Romantic Date Ideas in New Orleans That’ll Impress Just About Anyone

Live music, wine bars, and day trips to kindle the flames of romance.

Louisiana Travel
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel

New Orleans is a city bursting with romance, from the historic architecture of the French Quarter and the grand homes of the Garden District to the sultry sounds of jazz and mood-inducing oyster dishes. First dates with a prospective flame or date nights with a longtime love are easy to plan here, with plenty of options for a romantic outing.

There’s no shortage of swoon-worthy restaurants or elegant cocktail bars that will encourage sparks to fly, but out-of-the-box date ideas are easy to come by as well. From strolls in the park and day-long road trips to cultural outings and intimate wine bars, here are some New Orleans date ideas to help you plan the perfect night—or day—out with that someone special.

Outdoor Dates in New Orleans

City Park is the perfect spot for a date, day or night. Start with coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde to break the ice and laugh as the powdered sugar is falling all around you. Then you can browse local art at the monthly Arts Market if you visit on the second Saturday of the month or have a little friendly competition at City Putt, then take a stroll under the oaks or check out the Botanical Garden. If things are going well, finish up with a well-earned drink and a bite at Ralph’s on the Park.

For an active option, bike the Lafitte Greenway and you’ll get moving while having plenty of time to connect. Fuel up at Flour Moon Bagels with coffee and carbs before you hit the pavement. The Greenway’s linear path is 2.7 miles, but you can make it a longer ride by linking up with the Wisner Trail or the Norman C. Francis bike path. Finish up where you started and cool down with a pint or two at Skeeta Hawk Brewing.

Uptown/Garden District
There are plenty of one-off date options along the street, like grabbing coffee and chocolate at Piety and Desire, having a romantic dinner at Coquette or Saffron, or ordering wine and small plates at Saba. But for a longer get-to-know-you date, Magazine Street is perfect for an all-day stroll. Browse art galleries and local shops of all sorts while admiring the mix of architecture as you wind your way through various neighborhoods. Why stop there? Grab a casual dinner at Picnic Provisions & Whiskey or Tito’s, then see who’s playing at Le Bon Temps.

St. Charles Avenue Streetcar

Spend some time one-on-one while rolling past the majestic St. Charles Avenue mansions on this underrated date. Start with a late afternoon drink at The Chloe before hopping aboard. A Jazzy Pass offers a hop-on hop-off option to make stops at spots like Superior Seafood for oysters, Hot Tin for a cocktail, Avenue Pub for a pint, or Herbsaint for a romantic meal. Or take the streetcar all the way to Canal Street and keep the date going in the French Quarter.

Embrace your wild side at the world-class Audubon Zoo and you’re sure to have a fun date. From gentle elephants to entertaining chimpanzees and a slew of other amazing animals, you’ll be both entertained and educated. Share a stick of Roman Candy while you check out rhinos, cheetahs, seals, and the rest of the Audubon menagerie.

Jewel of the South
Photo courtesy of Jewel of the South

Food and Drink Dates in New Orleans

Wine bars

Various locations
A wine bar is the perfect middle ground between casual beers and elegant cocktails. You’ve got chill environs, curated selections, and just enough to eat to sustain your conversation. Really Really Nice Wines is a shop with a wine bar, offering unique pours and regular pop ups. Tell Me Bar has a laid-back, semi-secret vibe and Patron Saint’s dim lighting is also a little cozier. Of course, there’s Bacchanal, where you can enjoy wine, good vibes, and live music under the stars.

For an easy-going afternoon date, family-owned Parkway has it all. Grab a spot in the new “speakeasy” for a more intimate experience, park it for a while at the main bar, or sit with the crowds under the big tent outside. Go for an overstuffed shrimp po-boy or a messy roast beef. Top it off with an icy cold Barqs or an Abita Amber and you’re all set. If you go on a Thursday, you can catch the late afternoon farmer’s market on the adjacent Greenway. Otherwise take a stroll around Bayou St. John when you’re done.

French Quarter
On a quiet stretch on the edge of the Quarter, Chris Hannah’s award-winning cocktail bar and restaurant—housed in a 19th-century Creole cottage—truly is a jewel. The lush courtyard is an enchanting entryway into the dimly lit dining room. Sample complex cocktails and conversations, then indulge in elegant small plates. The dreamy atmosphere will carry you out into the night for a romantic stroll through the Quarter.

Live Music Dates in New Orleans

French Quarter
In the heart of the Quarter, amidst—but seemingly miles away from—the hubbub of Bourbon Street, The Royal Sonesta’s Jazz Playhouse is a classy venue for enjoying jazz, cocktails, and delectable light bites. The smooth sounds of Glen David Andrews or Nayo Jones will surely fan the flames of romance, or kick things up a bit with the Brass-a-Holics or Trixie Minx.

This elegant, modern lounge features delightful—if slightly eccentric—avian-themed decor. Thursdays are made for romance as you can sip expertly crafted cocktails while enjoying the sultry sounds of Da Lovebirds, featuring contemporary-jazz singer Robin Barnes, aka "The Songbird of New Orleans."

New Orleans Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of New Orleans Museum of Art

Arts and Culture Dates in New Orleans

Find the beauty in each other as you browse NOMA’s high profile collection of inspiring art. After, take a stroll around the adjacent Sydney and Walda Bestoff Sculpture Garden to enjoy the beautifully landscaped showcase of the Museum’s always-free sculpture collection. Locals get into the museum for free on Wednesdays, when you can finish up your date with the weekly happy hour at the on-site Cafe NOMA by Ralph Brennan.

For selfie-driven fun, take your sweetie to JAMNOLA. This interactive installation represents the joy, art, music, and culture that makes New Orleans great. Walk through colorful rooms designed by local artists. You can jump into a pot with a giant crawfish, snap a pic with Louis Armstrong, star in your own Mardi Gras parade, and more. You’re sure to come out with some memorable pics celebrating your love.

Day Trip Dates in New Orleans

West Bank

Take the Crescent City Connection down to the Jean Lafitte Park and Preserve to explore acres of secluded wetlands. A boardwalk winds through swampy land packed with all the best regional flora and fauna, including alligators. Next, sample top Vietnamese fare at spots like Tan Dinh or 9 Roses, then browse Hong Kong Food Market for ingredients to make dishes inspired by what you’ve tried. Stroll the Gretna Historic District (maybe picking up another Vietnamese treat at Dough Nguyeners), then take the long way back, stopping by the Westwego Shrimp lot for more local ingredients for a West Bank-inspired culinary creation.


Covington/Abita Springs
Driving the Causeway’s 24 miles will give you plenty of time to go beyond small talk, making a nearby road trip the ideal activity for upping the ante on your relationship. Head to Covington to enjoy the boutiques and galleries of the quaint historic downtown before grabbing a bite at Lola or Tavi, or rent bikes and ride the Tammany Trace to the Abita Brewery where you can take a tour and sample some of the finest local beers. Even better, head over when the brewery is hosting one of its food truck roundups or live music.

Meadville, Mississippi
Disconnect from the daily hustle and connect (or reconnect) with each other. Getaway Homochitto in Meadville, MS offers peace and quiet in beautiful natural surroundings. The tiny cabins have everything you need for a relaxing nature retreat, plus nearby trails for hiking. At night, light a fire in the fire pit, break out the s’mores, and bond under the twinkling stars.

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Gerrish Lopez is a Thrillist contributor.