Top 12 Reasons to Stay at the Lafayette Hotel in the New Orleans Arts District
There are many options when it comes to choosing where to stay near the French Quarter, but the Lafayette Hotel, located in the Arts District of the New Orleans’ Central Business District (CBD), offers unique New Orleans charm and ambiance that cannot be beat. When you stay at the Lafayette, you will be immersed in historic architecture, vibrant art and dining scenes, and bustling city life. Want to learn more? Here are our top reasons why you should stay with us.
1. Location Makes Perfect
The Lafayette Hotel overlooks the scenic Lafayette Square on the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar line, which is the second oldest park in all of New Orleans. It’s a popular spot for several annual events and is a green respite that’s great for a picnic. It also happens to be in the heart of the CBD’s neighborhood called the Arts District (more on that later, and you can also check out our comprehensive guide to the area).
In short, you’re minutes away from world-class dining, museums, with several adjacent neighborhoods, including the French Quarter and the Garden District, within easy reach by car, streetcar, bus, and even walking. Our boutique hotel has valet parking and is only a short stroll away from many popular attractions such as Bourbon St., the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the Superdome, the New Orleans Riverwalk, and The National World War II Museum, just to name a few.
2. Boutique Amenities
Our boutique hotel provides luxury accommodations, with several types of guest rooms to choose from. The cozy Petite Room is your best bet at the best price if you plan to spend most of your time exploring the city. Need a bit more space? Book an elegantly-appointed Deluxe Room or a streetside Balcony Room, where you can people-watch from high above St. Charles Avenue. Or spread out in style in our luxurious Suite, which has its own lovely parlor.
There are also special opportunities for both groups and small meetings looking for a quiet and unique venue. We welcome meetings, tour groups, wedding groups, conventioneers, family reunions — you name it!
3. Dogs Are Welcome
Dog lovers, rejoice! The Lafayette welcomes your canine companions at the hotel,
Yep, we are one of the few pet-friendly hotels in New Orleans! Your fur babies are more than welcome here (40 pounds max, a limit of two pets), and the Lafayette Square Park has dog-friendly areas. Just be sure to bring some baggies to clean up after your pooch. New Orleans loves dogs, which is evident in how many local establishments welcome them, including in the hotel’s area, so bring your dog and explore the neighborhood together!
4. Exploding Art Scene (Museum and Art Gallery Hopping)
It’s not called the Arts District for nothing. When you stay at the Lafayette, you’re just a stone’s throw away from Julia Street “Gallery Row” and two of the city’s finest art museums, as well as the world-renowned National World War II Museum. Immersive exhibits, powerful images, and historic artifacts allow guests to experience the sounds, sights, and emotions behind the war.
The first Saturday of every month, art-loving fashionistas crowd Julia Street from Camp Street to Tchoupitoulas to catch the latest openings at top-tier galleries like Arthur Roger and Jonathan Ferrara, where spirits flow freely and conversation is lively.
Be sure to visit the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) as well as the Ogden Museum of Contemporary Art. A collective of creative Louisiana artists transformed an old brick warehouse into a marvel of modern architecture, which is now the CAC. Connected by a winding circular ramp, the Contemporary Arts Center features several levels of gallery spaces overlooking a central atrium. The CAC also serves as the central hub for the annual White Linen Night, held the first Saturday of every August, when hordes of linen-clad art lovers cavort throughout the District.
Home to the world’s largest permanent collection of Southern art, ranging from mid-1800s masterpieces to outsider folk art to cutting edge contemporary art and photography, the Ogden mounts new exhibits throughout the year. It also hosts many special events, including the lively Ogden After Hours, a weekly Thursday evening showcase of musical artists.
If you happen to be visiting in August, it’s Museum Month in New Orleans. This means that during the month of August, you can visit any of the participating museums free of charge, with a current membership to any of the participating museums. (If you’re not a member, you can join any of the participating museums anytime.) This is a great opportunity to explore on a budget.
5. Free Concerts and Festivals in Lafayette Square
When you’re staying at the Lafayette Hotel, you’re perched right above Lafayette Square, which hosts the free Wednesday at the Square spring concert series, typically between March and May. It’s family-friendly and features a generous helping of New Orleans hospitality and, of course, food. Other free events happening in the Square throughout the year include the three-day Crescent City Blues & Barbecue Festival in mid-October, which features both local blues masters and national headliners.
