Fun in the French Quarter: The Local Way!
Living in New Orleans can be fun and exciting. However, your out-of-town guests will be all about the French Quarter. Learn a few of the great local spots they are sure to love, but won’t bore you to tears or be a tourist trap!
Ah, the French Quarter! There is hardly a person that lives in this country that hasn’t at least heard of this amazing area of New Orleans, Louisiana.
In fact, most people think that “The Quarter,” as the locals call it, is all there is to the city. While that couldn’t be further from the truth, calling the Big Easy your home pretty much requires that you act as a tour guide for all your friends when they come visit — and they WILL come visit! It will be nearly impossible to avoid taking out-of-towners into the French Quarter, but that doesn’t mean you will be stuck doing all the tourist stuff. Show off the real Quarter by taking your guests to these amazing local spots. You won’t regret it!
Coop’s Place — 1109 Decatur Street
This is, by far, my absolute favorite place to eat when I am in town! Honestly, Coop’s Place has some of the best food, not just in the French Quarter, but the entire city! It doesn’t look like much, but as “dives” go, it’s not bad. You walk into a darkened room that can’t be much more than 1,000 square feet. There is a bar in the middle with tall and short tables sprinkled throughout. The one thing you’ll never find here is pretension! The menu is huge and I have yet to eat something I didn’t like. If it is your first time, just get the Coop’s Taste Plate. It comes with gumbo, rabbit and sausage jambalaya, red beans and rice, and a piece of the best fried chicken you’ll ever put in your mouth! Wash that all down with a killer Bloody Mary and you have yourself a great meal! If you are a local, the staff will eventually recognize you, which is fun! I have been going to Coop’s since 2011 and the SAME wait staff is still there! One bit of advice, go for lunch in the mid-afternoon. Dinner is always PACKED!!
The Original Pierre Maspero’s — 440 Chartres Street
I never miss a chance to have dinner at The Original Pierre Maspero’s! They don’t take reservations, but I have never waited longer than 20 minutes for a table. Naturally, being in the French Quarter, you can grab something at the bar and enjoy it on the sidewalk while people watching. If you check-in on Yelp, you can usually get a coupon for a free appetizer! I recommend the Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade. It’s so good, I have to stop myself from eating the lettuce garnish! The restaurant has most of the classics that your guests will want to try. You will look like a hero, no matter how long you have lived here! My two favorites are the Shrimp and Grits and the Crab Cake Maspero. I have never had a meatier crab cake in all my life and their cheesy grits are to die for!!
The French Market — 1008 N. Peters Street
Some might argue that this six-block long complex is too touristy for this list. However, I respectfully disagree. What does every visitor want? Souvenirs! The French Market has all they can handle and at a fraction of the cost of any other store in the Quarter. My cousin saved over 50 percent on an alligator head for her son. Not only does this place have an awesome open air flea market, it also has a farmer’s market, food, drinks, traditional shops, and of course, The Café Du Monde! Instead of spending a fortune on t-shirts and beads on Bourbon Street, act like a true local and bring your friends here. They can save some money and have a great time doing it!
Central Grocery — 923 Decatur Street
I hope you like olives! If so, get ready for a real French Quarter treat! Central Grocery is the home of the original muffuletta. You have no doubt eaten a cheap knockoff in your day, but nothing quite compares to this one! There is usually a line out the door, but if you happen to walk by and there isn’t, don’t hesitate. Grab your friends and head in! It’s not a restaurant, so you’ll have to find a bench somewhere to enjoy your muffuletta. Be sure to grab plenty of napkins!
Laura’s Candies — 331 Chartres St and 535B Decatur St
This is New Orleans’ oldest candy store. Once you try it, you’ll never ask why! Laura’s Candies boasts the ORIGINAL praline recipe. I will admit, they taste pretty amazing. There are plenty of free samples to try. The truffles will keep you coming back for more! I wouldn’t plan on carrying your purchases around for too long in the summer. It’s best to just stuff your face and get it over with! I heard a rumor that locals get 10 percent off. I am not sure if that is policy or I was just extra charming that day, but it never hurts to ask!
Now you can be the envy of all your friends! They will go back to their normal cities and tell stories about all the amazing wonder of New Orleans and how you are such an expert on local culture and flavor. The best part is that you won’t be bored to tears going to the same places over and over with all the rest of the out-of-towners. It’s a win-win!