Solo Female Travel to New Orleans
Rated the “most unique” city in America, New Orleans is the best destination for solo female travelers who want a trip filled with memorable culture, music, food, nightlife, and art. If you’re looking for a vacation unlike anyplace else in the world, then New Orleans is the spot.
With all the vibrant colors and jazzy music, there are also some special considerations for female travelers planning a trip to New Orleans. New Orleans is not generally considered safe for solo travelers. However, you can still enjoy a trip there if you stick to major attractions and keep yourself alert. We’ve listed some best practice safety tips for female travelers and areas of caution below.
With safety in mind, this article can help you get a better understanding of the city and plan out the perfect dream vacation to New Orleans. We’ve put together a list of some of the best places to shop, covid restrictions, popular types of tours, and some of the top attractions to see.
About New Orleans, Louisiana
The most populous city in the state, New Orleans serves as both the economic and commercial hub of Louisiana. It’s seated on a major port leading from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. New Orleans, also known as “The Big Easy,” and most commonly “NOLA,” boasts about 19 million visitors a year.
New Orleans is home to Creole culture, gumbo, and beignets, and has the oldest active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States.
New Orleans is well-kept, but it is old, so it may not feel like the cleanest city you’ve visited. Also, don’t plan on taking a swim in the Mississippi River as it’s muddy and filled with debris. The Mississippi River is also filled with dangerous undertows not even professional swimmers risk.
Residents in New Orleans are usually nice. If it’s your birthday, it’s a tradition to pin a dollar on your shirt. Then random strangers come up and give you money to congratulate you. MySittiVacations.com
Best Places To Go Shopping in New Orleans
Full of delicious smells, exotic vendors, and beautiful architecture, the French Quarter is a wonderful place to explore the historic culture of New Orleans. For females traveling solo, this is the safest area and contains most (if not all) the must-see attractions that New Orleans has to offer.
Surprisingly, bookstores are an immensely popular spot for visitors to New Orleans. From vintage to new, these bookstores have something for everyone.
The most popular bookstores include Faulkner House Books, Garden District Book Shop, Octavia Books, and Arcadian Books and Prints.
- Art Markets and Galleries
New Orleans is overflowing with art, from murals on buildings and streets to sophisticated art galleries, this city contains a multitude of art styles. Street vendors are popular and make art on the spot. NOLA art comes in every medium, size, and style. You can find art pieces from a couple dollars to thousands of dollars.
Popular art galleries include Frank Relle Photography, Caliche & Pao, Sutton, and Gallery Rinard. Art galleries are great to visit alone because they tend to have dedicated security.
- Music Shops
While New Orleans is best known for its jazz, you’ll find music of every type during your trip. Live music is available everywhere, all year round, from concerts, to restaurants, everywhere. Music stores and shops fall into this category, offering visitors a taste of audible culture.
Some of the more popular music stores in New Orleans include the Louisiana Music Factory, Basin Street Records, and Webb’s Bywater Music.
- Voodoo Shops
An incorporation of white and black magic, voodoo shops and art feature every sort of tool and trinket for gimmick and practice. While we can’t speak to the authenticity of these shops, there is a lot of cool stuff to see, even if you aren’t interested in buying anything.
Popular voodoo shops include Marie Laveau House of Voodoo, the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, The Voodoo Spiritual Temple, Voodoo Authentica Inc, Treadway Botanica, and Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo.
New Orleans Tours
The range of tours offered in New Orleans ranges from historical to entertainment. Some tours traverse the city offering historical facts while others provide insight to artful architecture while others function as a ghost tour.
Water Tours: From local swamps to the Mississippi, there are a multitude of tours performed on the water. Waterside activities include watching local wildlife or enjoying a romantic dinner on a steamboat while listening to soothing live jazz. MySittiVacations.com
Ghost Tours: A city rich with history as well as voodoo, NOLA offers many tours for those who enjoy hearing about ghosts, learning about crimes committed, and listening to stories about hauntings modern and past. Make sure to check out the LaLaurie Haunted Mansion, noted as one of the most haunted buildings in the world. MysittiVacations.com
Food Tours: Cocktail and food history tours as well as walking food tours are a terrific way to sample the local and classic cuisine cultivated in this historic city.
City Tours: Touring the city can be accomplished several ways: taking a bus, walking around, or a combination of both. These tours are a fantastic way to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time as well as view the archaic beauty of the Spanish and French influenced architecture. MysittiVacations.com
Mardi Gras translates to “Fat Tuesday” in French, and it’s a celebration representing a time of feasting before Lent. Mardi Gras runs from Twelfth Night (first week of January) to Fat Tuesday (last week of February). The “Carnival-like” celebration includes parades, exquisite food, intricate floats, extreme costumes, and incredible performances. Mardi Gras draws people from all over the nation to join in the live music, late night parties, and endless celebration. King cake, a delicious cinnamon confection associated with Mardi Gras, is a must have during this February celebration. Usually the
If you plan to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras, understand that it is shoulder-to-shoulder packed tight throughout the entire French Quarter. Pickpockets and muggings are big, as is nudity, flashing, sexual assault, and drugging. Protestors are common and occasionally violent.
