A Walking Guide to the French Quarter Fest

Bonerama by David Fary

You could — and probably should — spend $105 or more for a one-day ticket to Jazz Fest this spring (we’re quoting the latest at-the-gate price). But you should also consider coming to New Orleans a few weeks earlier, from Thursday, April 11, through Sunday, April 14, 2024, for the largest free music festival in the south that celebrates its 41st anniversary this year.

During French Quarter Festival, the weather is better (read: less hot); there are plenty of restaurants where you can escape the crowds and relax over a meal — and, did we mention the festival is entirely free?

These are just a few reasons why over 875,000 music fans (the 2023 number) get their groove on at French Quarter Fest, and there are 300 more reasons for you to come this year. That’s how many performances will be held on 22 stages scattered throughout the French Quarter, playing traditional jazz, zydeco, and every Louisiana music genre in between.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of four days of music spread across multiple stages, that’s totally understandable. Here’s your walking guide to the French Quarter Festival — so you can plan your day for minimum trekking and maximum music enjoyment.

2-minute walk from Hotel Place d’Armes: Jackson Square

Don’t be surprised if you can hear the St. Louis Cathedral bells ringing from the hotel lobby — that’s because you’re literally steps away from Jackson Square, which hosts the outdoor stage. Jackson Square’s palm-tree-lined park offers a shady place to dance the day away, and don’t forget to swing by the Pirates Alley Cafe while you’re at it. Pirates Alley was one of William Faulkner’s favorite hangouts — he used to live and write there.

Jackson Square is also the spot for the festival’s opening ceremony. The festival kicks off on Thursday, April 11, 2024, with a parade starting at 10 a.m. in the 200 block of Bourbon Street and making its way to Jackson Square for an opening ceremony.

3-minute walk: Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is bustling, it’s bawdy, and no trip to New Orleans would be complete without a visit. Fortunately, several stages in the 300-700 blocks provide ample excuses to indulge in this booze-soaked thoroughfare.

5-minute walk: Royal Street

On any given day, sections of Royal Street are closed to traffic. Buskers, bands and other performers fill the streets while pedestrians browse antique shops, galleries and boutiques. But French Quarter Fest pushes Royal Street’s everyday ambiance to a new level. You’ll find several music stages nestled in the 400-700 blocks of Royal Street.

10-minute walk: Woldenburg Park

This narrow, grassy strip overlooking the Mississippi River is where you’ll find the lion’s share of the action, with musicians on four main stages pumping out the jams.

The outlier is a stage at Spanish Plaza, which is located at the southernmost end of Woldenberg Park, by The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. It’s about a 15-minute walk to this stage, so while you’re out there, you can scoop up some bargains at retailers including Neiman Marcus Last Call and Nordstrom Rack.

12-minute walk: Old U.S. Mint

Functioning as a branch mint of the United States Mint from 1838 to 1861, this historic building now hosts a Jazz Museum. During the French Quarter Fest, you’ll find two stages there. A first-aid station, restrooms, ATM, merch shop, bike parking, and food tents round out the offerings at this oh-so-essential stop.

It’s also situated near the Decatur Street stages and is right on the edge of the French Quarter, where the funky, music-club-lined Frenchmen Street begins. After dark, head this way to keep the party going at legendary venues like The Spotted Cat, Blue Nile, and d.b.a.

What else you need to know and what’s new for 2024

New stages

Considering the ever-growing popularity of the festival, this year the festival organizers are providing two new stages, the DJ Stage and the Culinary Stage.

Music lineup

The who-is-who of the local music scene is returning or joining this year. Expect beyond excellence when it comes to the French Quarter Fest music lineup. That includes Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville, Little Freddie King, George Porter Jr., Charmaine Neville, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., Kermit Ruffins, The Soul Rebels, Big Freedia, and many more who will be performing on stages stretching from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue. Check out the full music schedule on the fest’s website.

Food vendors

As in the previous year, expect a mouthwatering melting pot of traditional New Orleans dishes such as fried shrimp or catfish, stuffed crabs, locally brewed beers, meat pies, crawfish macaroni and cheese, and hot sausage po-boys. Beyond that, there will be plenty of global flavors.

The food and beverage vendors are set up in several locations throughout the French Quarter: Jackson Square, the Jazz Museum at the Mint, JAX Brewery, and Woldenberg Riverfront Park.

Our favorite vendors that are returning include Jacques-Imo’s Cafe, Tujague’s Restaurant, Plum Street Snoballs, 14 Parishes Jamaican Restaurant, Pat O-Brien’s, Miss Linda the Yakamein Lady, Desire Oyster Bar, Couvant, Morrow’s, Loretta’s Authentic Pralines, Addis NOLA, Cochon King BBQ, and many more.

