Things to Do in River Ridge, Harahan and Elmwood

The New Orleans suburbs are fast becoming some of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the region. Offering close proximity to downtown New Orleans for work and play, the suburban area of River Ridge, Elmwood and Harahan are that perfect mix of convenience and quiet you simply won’t find in the city.

Things to Do in River Ridge, Harahan and Elmwood

What’s more, apartments in River Ridge offer you space and luxury amenities like a pool, on-site dog park, gym, and much more. Our Bella Ridge property, for example, is in the heart of River Ridge and boasts perks like a covered parking garage.

Are you new to River Ridge, Louisiana? Whether you’ve just moved or are considering taking the plunge, explore a few of the things to do in River Ridge, Harahan and Elmwood.

Entertainment

With easy access to New Orleans, this neighborhood offers an endless array of activities for all ages, but you don’t have to drive into the city to be entertained. Here are a few of our favorite entertainment options in your backyard:

AMC Elmwood Palace

1200 Elmwood Park Blvd, Harahan, LA
The AMC Elmwood Palace movie theater in Elmwood offers 20 screens, including a full IMAX experience. In true New Orleans style, this movie theater also features a full-service bar, making it a great place for date night.

Zephyr Field

6000 Airline Drive, Metairie, LA
Sports fans will love living so close to Zephyr Field. The local minor league baseball team hosts plenty of special events and promotions throughout the year, such as Military Night, Star Wars Night, Japanese Heritage Night, Italian Night and even a Luau themed event!

Adventure Quest Laser Tag

1200 Clearview Parkway, Suite 1106, Harahan, LA
Adventure Quest Laser Tag offers a variety of fun indoor activities for groups of any age. In addition to laser tag, they also offer bumper cars, cosmic golf, an adventure maze and an arcade. Look for their weekly specials and check out their membership option for extra savings.

Colonial Bowling Lanes

6601 Jefferson Hwy, Harahan, LA
This locally-owned bowling alley features 24 wooden lanes and a laidback atmosphere. Colonial Bowling offers a variety of league bowling as well as group rates and parties. Need a break from bowling? Just head to their gameroom for arcade style games, or visit their Lamplighter Lounge for cocktails.

Lafreniere Park

3000 Downs Boulevard, Metairie, LA
Nearby Lafreniere Park offers 155 acres of outdoor fun, including a 2-mile jogging trail, 18-hole disc golf course, two playgrounds and a 20-acre lagoon. It’s the perfect place to get away from it all with a good book and a picnic.

theo's pizza

Local chain Theo’s Pizza offers a variety of pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and other Italian favorites in River Ridge. (Photo courtesy Theo’s Pizza on Facebook)

Dining

River Ridge is home to several casual dining options to sate any craving. We love how you’ll find a mix of not only prominent national chains but also local restaurants. Some of our favorites include:

Seither’s Seafood

279 Hickory Ave, Harahan, LA
New Orleans is of course known for its great seafood, and the suburbs like Harahan are no exception. Seither’s Seafood is one of the top-rated locally-owned restaurants in this neck of the woods, and for good reason. Enjoy classic Southern dishes like shrimp po-boys, gumbo, crawfish, fried green tomatoes and raw oysters.

Phil’s Grill

1640 Hickory Ave, Harahan, LA
Phil’s Grill offers multiple locations throughout the greater New Orleans area, including one in Harahan. Customize your burger as you choose your perfect protein (options range from the traditional like Angus beef to vegetarian options like Portobello mushroom to exotic like bison or alligator). Opt for your favorite bun and toppings or skip the carbs and choose a lettuce bun or turn your meal into a salad.

The Ridge Bistro and Deli

1827 Hickory Ave, Harahan, LA
A local’s favorite, this hidden gem is located in the heart of Harahan and features delicious daily specials as well as staple salads, sandwiches and wraps. Entree options include pecan crusted red fish, chicken marsala pasta and portabello stuffed ravioli.

