Welcome to the French Quarter, the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans! Developed after the founding of New Orleans in 1718, the French Quarter became the center of New Orleans we know and adore. Today, "The Quarter" is well known as the beating heart of New Orleans, drawing in travelers from all over the world.
While the French Quarter is a world-famous party destination, there's more to do than bar hop! The district is full of vibrant culture and incredible history covering all walks of life.
Is your familiarity with the French Quarter limited to New Orleans Square in Disneyland? If so, it's time to visit the real deal. Here are five things to do in the French Quarter that doesn't include a trip to the local bar:
1. Sample Local Cuisine
The French Quarter carries some of the most mouth-watering cuisines that feature a rustic play on French cooking with a southern flair. Some famous New Orleans dishes include gumbo, jambalaya, beignets, po-boy sandwiches, and many other various southern seafood dishes featuring crawfish and spice.
Dining choices can range from walk-in diners to fancy dining halls, so guests can experience a little bit of everything when it comes to the French Quarter. Be sure to come to the table when you're hungry!
2. Browse the Antiques
New Orleans is the second largest port of entry for antiques into the United States, making the French Quarter a prime shopping location for antique collectors of all kinds. Toss in the rich local history, and guests are sure to find many antique stores through the French quarter with great finds!
Visitors can browse antique rings and other rare jewelry or check out memorabilia collections with American and European backgrounds. The local shops carry many miscellaneous items for all sorts of collectors.
3. Enjoy Local Artwork
If the weather is good, take the time to visit Jackson Square to see the local artist's colorful work. Artists gather in Jackson Square to show off their workers and styles, often using re-purposed wood from homes or structures destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. A portion of sales is donated back to families affected by the storm and supporting local artists.
There is no shortage of art galleries along the French Quarter featuring beautiful and imaginative works from local artists. Consider visiting the Jamie Hayes Gallery, Vintage 329, or Hemmerling Gallery of Southern Art.
4. See the Street Performances
New Orleans is not a quiet city, and the French Quarter is not any more tranquil. Guests can expect to hear the swinging tunes of jazz from the streets and often from morning to late evening. Live bands usually decorate the sidewalk playing classic jazz tunes or original numbers. Guests can also spot many other performers ranging from dancers to magicians. Some of the best shows can be seen while walking the streets for nothing more than a tip or two.
5. Sign up for the Ghost Tours
The French Quarter ranks steadily as one of the most haunted cities in the United States. Between the gruesome human experiments conducted by Madam Lalaurie, the Great New Orleans Fire that burned most of the city in 1788, or the above-ground tombs scattered throughout the city, this should come as no surprise. Therefore, there should be no surprise that ghost tours are popular among tourists.
The French Quarter is an excellent destination that offers so much entertainment for guests! From shopping to ghost sightings, this bustling location has a little bit of something for everyone.