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Where to Stay in New Orleans | 5 Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in New Orleans | 5 Best Areas & Hotels

New Orleans is one of the more famous cities in the US, and a lot of that is due to its long history. While it’s not all sunshine and roses, it’s undeniable that this city offers a look into the past, especially when it comes to music and the people that changed how we listen to it.

While it might be difficult for first-time visitors to figure out where to stay in New Orleans, our guide should be able to help narrow down your options.

Where to Stay in New Orleans

Neon signs on legendary bourbon street, one of the best parts to stay in New Orleans

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New Orleans is widely considered to be the birthplace of jazz, and as such, it has a long history of music and great musicians. Since the origin of jazz back in the 19th century, this city has been also seen the rise of other very distinct music genres such as soul, funk, and blues.

New Orleans has been the home of musical giants like Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino, and of course, Louis Armstrong.

The city is full of monuments to this musical history as well as a lot of museums dedicated to other aspects of everything the people who lived here have gone through in the past centuries.

You can easily gain a glimpse into this past by simply walking down certain streets in New Orleans and checking out the houses on the side, a lot of which have remained largely unchanged since the 19th century.

If you happen to be in the city in late January or early February, then you might be lucky enough to see that famous Marti Gras parade that’s organized every year. The streets are full of people, there are phenomenal costumes on display, and it’s just a load of fun.

Figuring out where to stay in New Orleans is really easy if you know what you’re looking for, so we’ll go over some of the most appealing attractions that visitors to the city seem to enjoy and you should be able to find at least one thing that draws your eye.

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The 5 Best Parts of Town

New Orleans Map featuring the best parts of town with attractions

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New Orleans is divided into several sections, but we can’t really cover all of them without having this article triple in size. For the sake of simplicity, we’ve gone ahead and outlined the most notable sections that people might like to visit, and they are as follows:

  1. French Quarter: The liveliest area in the city
  2. Downtown: The place to go on a shopping spree
  3. Treme: The best place for history buffs
  4. Uptown: The most variety in attractions
  5. Bywater: The most prominent nigthclub and bar scene

New Orleans’s Best Areas and Hotels

You can easily find where to stay in New Orleans, but the trick is to find a hotel that’s close to attractions that you might be interested in.

Seeing New Orleans is nothing without paying a visit to its renowned bars and restaurants if you’re to fully experience the culture and the vibe, so that’s a factor worth considering, too.

In terms of accommodation, navigating all of the available hotels can be difficult, especially if you don’t know the layout of the city, so your best bet is to probably decide on the area that you’d like to stay in and then pick a hotel from the list that we’ve prepared just below.

1. French Quarter

Cool view of one our our picks for where to stay in New Orleans, the French Quarter

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Let’s start with the most notable section of New Orleans, and that can be no other than the French Quarter.

While it may be small, this area contains some of the oldest buildings in the entire city, and you can virtually see the bohemian charm just ooze out of every corner as you walk past both antiques, restaurants, and stores, mixed in with the newer boutiques, bars, and the reimagined French Market.

You can take a walk through Jackson Square and either read up on the history by looking through the plaques or join one of the many tour guides that go through this section of the city at least several times a day.

You might also like to visit the Historic New Orleans Collection, where you’ll find a bit of info on some of the most notable people that have come out of this city as well as a more in-depth look into the New Orleans’s history of music and its significance.

If you’re not in the mood for a history lesson, then you can simply enjoy a meal or a drink in the many jazz bars and restaurants that serve classic Cajun cuisine.

The one issue that this section of the city has is the crowds. Many people want to visit the attractions that we mentioned and wine & dine in the restaurants, so you might struggle to actually get a table or join certain tours due to the crowding.

Things to Do

  • Go on a steamboat cruise on the river and enjoy a meal and a show while watching the beautiful scenery of New Orleans pass by.
  • Visit the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas to see a very different sort of fish display and go through the thousands of skeletons that are kept here.
  • Walk around and explore the area to find some very quaint little bars, or just follow your ears to find a live music gig that you can enjoy.
  • Catch a show at La Petit Theatre, which is one of the oldest in the city, dating all the way back to 1916.

