The New Orleans Central Business District (CBD) is one of my favorite neighborhoods in New Orleans.
This neighboorhood also stretches across smaller neighborhoods, also known as the Warehouse District and the Arts District.
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What is the New Orleans Central Business District?
New Orleans Central Business District is right outside of the French Quarter. The Central Business District was initially established as the industrial area of New Orleans, where all of the goods were stored into massive Warehouses.
The Central Business District is also called the Arts District of New Orleans because of the proximity to the art galleries and museums.
One of my favorite festivals, Whitney’s White Linen Night, is held on Julia Street every year.
Like any other Central Business District – a lot of New Orleans Businesses are located in this downtown region.
Our tallest buildings in New Orleans and Louisiana, are located in the Central Business District.
Many people think that the French Quarter is our downtown region, but if you look around, you will see that there aren’t any tall buildings in the middle of the French Quarter.
Where is New Orleans’ Central Business District?
If you are between the Superdome and the Convention Center and surrounded by tall-ish buildings, you have found yourself in the middle of New Orleans Central Business District.
The other borders include all the businesses between I-10 and one block past Canal street.
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New Orleans Warehouse District Restaurants
It is nearly impossible to try and review every restaurant in New Orleans. The sheer number of good restaurants in the Warehouse District is just incredible.
Serving many of the businesses in downtown, you will find a restaurant or boutique coffee shop hidden around every corner. If you are looking for great places to eat in the Central Business District, check this guide below.
Best Place for Breakfast in Downtown New Orleans
The Ruby Slipper
The Ruby Slipper specializes in all things, breakfast, and brunch. With locations all over New Orleans, and spreading to Alabama and Florida, the Ruby Slipper is a local and tourist favorite.
This particular spot in the Central Business District is always busy.
You cannot book a table at the Ruby Slipper, so be prepared to wait in line or place yourself on Yelp’s virtual line.
If there is a long wait, the best way to pass the time is by drinking one of Ruby Slipper’s bacon-infused Vodka Award Winning Bloody Mary’s.
Make sure to eat something delicious from their menu. Whatever you do, make sure you order their famously delicious Biscuit with Cane Syrup Butter.
NOCHI Cafe by Gracious Bakery
725 Howard Avenue
Closed on Sundays, Gracious Bakery is one of the lighter options to eat around New Orleans. You can start your day eating a Gracious Granola & Yogurt Parfait or a Gluten-Free Buckwheat & Chia Seed Waffle.
You can also grab fresh-made pastries and artisan bread to get your morning started.
The Cafe is on the ground floor of NOCHI, which stands for the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute, an industry-driven approach to training and education for the next generation of Chefs.
611 O’Keefe Ave
Willa Jean is a contemporary eatery located in the heart of the Central Business District. Chef Kelly Fields opened this restaurant in 2015, and every time I’ve visited, it’s been hella busy.
The menu does change seasonally, but Willa Jean has a few fan favorites. If you are looking for traditional New Orleans comfort food, Willa Jean offers southern favorites like fried chicken + Tabasco honey and bbq shrimp toast.
Whatever you do, do not skip out on getting the Willa Jean cornbread or the Milk Money Lattes.
While you are grabbing a coffee to go, get a handful of the delicious chocolate chip cookies to eat for later.
If you are visiting during Mardi Gras Season, you should grab a slice of their King Cake.
If dining on the weekend, it’s highly suggested to book on Open Table.
New Orleans Coffee Shops
Coffee culture in New Orleans is real, and there are plenty of boutique coffee shops to choose from. There plenty of coffee shops in the CBD area – either in hotels or within different buildings for business.
801 Magazine Street
Located inside of the Auction House Market, Coast Roast is the second location in New Orleans, with the first one being in St Roch Market.
Kevin Pedeaux, the roaster for Coast Roast and Youtuber behind Coffee With Kevin, has been roasting for nearly a decade.
If you are looking for a New Orleans classic, opt for the delicious Cafe Au Lait – Coffee, chicory, and milk. If you want something a little sweeter, get the Sweet Vanilla Cream Cold Brew.
Of course, if you are looking for something a little more adventurous and foreign, go for a Roch Fizz – cold shaken espresso made with orange bitters and vanilla.
It is a spin-off of Ramos Gin Fizz without any of the alcohol.
821 Baronne St
Mammoth Espresso is where coffee and cocktail culture collide, and what comes out is high-end Espresso drinks.
Mammoth is one of those cute coffee shops that you shouldn’t get your drink to go. The experience is as much in the preparation of the coffee as well as how it is served.
My two favorite drinks from here are the Cardamon Latte and the Sweet Little Thing. Both signature drinks emulate cocktail culture, but the only buzz you will get is from caffeine.
