The Garden District began as a collection of plantations in the 19th century, and earned the name the "Garden District" after an architect then divided the area into large residential lots, each surrounded by a large garden. Now these preserved Victorian-style houses are a staple of New Orleans, and tourists across the world flock to this neighborhood to admire the stunning architecture.
As the times have changed, some lower-end homes and apartments have come to the neighborhood as well, but the set of historical homes that remains is still the most well-preserved and striking in America. This district is best to explore on foot, so that you can fully take in the scenery.
The St. Charles Avenue streetcar makes regular stops along (you guessed it) St. Charles Avenue -- the main artery running through the District. If you're looking for food or shopping, head to Magazine Street, where you can find a variety of boutiques, coffee houses, seafood joints, and international restaurants.
Many hotels are bunched in the northeastern section of the District, along St. Charles Avenue and Prytania Street, and a number are also found in the Lower Garden District, around Magazine Street and Annunciation Street. For easier access to public transportation, aim for a hotel near St. Charles Avenue, where you can catch the streetcar to the French Quarter. Bed and breakfasts abound, providing a homier alternative to large chains.