New Orleans with kids

What to do in New Orleans with kids? New Orleans is an extraordinary city in the poor state of Louisiana. From its past, it is a melting pot of cultures and therefore now carries a very special atmosphere. The city was established as a trading post by the French in 1718. The city was long fought over with its original inhabitants. The city is known for its jazz culture, Mardi Gras, exceptional cuisine and beautiful architecture. New Orleans’ past is not only very beautiful (because of its slavery past). However, the city is a picture to behold and the atmosphere there is very pleasant! We found it a great stopover with the kids, as there is a lot to do (for free) in this city. Also, for the oldest kids, a place that breathes history. In this blog, we list all of New Orleans’ fun children’s activities.

Best travel time New Orleans with kids

The best travel time to visit New Orleans with kids is March through May and late September through early November. In the summer, New Orleans gets very hot and a city break with kids can be uncomfortable. In February, Mardi Gras is celebrated in the city and the city will be crowded. It is then very difficult to find an affordable hotel in the city.

New Orleans with kids

Transportation in and to New Orleans

New Orleans has its own international airport, where you can rent a car. If you’re traveling with an RV like us (from Florida), be sure to check where you can park. Louisiana is also known for its high crime rate. So don’t leave your RV on every street. We parked our RV for the center for free (1 hour free, then pay) next to the Cabrini playground on Delphine street.

This is a good neighborhood where you can leave your RV (at least when we were there) with peace of mind. The center, because of its old architecture, has narrow streets, so getting closer with the motorhome would not be convenient for us either. From here it was a 5-minute walk to downtown. To the other points listed below you can easily drive by car and you can park your car for free at these activities.

If you want to rent a car in the United States, you can do so in almost all major cities in America with the rental company Sunny Cars. You can also rent a car at the New Orleans airport through Sunny Cars. With Sunny Cars, most insurance and often the deductible are included in the rental price. Therefore, you usually don’t have any costs afterwards. For more information on renting a car through Sunny Cars in New Orleans, take a look here.

By the way, it is also possible to get around New Orleans by public transportation, You have streetcars running through the city here since 1835 and there are a total of 3 different streetcar lines running through the city and stopping at the main attractions in the city.

Children's activities New Orleans

Children’s activities New Orleans

#1 Visit the French Quarter

Fun fact, French Quarter was built during the Spanish period. You can therefore see beautifully tiled signs in many streets with the still Spanish names of the streets dated from 1762-1803. The center is truly eye-catching and super fun to walk through with kids. Cozy little stores, artists in the center who make portraits just like in France, music is made in the streets, cute bookstores, beautiful hat stores, horse and carriages driving through the streets for a ride with tourists.

New Orleans with the family

You feel like taking pictures of every house and street, that’s how nice it looks. Every week there is a free jazz concert (when we were there on Tuesday night) to complete your experience. And in the French Quarter, everyone will recommend you go eat beignets at Café du Monde. The line is always super long and the fritters are delicious, but don’t do it! We’ll come up with a better tip in a moment ;-).

The beignets are a part of New Orleans culture and you obviously can’t skip them. We’ll tell you later in the blog where better to get these3e beignets, so you can have the same world-famous beignets as from Café du Monde, but spend less time standing in line.

Children's activities New Orleans

We think you may prefer not to be in New Orleans during Mardi Gras (the height of carnival in New Orleans) (the city itself also advises against being downtown then with young kids). If you still like to join in this typical celebration, head to St. Patrick’s Day. Charles Avenue. Here it is geared more toward kids, so here is a parade with floats.

Purple, green and gold are the colors of Mardi Gras, For the French Quarter, you can assume you will see more nudity and it is better not to come here with the kids (also according to the city’s website). There is harder partying here and you have a lot of drunk people here. Not really a place for a party for kids we think. Mardi Gras is obviously a relic of the French era (because Catholic). So check what date the event falls on before you leave.

There is also a hop on hop off bus that runs through the center. We found the distances to the things we wanted to see really quite walkable and would not choose this anytime soon (considering the price and you miss a whole lot of atmosphere anyway). But if your kids are still very young and you want a relaxed way to get around the city and still see all the hotspots, consider the hop on hop off bus.

New Orleans with kids

#2 Mississippi River

Walk to the Mississippi River for a piece of history. In fact, this is the longest river in the USA and this river is almost 6,000 kilometers long! Of course, you can take a trip down the river by boat (there are several options, such as steamboat, with or without lunch).

If you don’t and turn around toward downtown, first cross the historic streetcar line (you can also take a ride). A historic streetcar still runs at this spot and it is one of the few places in America where you will still encounter a streetcar. So just a nice photo is nice. Walk on and you have a nice view of the square and St Louis Cathedral.

When we were there, the square was super crowded due to a sports demonstration. Walking further across the square, you can see the cathedral inside. Walking into the cathedral, it is immediately super quiet. We find it very nice to always unwind very briefly here, but of course that doesn’t last long with kids. Continuing across the square, there are also stalls selling ice cream and other tasty snacks.

New Orleans with the family

#3 New Orleans City Park

If you are on your way to the New Orleans City Park you will pass through the Garden District and this is a beautiful neighborhood of 19th century villas. If you’re in New Orleans City Park, get your beignets there at Café du Monde. We received this tip from a resident and were delighted. The building of Café Du Monde itself is already a sight to behold.

