Before you decide where to stay in New Orleans, put some thought into what you want to do during your visit. Are you interested in history and architecture? Do you want to be where the party is? Are you in town primarily to eat—and to eat well? Do antebellum mansions pique your interest? Do you need to be close to the business district and convention center? New Orleans is a fairly compact town,
but if you stay Uptown, you'll need to travel a bit to reach the Quarter. Although most hotels favored by visitors are in the French Quarter, Central Business District (CBD), or Warehouse District, there are also great options farther afield.
The French Quarter is a destination unto itself. With fascinating architecture, vibrant nightlife, chic shopping, and incredible restaurants, you could spend several days without leaving its confines.
Hotels in the CBD, many of them chains, cater to business travelers as well as tourists; most are larger than those in the French Quarter, and have more amenities. Many of the Warehouse District's hotels actually occupy facilities once used to store cotton or other goods. In most cases, thoughtful renovations have kept the original purpose as a design motif, making for an interesting architectural style.
Just across Esplanade Avenue on the north and east of the Quarter is the Faubourg Marigny. Originally a Creole plantation and one of the first "suburbs" of New Orleans, it remains a residential area today, with a bustling nightlife and restaurant scene centered along Frenchmen Street.
To the west, upriver of the city's center, the Garden District and Uptown neighborhoods offer streets lined by the spreading boughs of live oaks, excellent stores, interesting architecture, and more outstanding dining and music venues.