Things to Do GoNOLA Neighborhood Guide to Magazine Street
The miles-long street is a hallmark of the city that also happens to span six distinct neighborhoods. See what we spotted on a recent wander all the way down Magazine Street.
There may be no street in New Orleans that better exemplifies all that the city has to offer than Magazine Street: a gorgeous, diverse street where locals live, shop, work, and play. Encompassing at least six distinct neighborhoods (Downtown/CBD, Warehouse District, Lower Garden District, Garden District, Irish Channel, and Uptown) it’s a six-mile journey filled with nearly every type of shop and restaurant and bar imaginable.
Beginning in Downtown New Orleans off of Canal Street, Magazine Street is home to the
National World War II Museum at one end, winding leisurely down to the river with Audubon Park (and the entrance to Audubon Zoo) at its other end. We took roughly the same path, heading from the Warehouse District to Uptown: see what we found along the way. The aromas from Lower Garden District coffee roaster French Truck Coffee (1200 Magazine Street) will lure you to a great place to fuel up for a day of walking, biking, or bus-riding. Other solid places for coffee and pastries along Magazine Street are Cherry Coffee (2207 Magazine St. inside Stein’s Deli), Rivista (4226 Magazine St.), PJ’s (5432 Magazine St.), District Hand Pie & Coffee Bar (5637 Magazine St.), and Cafe Luna (802 Nashville Ave. at Magazine.) Some of New Orleans’ finest bars line the thoroughfare. Barrel Proof (1201 Magazine St.) is heaven for whiskey lovers; other great stops along the journey are Tracey’s (2604 Magazine St.) in the Irish Channel, the ultimate dive bar The Club Ms. Mae’s (4336 Magazine St.) and my favorite mojito and bar decor in the city at St. Joe’s (5535 Magazine St.) Downstairs at Square Root in the Lower Garden District is an intimate, prix-fixe chef’s tasting tour of Chef Phillip Lopez’ endless imagination and bravado cooking styles (1800 Magazine St.) but upstairs at Root Squared is a completely different experience: a forward-thinking craft cocktail bar with solid modern gastropub eats and a balcony that can’t be beat. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset over downtown and spend an evening with friends. Amusing Bikes (1818 Magazine St.) in the Lower Garden District offers bike rentals, sales, and repairs. It’s also open seven days a week. Beginning on the 1900 block at Vegas (1924 Magazine St.) are several shops with the latest in modern, casual and formal men’s clothing and grooming. Aidan Gill is the quintessential spot for a close shave and a haircut (2026 Magazine St.) and has a full line of grooming products, fashion and home accessories that will help make the man. Luca Falcone (2049 Magazine St.) makes custom suits, dress shirts and sells a few accessories to complete the outfit. Friend (2115 Magazine St.) has a curated collection of small label men’s clothing from New Orleans and elsewhere. Goorin Brothers (2127 Magazine St.) is the place for hats for both men and women. Perlis (6070 Magazine St.) sells classic crawfish-embroidered polos, button-downs, and casual wear for both men and women; they’ve been outfitting locals since 1939. Local artist Mark Derby at Derby Pottery (2029 Magazine St.) has recreated the iconic New Orleans street tiles using the original fabrication and glazing methods. They’re sold individually by the letter, and a few are mounted for sale as art, but you’re likely to see his tiles dotting the corners of the city, virtually indistinguishable from the original vintage tiles. I’ve been collecting and giving gifts of tiles, plates, bowls, and other decorative pieces from Derby Pottery for years. You can watch Mark work in his studio, and even see the original items from which his designs are based, showing the real color and craft that many Magazine Street merchants possess. Magazine Street if full of funky, one-of-a-kind vendors. Miette (2038 Magazine St.) has jewelry, clothing, and some fun gifts, like these melted Mardi Gras bead lamps and handmade, only-in-NOLA decor. Next door at Gogo Jewelry (2036 Magazine St.), local artist Gogo Borgerding sells chic handmade metal bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and more, some with a distinctively New Orleans flair. A little bit of local color on the 2000 block of Magazine! It’s not