Zoe’s Kitchen

1208 S. Clearview Parkway, Suite D, Harahan, LA
Specializing in Mediterranean flavors with a Southern twist, Zoe’s Kitchen is your ideal destination for healthful dishes like grilled chicken kebabs, veggie pita pizza, orzo soup, Greek salads, and much more. They offer a menu for those with food allergies (several items are gluten-free or vegetarian) plus a menu called “Simply 500” where all items clock in at fewer than 500 calories. Not counting calories? Finish the meal with a slice of their YaYa’s Hand-Made Chocolate Cake.

Theo’s Pizza

1212 S. Clearview Parkway, Harahan, LA
This local pizza chain is a regular winner of foodie awards, including most recently a Gambit Best of New Orleans Award for best pizza, and a New Orleans Magazine Tops of the Town nod. In addition to a comprehensive wine and beer list, Theo’s main draw is its pizza. Unexpected toppings like yellow squash, Anaheim peppers, goat cheese, and jalapenos make Theo’s a step up from your basic Margherita. Build your own pizza or choose from their own creative specialties. Salads, sandwiches, and appetizers are also available.

Kyoto 2

5608 Citrus Blvd, Harahan, LA
Noted for its consistently fresh and delicious sushi, Kyoto 2 is the Elmwood/River Ridge outpost of its Uptown New Orleans location. We go crazy for the poke salad or the ponzu-topped ceviche. Kyoto 2 also gets points for creative sushi names: order the No Name, Tiger Eyes, or Funky Margarita rolls on your next visit.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

1212 S. Clearview Parkway, Harahan, LA
Sometimes you just need a burger and fries. Skip the typical drive-through options and head to Five Guys Burgers and Fries instead. At Five Guys, handcrafted burgers and real, handmade fries are just a dollar or two pricier than a drive-through and infinitely more delicious. Choose as many free toppings as you want (may we suggest the grilled mushrooms…) and try the fries Cajun style for an extra kick of heat.

Oak Oven

6625 Jefferson Hwy, Harahan, LA
Oak Oven is a locally owned Italian style restaurant with a casual bistro atmosphere. Any restaurant in the New Orleans area can’t help but be inspired by local cuisine and Oak Oven is no exception… Not only does Chef Adam Superneau pair southern Louisiana influences with his classic Italian recipes, but the restaurant also uses many locally grown and house-made ingrediencts. (The fresh mozzarella, pasta and Sicilian semolina bread are all made from scratch in-house!)

La Madeleine Country French Café

5171 Citrus Blvd #2000, Elmwood, LA
Comfort food classics with a Francophile spin are the order d’jour at La Madeleine. Quiche Florentine is the perfect meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and if you’re unsure what to order – well, they have an on-site bakery. Specialty coffees and a selection of wine are available; so, too, are traditional French classics like Croque Monsieur, Quiche Lorraine, and flaky Spinach Pochette.

Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt

1212 S. Clearview Parkway, Harahan, LA
Frozen yogurt is that perfect blend of tart and sweet that really hits the spot on a warm day. Pinkberry, an international chain, is known for its inventive flavors and options for people with food allergies. For example, their dairy-free mango frozen yogurt has bright, tropical flavors without any gluten, dairy, or added sugar.

Hickory Chicks Boutique in River Ridge features a fashionable assortment of clothing and accessories for women. (Photo courtesy Hickory Chicks Boutique on Facebook)

Hickory Chicks Boutique in River Ridge features a fashionable assortment of clothing and accessories for women. (Photo courtesy Hickory Chicks Boutique on Facebook)

Shopping

Shopping is as easy as it is fun in River Ridge. Convenient shopping centers like Elmwood Shopping Center on Clearview Parkway pack a punch, while local boutiques offer unique finds.

Here’s a peek at our favorite shopping spots in River Ridge:

Hickory Chicks Boutique

1915 Hickory Ave, Harahan, LA
This locally-owned fashion boutique is located in the heart of River Ridge and features trendy women’s clothing, shoes and accessories at affordable prices. Be sure to check out their sale rack for unbeatable deals.

Ulta Cosmetics

1126 S. Clearview Parkway, Harahan, LA
Ulta is the ultimate high-low mix when it comes to cosmetics. Shoppers will delight at department store beauty brands like Bare Minerals, Tarte, and Benefit right alongside drugstore favorites like Covergirl and Almay. Check their website before you go: there’s almost always a sale and a coupon you can print or download.