Drip Affogato Bar
703 Carondelet St
Drip Affogato is a dessert shop that meets coffee to create artisanal ice cream and craft espresso.
Whether you need a morning or afternoon pick me up, Drip Affogato will have something to suit your needs.
My favorites? The Vietnamese Iced Coffee or Affogato desserts are my favorites.
Each Affogato Dessert comes with two scoops of ice cream, toppings, and a hot drip. I’ve luckily tasted many of Affogatos, and my favorite is by far the Vietnamese coffee because it plays with New Orleans Culture with the hints of chicory.
Lunch restaurants in the New Orleans warehouse district
Lunch in the CBD, Warehouse District, and Arts District of New Orleans is very busy during Monday-Friday. You are in the center of Downtown New Orleans, and with so many great restaurants, locals and tourists alike need to find a bite to eat.
Lunch is typically between 11 am-2 pm, with many restaurants filling up around noon. If you are looking to skip the crowds, opt for an early lunch around 11 or wait for a later lunch.
Luckily day drinking is approved in New Orleans, so it doesn’t matter when you begin to eat lunch.
1000 Girod St.
The Daily Beet is a delicious, vegetarian lunch option if you are looking for salads, bowls, or toasts.
The first few times I went to the Daily Beet, I had no idea that their menu was completely vegetarian.
That’s how good and filling their food is. I didn’t need to add meat to complete my dish.
Everything I’ve had on their menu, from Avocado Toast to the Orbit Bowl to the Mexicali Blue Salads, has been delicious. If Avocado is your thing, like it is mine, they do not skip on quality or quantity of ingredients.
What’s even better is that many of their items are on the Eat Fit Nola menu, so you know that you are eating healthy.
During Monday-Friday, this place is usually busy with business people, but the service is speedy!
St James Cheese Company
641 Tchoupitoulas St
Since 2006, St James Cheese Company has elevated New Orleans locals pallets for artisanal cheese.
Not only can you eat an entire cheese and Charcuterie board as a meal, but you can taste some of the yummiest sandwiches around town.
As a creature of habit, I always gravitate towards the Gruyere sandwich (add ham!) or the Cheesemonger’s Mac&Cheese.
St James also hosts wine and cheese events and classes multiple times throughout the year.
930 Poydras St
Johnny Sanches is one of my favorite places in the CBD to get tacos.
What’s even better is all day Tuesday, and from 3-6 pm, select tacos are only $2! With complimentary chips and salsa, I can easily walk away with a delicious meal for under $10.
My favorite tacos to get here include the Carne Asada Taco and the Cauliflower taco! Off of the Happy Hour Menu, I love getting the Spicy Chicken Taco and Albondigas Taco – a meatball taco with queso.
The Johnny Sanchez Margarita does pack a punch, and you can take it to go because of Louisiana’s loose liquor laws.
Dinner in New Orleans
The good thing about the end of the workday is that all of the locals go home, the conventions are over, and the Central Business District beings to quiet down a little bit for dinner.
Many of these restaurants are on the higher end of, but you won’t necessarily break the bank going here.
217 Camp St.
If you are ever craving a Mediterranean dish while strolling around the Central Business District, then you need to stop into Rockrose.
Described as a true melting pot of Greek Cuisine, the chef uses fresh ingredients to create delicious flavors with locally sourced meats, seafood, and produce.
Start the evening with the Greek Me Up – a cocktail with Green Chartreuse, mastiha, lime, and watermelon.
There are so many spreads, snacks, and starters that you can choose from that you can easily eat family-style. To start your meal, I suggest starting with the Roasted Red Pepper & feta spread and the Tzatziki spread.
For a snack, I highly recommend the Zucchini Fritters with pecorino, feta, and tzatziki sauce.
For the main dish, I was immediately drawn to the Roasted Chicken Breast, but instead of getting the charred rapini, I swapped it for the fried Brussel sprouts.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; RockRose is one of my must-stop places while in the Central Business District.
Not only can you get a delicious meal, but if you hop over to the International Hotel House, you can get a peek at a Banksy!
630 Carondelet St
Whether you want to come here for dinner or late-night snacks, Seaworthy has delicious foods but even more delicious cocktails.
My favorite thing on the menu is the Wagyu Burger. Yes, I know, Seaworthy prides itself on wild-caught and sustainably harvested oysters – but I skipped the seafood and went straight to the beef.
Now, I’m not sure how this pairs well, but someone in your group needs to order the Holy Water. Spiced Rum blend, cognac chartreuse, lemon, lime, grapefruit – oh yeah and fire. This cocktail is the perfect start (or wrap up) to your evening!
