Bourbon Street is the core of New Orleans' nightlife. It is a street that runs the length of the historic French Quarter, and is lined with bars, nightclubs, and souvenir shops. For parents traveling with children - beware - there are also a number of strip clubs along Bourbon Street that are not discreet in their advertising.
Bourbon Street has definite warts - drunk tourists, tawdry strip clubs, some sketchy characters hanging around, bars with some of the nastiest bathrooms in the US, and way too much cigarette smoke. However, it also has bands playing some great music in its bars, ranging from rock to jazz to rap to funk. Also, the nightlife goes very late, since New Orleans does not have a mandatory closing hour for bars. The food on Bourbon Street is generally mediocre - the Fench Quarter's best restaurants are on other, quieter streets nearby.
One good thing about Bourbon Street is that you can carry your drink out of a bar and walk down the street with it. A lot of the fun is just walking down the street and people watching.
[photos to come]
While in New Orleans it seemed to be just a big party town all the time...of course the biggest attraction for me was the music..The music being played just seemed to be everywhere and whatever type of "genre" of music you liked it was to be found here.. A typical local sound and immediately recognisable to me was the sound of "Zydeco" local cajun music with a sound of its own. How good it is here with these wonderful friendly people to join in with the music..Musso's I find wherever I travel are definately a special kind of people..
There is also just a large music emphasis on Jazz as well ,with just so many of the most famous Jazz musicians coming from this city..I would say notably "Louis Armstrong"..I went to visit his monument that is displayed in the local park, but , as my visit was not that long after the Hurricane 'Kristina" catastrophe..the gate to the park was closed but could see the small statue of the man holding his famous trumpet and immediately in my mind I could hear his playing. Yes , there is something very special about music..
Yes, yes, I know, this has tourist trap written all over it. Well guess what, I didn't care. All three times I've visited I've made Pat O's a stop on my list. Each time it has been worth it.
This place is fun because there are many different types of atmospheres all rolled into on big establishment. My favorite area is the outdoor courtyard that features the Flaming Fountain. This fixture is awesome to look at in the dark of night. Get your picture taken next to it! I have had many a romantic night engrosed in deep conversation with my husband. Of course we were also deeply engrosed in the Hurricanes that we were drinking.
In case you aren't familiar, the Hurricane is the signature drink fo Pat O's. Here's a little tip for you: THEY WILL MESS YOU UP. Oh I'm sure you think you're different and you can hold your booze, but chances are if you are that confident in your drinking ability, you might be able to have 3 Hurricanes and then you'll be as wasted as the rest of us after having 1 or 2.
Other areas of the bar include a piano bar area and a regular bar room with the usual bar scene. The piano bar is also a must at least once, just to say you were in there. There is a very good chance that it will be crowded, but it's still fun, so just make your way in and find a table. If your timing is right you will be able to see an old old gentleman perform with the dueling pianos. This guy plays the silver patter with metal thimbles on his fingers. He plays quite a beat and has been there for years and years. It is considered a treat to see him.
Another tip: If you order your Hurricanes 'to go' you will get them in a syrofoam cup that you can throw away, and you will only pay for the drink (I think about $7). However, if you order a Hurricane in the regular glass they will charge you for the drink AND the glass. Don't worry, you can turn your glass in at the end of the night and get your money back. But you can also let them keep the money and keep the glass as a souvineir.
