Welcome to your New Orleans LGBT neighborhood guide! Unlike many other cities, ours doesn't just have one or two gayborhoods, but rather a culture where gays are accepted in each neighborhood with something unique to offer everyone. Sure, we might have more gay bars in the French Quarter and more outdoorsy activities around City Park, but to get your full NOLA experience, you have to explore them all.
Mid City is one of NOLA’s most accessible neighborhoods. It has streetcar lines intersecting it from both uptown and downtown and is located smack in the center of the city’s limits.
Vibe: Locals meet hipsters meets the young and full of fun..
Eat: New Orleans is home to one of the largest Vietnamese populations in the United States, and boasts the best Vietnamese food around. Make sure to check out MoPHO restaurant and dip into their mouth-watering pho, or get a little messy with their Asian-inspired chicken wings.
Drink: Who is ready to get drunk at church? Bet you never thought you’d do that, right? But no, we don't mean stealing the holy wine from the priest. We’re talking about Vessel, a hip cocktail bar located in a repurposed church that serves specialty cocktails made from fresh, local ingredients.
Discover: Bike through City Park, New Orleans’ largest park, and check out the New Orleans Museum of Art. It has had some interesting LGBT features over the years, such as “Remembering the Upstairs Lounge.”
Do: Spend the afternoon at the Drifter Hotel. Why? Their pool. It’s one of the two most popular LGBT pool hangouts in the city.
Uptown is that special part of New Orleans where families of all types and college students collide. A charming area of town overflowing with restaurants, music, shopping and more.
Vibe: Family-friendly locale with a laid back vibe that’s evident in the many front porch impromptu gatherings where everyone’s welcome.
Eat: Looking for a swanky place to grab a few drinks and a bite to eat, Philips Bar should be on your to-do list. The atmosphere is perfect for drinking a glass of wine and having a real conversation. Think quiet little date night spot in the heart of Uptown.
Drink: Snake and Jake’s is that late-night, backyard, dive bar that’s the perfect place to end your evening. The drinks are always flowing and the bar doesn’t close until the sun comes up. In fact, it’s even open on Christmas. Dogs are welcome, too. And the year-round Christmas lights in the backyard, make Snake and Jake’s a great place to meet up with friends, or make a few new ones. Lots of gay locals dig this particular hangout.
Discover: This part of town is perfect for a bike ride or a stroll through gorgeous neighborhoods lined with old Victorian homes in a myriad of colors. From peacock blue to lime green and pink, you’ll see homes with elegant gardens as well as veranda’s that seem to beckon you to drink a sweet tea or sip on a cocktail like an Old Southern Gentleman. (Pun intended.)
Do: One thing you have to do while you’re here is head to Audubon Park. Not only is it the park the perfect place to get in a run or bike ride - 1) because the path is paved and 2) it’s surrounded by lush manicured grounds and trees that are almost as old as the city itself. Audubon Park is also a great place to have a picnic and feed the ducks. Also, if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra giving a free concert in the park, too.
Vieux Carre (French Quarter)
The French Quarter is easily the most well-known neighborhood in our city, and for a good reason. From the beautifully designed balconies, to the slave quarters turned into homes for locals, there’s no place that’s like it.
Vibe: A tourist Mecca that draws crowd by the thousands with its secret gardens and historic appeal.
Eat: For a true French Quarter dining experience, head over to Cafe Amelie on Royal Street. They have an absolutely gorgeous courtyard that makes you feel like your in your very own garden oasis. One of our favorite dishes is the chicken andouille gumbo!
Drink: Because the French Quarter is teeming with gay bars – and fun bars in general – its difficult to pick the place to drink, but after some serious thought, we settled on 700 Club. 700 Club always seems to have the right vibe: never too crowded and never too empty. Plus, they have amazing drink deals for a French Quarter location, especially on Sundays from 5 pm to 8 pm with $10 unlimited well drinks and domestics.
Do: Go wig shopping at Fifi Mahony’s. They have wigs as far as the eye can see to aid you as you attempt to let your inner drag persona out!
The Marigny is a charming and hip neighborhood located right outside of the French Quarter. The area has become trendy over the past few years, and has started to become more popular with locals and tourists alike.
Vibe: A revival of old decadent homes in a neighborhood filled with people who march to their own drummer and know how to have fun.
Eat: Horn’s Eatery and Cafe is a cozy neighborhood restaurant serving southern-inspired breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Their extensive menu has a delicious array of egg dishes and a NOLA favorite – crawfish etouffee.
Drink: Grab your best leather gear (or not, that part is optional) and head over to the Phoenix Bar for an unforgettable experience. While the idea of a leather bar, may scare you a bit, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. In fact, this bar has some of the most welcoming bartenders in the city.
Do: Explore the wonders of Crescent Park, a relatively undiscovered urban oasis. This park features all local vegetation and has a fantastic view of the mighty Mississippi and the New Orleans’ skyline. If you're lucky, you can watch the Natchez steamboat go by and take a classic NOLA photo while you’re at it.
