Place d’Armes Hotel’s Guide to a Romantic Spring Getaway in the French Quarter

With its over 300 years of history, the French Quarter is considered one of the most romantic destinations in the world (we agree). What’s more, spring is one of the best times to visit as the temps are only beginning to soar, the flora is its glorious tropical bloom, and the festival season is reaching its peak. Which says a lot, for a city that has something to celebrate all year round.

So here are our recommendations on how to make the best of your romantic getaway if you’re visiting in the spring.

Place d’Armes Hotel is the perfect launching pad

Surrounded by lush tropical courtyards, Place d’Armes is ideally located right in the heart of the French Quarter, where you can stroll hand in hand admiring the wrought-iron balconies or to a candlelit dinner while inhaling the unforgettable tropical scents of blooming magnolias and jasmine. Plus, the hotel embodies old-world charm inside and out — and what’s is more romantic than that?

Place d’Armes occupies two restored historic townhouses dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, located on a quiet block of St. Ann Street, mere steps away from the excitement of Bourbon Street and the historic Jackson Square (which used to be called Place d’Armes, hence the hotel’s name). Guest rooms facing both the street and the courtyard have wrought-iron balconies and feature exposed brick. The hotel’s courtyard is downright enchanting, showcasing a variety of tropical plants native to Louisiana, fountains, and a sparkling saltwater swimming pool. You can take your complimentary continental breakfast to the courtyard, and, if the weather is already warm enough, take a dip under the shade of the magnolia trees.

Place d’Armes’ one-bed rooms are ideal for couples, and there are five room types to choose from altogether. You can hole up in the peace and quiet of the windowless interior room or the courtyard room with a view of the hotel’s gorgeous courtyard, or get a glimpse of the French Quarter life round the clock by booking a balcony room that faces St. Ann Street for people-watching round the clock!

You are within walking distance to all French Quarter attractions

We mean it when we say that you are centrally located when you stay at the Place d’Armes Hotel: Bourbon StreetHarrah’s CasinoPat O’Brien’s, the SuperdomeRiverfront on the Mississippi, and the National WWII Museum are all nearby, and all of the French Quarter attractions are within walking distance.

The nearby neighborhoods of the Arts/Warehouse District, the Tremé, the Marigny, the Bywater, and the Garden District are also easy to get to by car, streetcar, or even walking, and they are teeming with dining, entertainment and sightseeing options.

Top romantic things to do in the French Quarter

When you’re exploring the Quarter, just walking around is enough to satisfy the romantic and the history buff in you. But you can take it up a notch with a Mississippi River cruise on the paddlewheeler Creole Queen, which takes you back to the glamorous days of high-rolling riverboat gamblers. If dancing under the stars to live jazz is not incredibly romantic, we don’t know what is.

Or how about a carriage ride, to take in the sights while cozying up to your beloved? Royal Carriages offers several group tour options led by savvy guides. You can book a private ride, just for the two of you. And why not have your fortune told on Jackson Squarevisit a museum or tour a historic house?

The spring festival season is packed

Romance always seems to be in the air in New Orleans, but spring is especially lovely, because of the not-yet-hot temps, the tropical lushness in bloom, and a packed festival season. Come spring, you’ll have the French Quarter Fest outside your door, for one. Billed as the largest free music festival in the South, the fest takes over the Quarter in April with over 20 stages, dozens of food vendors, and hundreds of musicians, playing traditional jazz, Zydeco, and every Louisiana music genre in between. Special events also abound, including dance lessons, parades, art shows, and talks with some of the biggest legends of New Orleans music.

Another huge annual event also happens in the spring, over two consecutive weekends of April and May. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has been around for over 50 years and hardly needs an introduction, but consider that you’re only a short bus, car, or bike ride away from it. Plus, during the fest, many acts, including national headliners, could be found in the Quarter having gigs or just partying.

Then we have St. Patrick’s Day paradesSt. Joseph’s Day altars and the Mardi Gras Indians’ Super Sunday in March, plus Wednesday at the Square, the free 10-concert series held every Wednesday, weather permitting, in Lafayette Square in the Arts District nearby. All this is followed by the Top Taco NOLA, held at the Woldenberg Park by the river; Hogs for the Cause at the UNO Lakefront Arena; and the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, held at the Armstrong Park.

Besides French Quarter Festival and Jazz Fest, April kicks into high gear with Freret Street Festival and three Easter parades. May keeps the good times keep rolling with the Bayou Boogaloo, held along the banks of the Bayou St. John; the Greek Fest in Lakeview; and two free festivals in the French Quarter, the Oyster Festival and the French Market Creole Tomato Festival.

French Quarter’s most romantic restaurants

The Quarter is teeming with romantic restaurants, from the old-word Creole elegance of Arnaud’sBroussard’s and Antoine’s to Susan Spicer’s flagship restaurant Bayona, with lovely patio seating. The many stunners make up a list that’s too long, but we feel like the candlelit Sylvain, the intimate Meauxbar, the sophisticated Muriel’s Jackson Square (with an unbeatable location of being right on a corner of Jackson Square), and the one and only Galatoire’s all deserve a special mention. Cafe Amelie, with its beyond-gorgeous courtyard, is another standout, and the bar is very high in the French Quarter when it comes to beautiful courtyards.

From iconic foods to unique and charming cafes and breakfast/brunch nooks to lunch to classic desserts like bananas Foster and bread pudding, the Quarter has it in spades, all within walking distance from the hotel.

There is 24/7 action, round the clock

The French Quarter never closes! You can stay up all night enjoying the cocktails and delicious food, listen to live music, or simply roam the 300-year-old streets — even on a budget of less than $20. Some of the most romantic bars, like the historic Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and the beautifully appointed Bombay Club, with the largest selection of martinis in the city, are within walking distance from Place d’Armes. So, drink where the locals drink, eat beignets at the 24/7 Cafe du Monde, or dance till dawn at Santos. You have all of the round-the-clock action at your fingertips!

Planning a trip to New Orleans this spring? Check availability for your travel dates and book your stay online. Also, make sure to take advantage of our low weekday rates and special offers. If you find lower rates on your Place d’Armes room at the time of booking, we will match the rate! And you can get exclusive deals and discounts at our New Orleans hotel by signing up for our email list.

