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Best place to stay in New Orleans

Cairns, Australia
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Best place to stay in New Orleans

A friend and I are heading to New Orleans early next April and were wondering where the best and safest area would be to stay and what things are a MUST TO DO in New Orleans.

Lewes, Delaware
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1. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

A very difficult couple of questions, not knowing a few things about you.

Is this your first visit to New Orleans? What are your lodging preferences? Large chain cookie cutter rooms or smaller hotels with what has come to be called New Orleans ambience? Do you have any special physical considerations? Are you interested in music? If so, what kind? What are your dining preferences? Upscale dress-up, casual, or emergency food-grab and run? Do you casino gamble? Interested in history? Architecture?

Having asked all that, most first time visitors would do well to stay right in the French Quarter. Everything is walkable. For the most part, it is entirely safe. As raucous as it is, a visit to or evening on Bourbon Street is a must, it's just one of those things. Raucous is good. Jackson Square framed by the Pontalba's is probably a must see, not only for the square itself, but for the passing scene, artists, street performers, and as always and everywhere in New Orleans, the musicians. A carriage ride through the Quarter is also high on many peoples list. Ghost tours, shopping, and music clubs abound.

New Orleans in general, the French Quarter in particular, has no shortage of sights and activities, no matter what your interests. Share a little bit about yourself, and you will receive many suggestions and recommendations.

Moncton, Canada
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2. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

Definitely the French Quarter, especially if it's a 1st trip! That is where you'll spend most of your time anyway, so might as well make it easy. And the Quarter isn't as expensive as you might think. There are all kinds of price points.

You said you were coming in April. Depending on your dates, don't wait to long to book a hotel as April is a busy month. The week-end of April 8th to 11th is the French Quarter Fest, a great music festival right in the Quarter, and Jazz Fest is the last week-end of April and 1st week-end of May. Those week-ends will be starting to get full already, and will be more expensive.

Also, Easter falls on April 24th in 2011. Although hotel prices don't go up a lot for that reason, it is a long week-end, therefore will probably be a bit busier.

College Station...
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3. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

The best and safest area depends on what you plan on doing. For what my wife and I like to do, I focus my hotel search out from the intersection of Chartres St. and Toulouse St. (cause I'm too loose). For a good map, see:

neworleansonline.com/assets/…FQMap.pdf

My "canned" list of must do:

Daytime walk 200 - 1200 Royal St, - See note on Carousel Bar and Lounge below.

Daytime walk 1200 – 600 Decatur St. - See notes on Café du Monde, Jackson Square and Central Grocery below.

Daytime or early evening walk Jackson Square, passing surrounding buildings and going through Pirate’s Alley. Carriage rides depart from the Decatur St. side of the Square.

Evening or nighttime walk Frenchmen St. between Decatur St. and Royal St. (Faubourg Marigny) – Location of musical performance venues.

Nighttime walk 200 - 1000 Bourbon St. - See note on Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop below.

Ride St. Charles Avenue Streetcar (requires exact fare [$1.25]) - Board one block from French Quarter at St. Charles Ave. (Royal St.) and Common St. Time permitting, get off in Garden District (Washington Ave.), at the “Bend” (at Carrollton Ave.), at The Columns Hotel (Peniston St. [pronounced like tennis ton]) or at Oak St. If you are boarding more than 3 times that day (including end of line), get a $5 day pass when first boarding (available on streetcar). See Note on Commander’s Palace below.

Experience the River from the River bank, free Canal St. Ferry, or, time and finances permitting, the Steamboat Natchez.

Laffitte’s Blacksmith Shop - Bar in historic (1770s) building. 914 Bourbon St.

Carousel Bar and Lounge - In the Monteleone Hotel at 214 Royal St.

Café du Monde - Cafe au lait (coffee with chicory and cream) and beignets (fried pastry). 800 Decatur St.

Central Grocery - Best muffuletta (sandwich). Open Tue-Sat 9:00-4:00. 923 Decatur St. Get your sandwich, chips (Zapp’s) and drink to go; picnic on the River bank (other side of French Market across the street).

Commander’s Palace - Traditional and famous restaurant. Corner of Washington Ave. and Coliseum St. (2 blocks off St. Charles Streetcar route). Consider lunch (M-F 25 cent martinis) or brunch (S-S) to allow for Garden District walking tour, including Lafayette Cemetery (closed Sunday) across the street.

Other popular activities/locations: National World War II Museum, Napoleon House Bar & Café (warm muffuletta and Pimm’s Cup), dueling piano players and/or flaming patio fountain at Pat O’Brien’s, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, free History of French Quarter morning walking tour given by the Jean Lafitte Park and Preserve’s Folklife and Visitor Center, and various other French Quarter walking tours (ghost, haunted, voodoo, historical, cocktail, culinary, architecture, etc.).

Cairns, Australia
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4. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

Thank you so much for your advice. Much appreciated.

Cairns, Australia
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5. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

Thank you, I have booked a Hotel in the French Quarter.

Moncton, Canada
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6. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

Well you have to tell us which one! :-)

new york
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7. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

Thanks Loopwhole for your suggestions. I have many on my list already but will check out more when I am there.

Pinkturquoise which hotel in the FQ did you book?

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

Hi

Have just read your post. My husband and I are planning to visit New Orleans in March 2011. We are from Australia and are very excited to visit this wonderful city! Any tips on best place to stay and bars to visit would be appreciated. We are going to visit primarily for the music..we love Louisiana style music and need to know the best venues for amazing bands. Recently saw Lil Band o Gold in Melbourne - they were fantastic!

I love to stay in the heart of where the action is...! I am also more of a fan of ambience rather than modern style of accomodation

We look forward to lots of advice and recommendations for our first trip to New Orleans :)

Houston, Texas
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9. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

You're going to have a great deal of difficulty locating Little Band o' Gold type of music in New Orleans. The band plays mostly Swamp Pop, with a little Cajun French thrown in. The musicians are all from Acadiana (Lafayette, Breaux Bridge, Mamou, etc.) and they include some of the Swamp Pop icons who have been stars in that genre since the late '50s.

You can find some Cajun French musicians in New Orleans, but none of them (IMHO) are the caliber of Steve Riley. The other issue is that Little Band o' Gold has two saxophones, which is a rarity in today's music scene.

Swamp Pop is still very popular in Acadiana and the Southwestern part of Louisiana.

That having been said, don't be bummed out. New Orleans is a great music city, and you'll surely be able to find music every night that appeals to you. www.offbeat.com is a great source of information. Click on the "LISTINGS" link in the red toolbar and it will allow you to enter dates that you want to search. Bands that are playing will be listed, along with the locations of their performances and the types of music they'll be playing.

Florida
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10. Re: Best place to stay in New Orleans

Loopwhole, that is a perfect list!!