The Best (Gayest) Ways to Spend a Weekend In New Orleans

Southern Decadence is this weekend! Be prepared.

You can always count on New Orleans for a good time. Whether it be the gay bars galore or the raunchy drag shows, New Orleans won’t disappoint LGBTQ travelers looking to go all out or relax poolside with a mint julep in hand.

Where To Stay

One block from the iconic streetcar on St. Charles Ave. is the historic Henry Howard Hotel. This stunning double gallery townhouse is over 150 years old and decorated to the nines. Each room has unique touches like a saxophone mounted on the wall and playful wallpaper. Best of all, they leave a salted chocolate chip cookie during turndown service.

Love waking up in New Orleans Room 211 . #findmeatthehenryhoward #kingsuperior

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If you want to be a bit closer to the action, stay at the Windsor Court Hotel, located directly across from the French Quarter. The hotel has tons of southern charm, opulent decor, and a great rooftop pool. There is also a fun Jazz Brunch on Sundays, and they also serve LGBTea during Southern Decadence.

Where To Drink

Finding Bourbon Street’s gay bars is a no-brainer, just follow the rainbow flags. Dance all night (literally) at the 24/7 Bourbon Pub/Parade or the famous Cafe Lafitte in Exile, the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the country.

If you’re looking to avoid the bachelor and bachelorette crowd, head to leather-friendly The Pheonix Bar in the Marigny, or catch a drag show at the Golden Lantern on Royal Street. Although not explicitly a gay bar, all are welcome at the city’s most popular wine bar, Bacchanal Wine. Order a few bottles of rosé, a cheese platter, and listen to live jazz in their big backyard.

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Where To Eat

You’re in New Orleans, eat everything! Besides the obligatory beignets from Cafe Du Monde, venture out to Bevi Seafood Co. for crawfish and po’boys with the locals. Make sure to order their Swine Fries; it’ll be the best thing you put in your mouth all weekend.

For a more upscale evening, start off with a French75 at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar. Then, walk across the street to GW Fins for endless fresh-baked biscuits and deliciously inventive fish dishes like the signature “scalibut,” a dish of halibut, scallops, risotto, snow peas, and pea shoot butter.

Brunch isn’t just a thing here, it’s the thing. Jazz Brunch at Commander’s Palace is not to be missed, but Drag Brunch at The Country Club is an obligation. Make sure to make a reservation and always check the dress code before you book.

What To Do

There is a wide range of LGBTQ festivals throughout the year like this weekend’s Southern Decadence, Mardi Gras, LGBTQ Halloween, New Orleans Pride, and Saints and Sinners Literary Festival.

Photo courtesy of Southern Decadence.

If you want to check out a particular neighborhood or learn some New Orleans history, book a bike tour with Freewheelin’ Bike Tours or a guided cocktail walking tour with Free Tours By Foot. For the best jazz, go to Frenchman Street and walk into The Spotted Cat Music Club or any packed bar lining the street.

Katie Lockhart is an Asia-based travel and food journalist writing for Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, and Harper's Bazaar.