12 Reasons to Stay at the Place d’Armes Hotel in the New Orleans French Quarter

Place D'Armes exterior balcony

The Place d’Armes Hotel sits in the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter and embodies old-world charm inside and out. It occupies two restored historic townhouses dating back to the 18th and 19th century, located on a quiet block of St. Ann Street, mere steps away from the excitement of Bourbon Street and the historic Jackson Square (which used to be called Place d’Armes, hence the hotel’s name). Here are just a few reasons why Place d’Armes is an excellent choice for your next trip to New Orleans.

beautiful shaded courtyard pool at the Place D'Armes

1. The Old-World Ambiance

Guest rooms facing both the street and the courtyard have wrought-iron balconies, and feature exposed brick, conveying the traditional, old-word ambiance of the French Quarter. The hotel’s courtyard is particularly enchanting, showcasing a variety of tropical plants native to Louisiana, fountains, and a sparkling saltwater swimming pool.

Find a spot at one of the patio tables or the benches in the shade of the magnolia trees, and relax to the sound of the gurgling fountains. You can also take your complimentary continental breakfast there, or stroll just a block to Cafe du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait.

2. We Welcome Groups of All Sizes

The Place d’Armes Hotel presents special opportunities for groups and small meetings looking for a quiet, intimate venue that stands apart from the less-personable offerings of larger chain hotels. We welcome all: meetings, tour groups, conventioneers, family reunions, couples, and wedding groups.

3. Modern Amenities

We want you to feel right at home during your stay, which is why our staff provides guests with some great amenities. You can choose from several room sizes when booking with Place d’Armes, such as the interior room, deluxe room, courtyard room, balcony room, and junior suite. The free Wi-Fi, Advocate newspapers, and the daily continental breakfast are all complimentary, and children ages 12 and under stay for free.

New Orleans street view of balconies

4. You’ll Be Close to All French Quarter Attractions

The Place d’Armes Hotel is centrally located in the French Quarter and when you stay with us, you are in the heart of the action and just a short distance away from Bourbon Street, Harrah’s Casino, Pat O’Brien’s, the Superdome, the Riverfront on the Mississippi, and the National WWII Museum.

The nearby neighborhoods of the Arts/Warehouse District, the Tremé, the Marigny, the Bywater, and the Garden District are easy to get to by car, streetcar, or even walking, and they all have a lot to offer in terms of dining, entertainment and sightseeing.

Even if you just explore the French Quarter alone, there’s much to see and do within walking distance from the hotel. Why not have your fortune told on Jackson Square, visit a museumor tour a historic house?

French Quarter Festival NOLA

5. The French Quarter Fest is at Your Fingertips

The French Quarter Fest, billed as the largest free music festival in the South, happens every April, taking over the French Quarter with over 20 stages, dozens of food vendors, and hundreds of musicians, playing traditional jazz, Zydeco, and every Louisiana music genre in between. Special events also abound, including dance lessons, parades, art shows, and talks with some of the biggest legends of New Orleans music. You’ll be in the middle of it all if you stay at Place d’Armes!

Jazz Fest in New Orleans

6. …. And Always a Festival Nearby

Every new season in New Orleans brings something special, including a packed festival calendar all year round. Here is a quick rundown of the annual fun by the season, just to give you a glimpse.

Holiday Season
Dance with the Ghost of Christmas Past in the Quarter, where you can join the throngs of carolers in Jackson Square, and eat elaborate, multi-course Reveillon Dinners based on traditional Creole meals once served after midnight mass. Make advance reservations in classic restaurants like Muriel’s Jackson Square, right next to Place d’Armes, which dishes up specialties like fried oyster chowder and citrus-poached Gulf shrimp.

Mardi Gras Season
The biggest free party on earth is an entire season that can stretch on for weeks, depending on when Easter falls, so be sure to check the Mardi Gras Calendar before booking your rooms. Serious revelers hit town on the final, parade-packed weekend leading up to Fat Tuesday, but you can also join the revelry at a less frenetic pace. Come for the lovely Joan of Arc Parade on Twelfth Night (January 6), which winds its way through the Quarter on horseback and foot and launches Mardi Gras season.

Spring & Summer Festival Seasons

Come spring, music lovers make a beeline for New Orleans during French Quarter Fest and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the great-grandaddy of them all, so advance booking is essential. But things slow down in summer, when you get more for your buck, thanks to great deals on hotels and restaurants. Summer also brings several marquee events in and around the Quarter, including Tales of the CocktailSatchmo SummerFestWhite Linen Night and Dirty Linen Night.

Fall/Spooky Season

Many visitors come to New Orleans to pledge their troth as the witching hour of Halloween approaches, and the Quarter becomes even more haunted. And while destination weddings require precision planning (the fall wedding season in New Orleans is always busy), casual visitors can just slip on their fangs, walk out the door of the Place d’Armes, and join the masked revelry throughout spooky season at several parades and happenings.

In October, foodies chow down at the Beignet Festival and Mac n’ Cheese Fest; culture mavens celebrate Art for Art’s Sake and the New Orleans Film Festival; and music fans get down at the Crescent City Blues an BBQ Festival. The city also celebrates German food, music, and beer during the three weekend-long Oktoberfest.

Halloween isn’t just one day in New Orleans, where the veil between the living and dead is paper-thin. It’s an entire season, filled with balls, costume parties, and multiple parades. Krewe of Boo, the city’s official Halloween parade, kicks off the season in mid-October with an extravaganza of family-friendly monster floats that throw scads of plush toys and candy. On October 31, join a more Bohemian street parade on Decatur St. and dive into the throngs of costumed revelers on Frenchmen Street, which rages till the wee hours.

Thanksgiving is just the final course of a month’s worth of food festivals in November. Sample more than 50 varieties of New Orleans’ most iconic sandwich at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, eat your fill of Boudin, Bourbon & Beer at Emeril Lagasse’s annual fundraiser, get cheesy at Fête des Fromages, and scarf your gumbo with a side of brass bands at Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival. Then don a fabulous hat and hit Thanksgiving at the Fair Grounds Race Course for the opening day races, a New Orleans see-and-be-seen tradition where you can feast on a sumptuous buffet in the clubhouse whilst betting on the ponies.

