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  • Writer's pictureNatalija Ugrina

Exploring the French Quarter: A Self-Guided Walking Tour of New Orleans' Crown Jewel and Top Attractions

Nestled at the heart of New Orleans, the French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carré, is the soul of the city. Rich in history, culture, and architectural beauty, this area offers an experience unlike any other. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or someone looking to immerse themselves in vibrant culture, this self-guided walking tour of the top 20 French Quarter attractions will guide you through its most iconic sights. Grab your comfortable shoes, and let’s dive into the heart of New Orleans.

Exploring the French Quarter
Exploring the French Quarter

1. Jackson Square - French Quarter Attractions

Address: 701 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Begin your journey at Jackson Square, a historic park and a National Historic Landmark. With the stunning St. Louis Cathedral as its backdrop, Jackson Square is often bustling with artists, musicians, and street performers. It offers a picturesque view of the Mississippi River and is surrounded by historic buildings, including the Cabildo and the Presbytère.

 the Cabildo New Olreans
the Cabildo

2. St. Louis Cathedral

Address: 615 Pere Antoine Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116

Just steps away from Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral stands as a symbol of New Orleans' rich religious heritage and is one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States. Step inside to admire its beautiful interior and peaceful ambiance.

St. Louis Cathedral New Orleans Jackson Square
St. Louis Cathedral

3. The French Market

Address: 1008 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70116

A short walk from Jackson Square will lead you to the French Market, the oldest public market in the country. Browse through the myriad of vendors selling everything from local produce to artisan crafts. Don’t forget to taste some local delicacies like beignets or a po’ boy sandwich.

4. Royal Street

Address: Royal Street, New Orleans, LA

Turn your steps towards Royal Street, known for its art galleries, antique shops, and stately architecture. This street is quieter than the bustling Bourbon Street and offers a more refined glimpse into the culture of the French Quarter.

5. Bourbon Street

Address: Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA

No visit to the French Quarter is complete without walking down Bourbon Street, famous for its vibrant nightlife. During the day, you can appreciate the historic architecture and visit some of the oldest bars in America.

6. The Historic Voodoo Museum

The Historic Voodoo Museum
The Historic Voodoo Museum

Address: 724 Dumaine St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Dive into the mysterious world of Voodoo at this unique museum located on Dumaine Street. The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum offers insight into the Voodoo religion and its influence in the city.

7. The Presbytère

Address: 751 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Originally designed to match the Cabildo, the Presbytère houses a museum dedicated to Louisiana's history and culture, including a must-see exhibit on Mardi Gras.

8. The Old Ursuline Convent

Address: 1100 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70116

As the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley, the Old Ursuline Convent is a piece of living history. Its beautiful architecture and serene gardens make it a peaceful stop on your tour.

9. Faulkner House Books

Address: 624 Pirate's Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116

Faulkner House Books
Faulkner House Books

Literature lovers should not miss the chance to visit Faulkner House Books, located in Pirate's Alley. Once the home of William Faulkner, this place is now a charming bookstore specializing in Faulkner and Southern literature.

10. The French Quarter's Courtyards and Hidden Gems

Address: Various locations throughout the French Quarter

Allow yourself to wander off the main streets and discover the hidden courtyards and secret gardens that are scattered throughout the French Quarter. These quiet, hidden spaces offer a serene retreat from the bustling city and are perfect for a moment of reflection.

11. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar

Address: 941 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Venture to one of the oldest surviving structures in New Orleans, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, on Bourbon Street. This historic building, rumored to have been used by pirate Jean Lafitte, now serves as a bar, offering a unique glimpse into the past.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar

12. The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Address: 514 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Located on Chartres Street, this museum was once an operational apothecary shop. It now showcases a fascinating collection of medical artifacts and pharmaceuticals, illustrating the history of medicine in the early days of the city.

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

13. Frenchmen Street

Address: Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA

Just outside the traditional boundaries of the French Quarter, Frenchmen Street is known for its vibrant music scene. With clubs and cafes offering live jazz, blues, and more, it's the perfect place to experience the soul of New Orleans music.

14. Armstrong Park

Address: 701 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Armstrong Park New Orleans
Armstrong Park

Named after jazz legend Louis Armstrong, this park is a tribute to the city's musical heritage. Located just beyond the French Quarter's northwest boundary, it's home to Congo Square, a historic gathering place for African American musicians.

