It’s almost here: the big day. Saying “I do” is a major milestone for any couple, but for LGBTQ people, it also symbolizes a decades-long journey to love freely, openly, and without judgment. For that reason, it’s only fitting you’d want to send off your single days in style, and there’s no better place to bring your LGBTQ bachelor or bachelorette party than New Orleans.
Here, there’s something for everyone: the daytime explorers, the night owls, the kick-back-and-relaxers, the bold-and-bawdy, and everything in between. Best of all, the city champions and celebrates queer culture and expression, so no matter where you go, you’ll always feel at home.
Whether you’re planning for a week or a weekend, there’s more than enough to keep spirits and energy high for everyone in your crew. Use this handy list of our favorite places to eat, drink, dance, and play to plan your dream itinerary, and once you’re here…let the good times roll!
You’d be hard-pressed to find a bar in New Orleans that doesn’t welcome LGBTQ patrons, but there’s also no shortage of establishments specifically tailored to the queer community. Oz New Orleans is a staple of gay nightlife and, with its regular rotation of drag performances, live music, and comedy, it’s a perfect high-energy hotspot for you and your party. Of course, you’re not limited to just Oz. The bar sits on what is locally known as the Lavender Line or the Fruit Loop, a section of St. Anne Street that is home to LGBTQ bars and clubs including Bourbon Pub, Napoleon’s Itch, Good Friends, and Rawhide, while other locales like Cafe Lafitte in Exile are just a block away.
Off the beaten path on Royal Street, Golden Lantern is a small venue that is nonetheless packed with big personalities and uproarious entertainment. It’s also the birthplace of Southern Decadence, an annual LGBTQ festival that brings parties, music, and performances into the streets of the French Quarter. Drag shows are a weekend staple at the Lantern, but you can find good company and a lively dance floor any night of the week.
In the mood to hear some live jazz in the place where it was born? Frenchmen Street, often regarded as a more laid-back alternative to Bourbon Street, is lined with music clubs and venues where you can find local musicians showing off their incredible talent (and remarkable lung capacities). Jazz, blues, and rock stylings are always floating along Frenchmen, so all you need to do is stroll along until you hear the sounds that soothe your soul.
Allways has it all: burlesque, theater, music, comedy, and even jockstrap lube wrestling. There’s no better place in the city for a sampling of queer artistry and performance, as well as a friendly crowd and bar staff that makes everyone feel like part of the family. Show up ready to revel and cheer, and make sure to have plenty of single dollars on hand, as you’re bound to be throwing them onto the stage by the end of the night.
Did someone order an adult arcade? Head over to Harrah’s Casino where you’ll find a lively atmosphere and plenty of electronic games, table games, slots, poker, and more. Whether you decide to try your luck or play it safe, your whole crew will be entertained for hours. Best of all, drinks are free to those actively playing games.
No trip to New Orleans is complete without experiencing drag brunch at the Country Club. Sing along to your favorite pop tunes while watching local queens turn it out, all while you enjoy bottomless mimosas. If you are planning on bringing a larger party, make sure you book well in advance as this brunch books up fast (often months in advance). When the drag queens retire to the changing room to get ready for the next show (or when your few hours of bottomless mimosas are up), put on your swimsuit and head to the pool out back. It’s one of the top LGBTQ hangouts in the city and serves delicious specialty drinks at the poolside bar.
There’s no shortage of charm, character, or delicious cocktails at this local-favorite establishment. The low lighting and exposed brick architecture are ideal for a few moments of calm and conversation before heading deeper into the French Quarter for a night out. If you’re in the mood for a classic New Orleans concoction, order a Sazerac or a Ramos Gin Fizz.
Since opening its doors in 2020, this queer-owned Bywater restaurant has quickly cemented its reputation for inclusivity and cultural authenticity. Chef Melissa Araujo explores her heritage both as a Honduran and New Orleanian through dishes that are as beautifully presented as they are delicious. A full-service coffee bar and specialty cocktails ensure that everyone can get the pick-me-up they need while supporting LGBTQ businesses.
This delicious culinary hotspot fuses Cuban and Caribbean flavors with traditional Creole cuisine. The menu features in-season, fresh ingredients every day, with dishes like Caribbean bouillabaisse (clams, shrimp and fish finished with saffron and habanero) and an irresistible rum cake served with ginger sauce and Jamaican Rum. Oh, and did we mention the nationally acclaimed cocktails?