This year, Bao Mi and Paco’s Tacos will have their culinary debut at the festival along with Miss River and Fritai Nola.

Also, if you see an orange “Eat Fit” sticker next to the food item, it means that it’s part of a special menu that focuses on lighter fare like lean proteins, vegetables, plant-based fats, and whole grains, with no white carbs and minimal added sugar. Fourteen vendors are participating in this program this year. Examples include crab, artichoke and citrus salad from Jacques-Imo’s Cafe, and sugar-free raspberry and sugar-free pink lemonade from Plum Street Snoballs.

Special events

Don’t miss the special events at the Fest! Besides the parade and the opening ceremony, those include free dance lessons, Children’s STEM Zone, French Quarter Fest After Dark programming from 9 p.m. till midnight at various local venues, a choir concert at St. Louis Cathedral, the 2024 French Quarter Fest Official Poster signing, interviews, and more. Here’s a full list of special events.

Street closures and getting around

In addition to increased traffic, some streets will be closed for the duration of the festival beginning at approximately noon until 8:30 p.m. (Those who live in the area will need to get access passes from the NOPD Eighth District Station.)

The streets that will be closing are Iberville, N. Rampart, Dumaine, and Decatur. We suggest that instead of driving, you use RTA buses, streetcars, rideshare services bikes, cabs, or the ferry to get to the festival.

The poster

You can buy the official 2024 poster at one of the four merch booths at the festival, and then online starting on April 22.

The navigation app

To streamline your music experience and navigation, you can download an app on the fest’s website (either for IOS or Android).

And, finally…

  • The live-music hours every day of the festival are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • No coolers and ice chests, please. Help keep the festival free by purchasing food and beverages at the festival.
  • And yes, we’ll say it again: The fest is free unless you opt to buy a pass for a VIP experience.

Planning a trip to New Orleans to attend the French Quarter Festival?

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! See you at the French Quarter Fest!

Top 5 French Quarter Historic Places

New Orleans is a city full of rich culture and history. The French Quarter in particular has a great deal of historical significance, with several important attractions located within its boundaries.

If you are visiting New Orleans, you will not want to miss out on visiting some of the city’s most famous historical landmarks. Here is a list of the top five historic spots in the French Quarter we recommend checking out.

1. Old Ursuline Convent Museum

Regardless of whether you are a history buff or looking to expand your knowledge of New Orleans history, you will enjoy a tour of one of the greatest historic spots in the French Quarter.

The Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley, built on Chartres Street back in 1752. This building has worn many hats over the centuries and was once a convent, orphanage, and even a makeshift hospital.

Now, you can tour the inside of this beautiful building, where you will see oil paintings featuring past archbishops, bronze busts, a hand-crafted cypress staircase, and many religious statues.

Ursaline Convent in New Orleans

2. St. Louis Cathedral

Often found in the front and center of many photographs and logos for New Orleans, the iconic St. Louis Cathedral is one of the city’s most notable landmarks. Situated between the Cabildo and the Presbytere, it overlooks Jackson Square, towering over its neighbors with its famous triple steeples. Also, did you know? The St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the United States.

St. Louis Cathedral French Quarter

3. The Cabildo

The Cabildo is a magnificent Spanish colonial building that neighbors the St. Louis Cathedral and is home to many rare artifacts of America’s rich history. Among these artifacts is the famous Napoleon’s death mask, one of just four remaining in existence.

You will also find an 1839 self-portrait by Julien Hudson on display at the Cabildo. Hudson was a free man of color and was one of many during the Antebellum period who worked as a professional artist in New Orleans.

The Cabildo was also the site of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, which finalized the United States’ acquisition of the Louisiana territory and doubled the size of the nation.

The Cabildo in New Orleans

4. Old Absinthe House

For nearly 200 years, the Old Absinthe House bar has been a staple for New Orleanians. Here you will find antique chandeliers, along with jerseys and helmets of football legends.

Authentic marble fountains with brass faucets that were once used to drop water over sugar cubes into glasses of absinthe align the bar that seats patrons along the rail. You will have the chance to sample a wide variety of fine malt scotches, house specialties, and, of course, absinthe at this eccentric and historically significant bar.

Old Absinthe House in New Orleans

5. Place d’Armes

We may be biased, but our hotel is truly a piece of French Quarter history and is a registered historic landmark.

In 1725, Father Raphael De Luxembourg Capuchin opened the first school in French colonial Louisiana, teaching students of all ages where the Place d’Armes now stands.

Some of the best things to do in New Orleans are just minutes away from our beautiful hotel. The Place d’Armes hotel itself is an experience, with its restored 18th and 19th-century buildings that surround tropical courtyards, fountains, and an inviting swimming pool.

