I’m not gonna beat around the bush – a New Orleans solo trip is a must for every solo traveler! Having been to New Orleans a few times before I turned 21, I was excited to visit as an adult. And a solo trip to New Orleans is just what I needed, so I’m recommending it to you.
Also, there are many things to do alone in New Orleans! So you do not have to worry about that. Many people say solo traveling can be boring, but I don’t think that is possible in New Orleans. So here’s what you should know when planning your solo trip to New Orleans.
Is New Orleans safe for solo travel?
When you google New Orleans, there are lots of questions about safety. As a Black solo female traveler, I never felt unsafe in New Orleans. I caught Ubers and Lyfts when I didn’t walk or take the streetcar. I even walked around at night. I always recommend chatting with a loved one if it’s super late.
Overall, I had no issues as a solo traveler. I think safety is relative, and in my case, New Orleans was safe. Scroll down to the end of the post for more solo travel safety tips for New Orleans.
Where to stay in New Orleans as a solo traveler
HI New Orleans
Similar to my solo trip to Charleston, I opted for hostels! My first hostel was Hostelling International New Orleans. HI New Orleans is a hostel chain with many locations across the U.S, hence why they’re HI USA. HI New Orleans is also located on Canal Street within walking distance of Bourbon Street and Louis Armstrong Park.
I booked their private ensuite room and adored every minute. I think it felt very hotel-like if you want the hotel’s privacy and the social aspects of a hostel. HI New Orleans is also excellent for remote work. There is a vast kitchen and lobby with many workspaces available. I would come back for another remote work stint!
Another hostel chain with locations in the U.S and abroad is Selina. A boho boutique-style hostel/hotel, Catahoula Selina is ducked off on Union Street in downtown New Orleans. Selina is ideal for solo travelers looking for a convenient yet slightly secluded option.
I booked their private plus room as a splurge to myself. It ended up being great for both solo traveling and the remote work I had to do. In the private plus, there is an ensuite bathroom. Also, I loved how I could control the heat. There was also a rooftop bar, regular bar, and indoor and outdoor seating.
How to get around New Orleans traveling solo
How you navigate traveling solo around New Orleans depends on you. Many of the locals I spoke to do not recommend that tourists rent cars, especially staying downtown. Parking can get expensive, and navigating people, cars, and the streetcars can be a lot.
I walked as much as I could. And when I could not walk, I caught an Uber or Lyft. The average price for my Ubers was roughly $8-$9, though those surcharges did increase the price at night. I always choose ridesharing for ease and peace of mind!
Where to eat as a solo traveler in New Orleans
People assume that all there is to eat in New Orleans is shellfish. However, after being a pescatarian for 12 years, I had an allergic reaction to shellfish. So I thought about not going on my New Orleans solo trip, fearing I wouldn’t be able to eat anything.
I was wrong! I found many vegan and vegetarian restaurants in New Orleans. If you have similar food allergies, do not be discouraged! Your solo trip to New Orleans will not be ruined due to your allergies.
I ate at the Peacock Room for one of their Sunday jazz brunches! It is adorably decorated in peacock colors – I loved the design. I would recommend their chicken biscuit and potatoes if you want something satisfying but not too filling. The menu is small but mighty. Just make sure you double-check it, so you know what to expect if you have any food allergies.
Court of Two Sisters
One of the most famous jazz brunches is the Court of Two Sisters in the French Quarter. It is buffet-style with tons of food on the first floor. You can get as many plates as you want for a flat price of $33.
Since I visited in January, it was a bit too cold to be out on the patio. However, that is an option in the warmer months. So make a reservation as well ahead of time. And if you don’t, plan on arriving right when it opens because there will be a line.
I tried two vegan soul food restaurants during my New Orleans solo trip, and Ital-Garden was the first. Ital is a Black-owned restaurant with indoor seating and take-out available. You can find multiple options for vegan dishes such as vegan mac n cheese, buffalo cauliflower wings, seitan ribs, and more.
Cru Bar & Grill
Formerly known as Vegan with a Twist, Cru Bar & Grill is a Black-owned restaurant downtown New Orleans. Their menu does still have some vegan options. However, they also offer seafood, chicken, pasta, tacos, margaritas, and more. So you can find something to enjoy on your New Orleans solo trip!
After a few failed attempts searching for vegetarian or vegan options early on in my trip, Bearcat CBD caught my eye. It did not disappoint me! I ordered the vegan rancheros, added a fried egg, and got a side of pancakes. I was hungry upon arrival and satisfied when leaving.
