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An alley next to a row of colorful houses in New Orleans. One of the houses is pink with green doors. There are balconies on the houses. There is a fence on the other side of the alley.

New Orleans' secret spots: The city's most charming alleys, cul-de-sacs, and enclaves

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New Orleans may be a small town, but it’s dense with history, architectural detail, and culture—all linked by a Byzantine network of social and blood ties. A limited-yet-unfathomably deep footprint reflects the city’s multilayered identity—you’ll find neighborhoods within neighborhoods, hidden alleys, and secret enclaves throughout its 350 square miles. Got some time to explore? You're in for a treat.

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The End of the World

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This grassy strip of levee sits at the intersection of the Industrial Canal and the Mississippi River, right behind a decommissioned, graffiti-bedecked naval base. It’s kind of like the rough-and-tumble older sibling of Crescent Park, where anything goes—from bonfires to off-leash dog walking. Walk down Rampart Street until it dead-ends, then cross over the train tracks and climb the levee for raw, majestic river views.

Couturie Forest

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This little-known part of City Park feels like a magical forest right in the middle of the city. Located on Harrison Avenue, the forest is accessed by a bridge. It offers a one-mile trail, bird-watching, hiking, and other gems for nature-lovers.

Park Island

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Home to Albert Ledner’s ashtray house (the one-time home of former Mayor Ray Nagin), plus other houses by the New Orleans architect, the island is surrounded by Bayou St. John and is only accessible by bridge or boat. Drive around to see several midcentury modern houses by Ledner.

Rosalie Alley

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Find the tree-shaded alley off Rampart Street, between Piety and Desire Streets in Bywater. It’s a popular spot for both Voodoo rituals and Pokemon gym battles. You’ll also find Rosalita’s, an amazing cash-only taco stand open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m., in the quirky enclave.

The Batture

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Between the banks of the river and the levee off of River Road in Jefferson Parish, close to the Orleans Parish line, a row of houses called "camps" sit on stilts along the river. The residences range from contemporary homes to the more ramshackle, fishing camp variety pictured here.

Pirate's Alley

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Perhaps the most well known of these under-the-radar spots, Pirate’s Alley in the French Quarter still feels like a secret enclave. The pedestrian street runs between between St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo, and it’s the home of Faulkner House Books and some little bars and cafes.

Pirate’s Alley in New Orleans. There are a row of colorful houses with balconies.

Palm Terrace

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This street off St. Charles Avenue, between Milan and Marengo, is a block of about a dozen Mediterranean-style stucco houses tucked in Uptown, all built in the mid 1920s by architect William Spink.

The End of the World

This grassy strip of levee sits at the intersection of the Industrial Canal and the Mississippi River, right behind a decommissioned, graffiti-bedecked naval base. It’s kind of like the rough-and-tumble older sibling of Crescent Park, where anything goes—from bonfires to off-leash dog walking. Walk down Rampart Street until it dead-ends, then cross over the train tracks and climb the levee for raw, majestic river views.

Couturie Forest

This little-known part of City Park feels like a magical forest right in the middle of the city. Located on Harrison Avenue, the forest is accessed by a bridge. It offers a one-mile trail, bird-watching, hiking, and other gems for nature-lovers.

Park Island

Home to Albert Ledner’s ashtray house (the one-time home of former Mayor Ray Nagin), plus other houses by the New Orleans architect, the island is surrounded by Bayou St. John and is only accessible by bridge or boat. Drive around to see several midcentury modern houses by Ledner.

Rosalie Alley

Find the tree-shaded alley off Rampart Street, between Piety and Desire Streets in Bywater. It’s a popular spot for both Voodoo rituals and Pokemon gym battles. You’ll also find Rosalita’s, an amazing cash-only taco stand open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m., in the quirky enclave.

The Batture

Between the banks of the river and the levee off of River Road in Jefferson Parish, close to the Orleans Parish line, a row of houses called "camps" sit on stilts along the river. The residences range from contemporary homes to the more ramshackle, fishing camp variety pictured here.

Pirate's Alley

Pirate’s Alley in New Orleans. There are a row of colorful houses with balconies.

Perhaps the most well known of these under-the-radar spots, Pirate’s Alley in the French Quarter still feels like a secret enclave. The pedestrian street runs between between St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo, and it’s the home of Faulkner House Books and some little bars and cafes.

Pirate’s Alley in New Orleans. There are a row of colorful houses with balconies.

Palm Terrace

This street off St. Charles Avenue, between Milan and Marengo, is a block of about a dozen Mediterranean-style stucco houses tucked in Uptown, all built in the mid 1920s by architect William Spink.