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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.

Breakfast

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.

Shopping

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.

Music

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!

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