Beautiful and elegant, this historic neighborhood is New Orleans’ crowning glory. Travel back to a bygone era and enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere and picturesque architecture.
Get swept up in the romance of the French Quarter, New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. It is the epicenter of this flamboyant city flanking the shores of the Mississippi River. Walt Disney World Resort replicated the ornate wrought-iron balconies, elegant shopfronts, and secret courtyards in its Port Orleans Resort. Walk the streets of the real thing, however, and you’ll quickly see that the true New Orleans vibe is utterly inimitable.
The French Quarter was laid out by – you guessed it – the French back in the early 18th century, and it has an undeniably European feel. There is something nostalgic and magical about a place that doesn’t have traffic lights or chain stores, where the street lights are the old gaslight style. Even buses aren’t allowed to chug through and spoil the ambiance.
Begin your explorations in Jackson Square. Life in the quarter centers around this city landmark, so named in honor of President Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans (there are three different statues dedicated to him here). Look past the musicians, artists, fortune tellers, and jugglers to see historic buildings all around you. The fairytale-like St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States, while the Cabildo was the seat of government in New Orleans during the Spanish colonial period and is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. Make a pit stop for a beignet in the legendary Café du Monde.
Join the boisterous hubbub of Bourbon Street before taking time out along elegant Royal Street, home to antique shops, galleries, and gorgeous homes. Peruse the French Market, the oldest public market in the country, or discover the history of the Mardi Gras at the Presbytère museum. Cruise the Mississippi on a classic jazz-pumping riverboat or tour the Old U.S. Mint, founded in 1835.