DSW

1126 S. Clearview Parkway, Harahan, LA
Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW for short) has shoes for the whole family. With hundreds of pairs in stock, DSW offers a wide variety of styles, sizes, and prices. It’s the go-to spot for shoes whether you need a formal pair for a wedding, classic work pumps, or vacation-ready sandals.

Charming Charlie

1126 S. Clearview Parkway, Harahan, LA
Have you ever noticed how accessories can change the whole look of your outfit? That’s the ethos behind Charming Charlie, a sprawling accessories store with affordable jewelry that ranges from bohemian-chic to preppy. Hair accessories, purses, phone cases, and select styles of shoes are also in store. All you need to do is add your favorite outfit!

World Market

1134 S. Clearview Parkway, Elmwood, LA
In addition to furniture and other housewares, World Market features an international grocery store where you can find global favorites like Milka chocolate bars from Germany, Australian vegemite, and Britain’s favorite topper, HP Sauce.

Need more shopping options? Lakeside Mall in Metairie and Esplanade Mall in Kenner are both within just a few miles of River Ridge and the boutiques in downtown New Orleans, such as The Shops At Canal Place, are just 15 minutes away.

Annual Events

St. Rita Pecan Festival

This annual festival in Harahan celebrates everyone’s favorite Southern nut, the pecan, with plenty of food options including pecan pepper jelly, pecan pralines, pecan pies and much more. The weekend-long event takes place each November and features live music and fun activities for all ages.

We want to know!

Jefferson Parish residents, what are YOUR favorite things to do in the neighborhoods of River Ridge, Harahan and Elmwood?

If you live in one of our River Ridge apartments, be sure to join us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your favorite neighborhood spots!

Find Peace and Playtime at Lafreniere Park

Metairie is a bustling place, no doubt – just a short drive from downtown New Orleans, the suburb is chock full of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, plus worthwhile residences like Crossroads apartments and Parktowne apartments (two of First Lake’s many Metairie and other Jefferson Parish properties).

However, Metairie holds a tranquil secret: Lafreniere Park. This ambling green space in the center of Metairie is home to multi-use lawns, fountains, picnic areas, hills, landscaped gardens, boating, fishing, paths, a running trails, a Frisbee golf course… the list goes on and on.

lafreniere park

Shady trees, a paved walkway, and water features are all part of Lafreniere Park in Metairie. (Photo courtesy ExperienceJefferson.com)

First founded in the 1970s, the park allows “all people of the Parish to rest and refresh their spirit in its peaceful, natural surroundings.” We couldn’t agree more!

Things to Do at Lafreniere Park

Go For a Run on the Healthtrak

One of the most enticing aspects of the park is a landscaped, 2-mile jogging trail called the Healthtrak. Cardiovascular activity is a great way to let go of a hectic workday, and while many of our properties offer gyms and pools for exercise, sometimes pounding the pavement outdoors is truly the best method to relieve stress.

Whether you take the trail at an ambling pace or at a full-blown sprint, you’ll experience scenic flora and fauna, water elements, and more.

Explore Marsh Island

Within the park, you’ll find Marsh Island, a water-surrounded area in the park’s southwest corner that is home to endemic flora and fauna of Louisiana. It’s also a dedicated bird sanctuary.

Authentic marshland habitat is home to different vegetation and bird life than you’ll see in other parts of the park. Keep an eye out for different species of plants and animals.

Have a Picnic

A meal outdoors is a spring and summertime tradition. Whether you pick up snowballs from a nearby Metairie snowball stand or pack your own picnic lunch, bring a blanket to Lafreniere Park and enjoy your food on one of several multi-use lawns or a designated picnic area (both are available at the park).

Not sure what to pack? Real Simple comes to the rescue with their simple Picnic Packing Checklist.

Play Frisbee Golf

Perhaps you’re asking, “What the heck is Frisbee golf?” Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. This hybrid of Frisbee and golf (also known as disc golf) has seen popularity recently, and is part of the reason Lafreniere Park created a proper Frisbee golf course.

