Female Solo Travelers Guide to New Orleans
Is New Orleans a safe destination for solo female travelers? Absolutely! New Orleans is a place beloved by solo travelers, especially The French Quarter, due to its walkability, friendly residents, and various activities for one. With the proper preparation and precautions, visiting New Orleans can be as safe as any other major city.
Shop local and get your fortune told at Jackson Square, eat Banana’s Foster where it was born, see how the world-famous Bourbon Street compares to the southern mansions of The Garden District, and more! We’ve also included our top safety tips for New Orleans, specific for solo female travelers.
Did you know that dishes like Banana’s Foster and Eggs Sardou were born in New Orleans? Few things are as empowering (and safe!) as dining solo, and New Orleans is one of the best places in the world to do that. Here are some of the most iconic restaurants to enjoy your own company-
Established in 1840, Antoine’s Restaurant is one of the oldest family-run food joints in the US and is the birthplace of many of today’s popular dishes, such as the Oysters Rockefeller. With a guest list of US Presidents, Pope John Paul II, and various celebrities, Antoine’s is the place to dine solo in The French Quarter.
Dishes born at Antoine’s Restaurant:
Pompano en papillote
Insider’s Tip: Antoine’s does a fixed-priced menu Thursday-Monday. $22 gets you a 3-course meal!
Since 1946, Brennan’s Restaurant has been blending savory Modern French and Traditional Creole dishes, and its bright, pink-colored building helps define Royal Street.
The Bananas Foster was born at Brennan’s, created by Ella Brennan and Chef Paul Blangé in 1951, and today, the ghost of Chef Paul Blangé is said to appear if you order his signature dessert.
Note: Brennan’s requires a reservation in advance and books out quickly!
One of The Garden District’s most haunted locations, Commander’s Palace is equally known for its award-winning recipes. From its days as a saloon in 1893 to today, the lively-looking, bright blue, Victorian mansion is a symbol of New Orleans. Commander’s Palace is a must-eat in The Garden District, but note that the restaurant is traditional fine dining, and the dress code is strictly enforced.
Fun Fact: Chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse have gotten their start here at The Palace.
The Ruby Slipper
Ruby Slipper Cafe is known for its all-day brunch, New Orleans-style cocktails, and a rotating menu of delicious items like Banana’s Foster French Toast. Ingredients are locally sourced, and dishes are made to order. A laid-back brunch atmosphere makes The Ruby Slipper the perfect alternative to the more formal Commander’s Palace.
One of the best things about being a solo traveler is that you can do things at your own pace. We’ve created free, self-guided walking tours covering New Orleans’s most iconic experiences like The French Quarter, The Garden District, and more! With our self-led walking tours, you can choose your stops, how much time to spend at each place and customize your solo trip in New Orleans to fit your needs.
New Orleans is known for stuffing music into any corner it can. You can’t visit NOLA and not hear music, whether you’re paying to see it or just happen to be walking down Frenchmen Street. While it’s easy to find good vibes in the city, not all musical experiences are created equal: Our free live music self guided tour will take you to the most iconic New Orleans music joints, plus a few less-known places.
Get a glimpse into your future by having your fortune read in Jackson Square. Sure, New Orleans is filled with fortune tellers, and you could most certainly make an appointment at any of the voodoo shops in The French Quarter, but learning the secrets of your soul right in Jackson Square is a centuries-old tradition perfect for the solo traveler. Psychics of every discipline set up tables in Jackson Square, where you can get your fortune told day or night. No appointment is required- just approach the table and reader that calls out to you.
Note: The fortune tellers at Jackson Square are typically cash only!
When you’re ready for glamorous old-world southern mansions, head to The Garden District for a free self-guided tour.
This area of New Orleans is known for its beautiful (and often haunted) Victorian, Italianate, and Greek Revival houses brimming with stories. Wander down the cobblestone streets under the watch of ancient oaks dripping with Spanish moss, explore boutiques and fine dining on Magazine Street, and shop the world’s best collection of Anne Rice memorabilia at The Garden District Bookshop.