actually a real museum… just a fun, faux front. The mod and vintage-inspired clothing and shoes of Trashy Diva (2044-2050 Magazine St.) has everything a gal would need to be hip and retro-styled: ’40s-inspired dresses, rockabilly baby clothes, bridal wear, shoes, accessories, and a whole store of gorgeous lingerie. Other stops for fashion-forward women’s clothing along the thoroughfare include Clover (2240 Magazine St.), Hemline (3308 Magazine St.), Pied Nu (5521 Magazine St.), the impeccable styles at Billy Reid (3927 Magazine St.), California-casual chic at Rye Clothing (4223 Magazine St.), clothing and home accessories at Langford Market (2131 Magazine St.), and dozens more along the way. You can’t miss the corner of Jackson Avenue and Magazine Street — Brad & Dellwen Flag Party store at 2201 is hard to miss! On that block you’ll see lots of smiling faces, as District Donuts (2209 Magazine St.) and the real-deal Kosher deli sandwiches and craft beer market at Stein’s Market & Deli (2207 Magazine St.) are both crowd pleasers for locals and tourists alike. Donuts are only the tip of the delicious iceberg at District Donuts Sliders Brew (2209 Magazine) — they turn them into sandwiches and also have traditional and modern sliders like pork belly or a blackened chicken Caesar. Delicious and strong iced coffee (nitro brew on draft, cold drip, Vietnamese-style, plus espresso) draft colas and fresh juices make this a very hot spot to grab something and go or have a quick meal inside. If you like bowties, neckties or decorative, NOLA-inspired belts, NOLA Couture (2928 Magazine St.) will let you don some local patterns ranging from St. Louis Cathedral, Mardi Gras floats, red beans and rice, oysters, and more. Pelican Coast Clothing (5509 Magazine St.) has New Orleans-manufactured, Louisiana outdoor sportsman inspired men’s button down dress shirts, neckties, belts, and accessories in patterns like margaritas, pelicans, and all types of Louisiana fish and seafood. It’s never been easier to be a dapper man than by shopping on Magazine Street. The adorably twee sweets paradise Sucre (3025 Magazine St.) will entice you with its assortments of macarons, one-of-a-kind modern pastry confections, fancy chocolates, and gelato. The only trouble is deciding what to get. Another place to satiate your sweet tooth is Blue Frog Chocolates (5707 Magazine St.), which sells custom-shaped chocolates for any occasion, bulk and specialty chocolates made in-house, some imported sweets, and a frozen hot chocolate drink that is out-of-this-world good. The Balcony Bar is a great people-watching spot (3201 Magazine St.) on one of the most bustling restaurant and bar stretches of the street. Another great drinking spot, with its outdoor beer-tap fountain and dog-friendly courtyard, is beer-centric bar The Bulldog (3236 Magazine St.). If you’re not up for walking the somewhat shaded length of Magazine Street, there are double-decker tour buses, which you can hop on and off at regular stops along Magazine Street. The public transit NORTA Magazine Street bus line operates frequently and is convenient to board and depart, or transfer to a streetcar or another bus line with a 1- or 3-day pass. In addition to the many types of tubed meats (hot dogs, brats, local-made sausages including crawfish sausage), Dat Dog (3336 Magazine St.) is home to the new weekly outdoor Magazine Street Art Market on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. When it’s crawfish season, grab a couple of pounds of freshly boiled, spiced crawfish and some fixins from Big Fisherman Seafood and head to Audubon Park or the Mississippi River (maybe at the Fly at the foot of Magazine Street) and enjoy some delicious Louisiana seafood al fresco. Other times of year, there’s boiled shrimp too! This is a good spot to grab some fresh seafood or specialty meats (sausages, turtle meat) packed for travel, as well. Mahony’s Po-Boy Shop (3454 Magazine St.) has so many well-made and dressed po-boys on their menu, plus daily specials of classic NOLA and Cajun staples. I love their Peacemaker po-boy (fried oysters and bacon, with cheddar cheese) and am completely addicted to their impossibly thin fried onion rings. A couple of blocks away at 3001 Magazine St. is the classic neighborhood restaurant Joey K’s, which serves po-boys and huge stick-to-your-ribs plate lunch specials of the classic New