The 24-hole course not only lets you explore the parks twists and turns, but also lets you make a game out of it – bring your own Frisbees and throw them at select targets throughout the course. It’s free to play! If you prefer City Park to Lafreniere, they also have a free Frisbee golf course on site.

Cool Down in the Spray Park

Another enticing option at Lafreniere Park is the Spray Park for children ages 10 and under. With 4,000 square feet of water fun (featuring 13 water features), this large space is a great place for children to enjoy water safely.

Keep in mind that the spray park is only open on weekends and charges $5 per child for each session up to 90 minutes.

Host a Party at the Carousel

Spring and summer is often party season… but sometimes apartments (no matter how spacious!) can’t quite hold all your friends and family. Lafreniere Park presents a great alternative: you can rent out their Carousel, a spacious pavilion surrounded by a lagoon, for a private party.

Read their full rental agreement terms here, and contact the park for more information about hosting a private party.

Looking to settle down near this peaceful urban oasis? 1st Lake Properties offers plenty of nearby Metairie apartment communities you’re sure to love!

Where to Get Snowballs in Metairie, Harahan, Elmwood, and More

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There’s no season like snow season in Greater New Orleans. Snowballs are that perfect combination of finely shaved ice and decadent cane syrup that come together as a cooling treat in as many flavors as you could possibly imagine.

New Orleans proper certainly has its fair share of snowballs – Hansen’s for inventive flavors like ginger-cayenne and Plum Street for the cutest packaging – but the suburbs have a snowball game that is equally strong.

Check out our list for some of the best snowballs in the Lakeview, Metairie, Elmwood, and Harahan areas. They’re close to several 1st Lake Properties like Bella Ridge, Millstream, and more. Get one to go and enjoy it at the lake or at home on the balcony – each icy spoonful is a taste of summer!

NOLA Snow

nola snow

A fruity option from NOLA Snow on Harrison Avenue in Lakeview. (Photo courtesy Nolasnow.com)

With a convenient location on Harrison Avenue in Lakeview, NOLA Snow is a great place to grab a snowball then head to the lakefront. Kids go crazy for flavors like cotton candy and bubblegum, but mellower flavors like NOLA nectar and wedding cake please more grown-up palates. The ice is particularly soft and fluffy, but if you prefer something denser, any snowball flavor can be served as a milkshake or malt instead. Soft serves, floats, and stuffed snowballs are also available – definitely bring your sweet tooth.

Casey’s Snoballs

Says one Yelp reviewer, “The ice doesn’t clump, they don’t skimp on the syrup, and the flavor choices are vast and unique.” Could you ask for anything more in a snowball stand? Casey’s Snoballs in Metairie is located on Esplanade Avenue, so it’s another option for a to-go snowball you can enjoy at the lake. We’re partial to nutty flavors like almond cream and exotic choices like orchid vanilla, but you’ll find plenty of classics like nectar, lemon, and wild cherry.

Sal’s Sno-Ball Stand

Sal's snowballs

The flavors at Sal’s. (Photo courtesy Sal’s Sno-Balls on Facebook)

Tree stump seating sets this Old Metairie snowball stand apart. Enjoy your snowball on site, and you’ll get the feeling of camping when you were a kid – except instead of s’mores, it’s snowballs. Sal’s stays open late, so if you get a snowball craving at 10 p.m. (and really, who could blame you?) you can still get your fix. Fun flavor names like Robin (ice cream and nectar), Pink Squirrel (nectar, almond, and cream), and Joker (grape, blackberry, and raspberry) will delight youngsters and adults alike. Sugar-free options are available for those looking to save calories, but you’ll probably want those hard-to-resist toppings like condensed milk – again, who could blame you?

Ro-bear’s Snowballs and Soft Serve

This Harahan location serves up decadent snowballs like strawberry cheesecake with condensed milk – also known as heaven in a cup. Robear’s velvety smooth, melt-in-your-mouth ice is never crunchy: think freshly powdered snow and confectioner’s sugar. Flavors like Creole cream cheese and king cake are worth a try, as are the butterscotch, chocolate, and cantaloupe varieties. Actually, you should probably just try them all!