There's only one word I can come up with to cover all of the bases. MAGIC. Some might say black magic, but I say the French Quarter and New Orleans are nothing short of magic. I fell in love with her as a teenager. I was stationed at Keesler AFB and went there many weekends to have crazy fun with my fellow service members. I am now thirty two, I was in the French Quarter last weekend and I feel in love all over again. As a people watcher and someone who is in love with the antiquity and New Orleans photogenic appeal I just can't pull my mind from being there. I was there four days and had a total of six drinks. I guess the French Quarter is what you make of it. I woke up early every morning and strolled from the Marriott at 555 Canal to Decatur street, had a breakfast of Pain Perdue (French toast) and walked on to Jackson Square. It is such a beautiful, dangerous, spooky place. It's exciting and intoxicating. I was standing in front of the fountain in Jackson Square trying to get just the perfect shot of the water splashing from tier to tier. I looked to my right and saw a homeless man sleeping in the carpet like grass just over from the fountain. I caught myself thinking badly of the man and then I took another look at him. What a beautiful place for a nap. Most of us will never know the freedom of laying down what other people think and relaxing in a place so beautiful and full of history. I took a carriage ride through the quarter and learned so many new things. Walk down Royal Street and my what a beautiful place. So much art and achitecture, it's breathtaking to see. I loved every minute of my time there and I have dreamed of New Orleans every night since I left. She cast her spell on me. The French Quarter is what you make of it, you can see the bad or the good. If you are like me and love old buildings and neon signs Bourbon Street is a beautiful place. Sure there are homeless people, there are every kind of people you can imagine and it is truely a wonderful magical place to me. I can't wait to get back. If you go pack lightly for your walks take only a little cash, your cell phone and a camera. Don't be stupid and take your whole purse. Be smarts and open your eyes to something that is truely original. Stop awhile and get a bite to eat, the food is Oh so Good! Try Bourbon House, Tuna carpaccio and Gulf Fish Pecan. Riverfront Restaurant - Shrimp Creole and blackened gator. Franks - Crawfish cakes and Muffaletta. Acme Oyster house crawfish tails and grilled chicken poboy. So so good.
Bourbon street is a famous tourist trap :) Gift shops, clubs with live music(most of them have a cover band but there are some nice jazz exceptions), hundreds of bars where young people go to drink hurricanes and cheap beers till early in the morning, xxx clubs/strip joints etc So, Bourbon is ideal for party animals but a place to avoid if you have children unless you want to explain why the girls flashing their boobs because some people throw beads :)
Although we prefer something less crazy we stayed on a street off Bourbon so it was interesting to passing by many times every day although we only went into to two jazz clubs there only because some other corners of the city. But it was funny to see (and it wasn’t some kind of carnival like Mardi Gras) weird people like those in pic3 that parade with giant cross in their hands!
But of course, it’s really interesting to check the street early in the morning too, before the stores start to open, when they just clean the mess of the previous night (pic 5), one morning we woke up early just to walk around without any tourists around and it was so different than the evening madness.
Don’t forget that you can check some historical building easily this way (during the night you cant really enjoy any of the local architecture. At 623 you will see the house where Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote once lived, at 941 the Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop etc
That just brings out the crazy in a gal!
Whether you jump in and participate or not, how can you go to New Orleans and not check out Bourbon street? Check out by day, then check out by night.
Bourbon Street was a lot of fun. We enjoyed watching the street performers, musicians and colorful people. The gift shops, strip clubs, and bars with rock and roll pouring out led to the street... Love the architecture those iron balconies above are charming.
The party doesn't stop here! We thought we would check it out during Mardi Gras and it was amazing. The buildings are beautiful, this strip is a bit tacky but unique. Many Voo Doo shops line the streets, daquari bars, and seafood restaurants. We tried the hand grenade....guaranteed to get you drunk it says. I would have to agree that it does. If you are into the drinking scene that feels like an ongoing frat party then this is the place for you. My favorite parts of New Orleans was everything beyond Bourbon Street. But I would say that everyone should experience it at least once.
For some, Bourbon Street is a destination. For others, it's to be avoided at all costs. The good news for both camps is that if you've come to New Orleans to party, you've found the place. If you've already had your quota of hangovers, there are plenty of other things to do.
Named not after a type of liquor (although that would be appropriate) but after the French royalty who occupied the throne when it came into being, Bourbon St. used to be an expensive address for the well-heeled. How times change. While rents are still astronomical, the quiet residential street of 3 centuries ago is now a raucous mix of mostly bars, souvenier shops and strip clubs with a few hotels and restaurants thrown in - lots of neon, loud (read: earsplitting) music and alcohol of every kind and then some. Even if "party 'til you drop" is no longer on your agenda, most folks are still a little bit curious about this infamous part of New Orleans so a walk-through is definately recommended. It's quieter and smells better early in the day when the previous night's refuse has been hosed away - good choice for just taking in the architecture or strolling through with small children. Later at night is best for experiencing the noise and color of Bourbon in full-throttle insanity (not a place for the young'uns).
