 square feet of studio spaces and dozens of artists. Every November, they open up their studios for tours. You can view and buy some incredible original works of art in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, watercolor, prints, and photography.

New Orleans Film Festival

November 3-8, in person, November 3-13, 2022, virtually

To date, the New Orleans Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in the South and is the longest-running 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.

Bayou Bacchanal

November 5, 2022

In a nutshell, it’s a Caribbean Festival that happens in America’s most Caribbean city. Hosted by Friends of Culture, an organization run by New Orleans locals native to parts of the Caribbean, Bayou Bacchanal is a free, day-long festival held at Louis Armstrong Park. It’s typically held during the first week of November, featuring authentic food, music, a parade, and representation from several Caribbean nations.

Oak Street Po-Boy Festival

November 6, 2022

Back and bigger than ever, the Po-Boy Festival features live music and more than 50 varieties of this beloved New Orleans staple. Admission is free, but you must purchase a $5 wristband to buy food. Dozens of vendors also compete in several “Best of” categories.

Boudin, Bourbon & Beer

November 8, 2022

Every November celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse invites scores of top local and national chefs to join him for his one-night fundraiser to benefit the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, featuring a specially curated, Louisiana-inspired menu, live music and open bar. Over 60 chefs participate in this outdoor festival held at Champions Square, the plaza located adjacent to the Caesars Superdome.

Hell Yes Fest

November 9-13, 2022

Who says New Orleans doesn’t have a comedy scene? Not only does it boast comedians aplenty, but the Crescent City also hosts the largest comedy festival on the Gulf Coast. Spearheaded by Chris Trew, co-owner of improv school and comedy venue The New Movement, Hell Yes Fest features home-grown talent as well as stars. Past headliners include Sarah Silverman and Amy Heckerling.

Thanksgiving at the Fair Grounds Race Course

November 24, 2022

Per a long-standing New Orleans tradition, it’s customary to turn out at the track on Thanksgiving Day to watch the opening-day races while sporting cocktails and some seriously fabulous hats. The first race starts at 11 a.m., and the racetrack also serves a sumptuous holiday buffet, plus a fancy dinner with all the holiday trimmings at the Clubhouse.

Celebration in the Oaks

November 24, 2022 – January 1, 2023

New Orleans’ most beloved holiday tradition (second only to Mr. Bingle, who also makes an appearance here) takes over 25 acres of City Park, bringing lighted displays to its gardens, oaks and lagoons. Bundle up and prepare to be enchanted. Please note that the event has been selling out quickly for the past few years, so get your tickets soon!

Bayou Classic

November 25-26, 2022

Watch Grambling and Southern University go head-to-head at the Caesars Superdome. The only thing more heated than the rivalry is the tailgating food. Don’t miss halftime, when the school’s respective marching bands face off. It just might be a greater spectacle than the Superbowl’s halftime show. The event stretches for two days and includes a fan fest, a parade, the battle of the bands, and, of course, the big game at the Superdome.