There's no better place in the Big Easy to "laissez les bons temps rouler" than the city's infamous Bourbon Street. You can admire the historic, Spanish-with-a-dash-of-French architecture during the day, but the neighborhood truly comes alive when the sun sets. Take advantage of the lack of open container laws and grab hand grenades at Tropical Isle, daiquiris at Fat Tuesday, or hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's. Or if you're more into music than booze, there's Fritzel's or Irvin Mayfield's, and history nerds can soak up the atmosphere at the Old Absinthe House or Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. And remember to hydrate, for Pete's sake.
“laissez les bon temps rouler!”
Noisy. Raucous. Nocturnal. For many New Orleans visitors, Bourbon Street embodies the life of a party town. The street is lit by neon lights, throbbing with music and decorated by beads and balconies. Named for a royal family in France and not the amber-colored alcohol, Bourbon Street has become a place for revelry of all sorts. With its windows and doors flung open to the wandering crowds, it should be no surprise that the famed sidewalk strolling libation known as the “go cup” was invented on Bourbon Street, according to Tulane University historian Richard Campanella. Many things change in New Orleans, but the color and excitement of Bourbon Street never falters.
In one of the oldest cities in America, Bourbon Street is rich with historic venues, social tales and iconic buildings. The street dates back to 1718, when New Orleans was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. French engineer Adrien de Pauger laid out the streets of New Orleans in 1721 and chose one to carry the name of the French royal family ruling at the time, Rue Bourbon. This monumental street is in the heart of the French Quarter extending 13 blocks from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue before meandering through the Marigny neighborhood.
You absolutely have to come here when you're in New Orleans...it's just one of those things. I will say, though, that the tourists stumbling down the street with their souvenir cups full of booze at 9am sort of cheapened the scene. Also, be aware that there are some not-super-kid-friendly spots...some of my younger cousins got a full view of stripper butt while walking down the sidewalk. At like 1pm.
If it's your first trip to NoLa you've got to at least check out Bourbon Street. It's true that it's a touristy drunk-fest, but it's still a very cool piece of history. Expect loads of drunks, nudity, and some dodgy spots, so be smart when you're there. Not super kid friendly, for obvious reason.
Bourbon Street is great--especially while enjoying a Sazerac or an Absinthe Drip from the Old Absinthe House. Expect it to be crowed, and I mean perpetually crowded. Also, dress cool. While I was there in March, the weather was in the 60s, but because of how enclosed the street is, it felt much, much hotter. And though Bourbon Street is a must visit for those experiencing New Orleans for the first time, it is incredibly touristy. So after you take in your fill of the nightlife, check out streets like Frenchman--a less crowded, eclectic hotspot.
Alcohol, nudity, drinking, beads, and jazz music. That was my experience visiting Bourbon Street about 4 years ago. Super fun but also super strange at times. Definitely not the place to bring younger kids, but if your over 21 expect to have one hell of a night here. You may or may not see a few naked old people...
Loved Bourbon Street a lot. I'm not much for large crowds (cause let's be honest people are the worst) but this is something that has to be visited. I happened to visit on New Years Eve and spending it on Bourbon street was one of the most fun nights of my life.
So, we went here - not intending to. We had kids with us. We were going to skip this street entirely but we accidently wandered into it anyway. Lots of people trying to give you beads for a "donation". A bit seedy but mostly harmless at the time we went. Good place to people watch. Would not want to bring kids down here when it gets too late in the evening though.
It's worth walking down because of its history and really fun seeing and hearing the street performers. But, not worth spending too much time at unless you're purpose are the bars.
You must come here if you're visiting New Orleans for the first time. It's something each tourist needs to experience. It's busier in the evening. Lots of music and entertainment for all, except kids. Probably a good idea to keep them away until they turn 18 or older. Adult themed content.
As a first timer- I had a wonderful time. You have to have a good buzz to get over the smell, but what a riot.
Go once and then enjoy the finer things that New Orleans has to offer.
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