Bourbon Street is world famous for the annual Mardi Gra parade of naked diving for plastic beads and drunken behavior. Not surprisingly, the rest of the year, this street feasts upon the tourists who pay homage to the concept, selling t-shirts and sex acts. Nevertheless, authentic zydeco music and great restaurants are here too. See my tips on these things. Fortunately, Bourbon street is closed to traffic on at least some nights.
Unique Suggestions: Bourbon street is lit up at night and a joy to walk along at least once. Restrain yourself from buying too many souvenir items at these shops though. The better shopping is elsewhere.
Fun Alternatives: After a night strolling along Bourbon, treat yourself to a night of music in Marigny district or a dinner on Oak Street. See my tips for restaurants and music. I also recommend shopping along some other streets where fine prints, hand-made masks, and kitch antiques can be found.
Bourbon Street is a must see - no doubt. It only becomes a tourist trap if you spend you ENTIRE trip there and don't get to experience any of the wonderful things within (and outside of) the Quarter.
Unique Suggestions: Like I was saying, you MUST experience Bourbon Street... especially if it is your first trip to New Orleans. However, please follow these general rules of thumb given to my by my gracious hosts on my first trip to New Orleans.
#1 DO NOT EAT ON BOURBON STREET.
(look, I know you'll be drunk and looking for a quick bite, but just stay strong and make your way over to a late night joint like Coops!) New Orleans is known for its fine food and Bourbon Street is basically full of quick pick food for wasted tourists. You need only go a few steps off the beaten path to get some authentic grub. You'lll thank me for it.
#2 IF IT IS YOUR FIRST TRIP TO NEW ORLEANS YOU MUST NOT VISIT BOURBON STREET IN THE DAYLIGHT OR YOU WILL BE TURNED INTO A PILLAR OF SALT!
Is this true? I wouldn't know because I didn't test the fates. If you are a first timer, please do yourself a favor and visit bourbon street for the first time at night - it is quite impressive. Yes, you may cross Bourbon Street in the daylight, just keep your eyes fixed straight ahead and save the fun for after the sun goes down.
Fun Alternatives: There are no alternatives to Bourbon Street, just don't spend your ENTIRE trip there.
Bourbon Street can't be entirely avoided but if you stick strictly to it you'll miss a lot of the nicest parts of town. It is a touristy and often seedy area if you confine yourself to the main four or five blocks of it.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure to go to the extremities of Bourbon Street. It's amazing how a few blocks walk can take you to an entirely different part of town.
Along Bourbon Street you will find many places selling frozen drinks in all kinds of flavors. I recall the price was around $5 for a small one. But it really wasn't that good, the flavor was artificial and too sweet.
Unique Suggestions: If you need relief, try one! But guaranteed you won't go back.
Fun Alternatives: Save your money for something with real alcohol in it!!
There is nothing special about Bourbon St. Its been made famous by the Mardi Gras parade held in February. If you want to catch a few drinks stumble through once or twice but New Orleans has so much more to offer than bars and strip clubs.
Fun Alternatives: Take a turn off of Bourbon anywhere in the quarters and find something a little less crowded.
It is illegal to show your stuff on the streets kids. I know first had when the phone in my room rang and a hystiracal girl on the other end demands I go to the pookie at 3am cause her boyfriend is in jail.
On that now famous New Orleans trip for Halloween with the group of 9, there was a young couple from the burbs of LA traveling with us. Now let me just say that they are the cutest of cute, but a little? slow on the up take when it came to street smarts. However, New Orleans was kind enough to slap a good lesson on them. It goes like this:
Unique Suggestions: I had just crawled back to my room around 3:00am when I noticed that my hotel phone was flashing, so I checked my messages to find one hysticacal friend crying saying that her boyfriend had been arrested and was in jail. Well, my first reaction was laughing and a bit of thrashing around in a small fit of giggles. After I calmed down I called them. I found out that he and his girlfriend were on Bourbon Street, and someone had said, in the same way one would the dumb sluts, “Show your ass! Show your ass!” So as he was just about to pull down his pants, and got just a little of the butt cheeks showing, two cops took each arm and pulled him into the patty wagon and off he went, leaving one very sad, drunk and crying girlfriend.
Fun Alternatives: Now, I told them he would be released in 5 hrs and we should just leave him, but NOOOOOOOO, she wanted her boyfriend now. I also asked, out of the other 7 people we were traveling with, why would they HAVE to have me do it? Well, I answered my own question.