Be sure to book your room at the Place d’Armes Hotel, a beautiful French Quarter hotel conveniently located close to many historical destinations and attractions. Some of the best things to do in New Orleans are waiting just outside the front door!

Place d'Armes Hotel in New Orleans

Top Tours to Try When You’re a Guest at the Place d’Armes French Quarter Hotel

Top Tours to Try When You're a Guest at the Place D'armes French Quarter Hotel

Maybe we’re biased, but we don’t think any other city does tours quite like New Orleans. This city’s historical and cultural significance is well known around the world, adding to the many reasons why New Orleans is so special and unique.

Because of its endless amount of wonderment and mystery, some first-time visitors find themselves in awe. This is where tours come in. There are some types of tours you might be familiar with that are popular in New Orleans: history tours, home and garden tours, and even ghost tours. Take a look at some of our favorite tours in and around the French Quarter.

Bike Tours

Did you know that, increasingly, New Orleans is a biking city? Multiple nights a week, there are mass rides and bar crawls for those who rather leisurely take their time as they ride. Luckily enough for you, New Orleans provides many opportunities to see this enchanting city, which seems to be stuck in some sort of time capsule, on your own set of two wheels.

While riding down a bike lane in this bike-friendly city, you can take in all of the historic landmarks, unique architecture, and, of course, maybe a dive bar or two. Go for a spin and explore quintessential New Orleans neighborhoods such as the Marigny and the Bywater.

If you prefer more greenery, then don’t miss an opportunity to ride through the Garden District where you will find some of the city’s most beautiful homes and gardens.

Personally, we recommend the two-hour French Quarter tour where you can hit a number of landmarks we’ve already mentioned including the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Mississippi River and the Creole Queen, the French Market, Cafe du Monde, Jackson Square, and the St. Louis Cathedral.

Cemetery Tours

Maybe you wouldn’t think it if you hadn’t been to the city before, but in New Orleans, cemeteries are large tourist attractions. To some, especially since the airing of American Horror Story’s third, New Orleans-based season, Coven, this isn’t much of a surprise. New Orleans has a deep and extensive occult history, grounded in the practices of voodoo.

Due to a high water table as well as low sea levels, New Orleans is famous for its aboveground tombs, which are often referred to as “cities of the dead.” With New Orleans’ unconventional burial practices, it is no wonder travelers would have a piqued interest to explore the city’s relationship with death and the afterlife.

There are dozens of cemeteries throughout the city, but the majority of tours will take you through St. Louis Cemetery #1 where you will find the graves of famous New Orleans residents, such as Marie Laveau.

City Sightseeing Tours

You may have seen that big, red double-decker bus coming down one of the streets in New Orleans’ biggest neighborhoods: the French Quarter, the Garden District, or the Central Business District.

The City Sightseeing Tour is great for any tourist who is visiting New Orleans for the first time. It’s like a catch-all for New Orleans history, architecture, and culture. You might be thinking that this tour would take a significant amount of time away from your other plans. You know, New Orleans was founded in 1718, and its battle between French and Spanish influence is enough to make anyone exhausted. It really is a lot to cover!

Surprisingly enough though, this tour only lasts two hours, which leaves you plenty of time to explore the other facets the city is so well known for, like music, cuisine, and nightlife.

Walking Tours 

New Orleans is the perfect city for walking. Not only is it flat and relatively easy to navigate, but you also have plenty of scenery along the way with the stunning French and Spanish architecture that differs drastically from the aesthetic of other modern cities.

Hear the brass band on the street corner or the click-clack of tapdancing feet, marvel at the stillness of the human statues, who have painted themselves entirely in gold or silver, smell the fresh scent of to-die-for cuisine, or listen to the buzz of the crowd. On your tour, you’ll discover how sensory the city really can be.

French Quarter Walking Tours are among the most popular, taking you to some of the most iconic landmarks of the city. Whether you’ve been to New Orleans or not, nothing is more charming than making your way down cobblestone streets as you watch the red Canal Street streetcars pass by, slow and steady like the locals that walk the street. (No one is ever really in a rush here.)

If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, or you just loved that cemetery tour so much that you just had to learn more, don’t hesitate to try out any number of the New Orleans ghost and haunted history tours. New Orleans has a long history of hauntings and has been repeatedly recognized as one of the most “Haunted Cities in America.”

Whichever walking tour you happen to choose, you can uncover the extraordinary history of the city at your own leisure.

Place d’Armes invites you to take advantage of exclusive seasonal savings on our room rates! Book today and experience the true New Orleans spirit with this French Quarter Hotel.

