Welcome back to the Travels with Quigley series, featuring travel tips from my adventures with a jet-setting rescue terrier. This is our second edition in a series of dog-friendly guides to cities around the world. For info on how you and your pup can explore the Big Apple, click here! Our second guide takes readers south to explore the sights and sounds of the charming city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
New Orleans has a deep-rooted space in my soul. Although I grew up in the mountains around Yosemite, NOLA was the city of my youth. As a child, I would visit my father there, and we would walk through the French Quarter most days — to the French market, along the river to the aquarium, to the bookstore, and, of course, to Café Du Monde for beignets. At least once during each of those walks, we would stop on the steps opposite Jackson Square, my hands dusted with powdered sugar, my mouth chattering on about what we had seen that day, my nose impatient to be buried in a new book. Years later, I returned with a broken heart and attempted to help rebuild homes around this city I cherished. When I finally had the chance to bring my husband, James, and our beloved pup Quigley to the Big Easy, it was a joyous occasion, one where I felt more known than ever before.
Hoping to pass this experience on to others, I’ve compiled a list of pup-friendly activities in New Orleans. I trust that these recommendations will give you and your furry friend a small taste of what this incredible city has to offer!
Where to stay
Quigley and I continued our partnership with Ace Hotels and thoroughly enjoyed our time in their NOLA locale. In addition to basking in their dog-friendly common spaces, Quigley was able to soak up some vitamin D by my side while we made the most of the rooftop bar and pool.
Another option is Hotel Monteleone, a (reportedly haunted) Big Easy institution. Since 1886, five generations have dedicated themselves to one of the last great family-owned-and-operated hotels in the city. Lovers of literature will appreciate the hotel’s long-standing history of pen-carrying patrons, including Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, and many others. The hotel was even named an official literary landmark. Monte’s Pet Package includes a pet mat, bowls, a chew toy, a bag of gourmet treats, waste bags, and a brochure of pet-friendly attractions in the city. They even offer kennel services, as needed.
Sheraton NOLA is also a hit with dog-lovers, due to both its excellent customer service and its taste in art! The lobby is decorated with original Blue Dog paintings by George Rodrigue, as well as Rodrigue’s original Blue Dog fiberglass cow from the 1999 Chicago Cow Parade. For a more cozy-chic vibe, check into the Catahoula and enjoy a pisco sour on the roof with your pooch. Or, enthusiasts of haunted history can brave a night of eerie luxury at the Cornstalk Hotel.
For those who prefer a home rental, however, this Airbnb listing in the garden district is highly reviewed and offers private outdoor space to enjoy with your pet.
Where to Eat and Drink
I would be remiss to not immediately recommend a stop (or four) at Café du Monde. Dogs can join their owners on the patio, but my recommendation is to grab beignets to go and enjoy them on the steps opposite Jackson Square. Other delicious dog-friendly coffee and dessert institutions include Café Beignet, District Donuts, and Spitfire Coffee.
For a charming dinner al fresco, head to the courtyard of Café Amelie. Quigley suggests taking a table by the water fountain — if your dog enjoys bubbles, of course. We can both vouch for the meatloaf, though every dish looked mouthwatering. If you prefer your courtyard meals with a side of French horns, head to Broussard’s for their three-course jazz brunch.
The gourmet-minded will be thrilled to discover that well-behaved pups are welcome on the porches of some James Beard Award-winning establishments including Herbsaint and La Petite Grocery.
If you’re thirsty, the Bulldog in the Garden District boasts 48 craft and local beers on tap and another 100 varieties by the bottle. Dat Dog pairs local beers with unique sausages (including vegan options) and offers over 30 topping combinations. For the full brewery experience, locals recommend Brieux Carré (which features live Frenchman Street music and patio games) and Urban South Brewery (which is known for ample play space and water bowls).
That said, a trip to NOLA isn’t complete without enjoying a po’ boy. Our favorite spot is Johnny’s Po-Boys, the oldest family-owned restaurant in New Orleans. Dogs are not allowed inside, but we find this meal is best taken to go anyway. Nearby Woldenberg Park offers a sprawling green space and river views, perfect for a po’ boy picnic with your pooch.
Where to Shop
In general, visitors can happily shop their way down Magazine Street and through the Garden District with their dogs! Many shop owners are more than happy to welcome a few furry customers, and I find the best surprises when exploring new shops instead of just heading to a specific few. That said, there are a few tried and true locations to use as touchstones.
Even if you don’t stay at the Sheraton, you can experience plenty of Blue Dog goodness at the George Rodriguez gallery near St. Louis Cathedral. Quigley considers himself a rind-sniffing expert and is partial to the meats and cheeses found at the St James Cheese Company. If you want to reward your pup for their good tourist behavior, pop into Petcetera NOLA for a broad selection of toys, treats, and social events.
Feel like ending your night with a little live music? Head to Art Garden off Frenchman Street for a chance to support local artists and musicians. Also, pop into Louisiana Music Factory to pick up your favorite new artist on vinyl.
Where to Walk/Play
As it always does, the time will come when travelers need to escape the throbbing streets and find solace in nature. Louis Armstrong Park is a lush green space in the famed Treme district, featuring art that honors many of New Orleans’ most famous musicians.
For those who enjoy spending an afternoon ogling ornate, historic buildings, a walk through the oak-lined streets of the Garden District is a must. Continue on to enjoy all of the delights that Audubon Park has to offer, including a lagoon and the famous “Tree of Life.”
After dark, the city offers a macabre series of walking tours, and a few groups, such as French Quarter Phantoms or Witches Brew, allow dogs to join in.
Time your visit well and you and your pup can be on parade! Krewe of Barkus is the only Mardi Gras krewe in New Orleans that caters to the canine population. This is your chance to dress up and celebrate in the truest Crescent City fashion.
Where to Pose
New Orleans has no shortage of visual inspiration, with color, texture, and historic detail around every corner. For a classic view, head to the front gates of Jackson Square Park. Dogs are not allowed inside, but the quintessential landscape is best seen from afar. In the same vein, dogs are not able to ride the St. Charles Avenue green cable cars, but there are many chances to snap your pup smiling beside one!
Fans of public art can track down NOLA’s most iconic murals and sculptures, from Gasa Gasa to the bronze figures in Dutch Alley. For a few colorful facades, consider a self-led walking tour of Faubourg Marigny — and be sure to keep an eye out for additional art on the ground! Other dog-friendly backdrops can be found at Studio BE, a 35,000-square-foot art warehouse.
We hope you enjoyed the tips, inspiration, and of course, the fluff. Please drop us a message with any further questions, or to share your own insights!