Hot Spots

What Not to Do in New Orleans

by Pableaux Johnson

Don't…
SPEND THE NIGHT ON BOURBON

If you're in New Orleans for a fraternity road trip or a friend's bachelorette party, go ahead and skip to the next tip. You won't need this piece of advice, because you'll probably consider modern-day Bourbon Street as a high-octane fantasyland. The seven-block stretch of Bourbon between Canal Street and Rue St. Ann is a neon carnival of cover bands, "gentleman's clubs," hard-working transvestites, and walk-up daiquiri bars. As a rule, the drinks are oversweet, overpriced, and potent enough to eat the chrome off a trailer hitch. Charismatic barkers and scantily clad showgirls line both sides of this famous stretch hoping to convert passersby to paying customers. This thoroughfare is also New Orleans's international icon of kitsch—and good for a 15-minute stroll during your first trip. Spend more time there and you'll be missing out on the best of the Crescent City's nightlife.

Instead…
HEAD TO FRENCHMEN STREET AND THE LESSER-KNOWN WATERING HOLES

At Frenchmen Street, you'll get a better sampling of the city's music and nightlife. Located a short walk from the heart of tourist-tacky Bourbon, the three-block stretch of clubs and bars from North Peters Street to Royal Street attracts crowds of locals most nights. Check out Snug Harbor for strong jazz sets nightly, or meander down the block to the Spotted Cat for an eclectic blast of gypsy music, funk, or even late-night Mardi Gras Indian drum practice. A few steps further, the Blue Nile books international dance music from the four corners of the globe, while DBA showcases local favorites in a classic dark-wood atmosphere.

Next: All that glitters >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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