Bésame was an unexpected find on my solo trip to New Orleans. It is a Latin American tapas restaurant connected to HI New Orleans (so if you stay there, you also get a 10% discount at Bésame). The vegetarian empanadas and guacamole were very flavorful. However, I wish I had gone back to try their drinks!
Another Black-owned vegan soul food restaurant in New Orleans is Sweet Soulfood. I got the $13.99 dinner with a veggie protein and three sides. I opted for vegan mac n cheese, particularly spicy-sweet cauliflower wings, greens, and okra with rice. They also have made-to-order green juices and more.
Ruby Slipper may seem like a tourist trap restaurant to the naked eye. But after eating there myself, I can confirm it’s worth it. I indulged in a salmon benedict and biscuits on my last breakfast in New Orleans and scarfed it down so fast. Sometimes the downtown areas in popular cities do have good food!
Baldwin & Co.
For those solo travelers in New Orleans who are also working remotely, Baldwin & Co. is the place for you. A Black-owned coffee shop, it honors the legacy of James Baldwin. I spent one-afternoon co-working here, and I wish I had visited it earlier in my trip.
I didn’t eat much here, just some delicious banana bread. But I did drink some flavorful sweet ginger lemon tea. I could have drunk a pitcher of it! All in all, if you are looking for some downtime to read or journal while on your solo trip to New Orleans, check out Baldwin & Co.
Where to drink and go out as a solo traveler in New Orleans
Bar Marilou takes the French influence in New Orleans to the next level. This French-inspired bar feels like you are wining and dining in Paris. I visited during the week during one of their wine and DJ nights.
Regardless of whether you are a solo traveler or not, you need to make a reservation. Head to their website to find an available day and time for your visit. I only went for an excellent sweet wine after work and recommend the frye bread. Bar Marilou is also under a 10-minute walk from Catahoula Selina.
I love a bar with solid drinks and good music – and Victory has both! So I opted for a tequila and champagne concoction that was unexpectedly divine. And honestly, I felt a bit tipsy just after one glass.
I also loved Victory on my New Orleans solo trip because of the music. They played a mix of current and 90s-2000s R&B and Rap on a Saturday night. Also, the people who run the Drink Lab run Victory. So if you take the cocktail class, it should be easy to find. Good vibes all around!
While most people talk about Bourbon Street, I found Frenchmen Street more enjoyable. I love a good band and live music. Traveling solo in New Orleans meant I had many options to find lovely jazz music.
What I loved most about Frenchmen Street was the lack of cover at most bars. No covers meant I could bar hop and listen to all the live music I wanted. I recommend wandering up and down the street to find the bar for you. Just remember to tip the performers!
New Orleans Art Bar
On one of the late nights of my solo trip to New Orleans, I ended up at New Orleans Art Bar. It is a Black-owned bar near Baldwin & Co. If you are looking for Black people to party with in New Orleans, this is one of the places to be.
Down the street from New Orleans Art Bar was Hi-Ho Lounge. I found an Instagram page that featured shows and live music in New Orleans, and a DJ’s R&B set popped up. The vibe of Hi-Ho was relaxed yet active, with people singing and dancing to the music. This entire area, which is around the corner from Baldwin & Co. and up the street from New Orleans Art Bar, has many nightlife options.
What to do on your solo trip to New Orleans
There are so many things you can do alone in New Orleans! I could have spent longer than two weeks here exploring what the city has to offer. But, instead, I loved every minute and every activity I did solo traveling in New Orleans. I wholeheartedly recommend each of these experiences for your solo trip to New Orleans.
Dance at a bounce twerk class at Moe Joe Gallery
Taking this Airbnb experience with Bounce Fitness was the most fun I’ve ever had on a solo trip. Moe Joe’s energy and eagerness to teach us about bounce were infectious. I felt so comfortable even though I was solo and surrounded by people I did not know.
The class is 60 minutes at her studio; water is provided too. The cost is only $40, and I think that is an excellent deal for the experience you receive. If you do not rent a car, you will have to Uber to the studio. Wear comfortable clothes and be ready to embrace your inner confidence!
Attend a cocktail making class with New Orleans Drink Lab
Taking a cocktail making/bartending class has been on my solo activities bucket list for a while. So I figured New Orleans was the place to try it since they are known for their drinks. New Orleans Drink Lab was the first place that popped up, and I’m glad it did.
I learned a lot about making drinks and how different flavors blend. The class is $90 and includes all the materials and three drinks. If you stay at Catahoula Selina during your New Orleans solo trip, Drink Lab is within walking distance.
Go to a burlesque show at the Jazz Playhouse
Burlesque is another solo traveler activity I wanted to experience. While in New Orleans, I chose Trixie’s Minx Burlesque Ballroom Show at the Royal Sonesta’s Jazz Playhouse. It is located in the heart of the French Quarter, not too far from Bourbon Street. Tickets are $25, not including food and drinks, though a minimum is one drink. The show is an hour and to be honest, I would pay to see a longer one!
Do a solo traveler photoshoot in the French Quarter
Even though you can take your photos as a solo traveler, I didn’t this time. I think New Orleans is a bustling city, especially touristy sites. I recommend getting a photographer if you are interested in some solo photos. I booked a group experience on Airbnb, and the photographer graciously made it a solo photoshoot since it is usually reserved for couples.
Take the All About Dat Black heritage & jazz tour
As a Black solo female traveler, I am always looking for Black history. All About Dat Tours was an insightful and affirming tour experience for me! Mikhala is a knowledgeable host and incorporated singing and chanting on our tour as a jazz singer.
For non-Black travelers on a solo trip to New Orleans who book this tour, it is honest. Mikhala did not sugarcoat how Black Americans were treated before New Orleans became a tourist hotspot. Many other Black heritage tours that are not Black-owned do. If you book her tour, know that she centers the experiences of Black people.
Ride the St. Charles Streetcar Line
Check out the green St. Charles Streetcar Line for a laid-back activity. While a red one runs through Canal St., this one runs towards the Garden District. Unfortunately, it is partially under construction right now in February 2022, so you have to catch a bus first. However, you can get a $3 ticket to ride all day. Bring exact change in cash only to pay.
Listen to live music on Frenchmen Street
Though many people talk about Bourbon Street, I opted for Frenchmen Street during my New Orleans solo trip. Both are popular and touristy of course. But I found Frenchmen to be more laid back with the live music versus Bourbon’s club-style music. Many of the bars don’t even have a cover! You can easily walk up and down Frenchmen to find the right, live vibe for you.
Visit the Studio Be gallery
Studio Be is a hub for Black art and activism in New Orleans. They offer programming and workshops for local artists and host events. I went and walked through the gallery, in awe of the blend of Blackness, activism, and art in each piece. If you are a street art lover, you have to check them out.
Eat, eat, eat
If my list above did not convince you, I’m here to remind you to eat in New Orleans! Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or have no dietary restrictions, the city is full of food. As someone with a relatively new shellfish allergy, I worried I would not have anything to eat. But there are tons of restaurants to choose from, so date yourself and try them!
On being a Black solo female traveler in New Orleans
Meeting other Black solo travelers (and groups)
On this trip, I did not meet a lot of other Black solo travelers. However, at the bounce twerk class, I did meet some nice Black women traveling together. Suppose you are looking to meet other Black travelers or Black locals in general, patron the Black-owned businesses. That’s where I learned more about the city beyond the French Quarter.
Safety tips for solo traveling in New Orleans
As previously mentioned above, I felt safe as a solo female traveler in New Orleans. Most areas I visited were busy, so I never felt alone. If you are going out at night, consider catching rideshare instead of walking. Or, depending on how late it is, call a loved one who can just be on the phone as you walk from place to place. And keep your eyes and ears open, as always.
Black culture in New Orleans
New Orleans has many Black-owned businesses and restaurants to support! However, I did notice gentrification in some areas. For example, on my Black heritage and jazz tour, the guide mentioned how Treme, the historically Black neighborhood, is now 75% Airbnbs owned by people who do not live in New Orleans.
Aside from that, I think you can find Black-owned places to patron throughout your trip. New Orleans has rich Black history, and the food matches it. If you are a Black solo female traveler like me, it is possible to connect with Black locals in New Orleans.
A solo trip to New Orleans is a GREAT idea
My New Orleans solo trip has risen to the top of my favorites list! The depth and breadth of the culture there are infectious, given all they have been through as a city. In addition, the vibrancy of New Orleans music and the friendliness of the people who wanted to make sure I had a good time.
It can be awkward to find things to do alone in New Orleans and beyond, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would go back again. So put a solo trip to New Orleans on your list too.
Are you looking for more solo travel guides? Check out this solo travel guide to Charleston.