The French Quarter on $20

French Quarter Under $20 Beignets by Matt Forcey
Beignets by Matt Forcey

The Crescent City is surprisingly affordable all year round, and the bulk of its fun, free activities are concentrated in the French Quarter near Place d’Armes Hotel. In fact, it’s entirely possible to spend a day exploring, eating and sightseeing in the Vieux Carre without spending more than $20. Here’s your itinerary — laissez le bon temps roulez!

Cafe du Monde

800 Decatur St.

Cost: $6.79 (beignets and cafe au lait)

Cafe du Monde is an institution and for good reason: the Vieux Carre coffee stand has been slinging beignets since 1862. There are no reservations at the 24/7 joint — just find a table and take a seat. Order a cup of hot cafe au lait and a steaming plate of beignets (fried French donuts topped with a small mountain of confectioner’s sugar).

Dig in while listening to jazz music drifting over from Jackson Square and feeling the breeze off the nearby Mississippi River. It’s a priceless experience, but it will only set you back about $7 (be sure to bring cash and don’t forget to leave a few bucks on the table for a tip).

Central Grocery & Deli

923 Decatur St.

Cost: $13.95 (half of the muffuletta)

Layered with Italian deli meats, provolone cheese and olive salad and served on a seeded bun, a muffuletta sandwich is an original New Orleans creation, and Central Grocery invented it. Line up at the historic grocer and deli to try one. Word to the wise: a whole muffuletta is enough to feed two people, so opt for a half-sandwich. Bring it to the Moonwalk for a riverside picnic that won’t set you back much cash and that will keep you happily full for hours.

M.S. Rau

622 Royal St.

Cost: Free

Every item at the auction house looks like it costs at least a quarter of a million dollars, but a visit is free. If you walk through the spacious back area, you’ll find a room filled with priceless antiques and oddities, including 18th-century French mantels, statuary, and elaborate player pianos.

The Algiers Ferry

2 Canal St.

Cost: $2.00 ($4.00 round trip)

Admiring the passing riverboats on the Mississippi, but short on cash? There’s a way you can cruise the Mississippi for a fraction of the cost of admission to a paddlewheeler. It’s called the Algiers Ferry, and it’s your portal to the West Bank.

Pay $2.00 cash to board the double-decker ferry, which docks at the foot of Canal Street, near the Aquarium of the Americas. Lean against the railing as the ferry pulls away, and enjoy sweeping views of downtown. The St. Louis Cathedral’s spires never look as beautiful as when viewed from the river.

After the five-minute ride to the West Bank concludes, you can walk around Algiers Point, New Orleans’ second-oldest neighborhood, and stroll the Jazz Walk of Fame on the Mississippi River levee.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

419 Decatur St.

Cost: Free

Want to soak up some Crescent City history? Visit the Historic New Orleans Collection’s free exhibits for an up-close, visual history of the city.

Planning a trip to New Orleans? 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.

Kid-Friendly Activities Near the Place d’Armes French Quarter Hotel

Kid-friendly Activities Near the Place D'armes French Quarter Hotel
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas by Gary J. Wood on Flickr

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.

It might not be the whitewashed version you’ll find in Disneyland — which is all the better for travelers in search of authenticity. Round up the kids and head to the following destinations. The little ones will have so much fun, they won’t realize how much they’re learning.

Ride the streetcar

The expanded streetcar routes mean you have options when contemplating this historic and affordable (a day pass, or Jazzy Pass, is $3) mode of transportation. Want to check out mansions on St. Charles Avenue and end at the Audubon Zoo? Hop on the St. Charles streetcar at the foot of Bourbon and Canal Streets.

If you prefer to cruise up Canal Street to Mid-City, where City Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Sculpture Garden await, pay the $1.25 fare and climb aboard the Canal Street line.

For those who prefer to stay closer to home, the Riverfront streetcar glides from end to end of the French Quarter. (Tip: Red streetcars are air-conditioned and handicapped-accessible, while the older green streetcars are not.)

Shop at the French Market

2 French Market Place

New Orleans’ oldest outdoor market (a fixture since 1791) offers everything under the sun: tie-dyed sarongs, local produce, Zippo lighters, sterling silver jewelry, sunglasses, alligator heads, body jewelry, and more. You’ll find souvenirs and travel essentials you may have forgotten at home in this five-block stretch of vendors. It’s hard not to be entertained by this open-air market, but a scavenger hunt or souvenir allowance can make it even more exciting for kids.

Go to the Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium and Aquarium of the Americas

423 Canal St. and 1 Canal St.

Kids can hold stingrays, parakeets and butterflies at these two offshoots of the Audubon Institute. The Aquarium of the Americas offers a mini version of an Amazon rainforest, while the Insectarium’s Butterfly Garden is a peaceful escape that’s aflutter with beautiful winged insects. You can even dare your kids to eat chocolate-covered ants (for sale at the Insectarium). (Note: The Insectarium is moving in with the Aquarium. The two are slated to reopen in the Summer of 2023.)

Visit Jackson Square

From mimes and musicians to palm readers and portrait artists, there’s so much to see and do in Jackson Square. Take a slow stroll around the block and patronize any street artist who strikes your fancy. If the sun gets overbearing, cool off under the trees or by the fountain in the center garden, or wander through the St. Louis Cathedral. It’s a beautiful, serene, and sacred place to stop and reflect for a moment.

Nosh on beignets at Cafe du Monde

800 Decatur St.

You may spur a major sugar high when you bring children to Cafe du Monde, but the rewards are worth the risk. Order beignets and hot cocoa — the price is under $10, and the adorable shots of kids covered with spilled powdered sugar will be treasured for years to come.

Take a ghost tour

Let’s face it: Ghost stories are spookiest when you’re a child. That means the under-18 set is the best audience for a ghost tour. Check out Gray Line’s Ghosts and Spirits Walking Tour, which is child-friendly, or take the New Orleans City and Cemetery Tour. Stroll through these ornate, historic “cities of the dead,” view the tomb of Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and let your imagination run wild.

Additionally, French Quartour Kids specifically caters to children and has several tours for different age groups on the history of New Orleans, music, Creole heritage, ghosts, pirates, and more. (Warning: Not all ghost tours are kid-friendly. If you don’t go with our suggestion, be sure to inquire before you book your tour).

Planning a trip to New Orleans? 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.

Drink Like A Local Near the Place d’Armes Hotel

Drink Like A Local Near the Place d'Armes Hotel

Three-for-one beers, hand grenades, anything that comes in a giant novelty cup — sure, there’s a time and a place for these drinks. But you can only spend so long on Bourbon Street before every fire-spurting courtyard fountain starts to look the same.

So venture off the beaten path and explore a few local watering holes. After all, the French Quarter is a neighborhood where the residents share rich social ties, and these hangouts are where all the socializing goes down. Visiting one is the best way to see another side of the Vieux Carre (and possibly make a new friend).

Black Penny

700 N. Rampart Street

A dim, rustic hideaway for beer snobs, this beautifully weathered bar serves more than 90 American, regional and craft beers. The exposed brick walls, heavy overhead beams, chandeliers, and arched doorways give the space a feel reminiscent of the belly of a pirate ship. Friendly, knowledgeable bartenders make the Black Penny atmospheric without being depressing. Bonus: It sits right on the Rampart Street streetcar line.


1001 Esplanade Avenue

Perched right on the edge of the French Quarter on Esplanade Avenue, Buffa’s has been a neighborhood favorite since 1939. The unassuming back room hosts top-notch musical acts, plus a jazz brunch on Sundays, but the long-term regulars in the front room would probably prefer to keep that fact under the radar. Pub grub includes standards like burgers and fries, along with distinctly Louisiana fare like boudin balls and jambalaya.

Erin Rose

811 Conti Street

It’s a divey Irish pub in the heart of the French Quarter, serving Guinness and Harp on tap alongside huge po-boys, but no, Erin Rose doesn’t have an identity crisis. Rather, it exhibits the kind of cultural mingling that makes New Orleans great.

More about those po-boys: Killer PoBoys serves the hefty sandwiches from a takeout window in a cramped, tiny room at the rear of the bar, and though they’re a little pricier than what you’ll find at a corner store, the well-crafted, inventive and NOLA-centric, these gems are well worth the price.

Molly’s at the Market

1107 Decatur Street

Molly’s has been a fixture since 1974, and the memorabilia-lined walls (hung with newspaper clippings, flags and business signs from institutions that “ain’t dere no more”) are a tribute to its storied past. You’ll find a great jukebox, tattooed bartenders, and the best frozen Irish coffee on the continent at this lower Decatur Street hangout. And if you want the neighborhood vibe but your friends are set on hurricanes, have no fear — Molly’s Irish Bar (732 Toulouse St.) offers the same feel and menu, but is only steps away from Bourbon Street.

Aunt Tiki’s

1207 Decatur Street

A classic dive located just off Bourbon Street, Aunt Tiki’s keeps it simple by serving up inexpensive drinks 24/7. It has a great jukebox and typically isn’t swamped, which are all the reasons for its popularity with the locals.

Planning a trip to New Orleans? 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.

5 Activities Near the Place d’Armes French Quarter Hotel

5 Activities Near the Place d’Armes French Quarter Hotel

Whether it’s a weekday or the weekend, locals and tourists with all sorts of interests seem to have no trouble finding something stimulating to sink their sightseeing teeth into. Here’s a list of some of our favorite activities in and around the French Quarter.

1. Taking a cruise on the Creole Queen

1 Poydras Street

Do you dream of a way to journey down the Mighty Mississippi River? Well, now here’s your chance. Dating back to 1983, the paddlewheeler Creole Queen is a New Orleans staple. It’s not unusual to see her rolling down the river as the water rotates beneath her powerful paddlewheel. Paying tribute to 19th-century technology and Victorian-era style, booking a cruise on this waterfront behemoth is a popular New Orleans activity.

It truly is a “floating palace” with its many private rooms, top-notch stereo system, and upgraded bathrooms. You can even reserve the deck for your very own private party — and we have to admit, there’s nothing like a swinging engagement party on board.

We aren’t talking about a small party either because this waterfront beauty has the “largest indoor capacity [of any] excursion vessel in New Orleans.” So make the most of this opportunity and see the French Quarter, the Port of New Orleans, and the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park all in a single morning or afternoon.

2. Visiting the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

1 Canal Street

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is set against the perfect backdrop of the Mississippi River. Before you step inside this underwater world, take in some fresh air as you watch the sunlight hit the Mississippi. The park-like setting really is the perfect place for a pre-aquarium picnic — maybe you’ll even see a steamboat or two.

Inside, the aquarium boasts a very interactive experience. You will enter the aquarium through a tunnel of underwater life as stingrays and sea turtles majestically soar above you. After that, anything is possible. Check out the bright green and rather haunting eels right after the front entrance, watch as a member of the staff feeds the fun-loving, playful penguins, or allow the rhythmic movements of the many species of jellyfish to hypnotize you.

Stop by the gift shop afterward with its cute aquatic-themed trinkets, or pay a little extra at the ticket booth for a 3-D, nature-oriented film shown on a gigantic IMAX screen next door. (Note: The Aquarium is currently closed and is set to reopen in the Summer of 2023.)

3. Strolling Jackson Square

700 Decatur Street

Jackson Square, once known in the 18th century as “Place d’Armes,” is a favorite among locals and tourists. The attraction was later named after Andrew Jackson, a war hero during the Battle of New Orleans.

Many see Jackson Square as the heart of the French Quarter, and we have to agree. In a short distance, one can explore the French Market, Cafe du Monde, and the number of bars and shops that line Decatur Street.

Jackson Square is probably most known for its open-air artist colony, which some families have been members of for many generations. Find the perfect painting to bring back home, have your caricature done, or get your palm read and discover what the future has in store for you. With many nearby restaurants, museums, and historic buildings, Jackson Square is definitely worth the trip.

4. Hitting Harrah’s Casino New Orleans

228 Poydras Street

Looking to kill a little time before that business meeting? Or perhaps you’ve had a fun day in the city already and are looking for a little late-night action? Harrah’s Casino New Orleans can provide you with the entertainment you desire. With 113 table games, 20 poker tables, and 1,873 shot machines (but, who is really counting?), Harrah’s is a go-to spot for thrill seekers eager to try their luck.

If you prefer not to gamble, there are many other opportunities for a little R&R. Stop by one of the many restaurants located inside of the casino such as The Steakhouse New Orleans, Bobby’s Burgers by Bobby Flay, or Nina’s Creole Cottage by chef Nina Compton. If you’ve already had a great meal at one of the many restaurants downtown, perhaps it’s time for some adult refreshments at Hoodoo Cocktail Lounge or Masquerade.

5. Listening to Live Music

Jazz, funk, zydeco, blues, classical, opera — needless to say, you can find every genre in New Orleans, at any time, and on any day of the week. When it comes to live music in the city, the question is never “Where?” but rather “When?”

From Frenchmen to Bourbon Street, authentic New Orleans music engulfs every corner of the city in a constant stream of harmonious melodies. Speaking of Frenchmen Street, check out the Blue Nile, along with many other live-music venues on the block, or journey down to St. Claude Avenue, located in the Marigny neighborhood, for some amateur karaoke performances at Kajun’s Pub, which is open every night till 1 a.m.

Planning a trip to New Orleans? 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.

Psychics, Astrologers, and Voodoo Shops Near Place d’Armes Hotel

Psychics, Astrologers, and Voodoo Shops Near Place d'Armes Hotel

The paranormal is a divisive topic. Some people dismiss psychics, astrologers and voodoo practitioners as a bunch of scammers. Others remain open-minded and consider spiritual crafts a useful tool when it comes to self-reflection.

Whether your goal is to gain inner knowledge or simply be entertained, you can’t go wrong by getting a reading in what’s arguably the most metaphysically active city in the United States. Here are a few places with solid reputations — all just a hop, skip and a jump from the Place d’Armes.