Fall also brings football fans eager to catch Who Dat fever in Saints country, which spreads like wildfire in the Quarter on a Sunday afternoon. New Orleanians bleed black and gold, but you don’t have to be a Saints fans to cheer your favorite teams on to glory. College sports fans converge on Thanksgiving weekend for the Bayou Classic, when longtime rivals Grambling State and Southern University clash in the Superdome. Catch your own home team in action-packed Quarter sports bars like American Sports Saloon; Jimani Lounge & Restaurant; and The Corner Oyster HouseBut be forewarned: If your team’s playing the Saints, you might be in for a little friendly roasting.

7. The Nightlife Around the Corner

The French Quarter never closes! You can stay up all night enjoying the cocktails and delicious food, dance till dawn, listen to live music, or simply roam the 300-year-old streets — even on a budget of less than $20.

For some free live music (most often a very decent brass band) plus street performances of every kind hit Jackson Square, only two blocks away from the hotel. From there, the hustle and the bustle of the neon-lit Bourbon Street is an easy walk away (grab a hurricane to go at Pat O’Brien’s while you’re at it).

If you want a historic setting along with your drink, walk down Bourbon toward Esplanade Avenue where you’ll hit Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. If you’re heading the other way, toward Canal Street, don’t miss the beautifully appointed Bombay Club. It has live music and the largest selection of martinis in the city.

For some never-ending indoor fun, Harrah’s Casino New Orleans is full of late-night action, and we don’t just mean gambling but all of its restaurants, bars, and so on. To drink where the locals drink, try Molly’s at the Market on Decatur Street or Black Pennyon N. Rampart Street.

A lot of restaurants are open past midnight in the French Quarter, but if you want to grab some food way later, Killer Poboys in Erin Rose doles out some of the best po-boys in the city from a tiny takeout window in the back. Then you can hit the 24/7 Cafe du Monde for some beignets, or dance till dawn at Santos.

Photo courtesy of Old Ursuline Convent

8. The Opportunities to Celebrate the French Culture and Heritage Abound

Signs of New Orleans’ French history can be found all around the city, manifesting so often that people start taking it for granted. Why not stop and visit some of the places that help give New Orleans its unique French flavor? For instance, you can tour the Old Ursuline Convent, the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. Designed in 1745 and completed eight years later, the building has served as a convent, a school, and many things in between, and is considered one of the best surviving examples of French Colonial public architecture in the country. You will just have to see for yourself!

While you are out, grab a bite to eat at the oldest family-run restaurant in the United States, Antoine’s Restaurant, established back in 1840. This famous restaurant has been a long-time draw for both tourists and locals thanks to its ambiance and unparalleled French-Creole cuisine. Come taste some delectable escargots à la Bordelaise, Oysters Rockefeller, or Pomme de Terre Soufflées.

If you find yourself in the nearby neighborhood of Mid-City, you can brush up on your art knowledge and tour the restored Degas House, where the French Impressionist has created over 20 paintings and drawings.

9. The Best of Local Shopping Within Walking Distance    

The French Quarter is a haven when it comes to specialized shopping. While walking around, you can discover world-class menswear shops unique to New Orleans, along with trendy hotspots for t-shirts and sneakers.

Whether you’re visiting New Orleans with the kids in tow, or shopping for souvenirs for young ones back home, you’ll find a wealth of cool options in the Quarter for kids of all ages that are fun for parents, too — like voodoo dolls, masks, creative toys, Louisiana-centric books, and more.

Want to take a taste of New Orleans home? By all means! From the hot sauces to chicory coffee to pralines and a beignet mix in a box, many of the city’s distinctive Creole and Cajun flavors and spices make terrific edible souvenirs to pack in your suitcase. 

10. Dining for Every Occasion and Budget

New Orleans boasts a bounty of iconic foods, from po-boys and muffulettas to hot-out-the-pot boiled crawfish. Many of the items on local appetizer menus, like shrimp remoulade and gumbo, can be a lunch meal in themselves, and some of the city’s tastiest treats are classic desserts like bananas Foster and bread pudding.

That said, for lighter fare on the earlier side (perhaps with a dash of caffeine) you can also hit a number of unique and charming cafes and breakfast/brunch nooks, all within walking distance from the hotel.

New Orleans St. Louis Cathedral

11. Family-Friendly Fun Awaits

Don’t be fooled by New Orleans’ hard-partying reputation. Beyond the 24/7 bars and Bourbon Street debauchery, there’s a culturally rich, historic, and yes, kid-friendly city to explore. That goes double for the French Quarter, which is a tourist destination as well as a living, breathing neighborhood with residents of all ages.

Round up the kids and ride the streetcar, or visit the Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium or Aquarium of the Americas. Take a City Sightseeing Tour on the double-decker bus, or a walking ghost tour (find the kid-friendly ones that focus more on history rather than the gore).

Want to take in a scenic view of the Mississippi River while you dine on the Creole/Cajun buffet? When you take a Creole Queen river cruise you’ll see the French Quarter, the Port of New Orleans, and the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park all in a single morning or afternoon. And your kids will be having so much fun, they won’t realize how much they’re learning!

12. The Place d’Armes Hotel Guarantee

Planning a trip to New Orleans? Check availability for your travel dates and book your stay online.

Make sure to take advantage of our discounted weekday rates and special offers, and receive even deeper discounts when you prepay in advance. If you find lower rates on your Place d’Armes room at the time of booking, we will match the rate! Also, you can get exclusive deals and discounts at our New Orleans hotel by signing up for our email list.

The Place d’Armes Guide to the French Quarter

Place d’Armes is located on the quiet 600 block of St. Ann Street, in the center of the French Quarter of New Orleans. You can stroll just two blocks to the historic Jackson Square, or Cafe du Monde for some beignets. The excitement of Bourbon Street is only eight blocks away, too!

Because the French Quarter has so much to offer in terms of history, entertainment and world-class cuisine, choosing a perfect itinerary could be overwhelming. So here’s our guide to what you can see, do, eat, and drink — all near the hotel. Also, do you need help choosing which room to book for your trip? We got you covered, too.

Choosing the perfect room at Place d’Armes

The beautifully restored 18th and 19th century buildings of the historic Place d’Armes surround the lush tropical courtyards, a sparkling saltwater swimming pool and fountains. There are five room types, with either a king or a queen bed, and we also have rooms with two queen beds. The one-bed rooms are ideal for solo travelers, couples, or besties who don’t mind sharing a bed. The rooms with two queen beds are well suited for families, friend trips, girl trips, and any small groups that are OK with sharing a room.

