Iconic traditional jazz hall with five shows a day
This traditional jazz hall transports visitors back in time to enjoy jazz the way it used to be performed. This local icon puts on shows every night at 5, 6, 8, 9 & 10. If you buy a ticket online for $40-50, you don't have to wait in line and you are assured a seat. Otherwise, bring $20 cash and get in line 30 to 45 minutes early to make sure you get a good spot or, on busier nights, get in. While food is not allowed, you are allowed to bring drinks, so stop at Pat O'Brien's across the street to get a go drink. While all of this might seem like a lot of hassle for a 45 minute performance, this is one of those places that is famous for a reason and this intimate, acoustic performance will make you feel the spirit of the city. These shows are family friendly, so bring the kids along.
Historic locale for Creole staples
This historic, New Orleans institution is attracts visitors with it's Muffalettas, Pimm's Cups, and local staples like po-boys, gumbo and jambalaya. If the weather is nice, see if you can sit in their beautiful courtyard. As of 2015, the restaurant is run by the Brennans, one of New Orleans' great culinary families. The name for this restaurant comes from a 1821-plan to rescue Napoleon Bonaparte from exile. The idea was that a local band of pirates would go to St. Helena where he was being kept and bring him to New Orleans, where he would live at this building. Unfortunately, before the plan could be enacted word spread that Napoleon had died in exile, but the name stuck.
Elegant brunch and Bananas Foster
This pink, French Quarter landmark has been serving Creole cuisine for over 70 years and has only gotten better with time. As you may have guessed from the name, the restaurant is run by the Brennans, one of New Orleans' great culinary families. Various family members own fourteen restaurants around the city, but one thing they all have in common is their family matriarch Ella Brennan, who helped her brother and father start the original Brennan's in 1943. During her time Miss Ella invented Bananas Foster with the help of Brennan's head chef Paul Blangé based on a dish her mother used to make. You can sample this iconic dish that they flambe table-side during any of their meal services, but we recommend you pair it with their delicious brunch. If you stop back in for their happy hour on Friday at 5:00, you will witness their champagne sabering where a server uses a sword to open a bottle of champagne in their courtyard. As a tourist and local favorite, Brennan's is very busy so you should make a reservation.
Fine art galleries, grand antiques and gift shops
Strolling down Royal Street gives you the quintessential French Quarter experience, with tons of shops, people in the streets and music all around. The best way to do it is to start at Hotel Monteleone, stopping in for a drink at the Carousel Bar if you so choose, and wander down the street listening to buskers and popping in and out of stores. Royal is known for its galleries and antique shops and there are a few you shouldn't miss including M.S. Rau Antiques that is practically a museum (and has a hidden back room), Rodrigue Studio for the iconic blue dog, Frank Relle Photography for gorgeous, dark photos of the swamps and Gallery Two, Antieau Gallery, Red Truck and Oleander for more contemporary art. In addition to the fun souvenir shops, check out Bevolo to see where the iconic gas lanterns are made, Dirty Coast for locally-themed shirts, Krewe for designer glasses, Fifi Mahony's for fun wigs, and Glitter Box N.O. for art and jewelry made by women for women. In terms of food, if you are looking for more upscale restaurants, try Cafe Amelie and its courtyard. If you are looking for something cozier and more casual, there is Bennachin for West African and Mona Lisa for Italian. You can get a quick sandwich at Petit Amelie or chow down on a po-boy at Verti Marte. Cafe Beignet is perfect for both breakfast and dessert while Clover Grill is the perfect greasy spoon for late night eating or a hungover breakfast.
Slowly rotating Hotel Monteleone cocktail bar
The gorgeous merry-go-round bar has been making a rotation every fifteen minutes for over 65 years. The Vieux Carre cocktail was invented at this bar that has hosted greats like Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, William Faulkner, Liberace, Louis Prima and many more. It is not the best bar for large groups because it gets very crowded with visitors wanting a seat at the famed bar.
214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA
Faulkner House Books
Faulkner’s former home turned bookshop
This tiny hole in the wall near Jackson square that was the home of William Faulkner is a bookstore with a focus on American literature. Faulkner lived here 1925 when he was writing Soldier's Pay and he is rumored to still haunt the place, especially when pretty young ladies are around. While this quaint bookstore can get crowded, it is considered one of the most charming bookstores in the country and is a national literary landmark.