Bourbon Street

It’ll be hard not to spend a lot of time partying in this street, but be sure to save a few hours to really appreciate its centuries-old buildings and Southern cuisine.

Meet the infamous bad boy of the French Quarter, a street where a rowdy good night out is done properly, in the distinctive New Orleans way. Get dressed up, let loose, and embrace the carnage of Bourbon Street. Within the 13 blocks stretching from Canal St. to Esplanade Avenue, bars, restaurants, karaoke joints, and strip clubs are an ever-present feature.

Worried about your stamina for late nights and lots of dancing? Don’t worry, there are enough attractions here to warrant some downtime to explore history and culture. Scratch below the surface of the street and you’ll be surprised with what you find. As part of the oldest neighborhood in America, it is almost an unofficial museum of historic buildings.

Bourbon Street is a place of folklore and legend. Nestled in a crumbling Creole cottage is Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, a stomping ground which will give you stories of your own to tell after a visit. Legend has it the shop was a front for the Lafitte brothers to operate their privateering endeavors. And if buildings could talk, the elegant Royal Sonesta Hotel, which dates back to 1721, would have a few tales to regale. There are also storied eateries such as Galatoire’s Restaurant. Dating back over a century, this popular spot serves up mouthwatering French Creole cuisine.

Jazz booms out of seemingly every doorway, enticing you with promises of sultry mysteries. Discover bluesy clubs deep inside 200-year-old buildings, and some of the oldest gay bars in the country. Bourbon Street is sexy and sophisticated, a place where you can demonstrate your expertise on a mechanical bull and down lurid-colored cocktails, or seek out live traditional jazz concerts in some of the oldest buildings still standing in the United States. Do both and you can honestly say you know Bourbon Street.