New Orleans is a magical place. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a playground for adults. In fact, it’s a city perfect for families, rich in art, music, and culture.
You’ll find an abundance of experiences indoors and out, including parks, historic sites, and museums.
Get ready to plan your bayou experience with our list of 24 things to do with kids in New Orleans, including kid-friendly places to shop and eat.
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is located more than 20 minutes from the city itself, so you’ll have to plan on taking a cab or use a rideshare service such as Uber.
- Think twice before renting a car. Streets can be confusing and parking is expensive. You can easily get around on foot or via streetcar if you’re staying close to the French Quarter or the Central Business District.
- If you’re riding the streetcars, you want to be sure to have exact change or you can opt to purchase an all-day pass. Visit their website ahead of time for scheduling information.
- Be sure to bring along cash as many local places are cash only and ATM fees can be high.
- If you’re going to be exploring the city on a Monday or Tuesday, be sure to check if a business or attraction is open by calling or visiting their website. Many places are closed on these days.
- If you plan to travel to New Orleans during Mardi Gras in February, you need to book your reservations months in advance if not longer. You’ll also need to be prepared for the highest room rates all year round.
What to Pack
- When thinking about what type of clothes to pack, consider what time of year you’ll be visiting. Summer is hot and wet, so light layers are an absolute must. The rest of the year is pleasant overall, with temperatures ranging from 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter months require a warm jacket, as you’re most likely to encounter a cold snap.
- Since you’ll be walking around a lot or jumping on and off streetcars, you’ll want to pack a lightweight stroller that folds easily or bring along a comfortable baby carrier.
- In New Orleans, it can rain out of the blue year round, so a sturdy umbrella is a must-pack item. A raincoat or poncho should be in your suitcase as well, no matter what time of year it is.
- A foldable, reusable water bottle will come in handy to help keep everyone hydrated on a day of exploring.
- During the warmer months, mosquitoes are abundant, so pack your favorite insect repellent.
9 Kid-Approved Places to Shop and Eat
- Cafe Du Monde – This open-air French cafe is popular for a reason. The beignets are a must as is the chicory coffee. Kids will love peeking through the window to see the beignets being made while they sip a hot chocolate. And since they are open 24 hours a day, you can stop by anytime you need a little pick me up!
- Stanley – You’ll want to arrive early to this popular breakfast spot to avoid the lines. They are known for their fried oyster po boys and delicious eggs benedict. Or you can dive into a stack of fluffy pancakes served with a side of vanilla ice cream.
- The French Market – This open-air flea market offers plenty of goodies that will please both kids and adults. Shop for souvenirs as you enjoy local snacks, live music, fresh produce, and handmade arts and crafts.
- Fat Boy’s Pizza – Grab a slice of pizza as big as your head! The whole family will love this tasty pizza spot and will surely leave with a full belly. Enthusiastic eaters can take part in the 2ft challenge to try and eat a 2-foot slice of pizza in less than 7 minutes.
- Magazine Street – Wander this historic street to find unique shops and plenty of dining opportunities. Head to Magic Box Toys for books, crafts, costumes, and playthings. Or visit Octavia Books, which is a popular local bookstore filled with treasures.
- German Coast Farmers Market – Located in the River Parishes, this market offers a wide variety of produce and handmade products. You can also find items like fresh flowers, local honey, and fresh-baked goods.
- The Camellia Grill – This restaurant is a New Orleans institution. Visit this pretty-in-pink diner for world-famous omelets, chocolate freezes, and mile-high sandwiches. Kids will love the entertaining bow-tied servers.
- Beads by the Dozen – Kids will have a blast exploring aisles and aisles of colorful beads, hats, tiaras, and toys. It’s a fun place to stock up on some of New Orleans’ most popular souvenirs.
- Hansen’s Sno-Bliz – On a hot New Orleans’ day, there’s nothing more refreshing than a snoball. Fluffy shaved ice is flavored with sweet syrups and covered in delicious toppings. You can only get these frozen treats from Spring until Summer.
15 Things To Do with Kids in New Orleans
We’ve rounded up a list of 15 things to do with kids in New Orleans:
- Audubon Zoo and Aquarium – This zoo is home to animals from all around the world, including elephants, sea lions, zebras, and more. It even has a mini water park called the Cool Zoo, so don’t forget to pack your swimsuits.
- French QuarTour Kids – These tours are designed just for the kids – but parents will have fun as well! Kids ages 6-13 can enjoy ghost hunts, interactive walking tours, scavenger hunts, and living history adventures.
- The Louisiana Children’s Museum – A favorite of locals and tourists alike, this museum has plenty of exciting exhibits and opportunities for creative play. Dig into nature, look through a microscope, get wet at the water table, or play at the Bean Machine.
- St. Louis Cathedral – Beautiful inside and out, this historic cathedral is not to be missed. On par with some of the most well-known churches in Europe, you won’t be disappointed. You can take a self-guided tour or catch a tour with a volunteer docent.
- Horse and Carriage Ride – Tour the French Quarter on a horse and carriage ride. You’ll be picked up in front of St. Louis Cathedral, located just across from Cafe Du Monde. Learn all about historical points of interest while you take in the unique architecture of the city.
- Cemetery Tour – A self-guided cemetery tour is a great way to get up close with New Orleans’ history. Continuously active since 1833, you’ll find many notable tombs, including the one that inspired Interview with a Vampire.
- Fontainebleau State Park – This lakeside park offers awe-inspiring beauty. Discover the crumbling ruins of a sugar mill built in 1829, sunbathe on a sandy beach, take a bike ride, or keep an eye out for over 400 different animal species.
- City Park – This gorgeous green space has a variety of attractions including the Sculpture Garden, Storyland, New Orleans Botanical Garden, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, as well as The New Orleans Museum of Art. There are events throughout the year, so be sure to check out their event calendar.
- Mardi Gras World – Take a tour of this 300,000 square foot working warehouse where the floats for New Orleans’ Mardi Gras parades are made. The colorful floats are larger than life, and you’ll have the chance to watch artists create them right in front of you!
- The National World War II Museum – This museum is a great place for history buffs. Explore artifacts and enjoy stories from those that fought in the war. Be sure to visit the Soda Shop located inside the museum for a sweet treat or gourmet biscuit.
- Preservation Hall – This historic building is the mecca for all things jazz in New Orleans. You can catch concerts here almost every day of the year. All ages are welcome, and kids will love listening to the live music. Just know ahead of time that if you’re visiting in the summer, there is no air conditioning.
- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas – Located close to the French Quarter, this aquarium is considered one of the best in the country. Explore the Great Maya Reef, visit the Gulf of Mexico’s 400,000-gallon tank, or get up close with a variety of endangered species.
- Take a Steamboat Ride – What is more classic New Orleans than a steamboat ride on the Mississippi River?! Take in views of the city and the surrounding areas and learn why they call it “The Crescent City”.
- Audubon Nature Center – Featuring a planetarium and various walking trails, this is a great place to visit. Only a short drive from the city, nature lovers big and small will have fun getting up close and personal with a variety of animal species.
- Airboat Swamp Tour – Taking a thrilling ride over the Mississippi River on a swamp boat. Kids and adults will love cruising along while getting a glimpse of bayou wildlife, including snakes, eagles, and of course, alligators!
You’ll never run out of things to do with kids in New Orleans. And no matter what you choose, you’re guaranteed to have the time of your lives in this colorful city.
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