The DEPARTURES Guide to New Orleans

Courtesy Omni Hotels

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, top-notch dining, and spirited charm of New Orleans with our picks for the best bars, restaurants, hotels, and cultural destinations in the Big Easy.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, much of the world thought New Orleans gone forever. The most destructive storm of modern times wiped out entire neighborhoods, displaced tens of thousands, and exposed a corrupt, violent underbelly in America’s most exotic and alluring city.

And yet and yet…A decade on, something of a miracle has taken place in New Orleans. Tourism is booming, with more visitors than ever before, and there are now some 1,500 restaurants in the city, from 900 before the storm. Hip new hotels (Old No 77 & Chandlery) and refurbished classics (Pontchartrain in the Garden District) are opening all the time, while neighborhoods such as Marigny and Bywater, once no-go zones, are now flush with galleries, theatres, style bars, and loft apartment. Of course New Orleans has always been known to hold a party, but even Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest have an extra skip in their stride post-Katrina, and there are dozens of other parades, festivals, feasts, and celebrations through the year.

Laissez les bon temps rouler…


Top Hotels to Book
From a boutique inn with lush courtyards to the suites where royals and presidents rest their heads, the hotels of New Orleans brim with history and charm. See the slideshow »


Must-Visit New Orleans Restaurants
It’s no secret that the city has a culinary heritage unlike any other; here’s where you can experience it for yourself. See the slideshow »

Brennan's Big Comeback
No longer a tourist trap, the landmark New Orleans restaurant has been reopened—and revitalized. Read the article »

What's Cooking in New Orleans
Two creative chefs—Brian Landry of Borgne and Phillip Lopez of Root—are reimagining the city's traditional Creole cuisine. Read the article »

The Best Big Easy Bars and Lounges
A 1797 building that was offered to Napoleon as a hideout, an establishment that's actually situated on a carnival carousel, and a Mad Men-esque cocktail den are just a few of the places to let loose in the Crescent City. See the slideshow »


Our Favorite New Orleans Cultural Attractions
From art museums to a collection of voodoo artifacts, each one of these 7 museums and galleries is a great way to spend an afternoon. See the slideshow »

Where to Shop in the Crescent City
Pick up a unique memento of your trip in one of our favorite boutiques, from a third-generation habberdashery to the ultimate record shop. See the slideshow »

Unique VIP Experiences in New Orleans
Attend exclusive Mardi Gras parties, enjoy a mint julep in a mansion, and get VIP tickets to see jazz right where it was invented. See the slideshow »

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Commander’s Palace