Warning – Holy Water uses real fire, so you will want to have your phone ready to take a video or a boomerang.
611 O’Keefe Ave.,
There are so many delicious dishes to eat at Maypop, but I have to start every meal with the bib lettuce salad. Coconut cucumber ranch, green tomato relish, and a cashew crisp make this one of my favorite salads to get as a starter in New Orleans.
As long as you start your meal with that salad, you are more than welcome to get anything else off the menu! I haven’t had a bad meal here, and I even dabbled in their seafood gumbo once or twice.
424 Girod St
Sofia is one of the yummiest places I’ve been to the CBD. Authentic pasta, delicious woodfire pizza, and plenty of options. Sofia has something on its menu for everyone.
The second you step foot into this restaurant, you will see why it is one of my favorites. The decor, wood fire pizza, and Andy Warhol style paintings truly bring this restaurant to life.
These are so many wonderful things to nibble on in the restaurant, but one of my favorite things to order here are the meatballs if you get here early enough for Happy Hour, the meatballs at $3 each.
Lagniappe: New Orleans Cuisine
605 Canal St
The Palace Cafe is a New Orleans classic, with delicious cuisine and discounted summer lunch and happy hour – add this to your list of restaurants to try.
Temperature lunch, which only runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, is the best way to taste classic New Orleans cuisine at super-steep prices. Each day, the restaurant announces what is available primarily for the day.
For the low price of a range of $8.70-$9.90, you can get a delicious lunch and side dish.
Drinks and Cocktails in New Orleans
Drinking in New Orleans is a part of our culture. No matter where you go, you can get great cocktails, wine, and beer in the CBD.
600 Carondelet St
Alto is a rooftop bar on top of the ACE hotel with delicious drinks and small bites to eat. The views are to die for, and there is comfy seating all over the rooftop.
They have delicious cocktails like the Frozen Eternal Summer or a drink that will warm you up in the Winter like the Fireside Chat.
Happy hour is from 4-7 pm and includes Chocolate Chip Cookies. Plus, Alto has a pool open up to all guests, what more can you want from a rooftop bar?
130 Roosevelt Way
The Sazerac Bar is located in The Roosevelt – A Waldorf Astoria hotel. This bar is named after what is considered to be the world’s first mixed drink – the Sazerac.
This classic bar is, however, one of the most expensive ones in the city. I would grab yourself a Sazerac (around $18) and enjoy each sip.
544 Carondelet St
One of the newest bars in New Orleans’ Central Business District also feels like a speakeasy. Set in the former library of the City Hall Annex, this bar space has a unique feeling.
The easiest way to get to this bar is to walk down the garden-lined path and make your way into a library-esque room.
Filled with plush seating, Bar Marilou is one of the most instgrammable places in New Orleans.
And don’t let the pretty atmosphere fool you. The drinks are to die for. The main drink that brought me to this location was the Postcard from Bangkok because the drink is served in an adorable bird glass.
Things to do in the Central Business District
There are so many things to do in the Central Business District of New Orleans that you could honestly spend 1-2 full days exploring this area and barely touch upon it.
Museums in New Orleans
Yes! The Arts District has tons of art galleries, but it also has museums for everyone’s taste. New Orleans has 45 museums in the area with plenty of them back in CBD.
If you are a New Orleans local, many museums participate in free museum day for residents throughout the year.
Free museum days include the whole month of August, where select museums are free thanks to The Helis Foundation.
World War II Museum
945 Magazine St
One of my favorite museums in New Orleans is the World War II Museum I am a member of this museum! I remember back in the day when the World War II Museum was called The National D-Day Museum.
A lot of tourists try to cram all of the World War II Museum exhibits in half of the day.
But I’m telling you the World War II Museum has expanded a lot over the years, and one half of a day is not enough! You need to budget a day to a day and a half to explore all of the exhibits.
925 Camp St
The Odgen Museum is one of my favorite art museums in New Orleans. Located in the heart of the Warehouse District, this museum holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of southern art.
With rotating art exhibit coming to the museum periodically, you can easily see a new exhibit each time you come into town.
The Odgen Museum is $13.50 for adults, but the museum also participates in the Helis Foundation free museum days, which is every Thursday with proof of Louisiana residency.
During August, the Helis Foundation also offers select free museum days when the temperature is over 95 degrees.
101 Magazine Street
What is more New Orleans than an interactive cocktail museum? The Sazerac House is just that – three floors to explain everything about the New Orleans famous Sazerac cocktail.
This museum is three stories tall, and tours are self-guided and complementary but plan to spend around 50-60 minutes learning about the craft of this cocktail.
Class Pass in Downtown New Orleans
I do genuinely enjoy using Class Pass as a way to try out different gyms, and the Central Business District has a ton of gyms that one could sign up for.