If you treasure your privacy and are sensitive to noise, the windowless interior room offers a great value and all the peace and quiet you need. Our beautiful deluxe room has a little more space, and street or courtyard view (great for people-watching!). The balcony room features a balcony that faces St. Ann Street, and is perfect for people who want the full French Quarter experience. The courtyard room faces our lush tropical courtyard with fountains and a swimming pool, and the junior suite features the most space with its elegant sitting area.

Keep in mind that due to the historic nature of our property, we have some variation in our room sizes. 

Getting around

Place d’Armes places you within walking distance from numerous New Orleans attractions, restaurants, art galleries, museums, and more. You will be able to browse through famous New Orleans art galleries and antique shops, eat at some of the best restaurants in the country, and shop at the Riverwalk Mall and French Market.

What’s on St. Ann Street, you ask? St. Ann has its own hidden history, full of characters, places and events that make it one of New Orleans’ most storied streets. Take a trip back to antebellum New Orleans in the 1850 House (523 St. Ann), which is furnished with the exquisite art and decor found in the finest homes of prosperous local gentry. Situated inside the Pontalba buildings bordering Jackson Square, the elegant apartments were designed and financed by Baroness de Pontalba Micaela Almonester.

The voodoo priestess Marie Laveau’s first house was an old adobe cottage between Rampart and Burgundy streets at an address then known as 152 Rue St. Some say Marie’s spirit continues to inhabit the current house (1020 St. Ann), which was built on top of the old foundation when the cottage was torn down in 1903.

One of the most remarkable historic landmarks, The Presbytère (751 Chartres at St. Ann), was built in 1791 to match the neighboring Cabildo alongside St. Louis Cathedral, and was originally used as a residence for Capuchin monks. It later served as a courthouse and became part of the Louisiana State Museum in 1911. The Presbytère’s two permanent exhibits celebrate the joyous spirit and resilience of New Orleans. Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana invites visitors to climb aboard parade floats and view historic throws, while Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond documents the city’s remarkable recovery from one of the worst disasters in U.S. history.

If walking around the French Quarter isn’t quite your speed, other transportation options include mule-drawn carriages, pedicabs, streetcars, buses, cabs, Uber and Lyft, and even a ferry that goes to Algiers on the West Bank. One of the most versatile and easy options for visitors to see the city is the City Sightseeing New Orleans Hop-On, Hop-Off double-decker bus tour. The buses come to each stop every 30 minutes, allowing you to travel and sightsee throughout New Orleans at your own pace. It’s a nice way to get from the French Quarter to the Garden District and Magazine Street shopping district, and your ticket also comes with three free walking tours.

Other New Orleans neighborhoods are within easy reach as well. From the music-haven strip of Frenchmen Street in the Marigny to the club-hopping St. Claude Avenue in the Bywater and the galleries and the museums of the Arts District, they all offer a colorful tapestry of unique culture and traditions, within walking distance or an easy ride away.

Where to eat

Whether you’re looking for traditional American options or Creole- and Cajun-inspired recipes the city’s dining scene provides endless options, particularly in the French Quarter. From artisanal pizza to the signature cafe au lait and decadent desserts, the French Quarter has it all.

For breakfast, try the Bananas Foster French toast or eggs Benedict po-boy at Stanley (it also offers a great view of Jackson Square), or the wildly popular eggs cochon and BBQ shrimp and grits at the Ruby Slipper. Vacherie serves authentic Cajun cuisine from the Hotel St. Marie located on Toulouse Street, and the charming, French-style patisserie Croissant D’Or tucked away on a quiet block of Ursuline Avenue is perfect for early risers.

Do you have a food bucket list? Cross off the gumbo, po-boys, charbroiled oysters, muffulettas, and other classic cuisine that came to define New Orleans while you enjoy a long, leisurely lunch near the hotel. How about more classics for dinner? Some of the best restaurants in the Quarter, both fancy and casual, offer up the Gulf coast fish, shrimp Creole, crawfish étouffée, and other deliciousness. And why not walk it off afterward, off the beaten path of the hand grenades and giant novelty cups, and explore a few local watering holes?

What to do

The Quarter is over 300 years old, and is considered one of the most beautiful historic places in the country. When you’re staying at the Place d’Armes Hotel you’re already immersed in history. Even strolling around informally, you’ll discover storied landmarks just about anywhere you go. Whether you’re a history buff or just want to explore lightly and have some fun within the walking distance of the hotel, you will not want to miss out on visiting some of the city’s most famous historical landmarks, including the must-visit museums, located right in or near the Quarter.

Whether you’re here on a girls weekend, a romantic getaway, a short stay, visiting with the whole family, or exploring on the budget, there’s plenty to do, round the clock, in and near the French Quarter. Bustling nightlife, walking tours that will help you stay active during your visit, all kinds of sightseeing tours and entertainment — you can find it all within walking distance from the hotel.

Where to shop

For souvenirs (including the edible kind like pralines and Louisiana hot sauces) and well-priced local arts and crafts, try Decatur Street and the French Market, including the strip of the Shops at the Colonnade adjacent to the market. Want to pick some cool masks and beads for the kids? There are quite a few options that are fun for parents, too. There are three malls nearby, world-class menswear shops pepper the Quarter and just outside across Canal Street, and Chartres Street is packed with boutiques, just as Royal Street boasts some of the best antiques and vintage shopping in the country.

Did you forgot your toothbrush, or want to stock up on fresh fruit for hotel room snacking? There are some spots nearby where you can easily find these essentials near the hotel, too.

The best time of the year to visit

Even during the hot and humid months, the Crescent City’s event calendar is pretty much always full, so when you should visit really depends on your interests and your tolerance for heat. There’s something going on year-round, from food and drink fests to the fall and winter holidays, the Carnival, and the Saints football season. No matter when you decide to visit, we’ll be happy to have you! Book your stay with us today, and see why no other city compares to the magic that is New Orleans.

Must-See Highlights in Nearby Neighborhoods


Armstrong Park – Photo by Cheryl Gerber

There’s no shortage of attractions just steps away from the Place d’Armes, where history and culture collide in the storied streets of the French Quarter. But New Orleans also offers a colorful patchwork of other neighborhoods with their own unique traditions.

Arts District

Site of three major museums, including the world-renowned National World War III Museum, the Arts District transformed many old commercial warehouses into trendy restaurants, galleries and bars, where art meets the culinary arts.

