New Orleans' French Quarter, with its cobblestone streets and wrought-iron balconies, has an intimate old-world charm that just radiates romance. Simply wandering the Quarter hand-in-hand makes for a memorable date, but if you and that special someone are looking for something a bit more special, plan a rendezvous for one of these ultra-romantic excursions. There's so much to do in New Orleans that will add zest to your romance such as taking a horse-drawn carriage ride or checking out a lingerie shop.
Stroll on the Moon Walk
On one side, barges roll slowly by on the muddy Mississippi. On the other, the spires of the St. Louis Cathedral stand tall and elegant. This is the Moon Walk, a paved promenade that's part of the riverside Woldenberg Park at the edge of the French Quarter. It is by far one of New Orleans' most romantic places to take a walk, especially at sunset. This moon walk isn't related to Earth's moon but is named for the former New Orleans mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu.
There's often a solo saxophonist or trumpeter on hand to add an extra bit of ambiance, and you'll discover that the wide steps that lead down to the river are one of the city's greatest places to sit with that special someone.
Experience a Romantic Dinner
A fancy dinner is an old standby, of course, but New Orleans is bursting with romance-ready restaurants at every price point. If old-world glamour is your style, make reservations for one of the courtyard tables at Broussard's or go all out and book a private room at Antoine's.
If you're a foodie, try Chef Susan Spicer's excellent Bayona or Emeril Lagasse's French Quarter outpost, NOLA. And you can't go wrong with a plate or two of the Gulf's best oysters, raw on the half-shell (you know what they say about oysters, after all). There are several good places to get oysters in the quarter, but the Bourbon House has the most couples-friendly bar.
Have Drinks by Candlelight
A cocktail-based romantic rendezvous is another old standby that New Orleans does better than anywhere else. If high-test is your style, meet your sweetie on Bourbon Street for a candlelit (if somewhat noisy) hurricane drink at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, purportedly the oldest bar in North America.
If you're more of a connoisseur, stop in for a martini and some appetizers at the Bombay Club, which features live piano jazz and swanky curtained private booths. Another good option is the elegant Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone, which features a rotating bar and an extensive cocktail menu that has all of the New Orleans classics. Try the Sazerac, guaranteed to make you feel amorous.
Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
The famous carriages that line up in front of Jackson Square are actually pulled by mules, who fare better in the sticky New Orleans heat than horses. For an affordable price, you'll get a private tour of the district's gorgeous architecture (the carriage drivers are all licensed tour guides) and a cozy spot to snuggle down with someone special.
Take a Ghost Tour
There's a good reason that horror movies are a popular choice for date nights, despite the fact that they can be quite gruesome. Getting scared gets the blood moving, and really frightening stuff sends you diving into the closest pair of willing arms.
A haunted French Quarter tour has these benefits, amplified by the fact that the stories are largely true. Well, true-ish.
See the infamous LaLaurie mansion, where the sociopathic Madame Delphine LaLaurie performed unspeakable tortures on her slaves, or hear the terrifying tale of the shuttered third floor of the Old Ursuline Convent. There are several great companies that'll help you get scared silly; try the highly-rated French Quarter Phantoms tour.
Get Your Fortunes Told
Is it true love? Will it last forever? There's only one reliable way to find out: Get your fortunes told. It's not exactly scientific, but it can be a fun activity to do as a couple.
The easiest way to find a fortune teller is to head on over to Jackson Square, where there are usually a dozen or so set up who specialize in various methods (tarot cards, palm readings, even tea leaves). Pick one who looks entertaining and go from there.
If a street psychic isn't quite your style, there are a few local shops that offer readings, including the excellent tea purveyors Bottom of the Cup on Chartres Street.
Ride on the Steamboat Natchez
An evening dinner cruise on the authentic Steamboat Natchez, which docks just behind Jax Brewery, is about as romantic as life gets. The sun setting over the city, the slow roll of the mighty Mississippi, the soft motion of the ship, and a traditional jazz band playing in the background—yes, this is a lovely way to spend an evening with your beloved.
Get a Therapeutic Couples Massage
Unwind together with a side-by-side massage at one of the French Quarter's best day spas. The acclaimed Serenity Spa in the French Quarter Marriott offers a couples massage package that includes champagne and chocolates. The Waldorf Astoria Spa in the Roosevelt and the Ritz-Carlton Spa, both ultra-luxe, offer specialized couples' suites for treatments as well.
Watch a Burlesque Show
If you and your darling think it would be fun to catch a standard strip club show, there are plenty to choose from on Bourbon Street. They're all pretty much the same and not much different than you'd find anywhere else. If you want something a bit more refined and a bit higher-class with more teasing, check out one of New Orleans' widely lauded burlesque troupes.
It's always worth looking up the current schedule for Fleur de Tease, the premier troupe in town. They host an old-school jazz-based burlesque show every Friday night at the Saint Hotel and occasionally larger-scale revues at venues like One-Eyed Jacks. The shows are wonderful for adventurous couples and even timid ones who need a bit of world-view expansion. Don't be scared, go for it.
Shop for Lingerie
Sometimes the most romantic thing to do is pick up some, ahem, supplies and head back to your hotel room. Chartres Street is a bit of a hub for lingerie shops in the Quarter, and the various shops offer something for every taste. So whether you want glamorous, naughty, or nice, you'll find it there. Shops come and go, so just make it an adventure to see what you find. Dark Garden on Magazine Street has sexy corsets and romantic lingerie. They make custom outfits for weddings, carnival, Mardi Gras, and more.