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Dec 26, 2011 07:52 AM

New Years Ideas in New Orleans without being at a all you can drink open bar

Looking for some decent different ideas for NYE in NEW ORLEANS. The wife and I will be in from NYC and are not into the whole bar/club open bar thing....maybe a good dinner...maybe a trip to an outdoor location? I heard Jackson Square or the river is fun but I am afraid of showing up in a midst of one million people and not being able to get anywhere near where you want to be. In Times Square in NY there are so many people that its nearly impossible to get into the square and see anything. Ends up being just a bunch of people standing around on a crowded side street being herded like cattle. Doesnt sound like good time to me.

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  1. The Jackson Square NYE activities are nothing like the scale of NYC. It's far, far less crowded and perfectly pleasant. If you're staying in the Quarter anyway, you should make a reservation for dinner (maybe Pelican Club, Green Goddess or Irene's; someplace slightly off the beaten path, but reservations are an absolute must and make them yesterday), then go to Jackson Square for the concert, dropping baby, and fireworks.

    If you want to get go drinks from bars, there are easily 20 within a few blocks of the Square. Try Harry's Corner Bar for a non-touristy, less crowded spot to grab a good but not fancy cocktail, and to use the restroom. Or get a daiquiri from one of the daiquiri shops near Jackson Square on Decatur, or a margarita from Felipe's nearby on North Peters.

    Or, because New Orleans allows drinks on the street, you can get a six pack of your favorite beer, throw it in a soft-sided cooler, and take the party with you. There are several convenience/liquor stores in the Quarter but I recommend the Rouses at Royal and St. Peter or Vieux Carre Wine & Spirits in the 400 block of Chartres St. Both have very good selections of beer, and both sell plastic cups too. You're not allowed to have glass open containers, but it's ok to open a bottle and pour it into a plastic cup as long as there's a proper receptacle handy for the glass.

    Anyway, New Year's in the Quarter can be lots of fun. Do avoid the crowds of Bourbon Street, but the rest of the Quarter has lots to offer. All this advice is null if you're staying outside the Quarter, because it will be nearly impossible to get a cab back to your hotel after the festivities. If you're staying somewhere else, I guess re-post with that info and we'll go from there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: uptownlibrarian

      We are staying at the Hyatt by the Superdome so I dont think the walk is too bad from the Quarter. I must say I have been reading some of the NOPD reports and there seems to be a lot of muggings/armed robberies going on in NO. Is it more dangerous than usual or is it just that its im noticing it more? This will be our second time to NO and I am from NY so am no stranger to big city safety precaution but just wanted to know if youve experienced the same. THANKS FOR THE TIPS!!!!

      1. re: FoodExpression

        It's not too far to walk theoretically, but I still probably wouldn't be thrilled to do it in the middle of the night. If you do walk go directly across Canal to St. Charles, the to Poydras. Those will be the busiest streets at night. The streets of the CBD (the other side of Canal from the French Quarter, basically exactly where you're staying) aren't usually very peopled at night even on special occasions. We have pedicabs now so that might be an option, and tons of cabs will be out, they'll just be busy. Or just be very street smart and keep your wits about you as you already know. I don't know that it's actually getting more dangerous statistically, but it might be.

        Do you have a reservation for dinner yet? All the big places will definitely be full up, unless you can sneak in under a cancellation.