Julia Street

Julia Street becomes a swarming hub of see-and-be-scenesters from Camp St. to Tchoupitoulas the first Saturday of every month, when top-tier galleries like Arthur Roger (432 Julia St.) and Jonathan Ferrara (400A Julia St.) open their latest shows. Pop into Galliano (200 Julia St.) for a twist on classic Cajun cooking, or feast on the exotic Southeast Asia/West African/Caribbean fusions at Carmo (527 Julia St.).

Contemporary Arts Center (900 Camp St.)

Founded by Louisiana artists, the CAC is a hub of creative activity and performances. Several levels of gallery spaces are connected by a winding circular ramp, which overlooks a central atrium often hung with installations.The CAC also serves as the ground zero for the Arts District’s annual White Linen Night, held the first Saturday of every August.

Ogden Museum of Contemporary Art (925 Camp St.)

The Ogden boasts the world’s largest permanent collection of Southern art, which ranges from traditional folk art to cutting edge contemporary art and photography. It mounts new exhibits throughout the year, and also hosts the lively Ogden After Hours, a weekly Thursday evening showcase of musical artists.

Circle Bar (1032 St. Charles Ave.) When the museums and galleries close, head for this popular Lee Circle watering hole. Tiny but mighty, it hosts local and touring bands nightly. Free early shows run from 7-9 p.m., and slammin’ multi-band shows start around 10 p.m.

Marigny

Frenchmen Street

The club-hopping strip of Frenchmen is the epicenter of the city’s live music scene. Hit The Spotted Cat (623 Frenchmen St.), or settle into a table at Snug Harbor (626 Frenchmen St.) to hear cool contemporary jazz. d.b.a. (618 Frenchmen St.) hosts some the hardest-working musicians in town, while Blue Nile (532 Frenchmen St.) presents high-energy shows by local stars like Kermit Ruffins along with national touring acts.

St. Claude Triangle

Just the other side of Elysian Fields, where the Rampart.-St. Claude streetcar line ends, a trifecta of live music venues offers a hip alternative to the oft-overcrowded Frenchmen scene.

Anything and everything goes at the AllWays Lounge (2240 St. Claude Ave.), from swing-dance Sundays to Bayou Blues Burlesque to the Blue Moon Circus Sideshow. Catch hot up-and-coming bands at the Hi Ho Lounge (2239 St. Claude Ave.), a lively neighborhood bar. The latest addition to the scene? Carnaval Lounge (2227 St. Claude Ave.), formerly Siberia, which is making its mark with hot Latin bands and Brazilian street food.

Bywater

Julia Street’s hipper cousin, the boho enclave of Bywater hosts art openings the second Saturday of the month at artist-run collectives like The Front (4100 St. Claude Ave.) and Good Children Gallery (4137 St. Claude Ave.). It’s also home to Music Box Village (4557 N. Rampart St.), a delightful collection of artist-built musical houses that visitors can play like instruments.

Bacchanal Wine (600 Poland Ave.) attracts visitors from around the world to its funky outdoor courtyard. Guests sip world-class wines while listening to lively acoustic music and feasting on delicacies like seared diver scallops prepared on a backyard grill.

Get your day off to a good start at Bywater Bakery (3624 Dauphine St.), which makes delicious house-baked breakfast treats and savory specialities and presents live music on the weekends.

Treme

One of the country’s oldest African-American neighborhoods, Treme is the living heart of second-line culture. Throughout the 19th century, enslaved Africans and free people of color gathered every Sunday in Congo Square to dance and drum in a corner of what is now called Louis Armstrong Park, which hosts free outdoor music festivals throughout the year.  

Backstreet Cultural Museum (1116 Henriette Delille St.) houses a fabulous array of Mardi Gras Indian costumes and photographs that trace the neighborhood’s musical history. Catch a jazz mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church (1210 Governor Nicholls St.), then hit Lil Dizzy’s Cafe (1500 Esplanade Ave.) for Sunday brunch. Or try the savory gumbo z’herbes at Dooky Chase’s (2301 Orleans Ave.), where the late, great Creole chef Leah Chase worked her magic.

Garden District

Hop the St. Charles Streetcar at Canal and Carondolet to travel in style to the fashionable Garden District.

Get off at Washington Street to wander among the above-ground graves at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (1427 Washington Ave.) Just across the street is Commander’s Palace (1403 Washington Ave.), an elegant old-school Creole restaurant known for its decadent Jazz Brunch spread and 25-cent lunch martinis.

What’s on St. Ann Street in the French Quarter?

Pontalba Apartments

If you’re staying at the Place d’Armes, which borders bustling Jackson Square, you’re in the heart of the Quarter on St. Ann Street, which boasts a wealth of restaurants, bars and boutiques. St. Ann also has its own hidden history, full of characters, places and events that make it one of New Orleans’ most storied streets. Discover the lore and legends while enjoying some of the Quarter’s best dining, drinking and shopping.

History, Legends & Lore

Birthplace of Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau (1020 St. Ann St.)

Shaded by honeysuckle vines, pomegranate and banana trees, Marie Laveau’s first house was an old adobe cottage between Rampart and Burgundy streets at an address then known as  152 Rue St. Ann. It served as a sanctuary for children, the poor and sick, and New Orleanians seeking powerful charms from a voodoo priestess who casts as potent a spell today as she did in her own lifetime. Some say Marie’s spirit continues to inhabit the current house, which was built on top of the old foundation when the cottage was torn down in 1903.

NCIS: New Orleans Headquarters (719 St. Ann St.)

The hit CBS show situates its headquarters on St. Ann between Royal and Bourbon streets, where a gated carriageway leads inside to a squad room, kitchen and courtyard, with an interrogation room in the back. In real life, the carriageway serves as parking spaces for residences on either side. The actual set is in a Jefferson Parish soundstage, but fans of the series can visit its weathered, exterior entrance on St. Ann.

1850 House in the Pontalba Apartments (523 St. Ann)

Take a trip back to antebellum New Orleans in the 1850 House, which is furnished with the exquisite art and decor found in the finest homes of prosperous local gentry. Situated inside the Pontalba buildings bordering Jackson Square, the elegant apartments were designed and financed by Micaela Almonester Baroness de Pontalba, a remarkable woman whose initials (AP) can still be seen in the cast iron balcony railing. A shrewd businesswoman and heiress, the Baroness survived a gunshot attack by her money-hungry father-in-law.