Whether there for just for 5 minutes or for 5 days, I think most visitors would say that if you haven't been to Bourbon Street, you haven't been to New Orleans!
many visitors to new orleans come to party on world famous bourbon street. this historic street is lined with bars, restaurants, and strip clubs. bourbon street is a very interesting place to visit in the french quarter. personally at night i prefer the other sections of the french quarter. at night bourbon street is crowded and the bars are over priced. also you have to deal with drunks and pickpockets. however a visit to new orleans would not be complete without a night out on bourbon street.
As long as you are not a "holy roller" you have to at the bare minimum walk up and down Bourbon St one time in your life. Do it after it gets dark, but before midnight any day of the week, Saturday preferred. If you do not like crowds then go on a weeknight in between festivals or a few days after Mardi Gras. You have to just see the freaks, drunks etc. Maybe join in and pick up a Hurricane from Pat Obriens to drink as you walk the street. Watch the bull riders at the Bourbon Cowboy (if you can stand the country music) they will change the music based on the response from the crowd though. Sit in the courtyard at Pat Obriens and have a Hurricane and watch the rats run the perimiter (they won't hurt you) Or just people watch. It is all sort of like strolling the Ramblas in Barcelona with more bars/drunks/strip clubs/ freaks. If you are really adventurous come on a holiday and dress up for it. For example, near St Pats day dress up in green hair and clothes, wear some green flashing beads etc and you will have the time of your life! ENJOY!
Quite possibly the the epicenter of what the average Joe considers to be THE unique New Orleanean experience, Bourbon Street is where dining, debauchery, jazz and gaudy tourist shops converge. Needless to say, this bar-lined street in the Vieux Carre is lined with bars and several "I've been to Orleans t-Shirts" and Mardi Gras beads. For all you history buffs:
New Orleans in the Forties and Fifties was often heralded as "The Most Interesting City in America." Bourbon Street was its epicenter, and it became world famous for its concentration of nightclub shows featuring exotic dancers, comics, risque singers, and contortionists, backed by live house bands. Along a five-block stretch, over fifty acts could be seen on any given night. The street gleamed with neon lights as barkers enticed tourists and locals into the clubs to see the featured attractions whose photographs were prominently displayed in the large windows outside.
It's tradition....need I say more?
If you are one of those travelers who loves to experience a city for what it is and not for who you, individually are, then flashing is for you. Granted I wouldn't have done it if I were sober I couldn't have left New Orleans without my 5 seconds of shame.
Now, I caution you....Males if you try flashing your .... stuff then the police will get you as soon as your hands hit your zipper. Trust me, I stood around and watched. Guys you can lift up your shirt but I wouldn't even put your hands on your pants...That's how jumpy the cops were.
I'm proud of my beads that are in my travel shelf. I earned them, damnit!
As soon as I got to New Orleans I had to see Bourbon St. for myself. And let me tell ya, it was everything they said it would be. Unfortunately, it had just rained but you just have to see it for yourself.
Supposedly, after talking to some natives, Bourbon St. is nothing like it was pre-Katrina but it sure was enough to shock me.
It's available for your pleasure at any hour. I enjoyed it more at night when all the lights stick out. However, I would not recommend it if you're traveling with the youngin's...unless you wanna explain hoes and bums to the kids. However, just walking up and down at night is more than enough entertainment for your trip. In fact, grab a drink from one of the walk-up bars and have a drink while watching the street come alive.
*If you decide to flash (which I really recommend...I did it and I'll never forget it!) please be safe. Feel free to stand and watch for a while and then you can decide whether you like the spot. There are going to be old men watching and lots of boys. And, yes, women are just as curious. Just be sure you're not by people who are gonna grab. Have a girlfriend back ya up like mine did! And boys, if you even think about flashing your under area...the cops are waiting just for a hint and they'll come up to ya and get in your face...so BEWARE!!
This area its plenty of nice Jazz live places, nices bars and restaurants.
There are pretty Balconys where girls show her bubies for get any Collars.
Pat O Briens its a nice place for lunch or dinner , with nice music and good hurricane.