Hotel at a Glance: InterContinental New Orleans
The views of downtown New Orleans are amazing from the InterContinental New Orleans' 15th-floor outdoor pool deck. Some superior rooms boast city views, too, and the deluxe rooms offer from private balconies. Exploring the city is a cinch—the 4-star hotel is just two blocks from the historic French Quarter, so guests are within easy walking distance of Cafe Du Monde, Bourbon Street, and other neighborhood staples.
- Award winner: The hotel has been AAA Four-Diamond rated since 2003.
- Artistic cocktail lounge: Pete's Pub serves handcrafted cocktails amid murals of New Orleans' street scenes.
- Try the local cuisine at Veranda Restaurant, which has a menu rife with contemporary Louisiana fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Order dessert: Pastries are made fresh daily by Veranda Restaurant's in-house pastry chef.
- Work up a sweat: at a top-floor fitness center stocked with top-notch cardio and weight equipment.
New Orleans’s French Quarter: Let the Good Times Roll
"Stop thinking of New Orleans as the worst-organized city in the United States," writes author Dan Baum in Nine Lives, his post-Katrina book. "Start thinking of it as the best-organized city in the Caribbean." Some folks think there is something distinctly foreign about New Orleans, a place where people’s priorities seem inclined toward enjoying life and relishing the moment at hand. Nothing says it better than the town’s unofficial Cajun creed: “Laissez les bons temp rouler,” or "Let the good times roll."
Historical buildings with intricate wrought-iron balconies line the narrow streets of New Orleans’s French Quarter. Here, street musicians often fill the air with jazz music, their trombones and tubas swinging back and forth. Just off the Jackson Square park and near the towering St. Louis Cathedral, the legendary Café Du Monde serves beignets under heaping piles of powdered sugar, as well as cups of iced or steaming café au lait.
And then there's Bourbon Street, where neon lights advertise frozen cocktails and gaudy strip clubs and crowds gather along 13 city blocks. The nearby Frenchmen Street, just north of the Quarter, provides a slightly less touristy taste of New Orleans nightlife. Some of the city’s most popular live jazz and blues bars dominate this historic two-block district, with each venue hosting world-class musicians nearly every night of the week. Jazz fills the air at the Spotted Cat Music Club, where a sign warns that both drinks and drunks are barred from the piano—but like all rules in New Orleans, it's one that's bound to get bent from time to time.