You Can't Visit New Orleans Without Going to This Street

It's not Bourbon.

September  7, 2018

I’m not from New Orleans. I’m actually from a city two hours west, Lafayette. But anytime I say I grew up in Louisiana, people always have the same response: “Aw, I’ve been dying to go to New Orleans Mardi Gras.”

And I want them to go, too! But the wild and crazy party that they’re likely envisioning isn’t what New Orleans is to me. While Mardi Gras is admittedly fantastic (I've gone every year since I was 18), I think there are better ways to really experience the Crescent City.

I like visiting in April or October, when it isn’t so unbearably hot and music and food festivals fill every weekend. When I'm there, I plan for leisurely picnics in City Park with piles of Morning Call’s pillowy beignets, or strolling down St. Charles to marvel at the live oaks. And my favorite drinks are cold pints at the Bulldog in Mid-City, not Hurricanes or Hand Grenades.

Shop the Story

And rather than hit up Bourbon street, I always head to Magazine Street instead. The 6-mile stretch follows the curve of the Mississippi River and runs through a variety of neighborhoods. There are countless shops that sell local art and wares, and some really amazing restaurants that show how diverse the city is. So, the next time you're in New Orleans, or if you're planning a trip there soon, head over to one (or more!) of my favorite spots along Magazine Street.

Audubon Park

Located in the Uptown neighborhood, Audubon Park is home to majestic, centuries-old live oaks, the city zoo, and miles and miles of walking paths. It’s the perfect place for a midday picnic, and in the fall, the park hosts concerts under the oaks.

La Boulangerie

A neighborhood bakery and café from James Beard Award Winning Chef Donald Link’s empire. They’re known for handcrafted pastries and breads, as well as delicious sandwiches.


Many have sung the praises of this modern Israeli restaurant. And they’re not wrong. Go for lunch and order small plates to share.

SnoWizard Snoball Shoppe

Get a snoball from the makers of the machine every other stand in the city uses. And don’t sleep on the Orchid Cream Vanilla flavor.

Cole Pratt Gallery

From paintings to ceramics, this bright gallery showcases the work of a variety of Southern artists.

Red Dog Diner

If you’re looking for a killer brunch option, this is it. Their frozen Irish Coffee is delicious and very potent.


A dreamy dessert shop that sells sparkly king cakes, glossy truffles, and decadent gelato.

Defend New Orleans

Founded in 2003, this shop prints t-shirts in celebration of New Orleans’ independent spirit. Dedicated to supporting and preserving New Orleans' culture, a portion of all DNO proceeds go to local nonprofits.

Magazine Antique Mall

In a city that’s 300 years old, you’re bound to find a vintage treasure at the Magazine Antique Mall.

District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew

View this post on Instagram

Cookies N’ Cream

A post shared by District Donuts.Sliders.Brew. (@districtdonuts) on

The burgers here are very good, but their doughnuts are legendary. They even make their sprinkles from scratch.

Lilly's Café

New Orleans is home to more than 14,000 Vietnamese Americans. And for some of the city’s best Vietnamese dishes, head to this casual cafe. The pho is out of this world.

NOLA Mix Records

What started as a youth-based DJ and music production program, Now NOLA Mix sells a vast collection of new and used records, as well as other production equipment.

Even More to See

Have you been to New Orleans? Where would you recommend checking out?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Frank Castille
    Frank Castille
  • Linda Thomas
    Linda Thomas
  • HalfPint
  • Joanna Sciarrino
    Joanna Sciarrino
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Eric K. September 8, 2018
Thanks for this guide, Katie. I've always wanted to go.
Frank C. September 8, 2018
The last time we went to New Orleans (admittedly the first for me) Magazine street was our go to for food. I lasted a whole of 2 minutes on Bourbon Street before I was feed up with the crowd and smell. I think we hit half of this list -- all very good, but no mention of Slim Goodies? It's just past the Bulldog, in a rundown house, with a great menu for breakfast/brunch.
Linda T. September 7, 2018
My personal Favorite is DRAGO'S GRILLED OYSTERS with a cool glass of Chardonnay served with Fresh French Bread for mouth is watering.....
Merryworld September 11, 2018
I second Drago's grilled oysters! It's a big, noisy, nondescript place, but I'd eat those oysters every day if I could.
HalfPint September 7, 2018
That King Cake looks amazing. Does Food52 have a recipe?
nola_t September 7, 2018
Try some of the ones listed on the local newspaper’s web site: Just don’t do it til king cake season (between 12th night and Mardi Gras). There was one on here, but it wasn’t particularly authentic, if I recall correctly.
Eric K. September 8, 2018
Hello friend, here you go!
HalfPint September 10, 2018
Thank you both for the recipes! Now, I need to order the colored sugars...
Joanna S. September 7, 2018
One time I walked on Magazine Street for what felt like hours in the July New Orleans heat. Luckily there were enough shops to pop into to cool off along the way. I still loved it though!!!