New Orleans Garden District - a guide from a local.
It’s more than hype-the beautiful Garden District of New Orleans lives up to its name. In a city that’s one big fairytale, the Garden District is the capital of southern charm.
Here, you’ll find wise old oak trees, classy streetcars, mansions and mansions turned into apartment buildings, and quirky local businesses. Exploring the Garden District is a must-do on any trip to the Big Easy. It can also be a great place to stay on your vacation to New Orleans, check out our guide to the best hotels in the Garden District here.
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Read on and find out more about New Orleans’ Garden District, a bit of history and why you should definitely visit it.
Here’s our guide to New Orleans’ Garden District, created with love by locals-
Where to find the Garden District of New Orleans
Fun fact: The Garden District is part of Uptown New Orleans – meaning upriver from the Mississippi River (as opposed to downtown/downriver).
The Garden District was the product of American settlers who wished to distance themselves from the Creoles who had already settled in the French Quarter. Today, the Garden District is still one of the most upscale parts of town, where the city’s wealthiest residents and most famous celebrities live and grand mansions can be found. The Garden District is beautiful year-round, and there is never a wrong time to visit.
What to Do in the Garden District
When most people think of the Garden District, they envision high-end shopping on Magazine Street, massive mansions lined with ancient oak trees, the hauntingly beautiful Lafayette No. 1 (which is unfortunately closed at the time of this writing), and more of that fantastic Creole and Cajun food that the city is known for.
Well, if that’s what you were thinking, you were right! Here’s what to do in the Garden District, as told by your local guides-
Take a Walking Tour!
It’s totally free to walk around the Garden District on your own but if you’d like to get a more an unparalleled history of the gorgeous homes of the Garden District you can join us for a our free guided tour of the Garden District or you can take one of our Self Guided tours or our extremely affordable Self-guided Audio tour and learn about these unique homes on your own time. Unlike the French Quarter, the Garden District is a place of leisure and relaxation, where time moves as slow as molasses, and the streets are quieter. Take it easy with a guided tour of the Garden District. Walk it at your own pace with our self-guided walking tour.
Visit The Rink
A small collection of shops, a cafe, and a bookstore are housed in what was once a skating rink. The Rink is home to the Garden District Bookshop, a favorite of the late Anne Rice. The author would have an event here every time she released a book, and today the bookshop is a great place to find signed and original copies. Across the hall, also in The Rink, you can stop for an espresso shot and a bathroom break at The Chicory House.
Visit Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Lafayette No.1 is one of New Orleans’s famous cities of the dead, beautiful cemeteries filled with raised tombs. Scenes in Interview with the Vampire, Double Jeopardy, and Dracula 2000 were filmed at Lafayette No.1.
Note: As of 2023, Lafayette No.1 is closed for renovations, but our free tours show you snippets of the cemetery through the gates. Check out our list of New Orleans’ cemeteries open in 2023, and arm yourself with some simple necropolis etiquette before you go.
Shopping on Magazine Street
In the southern tip of The Garden District, Magazine Street is packed with high-end shops. Before Hurricane Katerina, this area was exclusively independent, family-owned boutique shops, which is mostly true today, although some bigger names, like the apparel store Free People, have moved in. The shops are all spread out all over Magazine so pick your favorite shops or grab an uber to get between them.
Where to Shop on Magazine Street
Address: 4119 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115is a used clothing store where you can buy, sell, or trade your gently used threads.
Address: 3127 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 is the Garden District’s favorite eclectic vintage clothing store, offering vintage clothes, costumes, and funky accessories.
Address: 5530 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 the place to find modern designer brands in a consignment-style shop when you’re on a budget.
Address: 2025 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 sells home decor, with a focus on locally-crafted New Orleans goods.
Alice & Amelia
Address: 4432 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 is a novelty gift and souvenir shop known for selling items with both quality and charm.
Magazine Pawn Shop Address: 3315 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115has been serving New Orleans since 1989, offering all kinds of locally-sold treasures.
3801 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 – Mignon Faget is a New Orleans jewelry designer known for her unique and beautiful pieces inspired by the city’s architecture and culture.
6070 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118 – Perlis Clothing is a family-owned business that offers a wide range of men’s and women’s clothing, including classic Southern styles like seersucker and linen.
5423 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 – Scriptura is a stationery store that offers a variety of custom-designed invitations, stationery, and other paper goods.
5525 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 – Hazelnut is a gift shop that offers a wide range of unique and eclectic items, including home decor, kitchen accessories, and jewelry.
2048 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 – Trashy Diva is a boutique that specializes in vintage-inspired clothing, including dresses, separates, and lingerie.
3501 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 – Fleurty Girl is a New Orleans-themed gift shop that offers a variety of T-shirts, accessories, and other items featuring the city’s iconic imagery.
Explore the Historic Mansions
For most this is really why you come to see The Garden District. The historic southern mansions that characterize the Garden District are a can’t-miss experience! Stroll along the ancient oak trees, celebrity homes, and iconic gardens as you explore the charming Victorian, Italianate, and Greek Revival estates with our free guided walking tour. If you’d like to explore solo, try our free self-guided walking tour or our affordable Self-guided audio tour.