Just note, that New Orleans weather might be a bit warmer than the weather back home, so make sure to hydrate.
611 O’Keefe Ave, Suite C-3
Barre3 is a barre studio based out of Portland, Oregon. The concept of these barre classes is to empower clients from within.
Each class is 55 minutes long, and there are several classes throughout the day. These classes are perfect for beginners or those who practice Barre Regularly.
Body B Fit
730 S Rampart St
Body B Fit is a boutique fitness class that offers 25-minute workouts in short, concentrated spurts. There is a variety of classes, including the Versa Climber, Spin Class, and Boxing.
My favorite class to take here is the reformer because there is no way I can make it through a whole 60 minutes on the reformer just yet. The 25-minute classes are perfect for me to get in and out and go about my day.
Crescent City Farmers Market
Corner of Carondelet Street and Julia Street
Each Saturday morning, the Crescent City Farmer’s Market descends on the New Orleans historic Warehouse District. Locals can find the best locally grown produce, seafood, baked goods, and more.
The Farmers Market runs year-round from 8 am to noon, make sure to stop by and grab some goodies to complete your stay in New Orleans.
There are so many Photoworthy and Instagrammable spots in the Arts District that it is easy to spend a day walking around taking photos of everything.
With new murals going up all the time, rotating exhibits at art galleries, and one of the cutest bathrooms in the city – the Arts district is killing it when it comes to being Instagrammable.
Surprisingly, New Orleans is very family-friendly, and the Central Business District is not any different.
Many of the museums in the CBD are family-friendly. But depending on the age of your child, they might be a bit boring or overwhelming.
Below are some more kid and family-friendly activities that will be good for kids of all ages.
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
423 Canal St
The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is one of my favorite places to visit in New Orleans. Growing up, I was obsessed with butterflies, and this little sanctuary has so many butterflies.
Your little ones will love walking through all of the exhibits learning about roaches, termites, and love bugs!
Of course, there are other bugs and critters to snack on. You heard me right. You can try cookies, pizza, and even salsa made with insects.
Dave and Busters
1200 Poydras St #601
New Orleans recently got a Dave and Busters in the CBD a few years ago. Dave and Busters is a great location to get away from the heat or rainy afternoons.
The kids can run around and get their energy out while playing games while the adults can relax a eat some snacks and drink some beers.
My favorite game, as an adult, to play at Dave and Buster’s is Dance Dance Revolution.
You do need to make sure to get there early and claim your turf because they only have one machine there.
Where to Stay in the Central Business District
Of course, one of the perks in staying in the Central Business District is that there are many hotels near New Orleans Convention Center.
Whether if you are looking for hotels right next to the convention center or a quick walk or Uber away check out some of my favorite New Orleans Hotels.
Compare hotels and vacation rentals for New Orleans Central Busniess District
The Roosevelt New Orleans | A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
130 Roosevelt Way
Technically right on the cusp of the CBD and the French Quarter, The Roosevelt New Orleans is one of my favorite hotels to stay in, dine-in, and visit.
If you are visiting the Central Business District, you need to visit The Roosevelt during the holiday season and see all of the stunning lights in the lobby.
If you are visiting at any other time during the holiday season, then make sure you stop by the Sazerac and grab yourself an iconic Sazerac.
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve mentioned this cocktail multiple times in this blog post, so you need to go and get one.
Staybridge Suites New Orleans
501 Tchoupitoulas St
In the heart of the CBD, you can get yourself a lovely suite right on Tchoupitoulas!
The suites at Staybridge Suites are fun and spacious; in fact, I held my 30th birthday at Staybridge Suites.
The reason why I like Staybridge is that there is plenty of free and paid parking, tons of restaurants and bars to visit, and within easy walking distance of all the hot spots in the CBD and French Quarter.
New Orleans Central Business District Safety
So something that might be on your mind after reading this entire post of everything that there is to do in the CBD is Is the New Orleans Central Business District safe?
The Central Business District is generally safe during the day, and there some spots of downtown that I would avoid alone at night – particularly around the Superdome and City Hall.
This goes without saying, but be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables close by. If you ever feel unsafe, and you are not walking with a group of people, hop in an Uber or Lyft.
New Orleans Central Business District
There are so many restaurants to dine at, places to take photos with, and culture to see just in this one tiny neighborhood.
Make sure if the suggestions I give you for things to do in the Central Business District of New Orleans are not your taste that you come back here and tell me where you’ve been to and explored.
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[…] save a little bit on lodging, I recommend making hotel reservations in the Central Business District or Warehouse district instead of the French Quarter. My Next tip will tell you […]