Rue Bourbon (map) is a historic street (VIRTUAL TOUR) in the heart of the *French Quarter (map) of New Orleans. Bourbon Street, is known for its drinking establishments. Most of the bars frequented by tourists are new but the Quarter also has a number of notable bars with interesting histories.
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The district as a whole has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, with numerous contributing buildings that are separately deemed significant. It is a prime tourist destination in the city.
Largely quiet during the day, Bourbon Street comes alive at night – particularly during the French Quarter’s many festivals. Most famous of these is the annual Mardi Gras celebration, when the streets teem with thousands of people.
The most heavily visited section of Bourbon Street is “upper Bourbon Street” toward Canal Street (map), an eight-block section of visitor attractions including bars, restaurants, souvenir shops and strip clubs.
“Lower Bourbon Street” (lower being a reference to downriver, or downstream Mississippi River), from the intersection of St. Ann Street, caters to New Orleans’ thriving gay community. Featuring such establishments as Oz and the city’s largest gay nightclub. Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo (map) is located on the corner of St. Ann Street.
Royal Street (map). Strolling Royal Street by day is as essential a New Orleans experience as Bourbon Street by night. 1 block away in distance, a world in attitude. There are art galleries, upscale antique stores, landmark hotels and interesting specialty shops.
Jackson Square (map). The old town square, often live music is going on here, as well as street corner painters and tarot readers.
Walk across Canal Street and you’re in the Central Business District (map). Take the red Canal Streetcar line to the attractions of *Mid-City, or the green St. Charles Streetcar line to Uptown and Carrollton. The ferry at the foot of Canal Street (map, free for pedestrians, $1 for cars) will take you across the Mississippi to the Algiers neighborhood (map), and give you a scenic budget mini-cruise of the River in the process.