Moving to New Orleans? You already know NOLA as a hot spot for Mardi Gras, jazz, and Cajun cuisine. But if you’re looking to go from tourist to resident in this colorful southern city, you’ll need to learn more than just where to find the best beignets in each of the 13 districts. Below are the five safest, most affordable neighborhoods in New Orleans to check out if you’re hoping to call this city home!
- Central Business District
- Gentilly Terrace
- Old Aurora
- West End
Central Business District
- Home Price: $269,920 median purchase price; $730 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 72% of cities in Louisiana
- Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families
Located next to the French Quarter, the Central Business District is in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. Despite being surrounded by new bars, fine dining, and excellent shopping, this area surprisingly has affordable rent for being in the heart of the city. In other words, Central Business District is one of the best neighborhoods in New Orleans for those wanting a high-rise lifestyle and short commute without a hefty price tag.
Young residents and urban families in the renter-friendly neighborhood benefit from being within walking distance of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where they can catch a Saints game or see a touring musical act. If you want to live in a festive spot in Downtown NOLA that’s as safe and as affordable as some of the area suburbs, Central Business District should be at the top of your list!
Things to Do in Central Business District
Take your lunch break in Lafayette Square or catch a free concert there after work! See a play on Canal St at the historic Orpheum Theater, or watch a musical at the restored Civic Theatre—the oldest theater in New Orleans. Learn about “the war that changed the world” through 4D experiences and interactive exhibits at The National WWII Museum. Discover regional history through photography, paintings, sculptures, and community events at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Eat something unexpected—like fried chicken with a curry sauce—at Maypop Restaurant, where Southeast Asian and Southeast Louisiana combine. Find art from local artisans, enjoy a craft cocktail, or sample food from multiple vendors all under one roof at Pythian Market. Or grab a king cake for Mardi Gras at bakery and restaurant Willa Jean!
- Home Price: $211,467 median purchase price; $990 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 39% of cities in Louisiana
- Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, students
Considered part of Uptown, the revitalization of Freret St has led to trendy shops and unique restaurants popping up throughout this NOLA neighborhood. If you’re not sure where to live in New Orleans, but you know you want lots to do within walking distance, the Freret Corridor is the place to be!
“You can still buy an affordable home here and see rapid appreciation,” said Caitlin Craig Brewster, a real estate agent at McEnery Residential.
First-time buyers can purchase a restored shotgun-style home, and renters can find apartments for much cheaper than those in neighboring Carrollton. Freret’s location near Tulane University and Loyola University paired with the increasing number of outdoor cafes and after-work activities creates a friendly area for residents who want to get out and experience their community.
Things to Do in Freret
Enjoy food, art, and flea market items for sale the first Saturday of every month at the Freret Market, which expands to the all-day Freret Street Festival each spring with live music, local artisans, and even more food vendors. Take in an art exhibit or live music down the street at Gasa Gasa. Stroll over to St Charles Ave and ride the street car to take in the 19th and 20th century architecture or discover your new favorite outdoor cafe. Dive into a good book over a nitro cold brew at Mojo Coffee House. Swing next door for a lox sandwich at Humble Bagel. Or get your fix of Louisiana-style cooking by ordering catfish or green beans with bacon at High Hat Cafe.
- Home Price: $168,785 median purchase price; $915 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 61% of cities in Louisiana
- Perfect For: Students, families, retirees
Thinking about raising a family in New Orleans? If you want to live in the suburbs where your neighbors know your name, the Gentilly district could be right for you! Lush yards, a diverse population, and friendly folks are a staple of this NOLA neighborhood. Not only does Gentilly Terrace offer walkable streets full of bungalows and Craftsman-style homes, but it also sees less crime than the heart of the city. Although the area was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, much of the neighborhood has since been rebuilt.
“Gentilly has lots of [newly] constructed and renovated homes for affordable prices,” added Melissa McClendon, a real estate agent at Delisha Boyd, LLC.