The Presbytère (751 Chartres at St. Ann)

 Built in 1791, the Presbytère was designed to match the neighboring Cabildo alongside Jackson Cathedral, and was originally used as a residence for Capuchin monks. It later served as a courthouse and became part of the Louisiana State Museum in 1911. The Presbytère’s two permanent exhibits celebrate the joyous spirit and resilience of New Orleans. Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana invites visitors to climb aboard parade floats and view historic throws, while Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond documents the city’s remarkable recovery from one of the worst disasters in U.S. history.

Eat, Drink & Shop

Stanley (547 St. Ann St.)

Breakfast and brunch are served all day at this lively Quarter eatery, which boasts a soda fountain with house-made ice cream and features a full menu of delicious sandwiches, from classic Reuben and corned beef pastrami to ever-popular Stanley Burger.

Muriel’s Jackson Square (801 Chartres St., corner of St. Ann)

Muriel’s history stretches back to the founding of New Orleans, and was rebuilt after going up in flames during the Good Day Fire of 1788. An extensive renovation in 2001 restored Muriel’s to its mid-1800s glory, and its classic Creole food and specialty cocktails are as classy as its ambience.

Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur, corner of St. Ann)

A New Orleans tradition since 1862, Cafe du Monde serves its iconic sugar-dusted beignets and chicory-laced cafe au lait 24 hours a day, and fresh-squeezed orange juice is always on the menu. Pro tip: Skip the crowds that flock there for breakfast and stop by at night, when you rarely have to wait for a seat.

Maskarade (630 St. Ann St.)

Masks are a Mardi Gras tradition, and Maskarade is brimming with the fanciful creations of some of the world’s most gifted maskmakers. Don’t see anything that strikes your fancy? Commission your own personal made-to-order mask.

New Orleans Cajun Store (537 St. Ann St.)

Local for edible souvenirs? Choose from dozens of hot sauces and spices made by Tabasco and Andy Roo’s. You’ll also find a slew of other Louisiana momentos, from colorful aprons and apparel to playful ornaments to elegant fleur de lis serving ware.

Creole Delicacies Shop (533 St. Ann St.)

Visitors make a beeline for this shop’s creamy pralines, and other Louisiana pecan delicacies like Praline Honey Butter. It’s also stocked with regional cookbooks, Cajun spices and mixes and plenty of local souvenirs, from kitchen gadgets to seafood decor to Christmas ornaments.

Willa Mae’s Scotch House (2401 St. Ann St.)

Grab a cab and head to this fried chicken and soul food mecca in Treme. A destination for activists during the Civil Rights movement, the family-owned restaurant was honored with a James Beard award. It counts President Barack Obama among its many customers.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit New Orleans in the Fall

The Weather Is Glorious

Fall in New Orleans is like a breath of fresh air. The dog days of summer, which last deep into September, give way to milder weather. While you probably won’t need a jacket in daytime, evening temps can dip to the low 60s in October and the low 50s in November, so pack some light outerwear. Lagniappe: Less rain falls in the city in autumn than any other time of year.

Fall Festivals Abound

In October, foodies chow down at the Beignet Festival and Mac n’ Cheese Fest; culture mavens celebrate Art for Art’s Sake and the New Orleans Film Festival; and music fans get down at the Tremé Fall Festival and Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival. The city also celebrates German food, music, and beer during the three weekend-long Oktoberfest.

It’s Hauntingly Fun

 Boo! Halloween isn’t just one day in New Orleans, where the veil between the living and dead is paper thin. It’s an entire season, filled with balls, costume parties, and multiple parades. Krewe of Boo, the city’s official Halloween parade, kicks off the season in mid-October with an extravaganza of family-friendly monster floats that throw scads of plush toys and candy. On October 31, join a more Bohemian street parade on Decatur St. and dive into the throngs of costumed revelers on Frenchmen Street, which rages till the wee hours.

November Is a Thanksgiving Cornucopia

Thanksgiving is just the final course of a month’s worth of food festivals in November. Sample more than 50 varieties of New Orleans’ most iconic sandwich at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, eat your fill of Boudin, Bourbon & Beer at Emeril Legasse’s annual fundraiser, get cheesy at Fête des Fromages, and scarf your gumbo with a side of brass bands at Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival. Then don a fabulous hat and hit Thanksgiving at the Fair Grounds Race Course for the opening day races, a New Orleans see-and-be-seen tradition where you can feast on a sumptuous buffet in the clubhouse whilst betting on the ponies.

It’s Football Season!

New Orleanians bleed black and gold, but you don’t have to be a Saints fans to cheer your favorite teams on to glory. College sports fans converge on Thanksgiving weekend for the Bayou Classic, when longtime rivals Grambling State and Southern University clash in the Superdome. Catch your own home team in action-packed Quarter sports bars like American Sports Saloon (1200 Decatur St.); Jimani Lounge & Restaurant (141 Chartres St.); and The Corner Oyster House (500 St. Peters St.). But be forewarned: if your team’s playing the Saints, you might be in for a little friendly roasting.

Tips for Planning a Romantic French Quarter Getaway

Steeped in history, the French Quarter is one of the most romantic destinations in the world, and the beautifully restored Place d’Armes Hotel is the perfect launching pad for love. Surrounded by lush tropical courtyards, it’s in the heart of the Quarter, where you can stroll hand in hand under the moonlight to a candlelit dinner. Swoon! Though it’s an ideal setting for just following your heart, you’ll get more out of your getaway with a little advance planning.

When to Go: A Season-by-Season Guide

You can find romance every day of the year in a city that keeps inventing new festivals for everything from daiquiris to fried chicken. But, depending on what you’re looking for, every season has its own attractions.

Holiday Season
Dance with the Ghost of Christmas Past in the Quarter, where you can join the throngs of carolers in Jackson Square, and eat elaborate, multicourse Reveillon Dinners based on traditional Creole meals once served after midnight mass. Make advance reservations in classic restaurants like Muriel’s Jackson Square (801 Chartres St.), right next to Place d’Armes, which dishes up specialties like fried oyster chowder and citrus-poached Gulf shrimp.