Safety Tips for Travel in New Orleans
As in any big city, solo female travelers should be careful when visiting New Orleans. Crime risk throughout New Orleans is moderate but doesn’t occur near tourist attractions. If you stick to well-established vacation areas like the French Quarter, you’ll avoid most problems.
Public intoxication is common in New Orleans (despite being illegal) so you’ll need to keep your distance and know how to firmly tell people to back off. Rape is a prevalent problem in New Orleans, and has steadily increased over the last two decades.
- Get a good hotel in a nice part of town.
- Use tours to site-see.
- Don’t be alone at night.
- There are many pickpockets, keep your stuff close.
- Don’t openly show items of value (including purses, jewelry, cameras, etc.).
- Keep away from the inebriated and homeless.
- Don’t drink too much. And if you do drink, try to only use the hotel bar.
- Don’t wander, criminals are opportunists, stay in populated, well-lit areas.
- Carry pepper spray and know how to use it.
- Sunday is statistically the highest day for crime in New Orleans.
- Most crime happens between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.
- Con artists are common in New Orleans. Avoid people who seem off or too nice.
- Unless on a tour, avoid cemeteries after dark. They’re super interesting, but criminals are known to hide behind tombs.
You can see crime statistics for New Orleans here. You can also see a crime map with recent activity here.
Areas of Caution
The following areas are riskier than the rest of New Orleans, and we recommend against going anywhere near them, especially as a solo female traveler.
- Desire and Florida Neighborhoods
- St. Claude
- 6th District (which includes Central City, Garden District, Irish Channel, Zion City, Touro, and Hoffman Triangle.
The following parts of New Orleans have the lowest crime rates and are safest for solo trips.
- The popular blocks of the French Quarter (from Decatur Street to Bourbon Street, and between Ann Street and Canal Street).
- The Garden District (until Magazine Street, away from the Mississippi River).
Covid Travel Restrictions in New Orleans
As of January 2022, more than 82% of adult residents have received the Covid-19 vaccine. However, the pandemic remains a problem for vacationers worldwide. Beginning February 1, 2022, a new set of precautions will take effect.
Masks required in all indoor spaces except when actively eating or drinking.
Proof of full vaccination or proof of a negative Covid test (taken within 72 hours prior to entry) is required for entry to the following:
- Indoor dining including bars, restaurants, etc.
- Fitness Centers
- Indoor Entertainment including stadiums, arenas, concert halls, venues, casinos, etc.
- Most large outdoor events (over 500 people).
How to Prove Your Vaccination Status
- CDC Card (original, photocopy, or digital photo – both sides)
- LA Wallet App
- Official Record issued by W.H.O, state, or foreign nation
- Vaccine Record given through authorized clinical trial
How to Prove Your Negative Covid Test
- Official Lab Report or Screenshot of Report (must clearly show name, date of test, and result)
* Physical elements of the test, doctor’s note, or picture of negative tests are not accepted. *
** At home Covid tests are not accepted. **
Top Attractions in New Orleans
We’ve put together a list of the most popular attractions in New Orleans perfect for your day trip. Make sure to check ahead about ticket availability, hours, and prices.
- The National World War 2 Museum
The National World War 2 (WW2) Museum is America’s Official commemorative museum featuring actual artifacts and vehicles used during one of the world’s ugliest wars. The exhibits feature history, technology, and courage of those who fought for freedom. MySittivacations.com
- Garden District
The Garden District of New Orleans offers zoos, restaurants, and immaculate neighborhoods perfect for a lazy day in the park, or streetcar rides. The Garden District is also home to many theaters for those who enjoy the arts.
- Frenchmen Street
Frenchmen Street is best known for its live music. If you’re looking to dance, club, or get some late-night food, this is the place to go. As a solo traveler, just be sure that you remember those safety tips and can get a safe ride home.
- New Orleans City Park
The New Orleans City Park sports 1,300 acres of lush grass, beautiful trees, and scenic water works. They also sell exotic plants. Depending on when you visit, you can also catch some amazing events they plan year-round.
- Jackson Square
Located within the French Quarter, Jackson Square is home to some of the oldest historic buildings in the entire U.S. and has a shopping mall. If you’re looking to see local artists, this is the place to go.
- Preservation Hall
Preservation Hall is wonderful for those who want authentic music. Filled with concerts by notable musicians, check out their events calendar to see performances. Preservation Hall concerts support the black community and talent.
- Audubon Zoo
The Audubon Zoo (located on Magazine Street) covers 58 acres and is home to over 2,000 animals. The zoo is well known for its white alligators, and like most zoos, makes a suitable place to visit for female travelers who want to see animals at their own pace.
- Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World
Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World is where the magic of Mardi Gras is made. Tours are available which allow visitors to see the creation process for iconic floats, and the other workings of Mardi Gras events, art, and parties.
- Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street, while not named after the alcohol, is famous for its many bars and celebrations. You can also find incredible Creole restaurants. If you like photography and want iconic New Orleans photos, this is the place to visit.