Bottom of the Cup

327 Chartres Street

Open since 1929, this historic tea shop hosts psychics who will read your palm, tarot cards, or (of course) your tea leaves, which come with a free cuppa. You’ll sit in a curtained booth while your psychic tells you everything you want to know — and you’ll leave with a recording of the session so you don’t have to worry about writing down notes or relying on your memory alone. Afterward, shop the metaphysical gifts and souvenirs, including more than 100 varieties of tea, crystals, jewelry, tarot cards, and more.

Cari Roy

935 Gravier Street

Cari Roy is a native New Orleanian and a third-generation medium. Her abilities have landed her celebrity clients and guest spots on national news programs and television shows, including on The Discovery Channel and Travel Channel. But she’s also the most down to earth, sweet and approachable lady you will ever meet — one who has a knack for perceiving inner truths.

Interestingly, she does not use tarot cards or other forms of divination, preferring instead to read each individual’s unique psychic energy. Whether you need a dream interpretation, a past life reading, or a spell for a lost pet, she’s the one to call.

Jackson Square

French Quarter

Tarot cards, bone readings, palm readings, astrologers — you’ll find almost every metaphysical practice under the sun at this historic site in the shadow of St. Louis Cathedral. It’s a little looser and more free-form than a place like Bottom of the Cup. Practitioners set up their tables and tents in the early mornings and stay until the wee hours, so you don’t need to make an appointment.

Just find an individual and a style of reading that strikes your fancy and discuss prices. (Make sure you have cash, as many don’t accept credit cards.) If you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for, you can’t go wrong with following your intuition. Head to a person who appeals to you and see what the universe has in store — your gut will never lead you astray.

New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

724 Dumaine Street

This small, dim and winding museum is packed with relics, candles, sculptures, gris-gris bags, and more. While there are no readings offered on-site, employees can connect you to voodoo practitioners offering their services. It also has long assisted academics and researchers who wish to learn about the religion. Ultimately, this museum is a great jumping-off point for anyone who wants to learn more about voodoo, New Orleans history, and themselves.

Voodoo Authentica

612 Dumaine Street

More than a store, Voodoo Authentica is also a community place where you can receive spiritual guidance. It’s owned by practitioners and features locally made dolls, candles, gris-gris bags, plus arts and crafts from Haiti and Africa. Those include an incredible collection of traditional embroidered flags made by Haitian artists. Additionally, Voodoo Authentica offers rituals, readings, spiritual work, and consultations — all are performed in-house.

Planning a trip to New Orleans? 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.

24 Hours in the French Quarter – Place d’Armes Hotel

24 Hours in the French Quarter - Place d'Armes Hotel
Photo by Trevor Mark

In New Orleans, some bars stay open all night long, and they’re not the only 24-hour attraction the city has to offer. Here’s your itinerary for a perfect 24 hours in the Vieux Carre. (You can sleep on the plane.)

6 a.m. Watch the sunrise on the Mississippi River

Rise and shine! Start the morning by watching the sunrise over the Mississippi River. Beams sparkle on the water, gulls soar overhead, and the entire city feels fresh and new (mostly because the streets are cleaned at night). Grab a few bucks for your fare and catch the 6:15 a.m. ferry to the Westbank, enjoying the sunrise from the middle of the river.

7:30 a.m. Have breakfast at Croissant d’Or (617 Ursulines Ave.)

Savor the 19th-century ambiance at this pastel jewel box of a patisserie. French pastries, quiches, croissants, and breakfast sandwiches line the glass cases. Grab an almond croissant and a cup of coffee and head to the petite courtyard to peruse the New Orleans Advocate. (Even if you’re reading on your tablet, you’ll still feel transported to a slower time.)

9 a.m. Take a free walking tour of the French Quarter

Get some physical activity while learning the history of the Vieux Carre from a park ranger at the French Quarter Visitor Center. The center opens at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday (closed on Sunday and Monday). Don’t forget to bring water and wear comfortable shoes.

10:30 a.m. Window-shop on Royal Street

Antiques, art galleries, buskers, boutiques — you’ll find all these and more on Royal Street. Standouts on the pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare include M.S. Rau (630 Royal St.), a treasure trove of antiques and oddities, and Trashy Diva (537 Royal St.), a dress boutique with locally designed, vintage-inspired frocks.

12 p.m. Time for lunch at Galatoire’s (209 Bourbon St.)

Lunch at Galatoire’s is a time-honored tradition among New Orleanians. On Friday afternoons, it seems that half the city’s workforce gathers in this tiled dining room to eat, drink and be merry over shrimp remoulade and filet mignon. It’s the rowdiest fine dining you’ll ever experience — but don’t forget to follow the dress code (business casual for lunch, jackets for men during dinner).

