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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Buffalo thrill: the ultimate way to see America's Great Plains

Buffalo thrill: the ultimate way to see America's Great Plains

South Dakota, one of the USA’s Great Plains states, holds an annual buffalo roundup in Custer State Park. Last week was the 51st event and we were lucky enoug…

21 Feb 2017 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Life in the Florida Keys is dominated by the ocean. The simplest trips become postcard-worthy adventures on the Overseas Highway, the link between its countless…

17 Feb 2017 • Georgia Stephens insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month