Mardi Gras Season
The biggest free party on earth is an entire season that can stretch on for weeks, depending on when Easter falls, so be sure to check the Mardi Gras Calendar before booking your rooms. Serious revelers hit town the final, parade-packed weekend leading up to Fat Tuesday, but you can also join the revelry at a less frenetic pace. Come for the lovely, romantic Joan of Arc Parade on 12th Night (January 6), which winds its way through the Quarter on horseback and foot and launches Mardi Gras season.

Spring & Summer Festival Seasons
Come spring, music lovers make a beeline for New Orleans during French Quarter Fest and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the great-grandaddy of them all, so advance booking is essential. But things slow down in summer, when you get more romance for your buck, thanks to great deals on hotels and restaurants. Summer also brings several marquee events in and around the Quarter, including Tales of the Cocktail, Satchmo SummerFest, White Linen Night and Dirty Linen Night.

Spooky Season
Many lovers come to New Orleans to pledge their troth as the witching hour of Halloween approaches, and the Quarter becomes even more haunted. And while destination weddings require precision planning, casual visitors can just slip on their fangs, walk out the door of the Place d’Armes, and join the masked revelry throughout spooky season at several parades and happenings. Fall also brings football fans eager to catch Who Dat fever in Saints country, which spreads like wildfire in the Quarter on a Sunday afternoon.

Where to Go: Tips for Lovers in Any Season

Take a Jazz Cruise on the Creole Queen

Cruising the Mississippi at night is très romantique on the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen, which takes you back to the glamorous days of high-rolling riverboat gamblers. Cut a rug on the parquet dance floor to hot live jazz, then cool down with a stroll on the decks and enjoy the skyline view under the stars.
(Book in advance online)

Take a Carriage Ride Through the Quarter
What better place to whisper sweet nothings than in a mule-drawn carriage clip-clopping through the Quarter?  Royal Carriages offers several group tour options led by savvy guides. But if you’re looking to pop the question, or just want to cozy up with your honey alone, book a private ride with your own personal driver, who can steer you to properly romantic backdrops for snuggling.
(Book in advance online)

Have a Candlelit Dinner in a Romantic Restaurant
For old-school Creole elegance, book a table for two at Antoine’s (713 St. Louis St.) or Arnaud’s (813 Bienville) and dine on classic French cuisine like Chateaubriand. Or go new-school at Bayona (430 Dauphine St.), chef Susan Spicer’s flagship restaurant, which serves beautifully plated dishes like Fennel Pepper-Crusted Lamb Loin in a lovely atmospheric setting.

Men’s Shopping in the French Quarter

Chart a more leisurely course in and around the Quarter, where you’ll discover world-class menswear shops unique to New Orleans, along with trendy hotspots for t-shirts and sneakers. The best part? There are plenty of watering holes along the way.

Rubensteins (Canal St., corner of St. Charles)

Founded in 1924, this classic old school haberdashery was the first retail store on Canal St. to open after Katrina, less than two months later. Talk about staying power! Repeatedly cited as a gold standard store by Esquire magazine, Rubensteins is known for its outstanding made-to-measure service, which tailors suits and shirts to your exact build. It also stocks a fine selection of off-the-rack designer suits, sportcoats, shirts, sportswear, shoes and accessories. Pro tip: Keep an eye out for sales events, when they serve up cocktails on the house.

Meyer the Hatter (120 St. Charles Ave., just off Canal St.)

Nothing puts a spring in a man’s step like a snappy Panama or fedora. Just down the block from Rubensteins is the largest and most renowned hat store in the South. Family-owned since 1894, Meyer the Hatter stocks everything from bowlers, top hats and safari hats to newsboy caps, and boasts an extensive collection of fine Panama straws. A splurge here won’t break the bank, either. Frequent sales abound, and everyday prices range from $20 to $100 for most styles, while top-tier toppers like the Stetson Aficionado Panama ($125) are under $200.

George Bass (201 St. Charles Ave.)

Known for its carefully curated collection of fine menswear from Italian labels like Santoria, Ferragamo and Luciano Barbera, George Bass is a relative newcomer to the Canal St./St. Charles corridor. First opened in 1985, it caters to guys who dress with continental flair but like to relax on the weekends in rugged Raleigh Denim stitched and signed by jeansmiths in Raleigh, NC. You’ll also find a small but choice selection of personal grooming products, including Aesop hydrating skin toners and Art of Shaving straight and safety razors.

NOLA Couture (528 St. Peter St.)

Born in the wake of Katrina, NOLA Couture created a witty collection of men’s bow-ties and ties with iconic local symbols like Shrimp Cocktail, Fleur de Lis and NOLAgators. It’s since expanded to include ready-to-wear styles for women, kids and pets. But unique ties are still its primary stock and trade and make terrific souvenirs to wow ‘em back home.

Dirty Coast (713 Royal St.)

You can stock up on t-shirts with hokey slogans like “Drunk #1” in any Quarter tourist shop. But guys with a more refined sense of humor head for Dirty Coast. Launched the year before Katrina, the brand made its mark post-K with a pithy tagline: “Be a New Orleanian wherever you are.” Buttery soft cotton Dirty Coast tees are emblazoned with clever slogans like “New Orleans Is My Favorite Restaurant.” One of our faves offers a crash course in local directionals: “River. Lake. Uptown. Downtown.”

Sneaker Politics (216 Chartres St.)

The streetwise sneaks at Sneaker Politics are the coolest kicks in town. When the Lafayette, LA-based store opened its French Quarter outpost across from House of Blues, a long line of fans waited in the rain to get first dibs on the latest releases from Nike, Converse, and Vans. Their patience was rewarded when New Orleans-born rapper Curren$y showed up and started pouring free champagne. How cool is that?

Girls Weekend in the French Quarter


Photo by Kelly Sikkema

New Orleans is the belle of the South, perfumed with magnolias and veiled with mysterious secrets, and her crown jewel is the French Quarter. Small wonder it’s become the destination of choice for fun-loving ladies from near and far.

Place d’Armes makes a great base camp; it’s right by Jackson Square, where colorful fortune-tellers ply their trades. But you don’t need a soothsayer to predict what the future holds. You’re here to eat, drink, and be merry (and do a little power-shopping). This guide helps you chart your course, but it’s only a starting point. Once you get the lay of the land, make it up as you go along. Discovering hidden gems on your own is part of the fun of the French Quarter.

Rise and Shine at Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur St.)

