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LGBT Choose Your Own Adventure Itinerary: Uptown Edition

This LGBTQ itinerary will prove once and for all that there’s more to New Orleans than the French Quarter.

Strolling through Uptown, New Orleans.
Enjoy sightseeing at beautiful homes throughout the Upper and Lower Garden District (Photo Credit: Rebecca Todd)

A lot of my LGBTQ friends who come to visit me in New Orleans think of only two places to explore: the French Quarter and the Marigny. But to this I laugh, almost with too much gusto. Why? Because New Orleans is jam-packed with so much more than just what can be found in those two places. Take Uptown, for example, with music, restaurants, and architecture all in one place. So, in honor of this picturesque part of town, I’ve created an itinerary to prove just how much more to New Orleans there is.


It’s your vacation. Do something unexpected.

Open Your Mind To Art

Newcomb Art Museum has some incredible exhibits to explore. With works from contemporary artists to the great masters, there’s always something to catch your eye and your imagination. From May 1 through July 9, the Beyond the Canvas exhibit showcases contemporary art from Puerto Rico and is worth exploring for an hour or two. Won’t be in town for that? The show Unfamiliar Again: Contemporary Women Abstractionists runs from Aug. 24 through Dec. 23 and is expected to pretty inspiring, as well.

Why it’s cool: It’s free! And it’s in a beautiful building (part of the Woldenberg Art Center) located on Tulane’s sprawling Uptown campus. Students give the tours, so you get their unique perspective, too.

Embrace Your Inner Child

Ropes Course at the Zoo
Do something daring while you’re here like the ropes course at Audubon Zoo. (Photo Credit: Paul Broussard)

At Audubon Zoo, there’s an agility ropes corse (located in the African Savanna across from giraffes) called the Kamba Kourse. It stands 44 feet high and features three levels with platform heights at 12 feet, 24 feet, and 36 feet. It’ll get your heart thumping for sure.

Why it’s cool: It’s at the zoo! Which means you not only get to see all the animals and take tons of Instagram-worthy selfies, but also you get to meet your step goal! 10,000 steps is easy to hit here. Plus, there’s also a gorgeous carousel and a lazy river at Cool Zoo. Just make sure you remember to bring a bathing suit if you plan on hitting up the water park.

Get Your Shop On

It doesn't matter which end of Magazine Street you start at, there are tons of shops to explore. (Photo Credit: Paul Broussard)
It doesn’t matter which end of Magazine Street you start at, there are tons of places to give your credit card a workout. (Photo Credit: Paul Broussard)

Magazine Street is loaded with cool shops to peruse and purchase unique items to gussy up your duds while you’re here. There are three areas of Magazine to explore. To see them all would mean a long walk: Arabella Street to Felicity Street (about four miles). Fortunately, you can explore Magazine Street by making three stops:

a) Park near Whole Foods (5600 Magazine St.), and explore all the shops from Arabella Street to Jefferson Avenue.

b) Park near Louisiana Avenue, and go left or right. Between Louisiana Avenue and Napoleon Avenue are some great shops, as well as between Louisiana Avenue and Washington Street.

c) Park near Jackson Avenue and walk toward Felicity Street, past where the Magazine Street goes one way – there are great shops on either side of the street.

A few LGBT shops that every gay man and lesbian needs to check out are Vegas, GoGo, Billy Reid, Hazelnut, and Goorin Brothers.

Why it’s cool: Ummm, shopping. Need I say more?

Explore the Legend of the Seven Sisters

These seven houses, located between 2329 – 2305 Coliseum St., were supposedly made for the seven single daughters of a prominent New Orleans patriarch. At least, that’s how the story goes. The truth is, there are actually eight houses, and they weren’t built for some dude’s spinster daughters, but on spec. Yet, the story of the seven spinster daughters has been repeated so many times it’s become legend.

Why it’s cool: You get to stroll through the Lower Garden District and see for yourself all the incredible 19th century homes that have been restored to their former glory.

Try Delicious Eats Uptown

New Orleans Magazine Street Restaurants
There are so many incredible restaurants to try out on Magazine Street. The Standard makes a mean Bloody. (Photo By: Rebecca Ratliff)

Uptown has some of the best food on the block — that block being Magazine Street in particular. Shopping works up an appetite, too, so plan to incorporate a few sustenance stops like the ones below.

a) The Standard New Orleans has incredible Bloody Marys and the atmosphere is quaint and charming. Not to mention, the food is great.

b) Magasin offers incredible Vietnamese fare that is a healthier option for those counting calories. It’s fresh, light, and delicious.

c) Avo is a great restaurant if you’re looking to eat dinner outside. The courtyard is not only romantic, it’s otherworldly. The food is magnificent and the drinks strong.

d) Basin has delicious oysters. Also, their fries are amazing. Every time I go there, I have to order a dozen oysters and a side of fries with all the sauces (they’re awesome). And ask for Rob “The Waiter” if you go. His boyish charm will put a smile on your face.

Why it’s cool: The food options Uptown range from traditional New Orleans cuisine to sushi. So no matter what you’re craving, you can find it here.

Find Live, Local Music You Can’t Miss

The local music scene spans far and wide, but it’s often the Marigny’s Frenchmen Street that gets the glory for its concentration of music clubs and street bands. Instead, give two Uptown institutions a try.

a) Tipitina’s Uptown always has incredible bands headlining. Located on the corner of Tchoupitoulas Street and Napoleon Avenue, it’s within walking distance of several bars and restaurants like Dick N’ Jenny’s and Miss Mae’s.

b) Le Bon Temps Roule is a venue that’s synonymous with amazing funk and jazz. If you’re in New Orleans it’s one of those must-do experiences. On Thursday nights, brass band The Soul Rebels’ residency absolutely brings down the house: major brass reverberates throughout the bar’s tiny back room, and the energy is palpable.

Why it’s cool: New Orleans is known for music as much as food. Which makes catching a live show almost mandatory.

For more information and news on the city’s LGBT community, sign up for New Orleans’ LGBT e-newsletter here.

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