AOL PICK from our Editors
From arts and antiques to seasonings, food items and—naturally—tacky souvenirs, New Orleans is a shopper’s paradise. Travelers can find great New Orleans shopping in modern malls and at independent retailers across the city. Magazine Street is the hotspot for arts and antiques, while in the French Quarter, many shoppers head to the French Market which is one of the oldest continuously operating markets in the country. Popular souvenirs include food items, Mardi Gras masks, voodoo dolls, art and decorative fleur-de-lis objects. From lavish shopping of name brand designers to craft shops and tacky boutiques New Orleans shopping can be as eccentric and exciting as the city itself.
Neighborhood: Central Business District
If money is no option and you’re looking to do a little shopping in New Orleans with the local elite, head to Sax Fifth Avenue at Canal Place. Other stores include Banana Republic, Mignon Faget (local jewelry), Coach and Kenneth Cole. There’s also a movie theater here and the Southern Rep Theater hosts productions by local drama troupes. You’re bound to pass Canal Place at some point so it also makes a great place to stop when you’re looking to escape the heat or rain.
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Neighborhood: French Quarter
Although it’s just a block over from Bourbon Street, Royal Street offers great New Orleans shopping for visitors looking for something beyond tacky souvenirs. Royal is most known for its art galleries which feature photography, sculptures and paintings by local artists including George Rodrigue (known for his “Blue Dog”). The area is also a great place for antinqueing and shoppers can find crystal chandeliers, fine silver, hand-carved furniture and décor that can be traced back to some of New Orleans exquisite mansions. There are also occasional street performances here on the weekends and Royal is home to a some of New Orleans’ best restaurants, including Brennan’s.
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Neighborhood: Arts District, Central Business District
Spanning the Mississippi River between the Morial Convention Center and Canal Street, the Riverwalk features nearly a hundred vendors. There are the typical stores here—Gap, Ann Taylor, Nine West and EB Games—but there are also more than a dozen stores with unique Louisiana-made arts and crafts. Down near the food court, shoppers can find restaurants serving familiar favorites but also New Orleans dishes like jambalaya, fried seafood, po-boys and shrimp Creole. The outdoor balcony near the food court offers amazing views of the Mississippi River. Mon.-Sat. 10AM - 7PM., Sun. 12 - 6PM.
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Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
The six-mile strip of Magazine Street in Uptown offers a daunting number of opportunities for great New Orleans shopping. There are art galleries, antique stores, fine boutiques and craft shops. Arts and antique aficionados will especially enjoy imported rugs, ornate furniture, fine china, ceramics and decorations from the turn of the 20th century. The numerous art galleries on Magazine showcase work by national and local artists. Visit the website of the Magazine Street Merchants Association for a directory of shops and restaurants.
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Neighborhood: French Quarter
As one of New Orleans’ most popular stops for souvenirs, the French Market has it all. From tasteful to tacky, visitors can find everything from t-shirts and coffee cups to unique New Orleans’ art. There are also plenty of food items for sale so you can make gumbo, beignets or red beans and rice back at home. Small cafes and restaurants serve up great local specialties for lunch and there’s often live music on the weekends. The open-air market has been operating in the same site since 1791, making it one of the oldest continuous markets in the country. Daily 9AM - 6PM.
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