These revamped homes are ideal for young families or new home buyers looking for great properties in a constantly evolving area. This is thanks in part to the location of Dillard University, which helps keep Gentilly flush with bright minds. A tight-knit community is also a staple of the area, which is fostered by the Gentilly Terrace and Gardens Improvement Association through hosting neighborhood garage sales and holiday parties. While there’s not much in terms of dining and nightlife in this residential area, Gentilly Terrace is within 15 minutes of the French Quarter and Central Business District.
Things to Do in Gentilly
Play a game of tennis or baseball at Pontchartrain Park. Eat a poboy, listen to live music, and shop for jewelry and home decor each October at Gentilly Fest. Travel to the Seventh Ward to reconnect with the city’s roots at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Ride an airboat or go charter fishing at Big Easy Swamp Adventures. Drive to City Park to find walking trails below mature oak trees, a botanical garden, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and more! Get gumbo and fried chicken at Sassafras Creole Kitchen. Or satisfy your cravings for pizza and pasta at East of Italy.
- Home Price: $148,818 median purchase price; $840 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 82% of cities in Louisiana
- Perfect For: Families, retirees
Tucked within the Algiers district, historic bungalows and friendly neighbors make Old Aurora one of the best places to live in New Orleans! “Algiers has affordable, spacious homes,” McClendon stated. “You can usually get more square footage for the price compared to other neighborhoods.”
Just across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter, the Algiers Point ferry offers quick access to the heart of the city. But the local Victorian architecture and breathtaking views of the Downtown NOLA skyline are worth sticking around for.
A bit further inland from the ferry stop, oak-lined streets and a quieter way of life make Old Aurora an ideal neighborhood for families and retirees. With 65.7% owner-occupied households in the area, this is a top spot if you’re planning on buying property in New Orleans, especially if you enjoy ranch-style homes. Low crime rates, a diverse population, and great schools—including PK-8 Alice M. Harte Charter School and New Orleans Military & Maritime Academy—make this an awesome neighborhood for raising kids!
Things to Do in Old Aurora
Practice your swing at nearby Lakewood Golf Club. Enjoy birdwatching or take the kids to the playground at Brechtel Park. Head to Algiers Point to take in riverfront views of the city and stop for artisan toast at Congregation Coffee. Make an appointment to visit the Algiers Folk Art Zone & Blues Museum. Listen to live music at The Old Point Bar, or grab a glass of Scotch at Crown & Anchor English Pub. Find elegant vases and learn the delicate art of glass-blowing at Rosetree Blown Glass. Or shop for funky Mardi Gras earrings and geometric necklaces at Beatrixbell Handcrafted Jewelry.
- Home Price: $181,000 median purchase price; $1,191 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 96% of cities in Louisiana
- Perfect For: Families, retirees
As one of the safest neighborhoods in New Orleans, West End is a great place to raise a family. Although it’s slightly removed from city life, West End’s proximity to the Lakeview neighborhood means there’s a lot to do nearby while avoiding the elevated cost of living associated with more urban areas. Lakeview also offers great K-8 education at Edward Hynes Charter School, as well as endless dining and shopping on Harrison Ave.
West End’s nautical nature is immediately noticeable by the New Canal Lighthouse, which stands right on the edge of Lake Pontchartrain. Waterfront boat houses, charming cottages, and more traditional home styles can all be found here for below the median purchase price in New Orleans. If you want to live in a beautiful and affordable New Orleans neighborhood that has all the history and charm of Downtown New Orleans without the crowds, West End is the ideal spot!
Things to Do in West End
Have a picnic near Lake Ponchartrain or bike on the paths at West End Park. Schedule a guided tour with the New Canal Lighthouse to learn more about NOLA’s history. Take in the waterfront view as you eat a seafood platter at Russell’s Marina Grill. Enjoy an upscale evening out in the neighborhood with wine and cured salmon at Sala. Head east to Lakeview to shop for Carnaval clothing or home decor made by local artisans at Little Miss Muffin. Indulge in Rosemary Peach Tea sherbert or earn your place in the Tchoupitoulas Hall of Fame by eating an eight-scoop sundae at Creole Creamery. Or sample a spiked Lakeview Lemonade or bite into Muffaletta Deviled Eggs at The Backyard.
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Neighborhood statistics from AreaVibes