DIY Walking Tour
the Garden District
New Orleans is more than just Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. Our favourite area of the city is Uptown, home of the Garden District. We’ve put together this walking tour of Uptown New Orleans so you can get a taste of the area in just one day. Don’t miss exploring this neighbourhood when you’re visiting the city.
I’d consider accommodation in Uptown next time we visit. It’s easy to access from the French Quarter by streetcar and Uber and has some fantastic sights and places to eat!
We hope you love Uptown as much as we did! If you complete our walking tour let us know what you thought of it in the comments.
Getting to the starting point of our Walking Tour – the Garden District
So you’re staying outside of the Garden District, how do you get there? Get on the St Charles streetcar – it’s a do not miss experience for me in the city – and it’s your cheapest option. $1.25 will get you a single ride, or for $3 you can ride all day without paying again with a Jazzy Pass. Check the Regional Transit Authority website for a complete list of prices – here.
Start our walking tour of Uptown New Orleans by leaving the streetcar at Washington Avenue and walking towards Lafayette Cemetery No1.
Lafayette Cemetery No1
We can’t beat Free Tours By Foot’s guide to Lafayette Cemetery No1 it was fantastic, I wouldn’t change any of it. We would advise you to do this first. You can find it – here – (the link opens in a new tab) it will take you an hour approximately to complete the guided tour yourself. A mid-week morning is the best time to go if you want to avoid the crowds and the heat!
Here are some of the highlights of what you will see.
As you enter the cemetery from Washington Avenue, looking right and left you will see many walled vaults. These are a less expensive option than the large family tombs you will see as you walk around the cemetery.
There are no recorded burials for the Koenig tomb which is conveniently left open so you can see how the tombs are built and understand how they work. The Tombs are opened to receive a new body and the previous occupant will be on the upper shelf. Their remains are removed, bagged and placed in the chamber at the bottom of the tomb. This allows the new occupant to lie on the top shelf until it is needed again.
As you walk around Lafayette Cemetery No1 you will see all shapes and sizes of tombs. The largest will be family tombs and tombs for members of organisations, like the Order of Odd Fellows tomb.
Four childhood friends built their resting places together in Lafayette Cemetery No1 so they could spend eternity together. They were part of a secret club called ‘The Quarto” which is rumoured to have performed anonymous acts of generosity for people in need.
The Henry Fallon tomb is the most colourful tomb in Lafayette Cemetery No1. Although it has faded a lot of the cities tombs were once coloured bright green, mustard, rust, and turquoise. The colours are made by natural pigments added to limewash. Families would consider it an honour to look after and paint the tombs.
Grand Houses of the Garden District
Continuing with our walking tour of Uptown New Orleans head out of the Lafayette Cemetery and further into this neighbourhood. Possibly what the Garden District is best known for is its grand houses – it’s generally where the celebrities have homes. Anne Rice, Sandra Bullock and John Goodman have homes here.
Leaving Lafayette Cemetery No1 by the same gate you entered take a quick look at the famous restaurant at the end of the block on the right. This is Commander’s Palace, famous for its Southern hospitality as well as its food.
Head back up Washington Avenue until you reach Prytania Street, turn right and walk down Prytania Street. The first house to stop and see is on the first block on your right and has some of the best fencing we’ve ever seen – it’s cast to look like corn growing. This is Colonel Short’s Villa, Colonel Robert Short was born in Kentucky in 1859 and lived here with his wife.
Continue walking along Prytania Street in the same direction. Four blocks further along cross the street and you will see a Madona and Child statue under a canopy. This marks the location where the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel stood. The property this is located on belonged to Anne Rice, it is the setting for her novel Violin.
Cross the street and walk back half a block until you reach First Street. Turn left and walk down First Street, a tan coloured house on the right is the home of Archie Manning and the childhood home of his three sons, Peyton, Eli, and Cooper Manning for any football fans.
Continue walking down first street, stop at the first house on the left after crossing Chestnut Street. This is another house of Anne Rice, look closely at the fencing around it, some people see flowers and others see skulls. This property is marked on Google maps as the Brevard House.
