Quality Hostels in New Orleans: 6 Great Stays for the Budget Traveler
You don't have to spend a lot of money to find a place to stay in New Orleans. Read on to learn where the best and safest hostels are located.
Youth hostels tend to have a bad reputation, but in actuality, they can be great places to stay if you know where to look. To be fair, hostels are much more prevalent in countries outside of the United States, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a great, quality hostel to stay in when you visit United States cities as well. On your next trip to New Orleans, if you are planning to travel on a budget, why not consider staying in a hostel? If you are interested in the hostel experience, check out this list of 6 quality hostels in New Orleans to help you make your lodging decisions.
India House Hostel
First on the list is India House Hostel, located on Canal Street and only about a 7-minute drive (or streetcar ride) to the French Quarter. This hostel is decorated in a sort of “sloppy chic” eclectic style, without a specific theme in mind. There are several sofas available for lounging in the common areas, as well as a communal kitchen which is kept very clean by its residents and employees alike. Meals can be enjoyed inside or on one of the many outdoor picnic tables, and there is even a nice, clean pool for guests to swim in.
If you are looking for a place to stay during Mardi Gras, don’t pass up India House. The hostel itself overlooks the main street down which most of the major Mardi Gras parades travel. If you are planning to stay during this time, however, make sure you book very far in advance. And if you are the type of person who doesn’t mind shared hostel sleeping arrangements, you can book a room here during Mardis Gras for only about $20 per night, per person. Private rooms for up to two people can run a bit more, particularly if you choose one of the rooms that has an attached, private bathroom. If you go for a dorm style room, don’t worry—the shared bathrooms are very clean here, too!
India House Hostel is located at 124 South Lopez Street in New Orleans.
St. Charles Guest House
Unlike the India House Hostel, the St. Charles Guest House is just a little bit more upscale and has a bit more charm as well—for an added price, of course. This hostel is located in a building that dates back to the turn of the 20th century. It is nestled right in the heart of the affluent Garden District, so that you simply have to walk out the front door to be right in the middle of the splendor and grace that this community is known for. This hostel is also directly on the streetcar line, making travel to the French Quarter and other parts of the city very easy and affordable.
Take note that the St. Charles Guest House is not only a hostel. It is also a bed and breakfast, with a hostel aspect included. You may be staying with other hostel travelers here, or you may be the only one amongst a group of others who are renting the more elaborate B&B rooms. The hostel rooms in the St. Charles Guest House are offered at a dramatically discounted rate, but are also on a first come, first serve basis. What does this mean for you? It means that you won’t know until you arrive in town whether or not you can get a place to sleep here. However, staying in the middle of an affluent neighborhood in a very safe and well-known bed and breakfast for a fraction of its usual cost can be well worth that risk!
The St. Charles Guest House is located at 1748 Prytania in New Orleans.
Site 61 Hostel
Site 61 refers to itself as a “boutique hostel,” and a stay here will quickly prove why. The building in which the hostel is located was originally a boarding house at the turn of the 20th century, so it has always been suited to the hostel traveler’s lifestyle. It has since been updated to make traveling that much easier for the budget tourist. Site 61 features a large, clean, and fully-stocked communal kitchen (just bring your own ingredients—you can use their utensils and cookware), as well as on-site laundry facilities and two spacious lounge areas. Two rooms have private bathrooms available, but all rooms have their own specific showers (with shared toilets).
As far as hostels in New Orleans go, Site 61 really gives you the most bang for your buck. With plenty of space to spread out (and to meet other travelers, if you wish), this hostel is a great choice for anybody who doesn’t want to be cooped up in a cramped room all the time. Most rooms sleep four to six, depending on the size of the room. If you rent a private room, you’ll be treated to one of the two that includes its own restroom. For travelers who can afford the price increase, these rooms are an excellent option.
Site 61 is located at 3701 Tulane Avenue, in the Mid-City area of New Orleans.
IHSP French Quarter House
If you want to be right in the middle of the action, and you don’t mind paying a little more each night for the location, then book your stay at the IHSP French Quarter House. Only two blocks away from Bourbon Street, this hostel is the perfect place to crash after a long day of exploring and a long night of partying. This is the only hostel that is this close to the heart of New Orleans. It features four different room options, including mixed dorm style rooms, private rooms for groups, private rooms for couples, and private rooms for single travelers.
It is worth mentioning that the rooms at IHSP French Quarter House are very small—this is so that they can squeeze in more private rooms for renting. However, the space is very clean and well-kept, and this is regularly one of the more highly recommended hostels in the area. Bear in mind that they have a week-long limit on dorm room guest stays, so if you are the type to land in a city and stay there for a while, you will need to move on to a different hostel after a week at this one. This rule does not apply to private room guests. As an added bonus, anyone staying on the weekends gets a free Bloody Mary!
The IHSP French Quarter House is located at 914 North Rampart Street in New Orleans.
The Atlas House
The Atlas House is a fairly centrally located New Orleans hostel with easy access to the streetcar lines; at only about three blocks away from most tourist sites, the distance can be walked fairly easily as well. This hostel serves a free pancake breakfast daily, and allows guests access to a hot tub as well as indoor and outdoor lounge areas, a spacious kitchen, and a barbecue. Most rooms have shared hallway bathrooms and showers, with deluxe private rooms featuring their own attached showers and toilets.
If you are over the age of thirty, you will be a little out of luck with this hostel. You can still rent one of the private rooms, but the dorm style rooms are restricted to under-30 travelers only. However, if you are slightly older and still enjoying the adventurous lifestyle that hostel travel has to offer, you might want to opt for another choice on the list. If you are a student or international traveler, Atlas House may be more your speed! As a student-centered hostel, the owners organize friendly mix-and-mingle events every week to help guests meet each other and see the sights of the city as well.
The Atlas House is located at 1354 Magazine Street in New Orleans.
Owned and operated by a backpacker and frequent hostel-goer, Auberge NOLA focuses on providing clean, safe, and comfortable sleeping arrangements for any young person who needs them. This hostel was founded on the principle that budget travelers and backpackers should be allowed the same opportunities and amenities as other area tourists receive. Auberge NOLA is located evenly between the Garden District and French Quarter, and only a block away from the nearest streetcar stop.
Although the streetcars do run frequently and provide an affordable alternative to driving everywhere you want to go, this hostel is not more than five blocks away from most of the popular sights and sounds of the city. The distance can be walked fairly easily, and if the weather is good, I recommend taking a stroll at least part of the time while you are traveling the city. Note that this hostel also has an age limit, although it is set at 40 years old. Anyone over the age of 40 must stay in the private suite at Auberge NOLA and cannot stay in the mixed dorm style rooms. Residents of the state of Louisiana are also not permitted to stay at Auberge NOLA.
Auberge NOLA is located at 1628 Carondelet Street in New Orleans.
Bear in mind that not every hostel is the same, and you may have a great experience in one and not enjoy yourself very much in another. Remember, too, that the hostels that have been selected for this list are quality and have proven themselves time and again as great lodging locations in the heart of New Orleans. They are the tried and true "boarding houses" of the modern world, and there is a very good reason that travelers return to them again and again every year. So take your pick! Which hostel seems like it’s the right one for you and your exploration of this fine city? Is location a more important requirement for you than reputation, or do you prefer to go for the most popular choice in the city? Would you rather pay a little extra for the refined graces of the Garden District, or opt for a cheaper option some blocks away from the French Quarter? Whichever you choose, have safe and happy travels!
Lead image: flickr photo by twak https://flickr.com/photos/twak/3862448968 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
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