Where to Eat

French Quarter Budget Hotels

  • Wyndham comes with an indoor pool, free wifi, a front desk that’s on-call 24 hours a day, and air conditioning in every room.
  • Dauphine Orleans Hotel has a small outside hotel, a bar that guests can use, and decently sized rooms, especially for this price range.

French Quarter Mid-Range Hotels

  • Royal Sonesta provides you with an in-house restaurant, a fully decked-out fitness center, and the hotel allows you to keep pets in your room as well.
  • Omni Royal has an outdoor pool and lounge area, a front desk that you can call at any time of the day, and a pretty large bathroom in every room.

French Quarter Luxury Hotels

  • The Westin allows you to order anything you want from the in-house restaurant menu by simply calling room service that’s available 24/7, and you also have access to a finesse center where you can work off those calories afterward.
  • Hotel Monteleone provides you with a fitness center where you can work out, as well as a spa where you can get a massage after lifting some weights, and even an outsider pool where you can swim a few laps.

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2. Downtown

Streetcars in downtown New Orleans, one of the best places to stay when there

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Downtown is connected to the French Quarter, so it still has a lot of historical significance and plenty of historically important and architecturally striking buildings.

However, this part of the city is more well known for the many shops and restaurants that are scattered all over the streets. Here you can easily find anything from a trendy boutique to souvenir shops that’ll allow you to commemorate your visit.

You’ll also find many different restaurants and cafes all over the place. If you’ve come to New Orleans, then you’ll obviously want to try some of the authentic Cajun or Creole dishes that you won’t find in other cities.

However, there are also plenty of other restaurants that provide Italian or French dishes if you prefer some pasta or pastries. In terms of entertainment, Downtown is home to The Orpheum, which is one of the largest theatres in the city where you can catch a play.

If you’re more of a sports fan, you can probably catch a Pelicans game at the Smoothie King Center or see the Saints at the Caesars Superdome. If you’re coming to this part of the city, then be prepared to spend a lot of money.

The shops and restaurants here see a lot of business and their prices reflect that, so this might not be the first place that you should visit if you’re on a budget.

Things to Do

  • Visit the New Orleans Drink Lab and make yourself a Frankenstein cocktail with experts that will tell you exactly what you need to put in if you want to have a good time.
  • Relax in one of the many spas that you can find around this area and let the stress just melt from your shoulders as you lounge around and get pampered.
  • Take a walk down Spanish Plaza and check out the huge fountain in the center of it all.
  • Reserve a table in one of the many restaurants or bars in this area and try some gumbo or some jambalaya like you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.

Where to Eat

  • Willa Jean has some pastries with a unique southern touch that you absolutely have to try for yourself.
  • Borgne is a seafood restaurant where you can try the catch of the day.
  • Palace Cafe has a menu full of Creole specialties that you might want to try.

Downtown Budget Hotels

  • NOPSI is a very simple and cheap hotel, but it still provides you with free wifi in all of the rooms, an outside pool, and satellite TV.
  • The Old No. 77 Hotel has cable TV and an air conditioning unit in every room, free wifi, and a cafe inside the hotel itself.

Downtown Mid-Range Hotels

  • Virgin Hotels comes with an outside pool and lounge area, an in-house restaurant that guests can use, and a reception desc that works around the clock.
  • JW Marriott has a TV and coffee maker in every room, a lobby lounge that has a menu with a pretty big selection of cocktails, and an on-site steakhouse.

Downtown Luxury Hotels

  • Windsor Court Hotel provides you with a fine dining restaurant that guests can easily access, a fitness center and a business center, a lounge with live jazz performances, and even a daycare service.
  • Maison de la Luz provides you with free coffee services each morning, both continental and buffet breakfast options that are free of charge, and it’s located in a part of the city that’s just a short walk from a lot of interesting attractions.

