Here's What to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana – HouseBeautiful.com

Here's What to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana – HouseBeautiful.com

Here's What to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana – HouseBeautiful.com

Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
Mapping the top spots to stay, eat, drink, shop, and play in the Big Easy.
New Orleans is America’s least American city—a slice of Europe in the hot and hazy South. Steeped in a rich (and haunted) history, it’s a combination of French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cultures creating a city bursting with dreamy architecture, out-of-this-world food, and oodles of Southern charm.
If you ask Penny Francis, owner of the interior design firm Eclectic Home, “New Orleans’s design aesthetic is bold, diverse, and colorful like its culture. The city’s arts and architecture ties back into our design DNA.”
So whether you’re heading down for Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, or any number of fêtes throughout the year, add these spots to your list. When in doubt, follow the sound of a booming trumpet and it won’t be hard to laissez les bon temps rouler—“let the good times roll”—during your next trip.
Where To Stay
On the banks of the mighty Mississippi, the new Four Seasons Hotel brings luxury to a new level. “It’s full-on elegance, and in my opinion, the most gorgeous place in New Orleans. The scale and glamour are breathtaking,” says Crescent City-based designer Hattie Sparks Collins. The rooms include white shiplap walls with brass finishings, plantation shutters, and white Carrara marble throughout the bathroom. A Sazerac under the sparkling crystals at the Chandelier Bar is a must, as is dinner at beloved local chef Alon Shaya’s Miss River.
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A part of the former Sugar District, today, it’s the first new hotel in the French Quarter in half a century. The original wood-and-steel beams found throughout, as well as the exposed brick, transport you back to the late-1800s. “I love how the hotel pays homage to the sugar district of the area from the past. Its industrial moments with a touch of glam create a very chic experience,” says Francis.
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The ding of the St. Charles’ streetcar can be heard from the rocking chairs on The Chloe’s front porch. This traditional Uptown mansion has 14 unique guest rooms and common spaces with eclectic, vibrant touches. “My favorite element is the art,” says the hotel’s designer Sara Ruffin Costello. “We collected so much art and photography from big names as well as up and comers; it really brought the antiques to life.” Each room has a crocodile door knocker, similar to the eye-catching crocodile carpeting on the grand staircase, and a record player with a selection of vinyl to choose from. The large antique wooden wardrobe is clad with skull wallpaper, and the bathroom has a Calacatta marble sink and shower with cushion-edged soft brown tiles.
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This new Richard Branson hotel near the CBD and Bourbon Street packs some serious design wow-factor. “They did a great job of infusing New Orleans’s bold flair into the design by using color and grand patterns with tropical elements throughout,” says Francis. From the custom-pattern tiles in the lobby and the Picasso-esque hallway carpet to the mannequin in the bunny suit playing chess in the Funny Library, there’s a lot of eye candy to devour.
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North of St. Charles Ave in a converted home on a residential street is NOLA’s most exciting restaurant. Paying homage to the owner’s Cajun roots, the team here highlights local seafood in a multi-course, communal-style dinner. “Mosquito Supper Club appeals because it’s so authentic. You are in Melissa Martin’s dining room. She is like your mama feeding you,” says Ruffin Costello. “She cares deeply about the roots of food. It’s more than just a restaurant.”
This Magazine Street neighborhood joint is always busy. Split between two levels, there’s a large dining counter to watch the chefs in action on the first floor and a bar and casual high-top table setting upstairs. Reclaimed timber paneling with hanging Edison bulbs decorate the space, but the food is the real standout here. Some of the city’s best shrimp and grits grace the menu, as does a mean country gumbo.
Comfort food with an Asian twist is the star at this CBD favorite. “It’s Asian and Italian fusion with New Orleans cuisine, but it works,” says Francis. “The warehouse space is warmed up with wall murals and suspended wooden planters. It’s casual but inviting.” Come for the handmade pasta with fresh local seafood—stay for the Asian-inspired cocktails.
Michiel Dop has been dealing antiques in New Orleans for over 20 years. His 15,000-square-foot warehouse filled with hand-picked antiques from Europe would make any designer swoon. “It’s my go-to source for antiques, chandeliers, mirrors and decorative accents,” says Sparks Collins. “The containers they receive from Europe are full of quality, beautiful pieces, and he’s great to work with on custom pieces, too.”
Magazine Street has an overwhelming number of design stores to browse, including Sunday Shop. Perfect for elegant gifts, it has everything from lighting to soaps. “Sunday Shop is a small and intimate shopping experience. It has a great mix of housewares from table top to linens, along with unexpected vintage finds,” says Francis.

In the shadow of the Pontchartrain Expressway is a warehouse full of treasures. “Merchant House is such a wonderful resource for well-maintained vintage furniture and rugs,” says Sparks Collins. “The pricing is incredible, and the selection is constantly evolving.” For Francis, there’s nothing better than a good find. “You never know what surprises they will have, and they are sourced by New Orleans-based merchants,” she says. “The thrill of the hunt is what keeps me going back.”
You can listen to live music any day of the week in New Orleans. “Go hear a brass band on Sunday in Coliseum Square Park,” suggests Ruffin Costello. Or walk over to Frenchmen Street and choose from any number of bars like Bamboula’s or The Spotted Cat Music Club with groups playing everything from Big Band to Cool Jazz.
This New Orleans mainstay often has lines longer than the Mississippi. The best time to visit? Sparks Collins thinks very early in the morning. “When I used to work in the French Quarter, I loved having a coffee, reading the paper, and watching the Quarter come to life.” Avoid wearing black—you’ll be covered with white powdered sugar. But wow, is it worth it.
There’s simply nothing better than spending a day walking or biking around New Orleans. The towering oak trees of the Audubon Park offer the perfect shade during a hot New Orleans day, while the vibrant French Quarter is made for people watching. “The best thing one can do is hop on a bike and ride around the various neighborhoods,” says Ruffin Costello. “I live in the Garden District, and it is just pure bliss to amble and ogle. I’ve been working in the Treme lately, a terrifically romantic and mysterious little corner of town.”

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