Since 1862, New Orleanians have been dipping sugar-dusted beignets into steaming cups of cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde, where jazz combos provide a jaunty soundtrack and silver-painted mimes across the street stand still as statues. It’s a great introduction to the charms of the Quarter, and the perfect place to caffeinate for your adventures.

Browse the French Market and Stroll the Riverwalk

Cafe Du Monde is the gateway to three centuries of history in the French Market (1100 N. Peters St.), where you’ll find a lively flea market packed with affordable New Orleans souvenirs and handmade crafts by local artisans. Grab a sweet treat from Loretta’s Pralines, then stroll along the Mississippi and watch the passing parade of tourist riverboats and working vessels.

Have a Boozy Lunch or Brunch

For old-school elegance at bargain prices, you can’t beat the $20 three-course prix fixe lunch at Antoine’s (713 St. Louis St.), where you can wash down house specialties like char-broiled oysters with 25-cent martinis. Or live large at the Sunday jazz brunch at Arnaud’s (813 Bienville), and splurge on signature dishes like Savory Crabmeat Cheesecake, topped off with boozy Café Brûlot prepared tableside with fanfare and flames.

Go on a Shopping Spree

Release your inner diva at Fifi Mahoney’s (942 Royal St.), home of the wildest wigs on the planet and scads of glam accessories. Head for Bambi Deville Vintage (632 St. Ann St.) to try on timelessly elegant styles. And don’t miss Trashy Diva (537 Royal St.), which specializes in vintage-inspired dresses that make women of all sizes and shapes look like Hollywood stars.

Sip Classic Cocktails in Elegant Bars

It may be a UK import, but the Pimm’s Cup went viral in the 1940s at the Napoleon House (500 Chartres St.), which remains the go-to spot for the summery, herbaceous, gin-based cocktail. Sip a couple cucumber-garnished Pimm’s, then keep the buzz going with the namesake drink at French 75 (813 Bienville). Named one of the Top 5 Bars in the country by Esquire, its signature cocktail blends Courvoisier VS, lemon and sugar with Moet & Chandon champagne.

Dine Out in a Swanky Restaurant

Woman cannot live by po-boys and muffalettas alone. Doris Metropolitan (620 Chartres St.) caters to adventurous carnivores with aged Japanese beef and exotic entrees like “Falls off the bone Shpondra (short ribs),” cooked 24 hours and served with root puree. And seafood lovers swoon over the menu at Tableau (616 St. St. Peter St.), which offers a truffled crab claw appetizer and redfish cooked in blue crab butter and white truffle oil.

Go Dancing on Frenchmen Street

After all that eating and drinking, it’s time to burn off some calories. There’s no shortage of places to hit the dance floor on Frenchmen Street, the city’s premier live music corridor. Though no longer a “local’s secret,” you’re guaranteed to have a blast at more than a dozen clubs in a few short blocks where the music goes well into the wee, wee hours. Top hotspots include Blue Nile (532 Frenchmen St.), The Spotted Cat Music Club (623 Frenchmen St.) and d.b.a. (618 Frenchmen St.)

Cool New Orleans Souvenirs for Kids


Photo by L. Allen Brewer

“Please, mom, can you buy me that?” Whether you’re visiting New Orleans with the kids in tow, or shopping for souvenirs for young ones back home, you’ll find a wealth of cool options in the Quarter for kids of all ages that are fun for parents, too.

Kids’ Clothes, Books & Accessories

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop, Nola Kids (333 Chartres St.) has you covered. It stocks a vast array of kids’ clothing with New Orleans motifs, like “Rollin’ with My Krewe” t-shirts, and plenty of Who Dat Saints gear for young football fans. You’ll find sparkly tutus, body glitter, and monster costumes for youngsters who love dressing up for Mardi Gras any old day, and a whole menagerie of animal plushies (including a mosquito!) The well-stocked library of books ranges from popular local classics (Cajun Night Before Christmas) to popular titles no kid could resist, while imaginative accessories include unicorn slippers, fancifully mismatched Story Time Knee Socks, and backpacks with butterfly wings.

Voodoo Dolls & Talismans

Voodoo casts a spell over the Quarter many visitors can’t resist, and kids are just as intrigued by the occult arts as grownups. Tourist shops abound with inexpensive voodoo dolls, but Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo (739 Bourbon St.) stocks the real deal. Handcrafted with Spanish moss and other natural elements, House of Voodoo dolls are specifically created for positive effects that help make dreams come true. You’ll also find tiny Guatemalan worry dolls that take worries away at night when youngsters tuck them under their pillow, and kid-pleasing talismans like good-luck painted chicken feet and Turkish Evil Eye charms that ward off bad spirits. Sister store Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo (723 St. Peter St.) sells the same products.

 Gators, Masks & Beads

The open-air shed at the historic French Market (1008 N. Peters St.), which dates back to 1791, is the best go-to spot for popular New Orleans souvenirs like feathered masks and boas, novelty gators of every sort and a seemingly infinite supply of Mardi Gras beads of all varieties. The price is always right. If you give the kids $10 to spend, they can score a whole lot of stuff. Immediately adjacent to the souvenir stalls in the shed is an open-air flea market, where local artists and crafters sell some cool handmade products that actually are made in New Orleans. Open daily, 9 am – 6 pm.

Toys, Games & Books

Two bright red toy soldiers stand guard outside the door of the Little Toy Shop (900 Decatur St.), a family-owned store that’s catered to kids for 60 years. Chock full of all manner of toys, from old standbys like spinning tops and rubber duckies to classic toy soldiers and miniatures, Little Toy Shop also stocks a slew of branded lunch boxes and plenty of New Orleans-themed kids’ books like The Runaway Beignet. Games range from chess sets with dragon-themed pieces to several variations of Rubik’s Cube-style puzzlers. Looking for something more artisanal? Idea Factory (924 Royal St.) makes delightfully creative toys handcrafted from wood, including Pinocchio and dinosaur marionettes, wooden cars and trains, and a polished-wood snake made of interlocking pieces.

Year-Round Christmas Shopping

Most kids wish Christmas came every day. Well, in New Orleans, it does! Get a jump on the season at Santa’s Quarter’s (1025 Decatur St.), which specializes in high-end ornaments like Christopher Radko’s hand-blown creations. The kids will likely have more fun checking out the glittery gators and guys-with-fish-tails ornaments just down the street at Merry Christmas & All That Jazz (820 Decatur St.).