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Where to Go: Esplanade Avenue


This grand thoroughfare connects Bayou St. John to the Mississippi River and spans Mid-City and the French Quarter. Thanks to recent repaving projects, the street is smooth from end to end, perfect for a Sunday bike ride (but be careful at the Claiborne Avenue/I-10 intersection). Esplanade Ridge, the neighborhood anchored by the avenue, boasts one of the largest concentrations of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The City Park terminus of Esplanade is full of understated restaurants, local grocers and public green spaces, and the French Quarter side ends in the crescendo of the Dragon's Den, a two-story house of anything-goes entertainment including reggae, samba, swing music and comedy.

Who you'll see:
Millennial residents, tourists, bicyclists, Hari Krishnas.

Where to eat:
Any restaurant in the 3100-3300 blocks, including side streets. It's a trip around the culinary world — from Italian to French to Mediterranean to vegan to cuisine hailing from the Southwest, brunch (or lunch or dinner) is covered.

Where to drink:
Buffa's Bar & Restaurant for the live music.

Where you'll get a good history lesson:
No, not the Degas House, although the museum tour is led by a great-grandniece of the master impressionist painter. Le Musee de Free People of Color explains the history of New Orleans' population of free people of African descent and their economic, social and civil contributions to the development of the city.

you oughta know
The Old U.S. Mint was the only federal mint in the South to reopen and resume printing duties following the Civil War. It's now home to the New Orleans Jazz Museum and frequently hosts small music festivals.

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