The Bywater is another hip, up and coming NOLA neighborhood that is often confused with the Marigny. While they’re right next to each other, and have a very similar vibe, the two neighborhoods are actually separated by railroad tracks.
Vibe: From the creative arts to mosaics and music as well as theater, creativity abounds in this neighborhood.
Eat: Hungry, head over to Pizza Delicious for, well, delicious pizza that was voted The Number 1 Pizza Joint in the city. Not only is the pizza out of this world, but the restaurant decor and stone walls are straight out of a magazine.
Drink: If you've been to New Orleans in the past few years, or have only been here for a few days, there's a good chance you've heard someone mention Bacchanal. This charming, Bywater courtyard hangout offers wines by the bottle, and has live music which can make for a great night out, or some Sunday drinking!
Do: Attend the cities most famous drag brunch at the Country Club. Sit back and enjoy some of the best lady entertainers in the city as they prance around the restaurant singing their hearts out while you enjoy bottomless mimosas.
Downtown/ Warehouse District
The Downtown neighborhood, also sometimes known as the Central Business District (CBD), is the a neighborhood that makes up the city skyline. Downtown and the Warehouse districts are home to many of the cities large businesses as well as some of our most famous museums.
Vibe: Experience the hustle and bustle of the city while touring some of the nation’s most incredible museums.
Eat: Indulge in one of New Orleans’ most authentic Italian restaurants, Josephine Estelle. Located in the Ace Hotel, the restaurant is in the heart of all the action downtown, and it’s easily accessible by foot if you're staying in any of the hotels, or by the St. Charles Streetcar line. Once there, make sure you sure to try their famous homemade pasta, that we promise you will not disappoint.
Drink: This place may be called the “Rusty Nail”, yet the atmosphere is anything but. It’s a mix between a backyard hangout with string lights and tables with umbrellas outside with a rustic, wood paneled, beer mecca inside. Located on the edge of the Warehouse District and Uptown, this bar boasts some of the tastiest craft beers, and boasts an impressive scotch menu. Another thing that’s cool about this place are the food trucks that park out front, providing some delicious grub to go along with your pint of beer or glass of scotch.
Do: There is no way you can possibly come to the city of New Orleans and leave without visiting the World War II Museum. In 2017, TripAdvisor ranked The WWII Museum as The Number 2 Museum to visit in the world. Yes, the world. You can easily spend days inside. From interactive exhibits to an amazing video screening to a walk through the roads to Berlin and Tokyo, there is something for everyone here.
If you're looking for a laid back and charming New Orleans neighborhood, look no further than the Irish Channel.
Vibe: Family-friendly with a slew of restaurants and shopping, The Irish Channel is perfect for those looking for a laidback day.
Eat: As a city, New Orleans culture and cuisine has largely been inspired by the influences of the Caribbean, and if you head over to Rum House, you'll see why. The restaurant is located Magazine Street and has fantastic seating options both inside and outside. Navigating the menu can be quite tricky – as we’re sure you’ll want to order just about everything – but definitely don't miss out on the nachos (they are huge, and perfect for sharing) and the abundant taco combos.
Drink: Tchoup Yard is only a few years old, but is already one of the city’s biggest hits with locals.The bar is split between an outside seating area with food trucks and a semi-indoor seating area with additional food options and a pool table. The crowd tends to be on the younger side, but for some of us, that’s not a problem - that’s a plus.
Do: Go shopping on Magazine Street. They have everything from thrift shops to antique shops to the perfect dessert stores. Magazine Street runs through most of the city so it can be intimidating when you hear someone say let’s spend the day shopping on Magazine Street - a 6 mile strip of shops, restaurants and more. If you don’t have enough time to check out all of Magazine Street, make sure you check out the part between Napoleon and Washington Avenues.
Central City is a predominantly African American neighborhood known in the past for its contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, and known today for having some of the most festive Mardi Gras celebrations. If you’re here for Mardi Gras day, stop by this part of town to watch the Zulu parade. The main thing to catch: a coveted coconut.
Vibe: Classic New Orleans
Eat: Eat at one of the city’s most eclectic restaurants – and that’s a bold statement if you know anything about New Orleans – Casa Borrega. As soon as you step inside, you’ll feel like you're participating in a Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico City. The homemade guacamole and the enchiladas are some of the best items on the menu, but you can’t go wrong with anything there!
Drink: In the mood to try out a tiki bar? Who isn’t? Put on your best Hawaiian shirt (optional) and make your way over to Portside Lounge. This local establishment is a dive bar meets tropical vacation, and also features live music performances. Also, we assure you these drinks are as good as they are picture worthy.
Do: After all the eating you've done so far on your trip, there’s no better way to celebrate the history and culture of southern cuisine than heading to a whole museum dedicate it – The Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Check out famous southern restaurant history like Popeyes to famous Southern dishes like red beans and rice and everything in between. And of course, you can eat at the museum too.