As you enter, you can get a peek through the glass here. In addition, the line here is much shorter and next to Café du Monde is a wonderful playground for kids so you don’t have to keep an eye on them as much as in the center. Again, the playground does sit just so far away across the lawn that it is not wise to let really very small kids go alone.

New Orleans City Park with kids

There is also a lovely terrace at this cafe. Beignets on? Then cross the parking lot and a take a look at the (free) beautiful botanical garden. Parking is free here and there are plenty of spots in the park. You can also rent bikes at New Orleans City Park and go to the (free) sculpture garden. There are also sometimes festivals in this park.

It is really gorgeous there with the big typical oak trees. A horse and carriage ride can also be taken through the park here. In addition, there are other fun activities that we will share under item 4

Family-friendly restaurant New Orleans

#4 Louisiana Childrens Museum

The Lousiana childrens museum is all about the experience, education and playtime for kids. There is a varying program each day of reading aloud, planting seeds and playing with water (there is a recreated Mississippi River). In addition to the programs, there is lots of room for free play in various corners where there are special setups to play with (such as a bubble machine).

The museum is in a beautiful new building in New Orleans City Park. Be sure to reserve a time slot for the museum. You can easily spend an afternoon here with kids. Especially when it is warm, this is a wonderful place to go. The price-quality ratio of this museum is just very good. The building also contains a store and a small restaurant.

Furthermore, near the New Orleans City Park, there is also a zoo and a butterfly garden where you can have a great time with the family. For older kids, there is also an art museum. There is also a World War II museum in New Orleans and a Mardi Gras museum that tells the background of Mardi Gras.

You can visit historic houses such as House 1850 or the Cabildo (not a house but an old government building). We chose to visit the Louisiana Childrens Museum with our young kids, since they love playing, eating something tasty and some history the most anyway. But as you can see, there really is plenty of choice for families with kids and you can easily visit this city for several days.

Then there is also a small amusement park for kids with 18 different rides (carousels, trains and bumper cars and a roller coaster) in the city park. So there really is no time to be bored in New Orleans! This park even houses one of the oldest carousels in all of the USA. Your ticket includes admission to Storyland (located in the same park).

Children's outings New Orleans

#5 Visit the Oak View Plantation

You can also visit a plantation in New Orleans with kids. Not a happy story but an essential part of the history of the Deep South. One of the most beautiful and extensive plantations is Oak View. Extensive tours of the plantation are given here. We chose to visit a free plantation in northern Florida, but it is much smaller than the one at Oak View.

So do you want a unique experience and a nice tour to go with it? Then go to this plantation. We do find this outing more suitable for slightly older kids (9+). This is an age when kids can better understand and process the history of slavery and plantations. Although we must say that history is sometimes portrayed a bit rosier than it may have been.

Destrehan Plantation is another plantation you can visit with kids in New Orleans. Here, by the way, is a marble bath, once donated by Napoleon Bonaparte. A lot of cotton was grown in Lousiana, and the stories of the Creole slaves are also portrayed and told on this plantation.

Interesting fact, after Hurricane Katrina, the Dutch helped pump out the water. This is because of Dutch knowledge about water and living with it. Another fun fact, when we were on the road we saw huge numbers of alligators and turtles lying in the swamp next to the road, even more than all the alligators and turtles we had seen in Florida.

So are you not going to Florida or would you still like to see them? Here you can view them in the marshes. Of course, you can also join an organized tour. There are several swamp tours and you can also rent canoes. Because there are so huge numbers of alligators living there, you are sure to encounter wildlife!

Everglades National Park with kids

Family-friendly restaurant New Orleans

There are lots of family-friendly restaurants in New Orleans. But a few we highlight below.

Court of Two Sisters: treat yourself at this New Orleans restaurant. You can have lunch or dinner here with kids while there is a jazz concert. This super family-friendly restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in New Orleans. A children’s menu is also available at this restaurant.

Mulate’s Cajun Restaurant: at this restaurant you can eat traditional dishes from the region. Enjoy dancing and Cajun music and typical South Louisiana food at the restaurant. The restaurant happily welcomes kids. Cajun music is somewhat similar to Blues and originated in this state. There is originally “white” Cajun music and Zydeco, the more Creole Cajun music. The latter has more Blues influences. It is very nice when you are in Louisiana, though, to eat typical food from this region with a style of music that is really from this region.

Children's outings New Orleans

Family-friendly hotel New Orleans

You can stay in New Orleans with kids just fine. The city has several nice family-friendly hotels suitable for families. We list below the top rated hotels in New Orleans in the different price ranges. Press the blue link for more information.

Budget lodging: Hampton Inn and Suites New Orleans Convention Center

Mid-range accommodation: International House Hotel

Luxury accommodations: New Orleans Marriott

For the entire list of family-friendly accommodations in New Orleans, take a look here.

About the author: this blog is written for Ilse Stelma on IG to follow under traveling_stelmafamily. Ilse has been to 34 countries and she loves to travel with her family. In addition, they love nature, (wild) camping, occasional luxury and places not yet frequented by many tourists.

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