The 5 Best Neighborhoods in New Orleans

When people think of New Orleans, they think of the French Quarter, but it’s really the surrounding neighborhoods that make it the most unique city in America. Each area in the city has its own distinct vibe, and if you’re moving to Nola, these neighborhoods are your best bets.

1. Mid-City

Perfect neighborhood for: Outdoorsy Types, Young Couples, Families

 As you might guess by its name, Mid-City’s appeal some people is its proximity: as resident Frances G. says, “I like living in Mid-City because it’s in the middle of the city and thus close to everything.” No matter where you work or want to go, it’s close, and that’s just one of Mid-City’s great perks.

Mid-City also happens to be the best spot for outdoorsy types. It’s close to City Park, which is a 1,300 acre park featuring lakes, fields, running trails, and a massive dog run. Elsewhere, you’ll find bikers, joggers, and dog lovers taking advantage of the Lafitte Greenway and Bayou St. John.

A neighborhood is nothing without the people living in it, as Grant C. explain: “I love Mid-City, it’s a great working-class neighborhood that’s tight enough to where I always run into someone I know when I walk to the bar, but far enough away so that I don’t have to navigate a mob of tourists to get there.”


  • City Park: Every outdoor activity imaginable is available at this city landmark, also home to Jazz Fest.
  • Lafitte Greenway: This new bike path brings riders from Mid-City to the French Quarter.
  • Parkway Bakery & Tavern:This neighborhood institution is the best spot to get a po’ boy.

2. Marigny/Bywater

Perfect neighborhood for: Artists, Millennials, Singles

If you’re into art, nightlife, or alternative culture, Marigny and the neighboring Bywater are where you want to be. Both neighborhoods are known for their bright, colorful shotgun houses, and it’s just one of many signs that you’re in a distinct area.

It’s not quite at its pre-Katrina status as a stronghold, Marigny still sports a healthy gay community, and all residents exude the friendliness and charm the city is famous for. Bywater, meanwhile, has transformed from an old-school neighborhood to an artist enclave, with plenty of locals looking like Portlandia extras.

Both ‘hoods boast awesome art galleries you can check out on Second Saturdays, while you can get your boogie on with dancing and karaoke on St. Claude Avenue. Marigny also features Frenchmen Street, long-described as “Bourbon Street for Locals,” which isn’t true, but still has outstanding music venues and art markets.

Pro-Tip: Like all hipster terrain, both neighborhoods have been subject to gentrification, so if you’re looking a cheaper spot, check out the nearby South 7th Ward and St. Roch neighborhoods.


  • Frenchmen Street: Take in music nightly at venues like the Spotted Cat and D.B.A.
  • Bacchanal Wine: This charming outdoor wine bar in Bywater has a homely feel and all-day music.
  • Crescent Park: This brand-new park is perfect for outdoor activity and staring at the river.

3. Lower Garden District

Perfect neighborhood for: Families, Young Couples, Empty Nesters

If you want a little peace while staying close to the action, the Lower Garden District beckons. While the mansions that define the proper Garden District line the streets, they’re balanced out with smaller, more affordable shotgun homes, so well-off families and young folks coexist here.

A stroll down a sidestreet can feel eerily quiet, but there’s plenty going on in the LGD. It’s at the center of the city’s burgeoning craft beer scene, with local breweries like Urban South in the area. There are also plenty of great coffee shops and bars, while you’ll find locals grabbing lunch at Stein’s Deli or the award-winning Turkey & the Wolf. Most importantly, the neighborhood gets some of the biggest Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day parades passing through its streets, so you’ll have lots of fun before walking home to your quiet slice of paradise.


  • Mardi Gras World: Check out the Mardi Gras floats and decorations from years’ past here.
  • Magazine Street: The Lower Garden District marks the start of this busy Uptown street known for its great shopping.

 4. Riverbend

Perfect neighborhood for: Students, Families, Outdoorsy Types

If you want to get away from it all but stay in the city, Riverbend is the place for you. As its name suggests, this area near city limits is at a bend in the mighty Mississippi, so you’ll be close to peaceful waters as well as Audubon Park. It’s a great place for families, but there’s still plenty to do, so you’ll find Tulane students rubbing elbows with you.

Riverbend is home to Oak Street, an eight block stretch of restaurants, shops, and music venues, but the rest of the neighborhood will give you the breathing room you crave. It’s also a great spot for exercise junkies, as the levees along the Mississippi contain a lengthy paved bike path, though there are plenty of yoga studios and gyms if that’s more your speed. People love Riverbend for its sense of community, and your neighbors will become friends fast.


  • Oak Street: You’ll find culinary delights, can’t-miss live music, and more here.
  • Audubon Park: The city’s other big park boasts an array of great things to do.
  • Mississippi River Trail: This long trail on the levee is perfect for bikers and runners.

5. Warehouse District

Perfect neighborhood for: Young Professionals, Workaholics, Happy Hour Enthusiasts

Do you crave nightlife while working 9-5? Move to the Warehouse District! This neighborhood is home to many warehouses, with most converted to condos, hotels, and artist studios over the years. This area has attracted young professionals due to its closeness to the Central Business District, and there’s plenty going on.

There are endless options for happy hours drinks after work here thanks to its booming restaurant and cocktail scene. If that’s not your scene, check out the art galleries lining the neighborhood. The combination of these two things makes it a great date night spot. The Warehouse District will satisfy your urge for the hustle and bustle of city life.


  • Julia Street: Known for its art galleries, Julia Street is a great spot to take a stroll.
  • The National WWII Museum: You can easily spend a whole day at this nationally renowned museum.

Scott Tomford