15. The Cabildo

Address: 701 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Adjacent to St. Louis Cathedral, The Cabildo was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies. Now a museum, it offers exhibitions on Louisiana's history, from its colonial days to the present.

16. Gallier House

Address: 1132 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Experience the life of a wealthy 19th-century New Orleans family at the Gallier House, a meticulously restored residence that showcases the opulent lifestyle and architectural innovations of its time.

17. The Historic New Orleans Collection

Address: 533 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South, The Historic New Orleans Collection offers exhibits, tours, and events that are deeply informative and engaging.

18. Napoleon House

Address: 500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

A historic landmark known for its classic New Orleans fare and the Pimm's Cup, Napoleon House is steeped in history. It was offered as a refuge to Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile, though he never made it to New Orleans.

Napoleon House NOLA New Orelans
Napoleon House

19. Old St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

Address: 425 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Just outside the French Quarter, this historic cemetery is the final resting place of many notable figures in New Orleans' history, including Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Its above-ground tombs and unique layout are a sight to behold.

Old St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 voodoo queen tomb
Old St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

20. The Moon Walk

Address: Moon Walk, New Orleans, LA 70130

Named after former New Orleans mayor Moon Landrieu, the Moon Walk is a riverside promenade offering stunning views of the Mississippi River. It's a perfect spot to watch the boats go by and enjoy a peaceful moment away from the city's hustle and bustle.

This comprehensive guide, complete with addresses, is designed to help you navigate and enjoy the richness of the French Quarter at your own pace. Immerse yourself in the culture, history, and vibrant atmosphere as you explore these top 20 attractions.

Planning Your Visit

To make the most out of your self-guided walking tour of the French Quarter, here are some additional tips:

  • Start Early: Many of these sites are more enjoyable in the early morning when the crowds are thinner and the temperature is cooler, especially during New Orleans' hot summer months.

  • Schedule Wisely: Consider visiting museums during peak sun hours to avoid the heat, and save outdoor activities for earlier or later in the day.

  • Stay Hydrated: Keep a water bottle handy, as exploring can be thirsty work, especially in the humid New Orleans climate.

  • Take Breaks: Don’t hesitate to stop for a coffee or a meal at one of the local cafes or restaurants. This is not just a tour; it’s an experience meant to be savored.

  • Wear Comfortable Footwear: The French Quarter's charming but uneven cobblestone streets can be tough on the feet, so wearing comfortable shoes is a must.

  • Respect the Locals: Remember that the French Quarter is not just a tourist attraction but also a residential neighborhood. Keep noise to a respectful level and treat the area with care.

Experience Local Events

The French Quarter is famously lively, hosting numerous festivals and events throughout the year that reflect the vibrant culture of New Orleans. Check out local calendars for events like:

  • French Quarter Festival: A large music, food, and arts festival typically held in April, showcasing local music across multiple stages and local culinary favorites in street vendor style.

  • Mardi Gras: While famously celebrated throughout the city, experiencing Mardi Gras in the French Quarter is something truly special with parades, costumes, and street festivities.

  • Voodoo Music + Arts Experience: Held around Halloween, this event combines big musical acts with local arts and cuisine.

Engage with Local Culture

Finally, engaging with the local culture is what makes visiting the French Quarter so enriching. Speak with local artisans, listen to street musicians, and perhaps even take part in a workshop or tour that offers deeper insights into the unique traditions of New Orleans. Whether it’s learning about the intricacies of Creole cuisine, the subtleties of jazz music, or the mystique of Voodoo, each interaction will enrich your visit.

Make sure to attend one of the Live Jazz Performances
Make sure to attend one of the Live Jazz Performances

This walking tour of the French Quarter's top 20 attractions isn't just about seeing the sights—it's about experiencing the heartbeat of New Orleans. Each street corner has a story, every building echoes history, and every local you meet could share a tale that adds another layer to your understanding of this unique city. Enjoy your journey through the French Quarter, a gem that continuously sparkles with life, culture, and mystery.

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6,198 views7 comments


Hamdi ben mefteh
Hamdi ben mefteh
12 hours ago


May 27

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May 26



May 25

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May 25

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