Orleans and Southern varieties. While enjoying all this shopping and food on Magazine Street, take a look at the architecture. Rows of shotguns (some still residences, many converted into retail), brick and stucco corner stores with balconies; enjoy the shade of monumental live oak trees that give Magazine Street its character and continuity throughout the many miles and neighborhoods it encompasses. I love the signs and colors of this bag and shoe repair shop next door to one of my favorite restaurants on the street, Baru Tapas (3700 Magazine St.). You can’t help but smile at the cute new Warby Parker Frame Studio (3964 Magazine St.), one of several national retailers on the street. Other famous brands that have found their niche on Magazine include Free People Clothing (2001 Magazine St.), West Elm (2929 Magazine St.), LF Stores (5408 Magazine St.), and Design Within Reach (3138 Magazine St.) Cool off with a snowball from Sno-Wizard (4001 Magazine St.) or at Magazine Deli Snowballs & Ice Cream stand (3511 Magazine St.), or from Tee-Eva’s Pralines (5201 Magazine St.) With more than three dozen antique and modern furniture stores along Magazine Street, there’s no shortage of objects for your home to choose from. Whatever your style, Magazine Street shopping has it, including the services of professional interior designers and custom craftspeople dedicated to making your space special. Longtime Magazine Street retailer Mignon Faget (3801 Magazine St.) designs and sells Louisiana-inspired jewelry and gifts for the home from their Magazine Street outpost, along with their headquarters and jewelry manufacturing happening a few blocks down nearby Casamento’s Oyster Bar (4330 Magazine St.). Recently, the already long-established Vietnamese food scene practically burst onto Magazine Street, with the splashy, modern Magasin bistro (4201 Magazine St.), more traditional Pho Cam Ly (3814 Magazine St.), and Lily’s Cafe (1813 Magazine St.). Few chefs have defined the post-Katrina years in New Orleans as much as chef Alon Shaya, with his hugely popular downtown venture with chef John Besh – Domenica. Shaya’s fresh and modern take on his Israeli roots at his namesake restaurant Shaya (4213 Magazine Street); the wood-fired pizza ovens of Pizza Domenica (4933 Magazine St.) is another great dining spot on a street full of food and drinks. Other favorite spots along the street include Lilette (3637 Magazine St.) and its next door late-night wine and snack spot Bouligny Tavern, plus Coquette (2800 Magazine St.), La Petite Grocery (4238 Magazine St.), newly opened Italian eatery Avo (5908 Magazine St.) and Japanese ramen and American pie (two great foods that go great together) spot Noodle & Pie (741 State Street at Magazine St.) Le Bon Temps Roule (4801 Magazine St.) is a friendly watering hole kinda bar with live music every night. Across the street is McClure’s Barbecue, whose delicious BBQ and sides are winning fans and competitions alike. Should you need something shipped back home or to a friend, nearby Parcels & Post (5208 Magazine St.) are experts at packing and shipping. House-made cards and other paper items with a real New Orleans flair are part of the charm of Scriptura, the stationery store at 5423 Magazine St. They also offer custom wedding and event invitations, stationery, and thank-you cards. Scriptura’s unique wrapping paper is almost too pretty to use. Whether it’s classic New Orleans cocktails, Louisiana seafood, streetcars or vintage maps, their signature paper goods make an impression. Be on the lookout for the friendly dogs and cats that sometimes keep watch over the stores of Magazine Street (this guy is at Scriptura). NOLA born actor Bryan Batt (‘Mad Men’, ‘Jeffrey’) and husband Tom Cianfichi own the cute boutique Hazelnut, with fine gifts and objets d’art for sale, including their signature toile fabrics with genteel street scenes of the French Quarter, Jackson Square, old steamboats, or the delightfully mod Pontchartrain Beach pattern (Batt’s family ran the now-defunct Lakeshore amusement park), sold by the yard or adorning many items. You’re probably gonna need a t-shirt or two to bring back home or show off your incredible New Orleans experience. Dirty Coast Press (5631 Magazine St.) sells some pretty unique, often humorous designs that will definitely spark conversations wherever you wear them.
Photos by Paul Broussard