Walk in the same direction on First Street until you reach Magazine Street and turn right. Follow this street until you reach Audubon Park. It will take a while and there is plenty to see on Magazine Street, grab a drink, a bite to eat and consider window shopping along the way.
If you would like a drink while on our walking tour of Uptown New Orleans, it’s bound to be getting warm by now, you will soon approach Craft Beer Cellar. Here you can buy any drink and get a to go cup so you can drink it while you continue walking Magazine Street.
There are two awesome lunch stops on Magazine Street that I’d really recommend while on our walking tour of Uptown New Orleans. So much so you might want to get something at each place. The closest of the two is Dat Dog which is just 10 minutes walk away. Enough time for you to finish your drink from Craft Beer Cellar and get a fresh one with your lunch.
Dat Dog have a huge selection of hot dogs. You can choose one of their creations or make your own by choosing the type of sausage you want, the type of bun and then which toppings you want. You can also get fries with toppings as a side dish.
We can recommend the Guinness Special which consists of Irish Guinness sausage, Andouille sauce, onions, shredded cheddar cheese, bacon, and yellow mustard. We also have a create your own favourite, with alligator sausage topped with guacamole and bacon. The chilli cheese fries are fantastic here as well!
The Big Cheezy
Further along Magazine Street is our other lunch recommendation, a must for cheese fans – The Big Cheezy! It will take about half an hour to walk between Dat Dog and the Big Cheezy. How hungry you are will likely be the decider for which you eat at – you won’t be disappointed with either.
The portions in Big Cheezy are fairly big. We had a Big Cheezy and Big Cheezy Fries to share between two of us, and it was a task to finish!
A Big Cheezy consists of gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, swiss, monterey jack and parmesan cheeses stacked high, triple decker style on Hawaiian sweet bread.
Big Cheezy Fries are seasoned waffle fries, shredded cheese, bacon, mac and cheese, roast beef debris and jalapeños!
Now you’ve had your fill of some of the awesome food, carry on down Magazine Street exploring the shops. Another 20 minutes walk will take you into Audubon Park.
Audubon Park is a huge city park in New Orleans. It’s some 350 acres in size and contains Audubon Park Lagoon, The Golf Club at Audubon Park, Audubon Park Zoo, Aquarium and Insectarium, Audubon Tennis Courts and more.
Audubon Nature Institute is the best location for opening times, tickets and news about the attractions within Audubon Park. You can reach their website – here.
We enjoyed relaxing by Audubon Park Lagoon after walking this far from Washington Avenue. It is a very relaxing place, quiet and on a mid-week afternoon in May there were very few people in the park other than us that we could see – but it is a huge park! We spotted a bird we weren’t sure the species of near the Lagoon. Since returning home we believe it was a Muscovy Duck, picture below, what do you think?
After spending time in Audubon Park, exit at the Prytania Street exit and walk away from the park. Twenty minutes walk from the park past some more beautiful homes, though not as grand as those seen earlier in the day, you will arrive at the best ice cream parlour in New Orleans – Creole Creamery.
The Creole Creamery
Creole Creamery is unique, you will find flavours here you won’t find anywhere else. You will want to try a few flavours and fortunately they have you covered. You can buy a 4 scoop sampler for $5 of get 6 scoops for $7.
We had a 4 scoop sampler each, tasting 8 flavours in all which were; Cafe au Lait, Cookie Monster, Butter Pecan, Mango Unchained, Red Velvet, Salted Caramel, Champagne Violet and the most unusual of them all – Strawberry Jalapeño Cheesecake which had a savoury/spice aftertaste to it.
From Creole Creamery continue in the same direction walking along Prytania Street until you arrive back at Lafayette Cemetery No1. Alternatively turn left off Prytania Street and 1 block away you will find yourself back on St Charles Avenue.
Return from Uptown
St Charles Avenue is where the streetcar stopped earlier in the day. You can continue back to Washington Avenue where this walking route started or you can wait at any of the stops on St Charles Avenue to get on a streetcar back to the French Quarter.