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3. Treme

Treme neighborhood, a great place to pick if you're considering where to stay in New Orleans

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We’ve mentioned the history of New Orleans in previous sections, but nowhere is it more pronounced than in Treme and all of the museums and historical locations that are concentrated in this relatively small area.

Back in the 18th century, this section of the city was used as a cultural meeting place between white and black people and as a sort of neutral ground where both cultures could interact and enjoy the music that sprang out of that era.

Many African-American musicians are honored in this section of the city, but the most famous one would have to be the unforgettable Louis Armstrong, who had a park named after him.

You can head down any of the streets in this area to see some really colorful murals painted on the side of the walls and even on several houses.

While people that are interested in learning a bit more about the history of New Orleans will find this location very fascinating, the lack of restaurants or nightclubs sort of limits what you can do here at night.

Things to Do

  • Visit the Shrine of St. Jude, the St. Augustine Catholic Church, or any of the other historic religious buildings in this section of the city.
  • Visit the New Orleans African American Museum and check out the beadwork, costumes, masks, musical instruments, and the other interesting items that are displayed here.
  • See the city’s largest collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes by going to The Backstreet Cultural Museum.
  • Catch an opera or an orchestral piece in the Mahalia Jackson theater.

Where to Eat

Treme Budget Hotels

  • Lucky Inn is a pretty humble hotel, but it still provides all of its guests with a comfy bed, a clean bedroom, and it’s located close to a few notable attractions that you could visit.

Treme Mid-Range Hotels

  • Ashton’s Bed and Breakfast provides an air conditioning unit and a flat-screen cable TV in each room, and while the accommodations are modest, the price is very reasonable.

Treme Luxury Hotels

  • Iberville Quarters is a holiday rental that can provide you and your family with a comfortable place where you can stay that’s fully equipped with all of the items that you might expect to find in any home.
  • Inn at the Old Jail might not sound all that inviting, but it’s actually a pretty unique experience thanks to the stone design on the interior of the house, and it’s probably the only hotel that you’ll find that doubles as a historic building as well.

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4. Uptown

Gorgeous part of New Orleans to stay in, Uptown, featuring a bunch of mansions in along the street

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This section of the city is known as much for the universities and mansions as it is for the many shops and restaurants that are all over the place. You can also easily find cafes on almost every street corner and quite a few bars that have live performances on most nights.

This is probably the largest section of New Orleans, so there’s a little bit of everything. Massive parks, shopping, nightlife—you name it. The New Orleans zoo is also located here if you’re in the mood for a family afternoon.

You can also visit the splash park where you can either take a few laps in the many pools that are available here, take a few turns going down the slides, or simply grab an inflatable tube with handles and take a ride down the lazy river.

There are also several cinemas and theaters in this area, and while they might not have the same historical significance as La Petite Theatre or The Orpheum, a pleasant night out in the town is guaranteed.

Uptown is a bit too big, and the main attractions here are pretty spaced out. Regardless of which hotel you stay in, you’re going to have to cover quite a lot of distance if you want to see everything that this section of the city has to offer.

Things to Do

  • Buy a ticket and check out the alligators in Audubon Zoo, while also checking out what other animals are kept here.
  • Visit the Diboll Gallery and check out the numerous photography exhibits and all of the various artworks on display here.
  • Rent out some clubs, get yourself a golf cart, and try to get a hole-in-one on the Audubon Park Golf Course.
  • Go to one of the many sports courts and maybe work up a sweat by playing a game of tennis or basketball against your friends.

Where to Eat

Uptown Budget Hotels

  • Alder Hotel has free private parking, a 24/7 on-call front desk, and free wifi, which isn’t bad for accommodations that are this cheap.
  • The Magnolia Mansion comes with an in-house restaurant, free wifi, and a free parking spot on the road in front of the hotel.

Uptown Mid-Range Hotels

  • The Quisby comes with a bar inside the hotel, daily housekeeping services, free wifi in every room, and a front desk that’s open all day and night.
  • St Charles Coach House provides rooms with AC units and cable TV, and it also provides you with a business center and vending machines in the hotel.

