The Bywater neighbourhood is chockfull of history, which is saying a lot for a city like New Orleans. The nationally recognised Bywater Historic District encompasses colourful architecture that blends the neighbourhood’s French, Spanish and Caribbean heritages, as well as those of German, Italian, and Irish immigrants who settled in the neighbourhood centuries later. It all comes together for an environment that’s as eye-catching as it is inviting.

    Nowadays, Bywater is filled with artisans and tourist-targeting businesses, such as restaurants and bars, but also local residences. Its proximity to the French Quarter makes this L-shaped neighbourhood just a short walk away from some of the city’s most popular attractions, with one side of the ‘L’ – the side closest to the French Quarter – dedicated to fun times, and the other side of the ‘L’ more focused on business and industry. Walk over for a night of dinner, drinks, live music, maybe a little shopping, and stroll along the Mississippi River in the neighbourhood’s Crescent Park.

    Bywater in New Orleans - one of the highlights of 10 Most Instagrammable Places in New Orleans and 10 Most Popular Neighbourhoods in New Orleans (Read all about New Orleans here)

    Highlights and features of Bywater

    “Quirky” and “quaint” are 2 words you could use to describe Bywater. If you've already experienced all the bright lights and the party vibes of the French Quarter, Bywater is the place to go for something a little more off-the-beaten-path.

    Of course, all that quirkiness and quaintness attracts its fair share of artists. Dr. Bob is one of the neighbourhood’s most notable and you’ll easily spot his work in many of Bywater’s restaurants. Stop by the Dr. Bob Folk Art studio to pick up your own piece of art. Studio Be is another can’t-miss artist space, with 35,000 square feet of larger-than-life art, starting with the outdoor mural.

    Clouet Gardens blends art with the outdoors for a little spot of green space that's so small you might miss it – but you definitely don’t want to. For views that are sure to inspire your own artistic side, catch the sunset at what is arguably one of the best spots to do so in New Orleans: Crescent Park.

    Where to eat and drink in Bywater?

    If you only come to Bywater for one thing, make it the restaurants and bars. The stretch of the neighbourhood that follows the Mississippi River (the bit that’s ‘by’ the ‘water’) is packed with delicious options that are just a bit removed from the tourist crowds. Bywater Bakery is a popular breakfast nook with outdoor seating and a famed Chantilly cake; Elizabeth’s is an equally fun breakfast stop, where the speciality is praline bacon.

    For drinks, Parleaux Beer Lab is a must-visit, again with outdoor seating (that’s also dog-friendly!). The Country Club is also a hot watering hole – so hot, in fact, that it has its own swimming pool (plus drag brunches). For something slightly more upscale and maybe a little date night-worthy, check out Bywater American Bistro or Saint Germain.

    Good to know about Bywater

    Most visitors will see everything they need or want to see by sticking to the Mississippi side of the neighbourhood. The quieter blocks on the side of the neighbourhood that follows the canal aren’t always as tourist-friendly. As is the case everywhere in New Orleans, it’s wise to stick with a travelling buddy or, if you’re travelling alone, in well-lit and busier areas. Some of the quieter, darker streets of Bywater are, unfortunately, a little dangerous.

    While walking to Bywater from the French Quarter or Marigny neighbourhoods is popular and easy enough, you can also take a rideshare service or taxi, or drive your own or a rental car, and easily find parking throughout the neighbourhood. You can also take the New Orleans RTA St. Claude bus route, which stops on every corner of St. Claude, through several adjoining neighbourhoods.

    Bywater in New Orleans

    Holly Riddle | Contributing Writer

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