Spending a little time on Bourbon Street is a must-do for most visitors to New Orleans, but the experience can be vastly different by day and night. For a spot of culture, walking tours of the French Quarter typically stop along the famous street, as do voodoo, literary, music, and heritage tours. Meanwhile, those who’d like to see the street at its debaucherous best can opt for an evening pub crawl to some of the city’s most legendary party venues.
Things to Know Before You Go
Bourbon Street is a must-see for first-time visitors and partiers.
Daytime walking tours show off a much different vibe than nighttime pub crawls.
It’s legal to consume alcohol while walking on Bourbon Street.
Visit by day and by night to get the full experience.
Even by day, Bourbon Street can be R-rated, so it may not be appropriate for children.
How to Get There
It’s easy to walk to Bourbon Street from just about any place in the historic French Quarter. Visitors coming from Uptown can ride the historic St. Charles streetcar to Canal Street and walk a few blocks to reach Rue Bourbon.
When to Get There
While it’s possible to catch beads from Bourbon Street’s famous balconies throughout the year, peak season lasts from February to May, when mild weather and festivals like Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival pull in visitors from far and wide. Another popular time to visit is over Labor Day Weekend, when the street hosts the LGBTQ-friendly Southern Decadence Festival.
Boozing on Bourbon Street 101
Many visitors come to Bourbon Street to drink, and there are certainly plenty of options. Well-known watering holes include Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (one of the oldest buildings in the French Quarter), the Old Absinthe House (don't miss the Absinthe House frappe), Café Lafitte In Exile (the oldest gay bar in the country), and Pat O’Brien’s, home of the hurricane cocktail.
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