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NOLA Neighborhood Top 10: Mid-City

Our top 10 favorite things to do and see in the Mid-City New Orleans neighborhood right now, including where to eat, see music, stay and play!

I’ve lived in many different parts of town, from the Lower Garden District to the Lakefront and many places in between. However, when it came time for me to settle down on my own, I chose Mid-City. I was attracted to the undeniable neighborhood feel of Mid-City, the plethora of walkable restaurants and bars, and the convenience of being in the center of the city. In the event you want to partake in activities in other neighborhoods or even the greater metro area, you can be there in no time at all. Ten years into my stay in Mid-City, I can’t find any reason to leave.

canal streetcar
Take the streetcar to City Park for $1.25 one way (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Top 10 Things To Do In Mid-City New Orleans

1. Stay: Pass on the big hotel chains and settle in to a bed and breakfast in a fantastic grand Mid-City home. Two of the better known are the Canal Street Inn, located on Canal Street, and the 1896 O’Malley House, which is just steps from Canal Street. During your stay you’ll be able to relax on your porch and chat with passersby like me and my neighbors.

2. Travel: Canal Street is one of the most important thoroughfares in the city, both now and historically, as it links the river and the lake. And what better way to travel a historically significant route than with a streetcar ride? With the red streetcars, you’ll be able to travel the length of Mid-City and down to the Mississippi Riverfront, the CBD, and the French Quarter or over to City Park. Best part of all, the modern red streetcar fleet is air conditioned!

3. Watch: Not in the mood to play, but still want to get your fill of sporting action? This fall catch all the college football you can handle at the Mid-City Yacht Club. Soccer fan? Then Finn McCool’s is the only place to be. Need to catch a Saints game? Too easy, any bar in Mid-City has it.

The Wisner Bike Path runs along picturesque Bayou St. John (Photo: Paul Broussard)

4. Play: Mid-City gives you plenty of opportunities if you need a chance to burn off some extra energy (or that roast beef po-boy from lunch?). Head down to Bayou St. John to kayak or canoe your way out of Mid-City past City Park to the Greek Orthodox Church (home of Greek Fest). If you’re in need of a little team activity join one of the local kickball leagues in St. Patrick Park or meet up with the folks at Mid-City Volleyball.

5. Create: Mid-City is home to many of the city’s unique and diverse artists, and it shows in the unique Mid-City signs which welcome you to the area and decorated street sign posts. What better way to become a part of this offbeat community than to create your own art? Take a walk on the wilder side of art with a class in glass blowing! Visit Creative Glass at the YAYA Studio and try making small glass sculptures, beads, figurines and more.

6. Garden: NOLA Green Roots is a community organization which has established neighborhood gardens in the area and serves as a valuable resource teaching members how to organically grow fruits and vegetables. NOLA Green Roots also holds a number of awesomely useful seminars, from building a greenhouse, to brewing your own beer, and even how to make paper from okra! Missing that green thumb? No worries, just head on over to the American Can Company on Thursdays for the Crescent City Farmers Market, where fresh produce and other items abound!

shrimp poboy
The fried shrimp po-boy from Parkway (Photo: Paul Broussard)

7. Eat: There’s not enough space to even scratch the surface of where to eat in Mid-City, but we’ll give it a go. Head to Wakin’ Bakin’ for a filling and delicious start to the day (p.s. they deliver in case you’re not a morning person and can’t make it out the house) or run to Blue Dot Donuts for a life altering sugar rush. For lunch, grab one of the city’s best po-boys at Parkway Bakery and Tavern. For dinner, choose between the new American cuisine of Rue 127 or the “International Creative Cuisine” of Canal Street Bistro. You really can’t go wrong with either one, just be sure to save room for dessert at Angelo Brocato’s, home of the city’s greatest gelato, spumoni, cannolis and Italian pastries.

8. Drink: There’s no shortage of bars in Mid-City and all have their own special charm to them. However, two really have a special place in my heart, 12 Mile Limit and Finn McCool’s. 12 Mile Limit is Mid-City’s go to place for great cocktails at bargain basement prices. Think cheap New Orleans neighborhood bar meets fancy pants craft cocktails, and that’s 12 Mile Limit. Finn’s (the soccer haven mentioned above) is my go-to for a properly poured Guinness, black and tan, or any of the latest NOLA Brewing creations. Best of all is the two bars are a block apart, so you’re never far from your favorite cocktail or a tasty pint.

9. Listen: The sounds of live music pump through New Orleans like blood in your body, so there’s no surprise that there would be quite a collection of live music venues in the City’s heart. Leading the pack is Chickie Wah Wah on Canal Street. Focusing in music with “regional roots,” Chickie Wah Wah has live shows just about every night. But, if you can’t handle the possibility of a day without music, Dmac’s on Jeff Davis has shows scheduled seven days a week, including a standing Sunday gig with Walter Wolfman Washington at 6:00 p.m. Another classic Mid-City music venue is the Banks Street Bar & Grill, who feature Grammy-nominated blues rock band Major Bacon.

10. Remember: Mid-City is also home to a number of famed “cities of the dead,” the above ground cemeteries that dot the region. A quick ride to the end of the red streetcar line drops you off in the middle of no less than ten different cemeteries. Two of the larger and more ornate cemeteries in the area are Cypress Grove and Greenwood, which both feature a number of monuments and mausoleums. The city’s first Jewish cemetery, Gates of Prayer, is also at the end of the streetcar line. Wedged in with all these cemeteries is also the easily missed Hurricane Katrina Memorial (located at 5056 Canal Street), which holds the bodies of 85 unclaimed victims of the 2005 storm. The memorial’s storm-shaped pathways honor the memory of all that were lost in that storm.

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