Picnic in The Park
New Orleans has several places to walk, jog, or picnic, and one of our favorites is in the Garden District. On the way to the Garden District, Lafayette Square is bordered by Poydras Street and St. Charles Avenue, across from the historical Gallier Hall, former City Hall. The site of inaugurations, yearly pilgrimages by school bands, and jazz concerts for over 150 years, the Square is a lively place for a picnic in the park.
Coliseum Square Park is located nearby the Garden District (28748 Coliseum St, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States). A serene green space with large towering oaks, a water fountain, park benches, and plenty of grassy picnic spots, Coliseum is a local fav for good reason.
Audubon Park is a public park located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It covers an area of approximately 350 acres and is located in the Uptown neighborhood of the city, adjacent to Tulane University and Loyola University.
Audubon Park is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, and features a wide range of amenities and attractions. Some of the highlights of the park include:
The Audubon Zoo: Located within the park, the Audubon Zoo is home to over 2,000 animals from around the world, including lions, tigers, elephants, and more.
The Audubon Golf Course: A beautiful 18-hole golf course that is open to the public.
The Tree of Life: A massive oak tree that is estimated to be over 600 years old and is a popular spot for picnics and relaxation.
The Fly: A scenic overlook that offers stunning views of the Mississippi River.
In addition to these attractions, Audubon Park also has several walking and jogging trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, and other amenities. It is a popular spot for outdoor recreation and relaxation in the heart of New Orleans.
Where to Eat in the Garden District
Like all of New Orleans, the Garden District is a hot spot for mouthwatering food, unique cocktails, and po’boys. Here’s where to eat and drink in the Garden District-
Mollys Rise & Shine
Perfect for brunch and coffee to re-fuel with, Molly’s Rise and Shine is a Garden District staple. The Bloody Marys at Molly’s are good any time of the day.
Address: 2368 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Everyone’s a local at Joey K’s . This happy little cafe is known for its mouthwatering Creole eats and 18-oz. beers in frosted mugs.
Address: 3001 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
The counter seating and vintage uniforms inspire a retro feel at the iconic Camellia Grill, where things haven’t changed much since the restaurant’s opening in 1946. Don’t leave without trying a slice of Chocolate Pecan Pie!
Address: 626 S Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118
Slim Goodies Diner
Locally owned and locally loved, Slim Goodies is a funky little diner that is vegetarian-friendly and knockout delicious. Purple walls and leather diner-style seating perfectly complement a menu of omelets, eggs, hashbrowns, etouffee, and other classic NOLA breakfast favorites.
Address: 3322 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Stein’s Market & Deli
Stein’s Market and Deli is a Jewish and Italian deli in the Lower Garden District. Go to Stein’s for traditional New Orleans sandwiches and specialty items. Tip: Snag a breakfast sandwich served all day.
Address: 2207 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar
It’s all in the name: Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar is a cut above the rest. Here you can get seafood with Creole flair in a sunny little space, topped off with views of St. Charles Avenue.
Address: 4338 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
Worth the required advanced reservations, Commander’s Palace is hands down the best fine dining restaurant in The Garden District. Established in 1893, the Palace has earned its title as one of the city’s most haunted sites and one of the best places to get tasty, authentic Creole food.
Address: 1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
Another example of fine Louisiana dining, Atchafalaya Restaurant is set in a rustic yet elegant cottage. Take one Bloody Mary and one order of Shrimp n Grits, and call us tomorrow.
Address: 901 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
Need a quick bite to eat or breakfast? Pop into gracious bakery. They are known for their delicious pastries, cakes, bread, sandwiches, and coffee. They use high-quality ingredients and traditional baking techniques to create their products, and they offer a variety of gluten-free and vegan options as well. Their cafes are cozy and welcoming, making them great places to grab breakfast or lunch, meet up with friends, or work on a laptop.
Address: 2854 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
Turkey and the Wolf
Looking for a traditional American comfort food check out Turkey and the Wolf
Address: 739 Jackson Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130-4937
Drinks in the Garden District
After all that walking, you’ll need a drink to cool off. What better time to try one of New Orleans cocktails? Some drinks like Sazerac, the Hurricane, Vieux Carre, and the French 75 were born right here in the Big Easy! Other notable drinks include Bloody Marys, Ramos Gin Fizz, and Grasshopper. Here’s where to drink in the Garden District-
Folks head to Courtyard Brewery for its tasting room, perfect for beer connoisseurs. This brewery is an all-around great place to hang out, and the vibes here are inclusive, laidback, and welcoming. Specialties at Courtyard include a 3-barrel brewing system, IPAs, and Saisons.
Address: 1160 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130
We love Parasol’s, a dive bar with Cajun food and a locally-famous Roast Beef’ Po-boy. A block away from Magazine Street, Parasol’s is low-key all years, except for during their legendary St. Patty’s Day parties.
Address: 2533 Constance St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Classy but not stuffy, The Columns Restaurant & Bar inside the hotel of the same name is a favorite Garden District meeting spot. The Italianate mansion’s moody charm and craft cocktails make for great photo backdrops and good times.
Address: 3811 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115