Gather your party for locally made brews in a chic industrial setting that features an open taproom, a play area for kids (or the young at heart), and a rotation of burger- and taco-slinging food trucks. Urban South is perhaps best known for its Paradise Park IPA, but the tap menu is rounded out with delicious flavors including a sour lime cucumber gose and a decadent s’more-inspired stout. While you’re in the area, you can also check out any of the several breweries located on the same street, including NOLA Brewing Company and Port Orleans Brewing Co.
Local ingredients and ingenuity are on full display at Palm & Pine, where diners can embark on a culinary journey through Louisiana, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Farmers and vendors from across the Gulf South contribute fresh ingredients to create a refined menu that features bites like grilled wagyu tri-tip and specialty drinks like the coconut water daiquiri. Parties can also rent the restaurant’s Rampart Room for a private, seated dinner with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails.
If you’ve never had a po-boy in New Orleans, you’ve never had a po-boy, period. Parkway has perfected its craft since opening in 1911 and serves Cajun staples like the surf & turf po-boy alongside original combinations like the James Brown, made with BBQ beef, fried shrimp, pepper jack cheese, and hot sauce mayo. Top your meal off with a cold drink and an order of fries before venturing to the nearby Bayou St. John. Trust us: you’ll never regret a trip to Parkway.
Walking into Restaurant R’evolution feels like traveling back in time. This imaginative French Quarter establishment is steeped in history in every way, from the decor and dinnerware to a menu featuring pre-prohibition-inspired cocktails. Both the classic and contemporary dishes explore the nations and colonies that shaped New Orleans’ unique melting-pot culture. And because the restaurant is located inside the Royal Sonesta, you and your party are just steps away from live music in the hotel’s Jazz Playhouse.
If you want to find out where queer locals go to wind down, venture out of the French Quarter to this cozy, Uptown LGBTQ bar, where the patrons are just as friendly and welcoming as the bartenders. Put QiQi somewhere in the middle of your itinerary to grant your crew a little downtime between nights on Bourbon Street.
Get up close and personal with the swamps of Louisiana with this thrilling group activity. Zip NOLA’s five ziplines, suspension bridges, and spiral cypress tree staircase introduce visitors to the flora and fauna surrounding Maurepas Swamp and Lake Pontchartrain, and you can even meet baby alligators and turtles in the gift shop’s marine enclosure. Although this attraction is located outside the city, shuttles are available to pick up your party from your hotel, and group rates are available for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Put your teamwork to the test. These themed escape rooms deliver immersive experiences that blend classic New Orleans lore with a puzzle-solving strategy. Search for Van Helsing’s stake in the Vampire Hunter Room, escape from a voodoo priestess’s cabin in Revenge on the Bayou, or come face-to-face with Marie Laveau in the Voodoo Cemetery.
Joy, art, and music are the (literal) name of the game at JAMNOLA, an immersive pop-up that exhibits the best of local art, music, performance, and more. Visitors will find a wealth of Instagrammable setups that showcase New Orleans culture, as interpreted by 20 local artists who have come together to curate a gallery that’s as experiential as it is beautiful. Timed tickets must be purchased in advance, and booking a private party is recommended if you want to ensure your group can stick together.
Even if your bachelor or bachelorette party doesn’t fall during Carnival season, you can still get a taste of the Mardi Gras experience. Mardi Gras World’s expansive warehouse is where local artisans and krewe members construct their elaborate floats, and guests are welcomed for self-guided tours and photo ops. This is an opportunity to get even closer to the floats than you’d be able to at a parade, allowing you time to take in every resplendent detail. Ticket purchases even come with a free shuttle ride to and from the warehouse.
Cruise along Bayou St. John in a kayak, canoe, or paddle board and take in the natural wonders of south Louisiana. Rentals are available in both 2- and 4-hour durations, and if you’re visiting in the warmer months, you can opt for a night ride that allows stunning views of the houses lit up along the water. Bayou Paddlesports frequently offers live music at the launch site, so be sure to bring a picnic blanket so you and your party can lounge around and mingle with locals.