1:30 p.m. Stroll through Jackson Square

The French architects who designed New Orleans’ layout originally conceived of Jackson Square as the hub of the city’s activities — and so it remains. Ringed with shops, restaurants and museums, it features a shady park with a large fountain, where you can sit and relax in the shade. Beyond the park, find palm readers, fortune tellers, portrait painters, mimes, buskers, and every flavor of performance artist conceivable.

3 p.m. Explore the St. Louis Cathedral

The St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest operating cathedral in the U.S. — and many believe it is the most beautiful. The cathedral is free and open to the public. Walk the aisle, admire the stained glass stations of the cross, light a candle, and have a moment of prayer or quiet reflection in the pews.

3:30 p.m. Tour the Presbytere (751 Chartres St.)

Visiting after the Carnival season has ended? No worries. You can get your fix of Mardi Gras at the Louisiana State Museum’s Mardi Gras exhibit. Float sketches, ornately beaded costumes and videos capture the excitement of a parade.

6 p.m. Have dinner at Irene’s (539 St. Philip St.)

Creole fare meets Italian cuisine at this intimate eatery. Its softshell crabs (when in season) are some of the best you’ll ever taste.

8 p.m. Catch live jazz at The Bombay Club (830 Conti St.)

Settle into a deep leather chair at this handsome restaurant/bar and enjoy the sounds of trad jazz, cocktail in hand. You’ll feel like you’re in a 1940s-era nightclub (and the martini glasses actually are vintage). Check the nightly offerings on the club’s live music schedule.

10 p.m. Hit Bourbon Street

It’s cheesy, it’s tacky, it’s neon-lit, and it’s an absolute must if you’re visiting New Orleans. Order a hurricane to go from Pat O’Briens (718 St. Peter St.) and make your way down the corridor of decadence. Stop in any club that catches your eye, hit the dance floor, make a friend, or make a fool of yourself — that’s what Bourbon Street is here for.

1 a.m. Have a drink at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (941 Bourbon St.)

Wind up your Bourbon Street expedition with a visit to this ancient, weathered, candlelit bar, where privateer Jean Lafitte once held court, and where it’s easy to feel like a modern-day pirate. After all, it’s the longest-operating bar in the U.S.

2 a.m. Beignets hit the spot at Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur St.)

At this point, you could probably use some food. Deep-fried and topped with mounds of fluffy confectioner’s sugar, beignets hit the spot. Paired with a steaming hot cafe au lait, they just might give you a second wind. Which is good, because you’re going to need it.

3 a.m. Hit the dance floor at Santos (1135 Decatur St.)

Lots of different nightclubs have called this address home over the years. Its current incarnation is Santos Bar, a spinoff from the hip Garden District hotspot called The Saint. Every night has a different theme and a different late-night dance party.

5 a.m. Unwind on your private balcony

Place d’Armes features a number of rooms with balconies overlooking the French Quarter. Sit back, relax and congratulate yourself on a truly epic day (and night) before hitting the pillow. Then enjoy your rest — you’ve earned it.

Planning a trip to New Orleans? 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.

Charming Coffee and Tea Shops Near Place d’Armes Hotel

Photo by Selena N. B. H. on Flickr

New Orleans is known worldwide for its rich roasted coffee, and tourists flock in droves to Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur St.) for their signature cafe au lait and beignets. Looking for a quieter spot to sip a cup of java or share a pot of tea with a friend? You’ll find several smaller charming cafes tucked away in the Quarter near Place D’Armes.

Bottom of the Cup Tea Room

327 Chartres St.

“Step Back in History” in this fabled tea room, where sipping a cup of fine fresh-brewed tea is just the beginning of your journey. Get your future divined from the tea leaves at the titular bottom of the cup, or have your tarot cards read by some of the city’s most talented psychics. Crystal balls, wands and other tools of divination are also available for sale.

Cafe Beignet

334 Royal St.

There’s plenty of ridiculous debate over who serves the better beignet, Cafe du Monde or Cafe Beignet (just have both and decide for yourself), but when it comes to the venue, it’s hard not to make the case for the Royal St. location of Cafe Beignet. It’s shady and relatively quiet, and you can get some excellent people-watching in.

Envie Espresso Bar & Cafe

1214 Decatur St.

Long a French Quarter institution, Envie’s outpost near the French Market is a popular spot with potent brews, a full bar, and an extensive menu of breakfast items and lunch sandwiches.

French Truck Coffee

217 Chartres St.

Known for its sustainably sourced coffee, bought directly from growers in Kenya and Peru, French Truck unveils the alchemy behind its potent java brews. Visitors can watch every delicious drop drip into glass decanters set up on the coffee bar.

Remember, you can walk to all these places from your hotel! Take advantage of Place d’Armes specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans famous French Quarter cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!