Uptown Luxury Hotels

  • The Green House Inn provides guests with access to an outside pool, pet-friendly rooms, free wifi in all of the areas of the hotel, and you can even get yourself a room that has a spa bath if you’re willing to pay a bit more.
  • Hampton Inn has an outdoor swimming pool and lounge area that guests can use, a free breakfast that’s available in the dining hall each morning, and a small garden where you can sit down and enjoy a drink.

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5. Bywater

Live band in Bywater, one of the best parts of New Orleans to stay, with onlookers smiling

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Located next to the Mississippi River and bordering the French Quarter of the city, Bywater might be small, but it has so many clubs, cafes, and bars that it’s actually one of the livelier parts of New Orleans.

If you’re looking to check out the nightlife scene in New Orleans, all you need to do is get a hotel in this section, get dressed up, and head out for a night of drinking and smooth jazz. 

Truth be told, even though the city is known for its jazz clubs, there are also plenty of rock bars and dive bars located all over the place as well, so you can choose whichever sort of sound you might like the most.

If you want to try something a bit more relaxed, and you’re in the mood to take a walk or jog next to the river, then you can always go to Crescent Park and follow the trails that takes you past Piety Wharf and all the way down to Mandeville Shed.

This area of the city has a lot of clubs and hangouts, but there’s really not much else that you can do here. It’s a great place if you only want to enjoy yourself on our vacation and grab a drink, but if that’s not your preference, then you might want to go somewhere else.

Things to Do

  • Do a bar crawl and just go from club to club trying out a few drinks and basking in the atmosphere before you move on to the next bar down the line.
  • Visit Studio Be and see the works and vision of a single artist as they depict historic moments in their art.
  • Take a break from the standard bars and catch a bit more of a quiet and unique show in the Allways lounge $ Cabaret.
  • Go down Crescent Park and just enjoy the greenery here and take a walk by the riverside to see all of the beauty that New Orleans has to offer.

Where to Eat

  • Three Muses is a lively place where you can grab a bite to eat and catch a live performance.
  • Snug Harbor is a great jazz bistro where you can chill out and grab a drink.
  • Lost Love Lounge is one of the best old-school bars in New Orleans.

Bywater Budget Hotels

  • The Lookout Inn provides you with an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, and outdoor BBQ facilities that the guests can take full advantage of.
  • Balcony Guest House offers a pretty simple room, but if you’re looking for a good place to stay at an incredibly cheap rate, then this is the place for you.

Bywater Mid-Range Hotels

  • The Frenchmen has an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub that all of the guests can use, free wifi throughout the premises, and a front desk that’s on call 24/7.
  • The Mansion on Royal comes with a microwave and a coffee machine in every room, as well as a terrace that guests can lounge on, and a hot tub that they can enjoy.

Bywater Luxury Hotels

  • Royal Frenchmen Hotel and Bar is a 4-star establishment that offers its guests a coffee machine in every room, a free continental or buffet breakfast each morning, and even a safety deposit box for all of your valuables.
  • The Burgundy Bed and Breakfast is a relatively small place, but it comes with a free breakfast each morning, a pretty large garden that you can use, and coffee and tea are always available in the lounge.

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So, Where Should You Stay in New Orleans?

Live band on bourbon street, one of the best place to stay in New Orleans

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There’s a lot of history in almost every part of New Orleans, and even some of the hotels are old enough to have witnessed most of it. Nevertheless, choosing a hotel is all about the amenities, comfort, and proximity to your preferred attractions; sightseeing will cover the rest.

If you’ve made it this far in our article, then you’ve already seen all of our hotel suggestions, and if you think that there are still far too many choices, let’s narrow them down a bit.

The Alden hotel is probably the most economical accommodation option that will provide you with all the necessary amenities while still allowing you to save money to spend on the many attractions.

JW Marriott, on the other hand, is pricier but nevertheless a great balance of cost and comfort. Moreover, it’s located in the very desirable Downtown. 

And finally, The Westin might be the costliest option, but it comes with all of the luxuries that you might expect from a hotel of this caliber.