We went the SCARY wholly crap, BAD part of town and posted the $500 bail and sprung the little whiper snaper. When he came out, he just looked puzzled and asked “What are you doing here? I would have been out in a few hours?” But then he took one look at his VERY RELEAVED girlfriend and knew why. Kissy kissy poo.
Most locals try to avoid Bourbon Street . Its a pretty smelly street with expensive drinks and scam artists. The rest of the French Quarter is great though.
Unique Suggestions: . Eat a muffalatta or a po- boy sandwich. then walk down Bourbon Street but don't buy drinks on Bourbon Street. Try Mollys @the Market on Decatur Street or the Abbey. Catch some live blues. Frenchman Street is cool.
Fun Alternatives: go somewhere else and get drunk....take the trolley uptown.
You’ll see this gimmick everywhere on Rue Bourbon and in the French Quarter, but don’t be a sucker and fall for it! Yes you do have to pay for one of the drinks, but it cost the price of all three (i.e. one drink would cost you $10).
Unique Suggestions: Avoid this trap, unless you plan to drink three drinks in that bar. Or simply just ask for the price of a single drink.
Fun Alternatives: There are plenty of bars (and strip clubs) on Rue Bourbon, so if you are not in the mood for three drinks at that bar, simply go to another.
Bourbon St. is one of the largest attractions of New Orleans, but honestly it is not worth your time. The street is lined with neon-signed bars and strip joints. Every night it is packed with a crowd whose sole purpose is to drink away the night and early morning. It can be crowded, loud, with people constantly stumbling around, it is really not a great time.
Unique Suggestions: Go during the day, when most of the restaurants are open but the bars are mostly closed. Or go early in the evening, before the wilder crowds get really revved up.
Fun Alternatives: Your best bet is to skip it altogether, you won't be missing much. The funny thing is, if you move to just one street to either side of Bourbon, the crowds drop off along with the annoyance factor. You'll have a much better time and a more enjoyable experience if you stay off of Bourbon Street. Go along Royal, Chartres, or Decatur.
Icannot comment a lot on these “establishments”, as I did not step in, just took a few photos when walking by. I have a problem with people making money with the low instincts of human, and it is not with the girls. . . .
Overpriced dining on Bourbon St. is bland at best. Please walk a block away and get a much better meal!
Unique Suggestions: Walk up to the the Clover Grill-The Clover is located across from Cafe Lafitte in Exile and is very busy most of the time. A fifties style diner, the Grill is a great place for a quick, inexpensive meal or one of their famous hamburgers. Love the milkshakes!
Fun Alternatives: Jacque-Imo's!!! It's uptown, but well worth the street car ride!
Yes Bourbon Street is a tourist trap. This is despite it's fame as a nightlife hot spot. It is overcrowded with conventioneers who fill bars where third rate bands play "Sweet Home Alabama" to them as they go "wooooow". This is a place for 40 year old accountants to go to when they are taking a break from raising their families back in Akron or some place like that. The street itself is dirty and smells of sewage. I spend six nights in New Orleans of which I spend just the first two on Bourbon Street.
Unique Suggestions: There are a couple of bars worth a visit such as "Pat O'Brien's" and "Fritzel's "
Fun Alternatives: If you are looking for more quality music than try Frenchman Street.
This is an area for adults only - especially at night. I was stunned by the amount of tourists dragging their children down bourbon street. Please just don't take kids with you.
This is a tourists den of inequity. Live sex shows, sex trade, and drunken folks out of control.
That being said, it is a unique environment. You may want to have a go see but just do so with the understanding this is like a different world. Eyes wide open.
There are many other ares in the French quarter which offer the feel and sound of NOLA. Spend most of your time exploring the other wonderful streets.
The French Quarter and Bourbon Street.... tourists, tourists, tourists... I think those are mainly the people here that are drinking and partying, but I could be wrong. Anyway, there are bead shops and souveneir shops every few feet. Pick one, the prices will probably all be similar... expensive! Drinks are upcharged here, so don't be surprised if you're paying $6.50 for a rum and coke.
The strip clubs! We went to Love Acts (I think is what it was called), a men and women strip club. It was $2 to get in, but you get $2 off your drink (one drink minimum). We already had drinks, so we thought we would just get a shot. IT WAS $7 FOR A FREAKIN SHOT!!!! The dancers were ok, but it was totally misleading.
The only strip club worth visiting is Rick's on Bourbon. The women are delicious and the staff is accomodating. We had a blast!! Go if you can. HIGHLY recommended!