Best Places to Live

New Orleans , LA

Population: 376,738
LIV
SCORE
583
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Located in southern Louisiana where the Mississippi River enters the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans is known for its lively nightlife, uninhibited party scene and world-famous beignets. But there’s so much more to the Big Easy than the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. The city earned high marks in the amenities category, including an expansive network of parks (there’s more than 66, y’all!), amazing restaurants, museums, music, theater and an endless roster of things to do.

New Orleans loves a good festival — outside of Mardi Gras, the city hosts Jazzfest each spring, and the renowned New Orleans Food and Wine Experience. Additionally, the city is deeply rooted in history and is heavily influenced in its architecture, food, music and culture by its European and African ancestry.

Local Obsession: This city runs on the arts, from the Contemporary Arts Center to galleries like Where Y’Art to coffee shop poetry readings to music on nearly every corner.

Climate Described in 6 Words or Less: NOLA was built on a swamp...

Top Industries and Employers: Major industries include oil and petrochemicals, but you’ll also find many job opportunities in food and hospitality, as well as a creative scene that’s inviting to artists and entrepreneurs.

Local Dream Job: Producer at Kern Studios, one of the top float producers for parades, including Mardi Gras carnival season.

Quintessential Meal: Jacques-Imo’s in Upton is known for its real “Nawlins Creole soul food.” Notable menu items include a shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake and, of course, a damn good po’ boy.  

Favorite Weekend Activity: Pay a visit to the St. Roch Market, a mecca for foodies that houses nearly a dozen dining options and an award-winning craft cocktail bar, The Mayhaw.

After-Work Meetup Spot: The strong drinks at Jazz Daiquiri Lounge are guaranteed to help you forget any office drama.

Best Brewery/Local Beer: NOLA Brewing Company

Beloved Bookstore: Faulkner House Books is a book-lover’s paradise. The bookstore is in a tucked-away alley in the French Quarter that once served as literary great William Faulkner’s home, and now sells both new and used books as well as beloved classics and rare edition reads.

Free Way to Have Fun: Take a stroll at the Besthoff Sculpture Garden and enjoy the weird and wonderful installations spanning nearly five acres.

Truly Hidden Gem: Located just down the road from the New Orleans Museum of Art is the Singing Oak, which provides reprieve from the Louisiana heat and enchanting music from the wind chimes strung from the branches.

- Cara Sanders

Read More:

New Orleans is One of the US Cities With the Most Freebies

7 Reasons to Move to New Orleans, LA Right Now

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“New Orleans is unlike any other city in America. From walking down the street and encountering a second-line on a Sunday afternoon to spending months preparing your Mardi Gras costume and having entire seasons dedicated to festivals, you really can’t find this amazing lifestyle anywhere else. A famous saying that we really love really summarizes why we love living in NOLA is, ‘You can live in any city in America but New Orleans is the only city that lives in you.’”

- Alessandra Madrid and Maggie Robert of Babes & Beignets

New Orleans , LA Ranking Data

Civic
58
Demographics
62
Economy
55
Education
56
Health
45
Housing
55
Infrastructure
65