An Evening on Magazine Street

Magazine Street is one of the most well-known thoroughfares in New Orleans. It dates back to the early days of the city’s expansion, when it became home to various shops. Some say it was named for an ammunition magazine that was located nearby at the time. Others will tell you that the name comes from the French word for stores, or magasins. Today, it’s an eclectic mix of Victorian houses, mom-and-pop stores, art galleries, antique shops, bars, and restaurants. 

Following the course of the Mississippi River, Magazine Street stretches for six miles, from the edge of the French Quarter all the way until Leake Avenue in the Uptown/Carrollton area.  It would take you about two hours to walk from one end to the other. That’s if you don’t make any stops, of course. With so much to see and do, you could easily spend an entire day eating and shopping your way through.

Thanks to its proximity to the Garden District, Magazine Street is also a great add-on for visitors to the area. That’s exactly how we decided to top off our self-guided tour. It was late afternoon by the time we finished our walk around the historical neighborhood. So why not enjoy an early evening stroll down to dinner?

We headed down First Street towards Molly’s Rise and Shine, a popular breakfast spot. Before turning the corner onto Magazine Street, a brightly colored mural caught my eye. Consisting of a dozen faces painted on a gate, it stood in stark contrast to the old houses we had spent the afternoon perusing. It was like a marker, signaling the vibe shift to come.

(I later learned the mural is by Langston Allston, a painter and muralist who works between Chicago and New Orleans. It was done for DNO, the design studio next door.)

Mural by Langston Allston for DNO

Magazine Street has everything you could ever need, and everything you didn’t know you wanted. True to its roots, there’s still a mix of residential buildings and commercial properties. We passed guest houses, private houses, convenience stores, cafes, bars, and even a haunted house attraction, Ghost Manor

There’s also a lot of vintage and thrift shops to explore. The giant snail in the window of Slow Down will draw you in, as will the bright colors and lights of Out of the Closet. The latter offers on-site HIV testing and 96 cents of every dollar made goes to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

By this point, we had been walking for a few good hours straight, so when I spotted a bench in an empty courtyard, I convinced my sister to let us take a break. The Magazine Commons is usually bustling but it was getting dark and the shops were starting to close. Here, you’ll find enticing eateries like Another Broken Egg Cafe, the Cupcake Collection, and French Truck Coffee

After our little siesta, we had another 20 minutes to go before we’d reach our dinner destination. Along the way, the sun set and Magazine Street began to sparkle. We stopped at Baru to admire the bistro’s twinkling lights, then took a detour down Amelia Street to check out a house decked out in Mardi Gras decorations.

We passed Potsalot, a cute little pottery studio and showroom, and Fait, an exotic plant shop. You can also check out the paintings and drawings of Alex Beard at his studio a block away. The artist and author is known for his unique style of painting, which he calls, “Abstract Naturalism.”

And then, at last, we reached Shaya. The Israeli restaurant is known for blending Middle Eastern favorites with Southern flavors and techniques. It also takes inspiration from African, Eastern European, Turkish, and Greek cuisine. The result? Absolutely delicious. Order the Pomegranate Lemon Soda with your meal—it’s a real treat.

Visit Magazine Street

The easiest way to get to Magazine Street is through the Garden District. Take the St Charles streetcar from the French Quarter or the CBD and get off anywhere between Jackson and Louisiana Avenue. Then, walk south for five blocks until you reach Magazine Street.


1 Comment

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December 23, 2023 at 10:24 AM

Lovely pics, makes me wanna visit again.

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