Come holiday season, Lafayette Square’s LUNA Fête in mid-December bathes Gallier Hall in dazzling artist-created light shows complete with sound installations and motion graphics. View the spectacular display for free in and around the Square, or spring for VIP tickets to watch it from a heated oasis that includes complimentary cocktails, small bites and dedicated restrooms.
6. Festivals Near You All Year Round
New Orleans loves to celebrate, and not just at signature events like Mardi Gras. We let the good times roll throughout the year!
No sooner have the Mardi Gras floats returned to their dens then March roars in like a lion with St. Patrick’s Day parades, St. Joseph’s Day altars and the Mardi Gras Indians’ Super Sunday. Then it’s peak festival season when French Quarter Festival segues into the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which segues into Bayou Boogaloo and beyond.
Summer used to be a hot and humid sleepy season. Now it’s got a full dance card of festivities for visitors who don’t mind breaking a sweat, from the Creole Tomato Festival to the Running of the Bulls. And the hottest spot to be is the Arts District, where art mavens don their coolest whites and flock to White Linen Night the first Saturday in August.
Fall brings delightful temperatures and its own signature festivals, from the Crescent City Blues & Barbecue Festival to the Krewe of Boo parade, one of multiple Halloween extravaganzas. Holiday season in the Crescent City is as dazzling as you’d imagine, and before you know it Twelfth Night on January 6 kicks off a whole new Carnival season.
For a more detailed look at what to expect, check our season-to-season guide.
7. The Nightlife Within Walking Distance
New Orleans is world-famous for its great live music, and some of the best in town are within blocks of the Lafayette Hotel. Just up St. Charles on Lee Circle, the tiny-but-mighty Circle Bar hosts a terrific roster of free early-evening shows, which segue into slammin’ multi-band lineups at 10 p.m. Two popular venues on N. Peters Street also keep the Arts District rockin’. Hot 8 Brass Band is the Sunday house band at The Howlin’ Wolf, which also presents national headliners, while EDM ravers and bounce music fans keep things keep the party going at Republic NOLA.
House of Blues, on the Canal end of Decatur, is a regular tour stop for national headliners and lets the good times roll, New Orleans-style, at its famous Sunday Gospel Brunch. Want to keep the party going? Follow our guide to top music hotspots in the Quarter and on Frenchmen Street.
8. Abundant Shopping Options Nearby
Shopaholics don’t have to venture far to indulge their passion. From a couple of malls to tons of small local boutiques, you’ll find a bounty of shopping options to choose from near the Lafayette Hotel.
For instance, two of the city’s finest men’s shops are just up St. Charles Avenue. Rubensteins, a classic-school haberdashery, specializes in bespoke made-to-order suits, while Meyer the Hatter, founded in 1894, is the South’s premiere hat shop. Guys can also stay ahead of the curve with fashion-forward finds by consulting our Gentlemen’s Guide to the Arts District.
Two nearby one-stop shopping emporiums offer plenty of choices for every budget. The Shops at Canal Place, an upscale collection of stores like Anthropologie, Michael Kors, and Saks Fifth Avenue, is housed in a soaring atrium and showcases fine local artisans at the LA Crafts Guild. And you’ll find great deals on popular labels like Gap, Guess and Tommy Bahama at The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, which boasts a terrific riverfront view.
Fast-fashionistas make a beeline for H&M New Orleans, which offers 32,000 square feet of trendy clothing whipped up hot off the runway into affordable styles. Designer label mavens can score incredible deals at UAL French Quarter, while Stonefree offers an exquisitely-curated boutique collection.
9. A Vibrant Food Scene
Foodies hit the jackpot when they book a room at the Lafayette. From breakfast to late-night eats, there are many delicious options located within walking distance from the hotel — in downtown New Orleans, the Warehouse/Arts District, and the French Quarter. Whether you’re in search of health-conscious gems, a classic diner, or traditional Cajun/Creole New Orleans fare, you will find it in the area.
Not to mention that one of the city’s top fine-dining establishments is right on the premises! As its name suggests, Desi Vega’s Steakhouse is rightly famous for its sizzling cuts of tender prime-aged beef, seared to order in its hotter-than-Hades broiler. But there’s also plenty to entice seafood lovers, from blackened tuna and shrimp remoulade appetizers to the pan-seared Gulf Fish of the Day, topped with jumbo lump crabmeat. Spicy local sides like andouille-spiked mac and cheese and onion rings laced with Crystal hot sauce round out a menu that includes delicious marinated chicken dishes and surf and turf combos of filet and lobster tail.
Top off your meal with one of Desi Vega’s yummy house-made desserts, like crème brûlée and chocolate bread pudding. Or burn up some dinner calories and get your sugar rush at nearby sweet shops and top dessert destinations.
Get caffeinated at the nearby PJ’s Coffee, French Truck Coffee, Mammoth Espresso, or Drip Affagato, which pairs coffee with ice cream. And when late afternoon rolls around, head back to the hotel. Desi Vega’s Lounge hosts a terrific happy hour, where you can wash down a Chef’s selection of small plates with potent discounted drinks.
10. Many Family-Friendly Options Nearby
The Big Easy isn’t just about late-night partying — it’s actually a great family destination no matter what time of year you and your family decide to visit. The area around the hotel is no exception — the downtown part of New Orleans, where the Arts District is located, is walkable, even with little kids, and also easily accessible by streetcar. The vibrant food scene is overwhelmingly kid-friendly, there are outdoor respites like the Lafayette Square, great cafes, world-class museums, and other fun things your family can enjoy near the Lafayette Hotel that you won’t find anywhere else in the United States.
One of those gems is the sprawling Mardi Gras World, a must for families interested in all things Carnival. Tour the 300,000 square-foot working warehouse to see where the floats (and Mardi Gras magic) are made. More than 80 percent of the parade floats that you see on the streets of New Orleans during the Carnival season are designed and built there. The guided tour covers the history of the Carnival that has begun in 1837 with floats pulled by mule-drawn carriages, including the balls, the krewes, and other traditions.
If you want a tour, a Mardi Gras World shuttle can pick you up for free from one of the many designated locations downtown and in the French Quarter. There are no prearranged pickups, so just call 504-361-7821. After the tour, get a taste of Mardi Gras with a free slice of King Cake (not easy to find out of season!). Also, the on-site cafe offers great views of the Mississippi River.
Not sure how to navigate the area with family in tow? One of the easiest ways to see the CBD and beyond is via the guided city tour on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus. That red double-decker bus rolling around the city is hard to miss as it makes a total of 18 stops along its two-hour loop, including the area near the hotel. You can hop on and off as you see fit (hence its name) to see the city, including the French Quarter and Uptown. A one-day ticket is $39, but the best value is the three-day ticket for $10 more (tickets for kids ages 3-10 are $10 for any tour). The buses visit every stop approximately every 30 minutes, and the three-day pass includes two free guided walking tours, of the French Quarter and the Garden District.
11. Easy Access to the French Quarter
The historic 78-square-block area is the city’s crown jewel, and one of the best places in the world to eat, drink and be merry. But even during the off-season, the crowds in and around Bourbon St. can get to be a little much, and amid the madness of Mardi Gras season, you may well need a place to retreat.
When you’re staying at the Lafayette Hotel, you have the best of both worlds. You’re just a few blocks from the Quarter, within easy walking distance to many of its popular attractions, from Galatoire’s and Brennan’s to the Acme Oyster House and House of Blues. And when you’re ready to retire, you don’t have to fight the crowds to make your way to your hotel. Just stroll, pedicab or use your favorite ride-share service to get back to the Lafayette, where your comfy bed awaits.
12. The Garden District and Beyond on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar
Another option (and a New Orleans rite of passage of sorts) is to hop the historic St. Charles Streetcar and take in the views from its open windows as you roll Uptown. You’ll pass majestic live oaks and stately mansions along the way, as well as the lush greenery of Audubon Park and classic campuses of Tulane and Loyola universities if you take it to the end of the line. From Canal Street all the way to the Riverbend, you can navigate the area as you please, including the Arts District in the CBD ($1.25 one way; day and multiple-day passes available).
The Lafayette Hotel invites you to escape to the historic New Orleans Central Business District with deeply discounted weekday rates and other specials. If you find lower rates on your Lafayette Hotel New Orleans Hotel room(s) at the time of booking, call 1(800) 366-2743 and we will match the rate! Stay in touch and save on rates and more at the Alder Hotel by signing up for our email list at https://www.lafayettehotelneworleans.com/email-offers/.