As New Orleans celebrates its tricentennial this year (even in New York, by way of Bergdorf Goodman's windows, the appeal of the Big Easy has never been clearer: it’s a tried and tested destination for its food, festivals, and fun.
Each New Orleans neighborhood has its own personality and checklist of noteworthy spots. Lately, the Central Business District (CBD for short), including its smaller Warehouse District, has made a name for itself as a "live, work, play" part of town—the all-inclusive opposite of the French Quarter, known for its debauchery. Storied and colorful offices mix surprisingly well with industrial structures and luxury apartments, including a number of hotels and restaurants worth experiencing. Below, our picks in the up-and-coming neighborhood that has become a journeys end in itself.
Where to Stay
Ace Hotel New Orleans If you've stayed at an Ace Hotel in New York or Palm Springs, you'll immediately feel at home with the cozy aesthetic and collected staff. If it's your first time sleeping with them (a saying you'll encounter more than once during your stay), you're in for a treat. The hotel is a mix of locals and visitors mingling over drinks in The Lobby Bar or at Alto, its rooftop pool and a plant-lover’s paradise. You might find it hard to leave your room, where snacks and libations are at the ready inside Smeg refrigerators and wooden bar cabinets. Once you’re unpacked and situated, venture up or down for a cocktail before dinner.
Where to Eat
Josephine Estelle The restaurant attached to the lobby of the Ace Hotel, serves southern meets Italian food (BBQ shrimp and grits to corn and peach ravioli) throughout the day. The room is airy, and ready for its close-up: painted palm leaves adorn the walls, while the real deal sits among the diners.
The Company Burger Burger purists will find refuge at this go-to spot. The Company Burger serves beef, turkey, and lamb burgers, served alongside homemade buns, pickles, and mayo (the fries and onion rings are also hand cut). The restaurant frequently collaborates with other New Orleans gems for creative options, like a pizza burger with Pizza Delicious.
Mother's Restaurant While in NOLA, one must have a po'boy, and Mother's Restaurant is the place to have it. A city staple since 1938, Mother's is famous for their southern take on the ham sandwich. Enjoy traditional New Orleans dishes such as jambalaya and seafood gumbo on the side.
Seaworthy If you're visiting from New York, you'll feel right at home at this Grand Banks-owned seafood spot. And even if you're not from Manhattan, you can appreciate the elevated oyster bar. The fish is sourced locally and sustainably and the cocktail menu thoughtful. Not feeling fishy? The burger is enough reason to visit Seaworthy.
What to Do
If you’re in the mood for something other than drinking, the National WWII Museum is nearby and recommended by locals and travel guides alike. Ogden Museum of Southern Art, just across the street, displays hundreds of works, some as old as the city itself. Walk around Auction House Market, a multi-vendor food hall that is bustling with all types of fare. Plus, the CBD is just a short walk to the French Quarter. Try Newcomer Longway Tavern is a central spot for casual dining or a strong drink in an outdoor, string-lit courtyard (the Wagyu Steak Sandwich is a must-try), before taking your night to Frenchmen Street.
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