Your Full Guide of Things to Do in New Orleans (With Kids)
Arts & Culture
New Orleans offers a unique blend of history, culture and entertainment, making it a great destination for families. Embrace the vibrant spirit of the city, indulge in delicious cuisine, and create lasting memories for the entire family. From the joyous sounds of jazz in the streets to the warm hospitality of the locals, this kid-friendly guide includes several enchanting experiences that allow your kids to be immersed in the unique culture and landmarks that the city has to offer. From leisure walks in the French Quarter and Jackson Square, to fostering their creativity at the Louisiana Children's Museum, let NOLA be a memorable family adventure filled with joy, great food and lasting memories.
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Where to stay
In the heart of the French Quarter, this historic hotel is a literary landmark (frequented by notable 20th-century American authors). It remains loyal to its roots with its carousel bar, jazz venue and traditional interior.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
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Omni San Diego Hotel
A lively hotel connected to Petco Park, complete with a pool, two restaurants and a spa.
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The Jung Hotel and Residence
A new addition on Upper Canal, walking distance to the French Quarter, with a rooftop pool and popular events spaces.
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Day 1: Arrival and French Quarter exploration
Luckily there are many flights to NOLA, so depending on when you arrive in New Orleans and check into your hotel and take the day to get your bearings. Spend the day exploring the famous French Quarter. Visit Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral and the French Market. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of the family-friendly restaurants in the area. Some options include:
Camellia Grill: This classic diner in the Riverbend neighborhood is known for its friendly service and delicious comfort food. Kids will love their famous pecan waffles and burgers.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern is a local favorite for po'boys. It offers a variety of options including roast beef, fried seafood and vegetarian po'boys. It's a casual and family-friendly spot.
Day 2: Audubon Zoo and City Park
New Orleans has something for everyone and with a mix of educational and entertaining activities, you're sure to create lasting family memories. Start the day with a visit to the Audubon Zoo, which is known for its diverse animal exhibits. If traveling with young children, fit in a nap but afterward, head to City Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. Take a relaxing walk, rent bicycles or visit the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, featuring rides and a beautiful antique carousel. Depending on your taste buds try out:
The Ruby Slipper Café is a breakfast and brunch spot that is a hit with families. They serve creative twists on traditional breakfast dishes, such as their famous Bananas Foster French Toast.
Dat Dog is a fun and quirky hot dog joint with multiple locations in the city. It offers a wide range of hot dog options, including vegetarian and vegan choices, as well as a variety of toppings and sauces.
Day 3: Louisiana Children's Museum and Steamboat Natchez
Visit the Louisiana Children's Museum, where kids can enjoy hands-on exhibits and interactive learning experiences. In the afternoon, take a scenic steamboat cruise on the Steamboat Natchez along the Mississippi River. Enjoy live jazz music and learn about the city's history with one of the many tours the city has to offer — stop by your hotel concierge to book or reach out to your travel advisor prior. For the foodies in the group add these spots to your lists of restaurants to visit:
Felipe's Taqueria is a popular spot for casual Mexican fare. It offers tasty tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. It's also a great choice if your family is in the mood for a quick and flavorful meal.
Day 4: Mardi Gras World and swamp tour
No matter your trip dates, you must explore Mardi Gras World, where kids can see elaborate floats and learn about the traditions of Mardi Gras. Kids will love the colorful displays. In the afternoon, take a thrilling swamp tour to encounter wildlife like alligators and other fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. However, depending on the weather, it could be a good time to visit the Louisiana Children's Museum. The interactive museum offers hands-on exhibits and educational activities designed specifically for children. It's a great place for kids to learn through play. New Orleans has a vast array of dining options to suit every palate and budget. When exploring the city, don't forget to try local specialties like gumbo, jambalaya and crawfish boils for an authentic taste of New Orleans cuisine.
Day 5: National WWII Museum and Garden District
For the history buffs in the family, a visit to the National WWII Museum, an interactive museum that offers a comprehensive experience of World War II must be on your list of things to do it's educational and engaging for the whole family. Afterward, head to the Garden District and take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets lined with historic mansions and beautiful gardens. Try any of the many restaurants you’ll discover on your walk!
Day 6: Aquarium of the Americas and streetcar ride
Spend the morning at the Aquarium of the Americas, where kids can explore a variety of aquatic life and even touch stingrays. Or if you are a family that loves to cook, make your way to the New Orleans School of Cooking and take a cooking class. They offer family-friendly cooking classes where you can learn to prepare traditional Creole and Cajun dishes. In the afternoon, hop on one of New Orleans' famous streetcars and take a ride along St. Charles Avenue. Enjoy the scenic views and hop off to explore interesting neighborhoods along the way. Map out your trip to try these food spots:
The Court of Two Sisters Located in the French Quarter, this historic restaurant offers a jazz brunch buffet and a beautiful courtyard setting. It's a great place to introduce your kids to New Orleans' rich culinary heritage.
A NOLA must is Café du Monde À New Orleans! Famous for its beignets and café au lait, the kids will love the powdered sugar-covered pastries, and you can enjoy a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. In case of a sugar rush, a visit to Storyland in City Park may be in the cards. Storyland is a whimsical playground in New Orleans City Park that features larger-than-life storybook characters and play structures. It's perfect for young children to let their imagination run wild.
Day 7: Oak Alley Plantation and Riverwalk Marketplace
Take a day trip to Oak Alley Plantation, located about an hour outside of New Orleans. As a family, you can explore the stunning antebellum mansion and the iconic oak-lined alley. Or if you prefer to stay within city limits, check out the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. The kids can get up close and personal with a variety of insects and butterflies at this interactive museum. They can even hold a tarantula or participate in the "Bug Appétit" program to try edible insect treats. Afterward, spend the evening at the Riverwalk Marketplace, where you can shop, dine and enjoy the views of the Mississippi River.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, A Couple’s 4-Day Guide to NOLA.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to New Orleans.