While you are sure to see residents and tourists alike, The Garden District lacks the close quarters and crowds of The French Quarter, making it the perfect place for introverted solo travelers.
The Garden District is easily accessible from the French Quarter, thanks to the famous St. Charles Streetcar.
When you think of New Orleans, Mardi Gras, Jazz, and Bourbon Street might come to mind before shopping.
But, did you know that Royal Street in The French Quarter is celebrated worldwide for its exquisite antique stores, art galleries, and fine shopping? Just a block from Bourbon, Royal Street might as well be a world away, with its quiet atmosphere and incredible finds from around the world.
The French Market has been a Native American trading post even before European colonization, making it the oldest of its kind in the US! Today, you can still buy food and art directly from the people who made them at The French Market.
Jackson Square is another place to buy one-of-a-kind pieces and even catch the artist at work! Alternatively, an artist co-op near The French Market called the Dutch Alley is less crowded and will ship your purchases straight to your home if your suitcase is full!
Fun Fact: Did you know that all artists in Jackson Square have to get a permit from the city of New Orleans?
Voodoo has always been huge in New Orleans, but the two were permanently tied together in pop culture after American Horror Stories Coven was filmed in 2013. Today, the best way to learn about the religion is via the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. You can safely and accurately explore Voodoo’s mysteries, history, and folklore at the museum. For souvenirs and a unique experience, stop in Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo in The French Quarter.
Did you know that the French Quarter has been continually occupied since 1718? New Orleans has a long and colorful history filled with eccentric personalities and unforgettable characters. Get up close and personal with the city’s story by exploring one of The French Quarter’s many museums.
Here are some of our favorites:
The New Orleans Historical Collection: Free and located conveniently in The French Quarter, THNOC has the most extensive collection of New Orleans memorabilia, past and present.
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum: The NOPM chronicles the strange and grotesque world of medicine and pharmaceutical endeavors that paved the way for modern medicine.
New Orleans Jazz Museum: Celebrate the history of jazz, in all its forms, with exhibits and live performances.
Louisiana State Museums: Flanking Jackson Square the nearly Identical Presbyterian and Cablido offer a unique glimpse into Louisiana’s storied and rich past.
If you’re considering a solo trip to New Orleans, you might have heard mixed reviews about the city’s safety, especially for female travelers. As a woman who has traveled solo to NOLA many times, I’m here to tell you the truth: it’s safe, BUT you need to take the same basic precautions that you take in everyday life, like staying aware of your surroundings.
Here are my top 3 safety tips for solo female travelers in New Orleans:
#1. Beware of Scams
While New Orleans is generally safe for solo female travelers, there are some common scams to be wary of, especially in The French Quarter. Many common scams start with ‘you’re so (insert compliment), please take these beads/flowers.’ These tactics aim to get your money; the best way to avoid them is simply not taking things from strangers. Tips are expected, and the person can become angry if you don’t comply.
Another classical French Quarter scam is “I bet I can guess where you got your shoes.” The answer is on your feet.
#2. Don’t Be Afraid of Bourbon Street
Yes, even a solo female traveler to New Orleans must see the (in)famous Bourbon Street at least once! Bourbon Street is more than parties and booze, at least during the day. You can catch some live music in the evening or try one of New Orleans’s Famous Cocktails during the daytime when it’s less crowded.
#3. Hire a Guide
When in doubt, a guided free walking tour is a safe bet for a solo female traveler in New Orleans or anywhere in the world. Tour guides will steer you away from scams and prioritize your safety so you can relax and enjoy yourself.
Bonus: You will get insider knowledge, tips, and stories from a passionate local and be grouped with fellow tourists. Sometimes, when you’re out in the world on your own, there is nothing more comforting than being surrounded by people in the same metaphorical boat!