Garden District

Soak up the serenity amid New Orleans’ historic antebellum mansions, with lush gardens and historic architecture that oozes Southern charm. Keep watch for some celebs, too.

Escape the jazzy razzmatazz that embodies much of New Orleans and discover a pocket of elegant beauty and sigh-inducing tranquility. Grand mansions surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens create a historic storybook of Italianate, Greek Revival and Victorian architectural styles that tell the tales of a time when wealthy American business magnates moved to fresh pastures to escape the newcomers to the French Quarter. This all happened after the Louisiana Purchase and the area swallowed up the once-separate city of Lafayette.

The neighborhood is primarily residential, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in tourist appeal. In fact, it’s the opposite. It is these opulent and sprawling antebellum mansions that are the stars of the show in the Garden District. While away an afternoon simply wandering the side streets and try to pick your favorite. Be on the look out too for modern-day celebrities who have set up home in this enchanting neighborhood. Word on the street is that movie stars Nicholas Cage and Sandra Bullock, and famous novelist Anne Rice, are among the glitterati living here.

There are actually two sides to the Garden District – a lower and an upper part. Visit the lower section (specifically the intersection of Prytania Street and Washington Avenue, and Coliseum Square) for a delightful selection of eccentric boutiques, art galleries, funky vintage clothes stores, and shops stocked with nothing but eco-friendly products.

The upper district is home to the iconic mansions and the historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, an unusually enchanting place of rest which often stars as a location in films and books. Take a morning guided tour before heading over to the 130-year-old Commander’s Palace Restaurant for a brunch to remember. Order a Bloody Mary – you won’t be disappointed. Then, fueled with renewed energy, hit the boutiques of Magazine Street for some quirky retail therapy.