Magazine Street is one of the most popular streets in New Orleans. In addition to its proximity to everything, the six-mile-long street is known for its wide range of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and convenient stores lining each side of the street — Keep reading to hear about some of our favorites —and is a fun spot for tourists like me to explore.
The Ernest M. Morial Convention Center is a mere few blocks away. The French Quarter is about a 10-minute drive. Caesars Superdome, formerly known as Mercedes-Benz Superdome up until 2021, is a 20-minute walk.
But on the corner of Magazine Street and Andrew Higgins Blvd lies Higgins Hotel. Though a part of the Curio by Hilton franchise, what separates Higgins Hotel from other hotels in the city is that it is owned and solely operated by the National WWII Museum. The property was named after Andrew Higgins, the founder of Higgins Industries, who designed thousands of boats used in World War II right in New Orleans.
Directly across the street from the hotel is the The National World War II Museum where visitors can tour various exhibits dedicated to celebrating America’s contributions during WWII.
The hotel’s exterior resembles the typical art deco architecture of the early 1930s. Big geometric shapes on the outside of the building with sky-high ceilings and gold accents on the inside, especially in the lobby. The perfect balance between classic and contemporary.
If you visit Higgins Hotel’s website you’ll see this quote: “Honoring History Heroes and Heartfelt Hospitality.” That’s not an exaggeration. This location has over 200 guest rooms that vary from queen and king to suites. The bathroom was clean and crisp with elegant marble floors and a roomy glass-door shower.
Each room is modeled after the 1940s and 50s style décor but with a contemporary twist. Photos from World War II are hung on the walls with a 55-inch TV sitting atop a dark oak wood table.
But the best part, and my personal favorite, was the bed. I’m not kidding when I say that mornings were hard because I never wanted to leave my bed. Room details on the website described the beds as “luxurious” and that was not an exaggeration. The mattress was comfy and the sheets smelled like one of my favorite scents — fresh linen. Yes, I know they’re supposed to smell like that but that’s not always the case at some hotels.
And when the linen started to feel not so fresh, the front desk was just a call away. Throughout my stay, I ordered room service, fresh towels, and bedding that arrived within 20 minutes. Higgins Hotel did not play when it came to servicing their guests. The staff was constantly on top of things which was impressive since it was one of the busiest weeks for the hotel.
I watched all kinds of guests come in and out of the hotel. Some were famous, like R&B singer Anthony Hamilton and rapper Jadakiss, and some were not but they were all treated with the same respect and attentiveness that I had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of.
I’ve been to many cities all over the country and New Orleans has one of the most beautiful skylines I’ve ever seen, by far. If you’re like me and love rooftop bars during the Summer, Higgins Hotel has the perfect view.
The Crescent City Connection Bridge is a massive bridge that crosses over the Mississippi River and lights up beautifully at night, a view that can be seen from your room or the rooftop.
On the 9th floor, you’ll find Rosie’s on the Roof. Inspired by World War 2 feminist doll Rosie the Riveter, this full-service rooftop bar and restaurant includes an indoor and outdoor area with couches circling a TV for guests to sit and watch while enjoying a chilled, crafted cocktail while watching the sunset.
The location is convenient and easy to find which is a blessing. After a long night out, the last thing I want to do is search through my phone just to remember where I’m staying. With an address as simple as 1000 Magazine Street, rattling off my destination to a taxi driver when Uber and Lyft became too expensive was almost too easy.
That’s another thing I love about the city: the accessibility. The native New Yorker in me is pretty used to walking everywhere. But in a city where the temperature and humidity levels are almost ungodly, walking isn’t always ideal. And amid Essence Fest, rideshare prices can be a pain. So, what’s another convenient alternative? Taxis!
While taxis may be an ancient concept to some, they’re just as good as your favorite rideshare app and more affordable. The people in New Orleans are very nice (something I wasn’t expecting, sorry!) so you’ll most likely end up with a super chill, laid-back driver that’ll gladly hand over their business card if you’re ever in need of a ride to dinner or the airport.
Besides easy transportation, if there’s one thing you can count on while here it’s good food. You’ll never get tired of it. Seriously.
New Orleans’s Garden District is saturated in gorgeous 19th-century homes shaded by trees littered with Spanish moss and Mardi Gras beads hooked onto the rusted metal gates surrounding the homes.
You’ll find El Paso on Magazine Street has the most flavorful chips and salsa you’ll ever have. Bring a friend and get two margaritas for $10 during their happy hour. On the way there, you might pass United Apparel Liquidators, a luxury thrift store with discounted designer shoes, clothes, and accessories. I found a $200 pair of Amina Mauddi heels in great condition that could’ve been mine had I packed more responsibly.
A few blocks around the corner sits a quaint neighborhood favorite called Atchafalaya.
Sitting on the corner of Louisiana Ave, this gem has a gumbo that could easily rival some of New Orleans’s best; or at least that’s what the bartender told me. Crispy slices of smoky duck and savory chicken masked in thick, dark fatty roux. It was my first bowl of gumbo ever, so I had nothing to compare it to. But it tasted great. I’ll try the seafood gumbo next time.
The real winner, though, was the shrimp and grits. While not exclusive to New Orleans, Atchafalaya’s Shrimp and Grits should be the standard for every restaurant’s shrimp and grits. The creamy grits topped with fresh, juicy shrimp straight from the Gulf Coast was perfection.
And you can’t leave New Orleans without eating some beignets. Almost every restaurant in the city will have them on their menu but Café Normandie in the lobby of Higgins Hotel has great beignets and a wide selection of food for breakfast and lunch. Then walk a couple of steps over to Kilroy’s for a nightcap.