Truth: New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the United States. Living in Austin, NOLA has always just been a short jaunt away and perfect for weekend getaways. Or, on long road trips to the East Coast as a kid, we’d pass through for a night and stop to get beignets at Cafe Du Monde. So you can see that I have a soft spot for the Big Easy. While you’re in NOLA, there are so many great Instagrammable spots that it’s hard to just choose a few. From the balconies of the French Quarter to the best beignets, here are a few of my picks for the best photo spots in New Orleans.
French Quarter Balconies
It wouldn’t be a trip to New Orleans without a visit to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. While you’re over there roaming the streets with your daiquiri in hand though, make sure to take in all of the beautiful multi-level balconies found throughout the French Quarter. The one below, found on the corner of Royal and Dumaine Streets, is my personal favorite. Got to love the hanging plants!
Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral
If you’re up for waking up early, Jackson Square, featuring the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral in the background, is about as Instagrammable as you can get. This area gets crowded later in the day though, so if you want the perfect shot with no people in it, you have to go early. Either way though, it’s a fantastic shot for your ‘gram. I can imagine it’d be an amazing spot for wedding or engagement couple photos too!
If you’re looking for the colorful Creole cottage-style architecture that New Orleans is so famous for, the Bywater is one of your best bets. Walk down streets like Royal and Dauphine looking for the cutest houses in the neighborhood. While you’re there, stop in at The Country Club for lunch (found later on this list) and at Bacchanal Fine Wine and Spirits for drinks and live music on the patio.
The Garden District
If you haven’t gotten your fill of cute houses, try the Garden District next. Go shopping on Magazine Street and then wander through the neighborhood house hunting. You can also stop by Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, one of the most famous old cemeteries in the city. In the Garden District, the beautiful homes you’ll see are double-gallery houses, another style of architecture that New Orleans is famous for. You can also wander south of Magazine Street to the Irish Channel neighborhood, which the houses below are from.
The St. Charles Streetcar
The St. Charles Streetcar has been in operation since 1835, making it the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world! It runs along its namesake, St. Charles Avenue, and runs past popular areas like the Garden District and Audubon Park, ending at Canal Street. Not only is it a great way to get around the city, but it’s one of the most iconic photos of New Orleans as well.
With over 1,300 acres of beautiful land to wander, City Park has lots of dreamy spots to offer. Definitely don’t miss out on the stone Langles Bridge, possibly the most photographed spot in the park, along with the dreamy paths lined with oak trees. Fun facts: there are 30,000 trees in City Park, and the park is also home to the oldest grove of mature live oak trees in the world!
Carousel Bar & Lounge
The famous Carousel Bar & Lounge is inside the Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street in the French Quarter. The bar was originally installed in 1949, though it’s gone through some changes over the years. As you may have guessed, as you sit at the bar, it slowly rotates around, just like a carousel. This is a very popular spot in the French Quarter though, so it’s nearly impossible to get a photo of the bar uncrowded. As soon as it opens each day, it’s packed!
Even though the Carousel Bar could maybe go under the category of food and restaurants, it’s on this list for its fame and aesthetic more than anything else. But, I feel like it would be remiss of me to not separate the best food and restaurant photo spots into its own section, so for your convenience, I have separated them out below. These are just a sampling of the wonderful restaurant options that New Orleans has to offer, but here are my picks for the best restaurant photo spots!
Café Du Monde
Did you even go to New Orleans if you didn’t have beignets at Café Du Monde? You’ll find their original location on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, and the good news is it’s open 24 hours. If you’re looking for a photo op without the huge crowds, try getting a table right at sunrise!
Café Beignet has the advantage of having an adorable storefront as well as photogenic food. Get a table by the doors for the best lighting to get the perfect beignet photo, and then head outside to grab a photo of the front. Like Café du Monde, Café Beignet also is very popular, so you’ll like have crowds to deal with. Go as early as possible if you’re looking to get “the shot”.
I have to take a moment here to shout out Get Lost With Jackie, my travel partner for this trip. Any photo of me in this guide is taken by her, and she’s also the model in several of these shots. Also, if beignets are your thing, make sure to check out her comprehensive Ultimate New Orleans Beignet Guide. I have to say, I suffered greatly in the making of that post. So many beignets I was forced to eat. It was a terrible sacrifice to make!
Oak Street Po-Boy Fest
The Oak Street Po-Boy Fest is only one day a year, so you’ll have to get pretty lucky to be here for it (or plan a trip around it!). It’s definitely worth the hype - it’s one of the hottest events in town for a reason. There, you can try any po-boy you’ve ever imagined, from catfish to gator to crawfish boudin and more. However, even if you can’t make it to the Po-Boy Fest, New Orleans always has lots of cool events and festivals on (I’m very partial to Voodoo Music Festival myself). In fact, they have over 130 festivals a year! I recommend checking out the Full Festival Calendar on the Visit New Orleans website to see what’s on.
While you’re in the Garden District or shopping on Magazine Street, you have to stop by Commander’s Palace. The place has been around since 1880, and it’s one of the most famous restaurants in New Orleans for a reason. Their famous teal and white striped exterior is what landed them on this list, but definitely check them out for fine Creole dining and their jazz brunch too.
Located right on Jackson Square, Tableau is a fabulous place to go for traditional New Orleans cuisine. Even though it was a rainy day on my visit, I still was able to get beautiful photos of their picturesque courtyard. You can also dine on the outside balcony with a view overlooking Jackson Square. How can you beat that?
The pink facade of Brennan’s on Royal Street easily makes it one of the most photogenic restaurants in the French Quarter. And while you’re there, you can explore more beautiful photo spots around Royal Street, like the ornate balconies and the lively street performers. Pro-tip: they also have gorgeous tile tables outside that make for the perfect cute drink flat lay.
The Country Club
As mentioned earlier in this post, The Country Club is a great place to stop for lunch while you’re exploring the Bywater. You can dine here without a membership, which I highly recommend doing because look how cute this decor is! And it’s all delicious too. While they do sell annual memberships to locals, if you also just want to pop in for the afternoon and take a swim in their lovely pool out back, they do sell day passes as well. And considering just how hot New Orleans gets in the summer, this might be a pretty good option for beating the heat.
Located on Magazine Street, The Vintage is a coffee shop cafe that also serves up some of the most unique beignet options in town. Some of them change seasonally (like the pumpkin spice beignet we had on our visit), and others are staples, like the beignet bites that you can also get in a to-go cone. My personal favorite was the cinnamon sugar beignet. Pro-tip: get some beignet bites in a cone and take them wandering around the Garden District with you for the perfect Instagram shot.
Did I miss any great photo spots in NOLA? Let me know in the comments below so I can add it in!
Disclaimer: Thanks so much to Visit New Orleans for hosting me. This was post was in partnership with Visit New Orleans, but as always, all opinions are my own!
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