Ike’s Snowballs

Ike’s is located in Mid-City, but it’s just a quick drive from Metairie Road on City Park Avenue. We love Ike’s because of their doggie snowballs – while a chicken snowball doesn’t sound particularly appetizing to us, but we know our furry friends will love them. Don’t have a pet? Trust us, you’ll still want to go to Ike’s. First of all, it’s open year-round, and second, juicy flavors like watermelon, strawberry, and pineapple are sure to satisfy. Plenty of outdoor seating here, although another option is to order your snowball to-go and enjoy at City Park.

 

 

NOLA Goes to the Dogs: Dog Parks in New Orleans

As the city experiences beautiful weather, it’s easier than ever to get outside and go for a walk with your dog. Greater New Orleans is home to several awesome dog parks – including our own Bella Ridge property, which features an on-site place for dogs to roam safely. Check out some of the best dog parks in NOLA!

city bark

NOLA City Bark in City Park is a popular spot for pups. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Infrogmation of New Orleans)

NOLA City Bark

Located in City Park, this dog park spans nearly 5 acres and is a pup’s dream. Lush green spaces, dog activities, and a communal water fountain (in the form of a bright, red fire hydrant) make City Bark a fun destination for dogs and owners alike. The property is located in City Park behind Popp Fountain, bounded by Zachary Taylor Drive, Diagonal Drive, and Magnolia Drive.

The Dog Levee

Uptown dogs love the Dog Levee, near the corner of Leake Avenue and Magazine Street. The levee features a paved walking path that leads to a swimming hole (be sure to bring a towel for cleanup!). Be wary if your dog is a flight risk – this park is an open space free of fencing.

Wisner Dog Park

Another dog park in Uptown New Orleans, Wisner Dog Park is located at 4876 Laurel St. Water fountains for dogs and people are available, but be aware there aren’t any public restrooms for the humans!

Bella Bark

Bella Bark is the on-site dog park at our Bella Ridge property in Elmwood. Fido might not appreciate the beautiful landscaping, but owners sure do! The convenience of having an on-site, safe space for your pup to play right outside your door is an added bonus of the many luxuries you’ll experience at Bella Ridge.

Celebrate the Oldest NOLA Neighborhood at French Quarter Fest

French Quarter Festival is one of our favorite New Orleans spring festivals. Starting Thursday, April 9 and running through Sunday, April 12, French Quarter Fest features more than 1,700 local Louisiana musicians on 23 different stages. Food is another huge draw – traditional New Orleans favorites like cochon de lait po-boys and, of course, crawfish are tough to resist as you stroll through Jackson Square and along the riverfront at Woldenberg Park. While there’s simply no way to see and do everything at French Quarter Fest, we’ve collected a list of areas and activities to seek out while you’re there.

french quarter fest 2014

Swing dancing lessons are part of French Quarter Festival. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Ipung_zan)

The Entertainment

You’ll find big acts like Allen Toussaint, Ellis Marsalis, and Rebirth Brass Band performing on the larger stages, such as the Abita Stage at the riverfront and the Jackson Square Stage in (where else?) Jackson Square. However, the smaller stages are nothing to scoff at! Head to the Cajun/Zydeco Showcase stage on Saturday or Sunday where you’ll experience traditional two-step dancing. In French Market, you’ll find swing-dancing lessons set to live hot jazz.

The Food

Come hungry to French Quarter Fest: iconic restaurants like Galatoire’s, Antoine’s, and Court of Two Sisters are just a few of the many food vendors. At French Quarter Fest, tips at all beverage stands are split amongst the musicians. Be sure to add a tip to the bucket to thank them for their incredible music!

Getting There

Many of our properties, especially those in Metairie, are just a short drive from downtown New Orleans. However, be aware that French Quarter Fest brings in a lot of traffic, so you’ll want to avoid parking in the French Quarter itself and seek parking garages in the Central Business District instead (there’s even a Park-n-Ride shuttle available.)

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