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A Traveler’s Guide to Metairie, New Orleans


Just west of the city of New Orleans lies Metairie, a thriving lakeside suburb with its own distinct personality and charm. Known for its quaint atmosphere, delicious eateries, and family-friendly activities, Metairie boasts a close proximity to New Orleans while offering the convenience of the suburban lifestyle.

Nestled in between New Orleans and the suburb of Kenner, Metairie is a convenient location for travelers who enjoy a mixture of city life and suburban amenities. Metairie vacation homes are approximately 10 minutes from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and only 20 minutes from Downtown New Orleans. If you’re a visitor looking for a lakeside retreat outside the bustling city, this is the perfect NOLA neighborhood for you.

We’ve put together our Metairie traveler’s guide so that you can enjoy all of the hidden gems that this beloved suburb has to offer.

The History of Metairie

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A Jefferson Parish community, Metairie was the very first suburb established outside of New Orleans. Residents take pride in the rich cultural history of the suburb, including its beloved historic district, Old Metairie. The neighborhood has evolved throughout the years yet remains a family-oriented, neighborly destination with local businesses, festivals, and well-established restaurants.

Native Beginnings 

Originally inhabited by Native American tribes, the New Orleans region began to transform as French settlers claimed it in the late 17th century. At the turn of the century, Metairie was primarily used as uninhabited hunting and fishing land. The 19th century brought continued growth to the area with the invention of the streetcar and expanded transportation leading to more commercial and residential development.

Bustling Commerce

By the 1900s, Metairie was a bustling suburban space. Shopping centers, residential neighborhoods, and office complexes began lining the streets of the Jefferson Parish community. It evolved from a rural retreat from the city to an extension of New Orleans itself, complete with its own character.

Nightlife and Entertainment

In the 1960s and 1970s, the “Fat City” district emerged as a popular destination for nightlife and entertainment. A 40-bock square within Metairie, Fat City was a gathering place for locals and visitors to enjoy bars, clubs, and music venues. While the area has faced challenges over the years, there are ongoing revitalization efforts to recapture the magic of Fat City.

Today, Metairie is known for its wide range of amenities, from its entertainment options, local restaurants, quaint neighborhoods, and one-of-a-kind festivals that invite visitors to live like a local.

Getting Around Metairie

Photo Credit: Daniel Dror

Typical for a suburb, the best form of transportation to get around Metairie is a vehicle. Visitors can utilize ride-sharing services or rent a car, which will make it easy to travel within Metairie and into the New Orleans area. Metairie is full of free parking options, making it easy and affordable to use a vehicle during your stay.

Transportation Around Metairie

Metairie is approximately 10 minutes from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). From the airport, visitors have multiple options to get to their rental destination:

  • Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are available at the airport outside the Level 1 Baggage Claim.
  • Taxi services are also available outside Level 1 Baggage Claim Door 7. Taxi rides average $36 for up to two passengers and an additional $15 per person beyond two passengers.

*Please note that prices are current at the time of publication.

What to Do in the Metairie Neighborhood

Take a Stroll Along Pontchartrain Lakefront Trail

Photo Credit: William A. Morgan

One of the best parts of staying in Metairie is the easy access to Lake Pontchartrain. Lake Pontchartrain spans 25 miles wide and 40 miles long, boasting the longest continuous bridge over water in the entire world. Lake Pontchartrain connects New Orleans with the Northshore, a collection of smaller cities just across the causeway.

The Pontchartrain Lakefront Trail is a 24-mile round-trip trail along the Southern shores of Lake Pontchartrain. The trail offers walkers, joggers, and cyclists a serene, picturesque trail away from the hustle and bustle of the city with spectacular views of the lake. The flat and paved surface makes any activity level achievable. Along the trail, you’ll find benches and picnic tables to enjoy resting along the lake.

Parking is available at Bonnabel Boat Launch in Metairie.

Enjoy a Day of Shopping at Lakeside Shopping Center

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Metairie is known for its premiere shopping centers, with items ranging from clothing to home decor to gourmet foods.

Perhaps most popular, Lakeside Shopping Center offers a range of stores and restaurants right along Causeway Boulevard. Visitors will find popular clothing stores such as Lululemon, Zara, Madewell, and more. Home stores include Restoration Hardware to Pottery Barn, among others. Once you’ve shopped til you drop, head to one of the shopping center’s many restaurant options ranging from casual to fine dining.

See a Performance at Jefferson Performing Arts Center

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It’s no secret that Nola is famous for its arts and music scene. The city prides itself on cultivating local talent and offers plenty of events and festivals for visitors to celebrate its unique art culture.

