Pride of uptown New Orleans, the Garden District drapes itself seductively across a thirteen-block area bounded by Magazine Street and St Charles, Louisiana and Jackson avenues. Two miles upriver from the French Quarter, it was developed as a residential neighbourhood in the 1840s by an energetic breed of Anglo-Americans who wished to display their accumulating cotton and trade wealth by building sumptuous mansions in huge gardens. Today, shaded by jungles of subtropical foliage, the glorious houses – some of them spick-and-span showpieces, others in ravishing ruin – evoke a nostalgic vision of the Deep South in a profusion of porches, columns and balconies. While it’s a pleasure simply to wander around, you can pick up more details about the individual houses on any number of official or self-guided tours.

The historic St Charles streetcar is the nicest way to get to the Garden District and uptown, affording front-row views of “the Avenue” as St Charles is locally known. It’s a popular Mardi Gras parade route; keep an eye out for the tossed beads and favours that missed outstretched hands and now adorn hundreds of tree branches here. Just before the streetcar takes a sharp turn at the river bend, it stops at peaceful Audubon Park, a lovely space shaded by Spanish-moss-swathed trees. You can also approach the Garden District and uptown via Magazine Street, the city’s best shopping stretch, a six-mile string of clothing boutiques, restaurants and stores that runs parallel to St Charles riverside.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

Next year marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and also the launch of a new Civil Rights Trail through the USA's south. On a road …

16 Nov 2017 • Ella Buchan local_activity Special feature
Video: a brief history of the American road trip

Video: a brief history of the American road trip

We dug into the visual archives of yore to bring you a brief history of the American road trip. From the first coast-to-coast car voyage in the USA to today…

10 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
7 seriously spooky places in America

7 seriously spooky places in America

From urban legends passed down for centuries to real-life harrowing tales, America’s closet is filled with skeletons. These cities will put a chill down your …

24 Oct 2017 • Jess Chun insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook