The French Quarter is known as the heart of New Orleans and that is because this is where the city first began. There is the Mississippi River that divides the city, but the French Quarter is where everything New Orleans is presented. Many famous people have performed in the French Quarter where jazz music got its beginnings. Historic buildings turned into museums await visitors and steamboat rides still cruise the Mississippi River as an attraction. Gambling is available at Harrah's Hotel and Casino. There is a major art center, botanical garden and Audubon Aquarium to entertain throughout the day and the many music venues for after dark.
Staying in W New Orleans-French Quarter gives the visitor many choices and many price ranges. There are chain hotels such as the Holiday Inn and Hilton or the boutique hotels that offer accommodations in mansions that used to be private homes. The Hotel Monteleone, located at 214 Rue Royale, is a National Historic Landmark hotel that has been renovated and offers excellent rooms, a pool, fitness center and state of the art technology to make anyone's stay perfect. The Omni Royal Orleans sits on a corner in the heart of the French Quarter with the wrought iron balconies that are part of the New Orleans architecture. You can find this hotel at 621 St. Louis Street.
Many restaurants are in the W New Orleans French Quarter. They serve traditional Po-boy sandwiches, gumbos and seafood. K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen is owned by the famous Chef Paul Prudhomme. The restaurant located at 416 Chartres St. is an 1834 refurbished home. The first floor is casual dining while the second floor dining facility requires reservations and has a dress code. Creole and Cajun cuisine is the specialty here. Fiorellas at 45 French Market Place serves breakfast on Saturday and Sunday with lunch and dinner daily.
Attractions in the area include the Aquarium of the Americas at the Audubon complex. There is also an IMAX Theater and Audubon Insectarium at the same site. The Cabildo, St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytere are adjacent to Jackson Square. Two of these historic buildings are museums, but they were government buildings when they were built.
Visitors can also purchase tickets to ride on the Natchez Steamboat. Located at 2 Canal St. there are two cruises daily with a guide. The steamboat offers three decks to view the harbor and reservations are requested. There is a Creole buffet on the dinner cruise, a cocktail bar and live jazz music.
The W New Orleans-French Quarter is where one of the biggest celebrations is held yearly and that is the Mardi Gras. Floats and bead throwing are an integral part of this event. A special King Cake is served with this celebration, and the person who gets the piece with the tiny baby in it is said to have good luck. There are other festivals that are held in the French Quarter during the year and visitors can find information about all of the events online.