Opened in 2015, Jefferson Performing Arts Center is a modern art theatre that hosts a variety of concerts, plays, and comedy shows throughout the year. Upcoming events include showings of popular musicals such as Grease and the Nutcracker. Located right in the heart of Metairie near La Salle Park, it’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the local arts scene without leaving your suburban stay.

Participate in Recreational Activities at Lafreniere Park

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Located in the heart of Metairie, Lafreniere Park is the largest outdoor space in the suburb, featuring multiple green spaces, picnic areas, walking paths, fishing, and even disc golf.

No matter what outdoor activity you enjoy most, you’ll find many options at Lafreniere Park. For the sports enthusiast, there is a soccer field, a 2-mile track, and a free 21-hole disc course open to the public. For family-friendly activities, Lafreniere Park is home to a carousel and a splash pad for hot summer days. Lafreniere Park also features a 5-acre dog park for your furry friends!

If you’re visiting during the week, you don’t want to miss out on Lafreniere Park’s year-round Farmer’s Market, hosted weekly on Wednesdays from 1 pm to 6 pm.

Where to Eat and Drink in Metairie

Blue Line Sandwich Shop

Photo Credit: Blue Line Sandwich Co.

The Blue Line is your place if you’re looking for a casual, hole-in-the-wall diner. Serving breakfast and lunch daily, Blue Line Sandwich Shop utilized local ingredients to deliver classic American dishes that we all know and love.

You can expect delicious fan favorites such as buttermilk pancakes and waffles, build-your-own omelets, and corned beef hash for breakfast. Lunch is known for its sandwich options, including their take on grilled cheese, a classic BLT, and the Philly cheesesteak. The atmosphere is casual and inviting, offering bar and table seating on a first-come, first-serve basis.

It’s a place that will make you feel like a true Metairie local.

Brasa Churrasqueria

Photo Credit: Surtani Anderson

Brasa is a delicious, one-of-a-kind Brazilian steakhouse in the heart of Old Metairie. The cozy yet refined ambiance offers a perfect spot for an intimate dinner or gathering with friends.

The menu features a mix of fine-cut meats prepared on a traditional wood-burning grill, such as the tenderloin and Wagyu flank steak. Visitors can also enjoy a range of vegetarian options, with options ranging from pickled beets to corn asado.

The drink menu features sangrias made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Brasa is the ideal spot to enjoy a slow, leisurely meal over drinks.

Blue Ruin Speakeasy

Photo Credit: Blue Ruin Speakeasy

As one of Old Metairie’s newest establishments, Blue Ruin is making a name for itself as a classy neighborhood bar with delicious craft cocktails.

Opened in 2020, Blue Ruin offers indoor and outdoor seating in a quaint blue building on Metairie Road. The drink menu features their own twist on classic craft cocktails, such as the Barrel Stave Smoked Old Fashioned, a Spicy Jalapeño Margarita, and the Blackberry Pimm’s Cup.

Blue Ruin Speakeasy is open from Tuesday to Saturday, with Happy Hour from Tuesday to Friday until 7 pm.

What to Know About Metairie Getaway

Metairie offers something unique to those visiting Nola: a chance to experience the best of both worlds. Guests staying in Metairie have easy access to the vibrant city of New Orleans while retreating to a quaint lakeside spot after a day of sightseeing.

Metairie is perfect for those who prefer a quieter stay, with less noise and tourist crowds, than the more-frequented areas of New Orleans. It is also ideal for families, as the suburb is full of kid-friendly activities and local families.

It is also perfect for those who prefer a close drive to and from the airport, are using their own vehicle, or renting a vehicle. Metairie offers easy free parking and the ability to get around smoothly by car.

How far is Metairie from the French Quarter?

Guests staying in Metairie have a few different options to get to the French Quarter, which is approximately 20 minutes away.

Guests can utilize ride-sharing services or taxi services to get to the city center. Guests can also access public transportation from Metairie to the French Quarter, with a few transfers and stops along the way. For the public transportation map and schedule, head here. We recommend using a vehicle, as it is the easiest method of transportation into the city.

Are there medical facilities nearby?

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Yes. Below is a list of the closest medical facilities to Metairie:

Making the Most of Your Metairie Stay

Metairie is the perfect spot to book a New Orleans vacation home if you want a reprieve from the busier parts of the city. This vibrant suburb of New Orleans combines all that you love about local New Orleans culture with a family-friendly atmosphere and picturesque lakeside setting.

From its shopping centers to local restaurants to its large recreational areas and walking trails, it will give you a feeling of “home” while exploring all the greater New Orleans area has to offer.

We hope our visitor’s guide gives you a starting point to explore the great suburb of Metairie!

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