Away from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter, you’ll find the Arts District of New Orleans. Also known as the Warehouse District, the Arts District has undergone a resurgence over the past few decades and has transformed into a hub for art and culture. Bordered by Canal Street, Loyola Avenue, the Pontchartrain Expressway, and the Mississippi River, you’ll know once you’ve entered the quiet yet vibrant neighborhood. Cobblestone streets, art galleries, new restaurants, and museums all add to the charm of the area. Below are our recommendations for how to spend a day in the Arts District.
A stroll along Julia Street will lead you into a fantastic world of art nestled right in the center of the Arts District, where there is something for art lovers of all kinds. From contemporary artwork to regionally unique sculptures, the Arts District galleries run the gamut of fine art. Step into Ariodante Contemporary Craft Gallery for jewelry, furniture, glass, ceramics, stationary, and fine pieces by local, regional, and nationally recognized artists. Callan Contemporary features abstract and figurative art by emerging and international artists. Stella Jones Gallery specializes in work from modern masters from around the world and is home to exquisite art of the Diaspora with African American, Caribbean, and contemporary African art forms of all media. These are just a few highlights of some of the fabulous galleries in the district. For the full list, or to learn more about the galleries, visit the Arts District website, or better yet, go see for yourself.
Visit the Museums
After strolling through the galleries along Julia Street, several museums in the area offer the chance to see even more art. Visit the Contemporary Arts Center and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art for the latest in contemporary and Southern art. The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war through exhibits, films, and immersive programming. While in the Arts District, be sure to carve out some time to visit these museums.
You’ll find a variety of restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, and bars within the Arts District. Craving Italian food? Check out new restaurants Sofia or Gianna. Seafood lovers will enjoy Pêche, a spot with plenty of fresh fish options. Carmo is a quaint café perfect for those seeking lighter cuisine, with vegan and vegetarian options on the menu. Mammoth Espresso and Stumptown Coffee Roasters are both great places to stop in for an afternoon pick-me-up. Indulge in desserts from Bittersweet Confections while you’re visiting.
After you’ve filled your eyes with art and your stomach with food, wind down with a drink or two. Just a block over from Julia Street, Auction House Market on Magazine Street features a bright, airy bar in the center of the food hall surrounded by local food vendors. It’s a go-to after-work meetup spot for professionals in the neighborhood, where the drinks are good, and the bartenders are nice. One of our personal favorites is just around the corner at Meril. Grab a seat at the bar and blend in with the locals. We especially appreciate the No. 11 on the cocktail menu, a light and refreshing vodka drink with aperol, lemon juice, house made lavender syrup, and Lindeman’s Peche. If you’re looking for a little snack on the side, try the Brussels sprouts or roasted carrots. If you want to sightsee while you sip, walk a few blocks up to the Ace Hotel on Carondelet. Travelers of all kinds gather at their rooftop bar, Alto, making it an excellent spot to watch the city transform into nighttime. Grab your cocktail of choice from their curated list and cozy up on one of the couches to relax a little at the end of your day in the Arts District.
In addition to the restaurants, galleries, and museums open year-round, the Arts District is also home to special events. Each month, the Arts District hosts First Saturday Gallery Openings, encouraging visitors to stroll through the galleries and see what’s new. Yearly highlights include Jammin’ on Julia in May, Whitney White Linen Night in August, and Art for Art’s Sake in October, but anytime is a great time to visit the Arts District.