*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.
You may associate New Orleans with Mardi Gras, adult activities, and debauchery; however, there are TONS of things to do in New Orleans with kids too! New Orleans is drenched in history, culture, and character, and that in and of itself makes it a great place for kids to have their imaginations and characters expanded.
I don’t drink alcohol so much anymore; however, when we visited NOLA with our son, I did. One of the neat things about NOLA is that you can walk around the city while enjoying a libation. Much of the beauty of New Orleans is the journey, not the destination.
Things to Know Before You Go
New Orleans is located due south of Chicago and St. Louis. The easiest way to get to NOLA is by plane (Louis Armstrong International Airport), or by car. If you do fly into NOLA you do not need to rent a car. The city is very walkable, and public transportation is fun (see St. Charles Ave. Streetcar below). If you have babies or toddlers, be sure to bring a stroller to get around the city. Also be sure to pack plenty of snacks if you venture outside of the french Quarter. Check out our comprehensive packing list for babies and todlers, along with our list of easy snacks for on the go!
The second thing to know about New Orleans is that its in the middle of a swamp, which means that its HOT and HUMID, for much of the year. We visited in March and it was warm and humid at that time. For little ones, be sure to bring layers of clothing for temperature regulation, and consider a fan for your little one.
23 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in New Orleans with Kids
1. Walk Around the French Quarter
Stroll Around the French Quarter on Your Own
The French Quarter may be the most iconic and well-known neighborhood of New Orleans. It is right along the Mississippi River, and its where most of the action takes place. Hanging out in the French Quarter is one of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids, just taking in the sights and sounds of New Orelans. Kids will be fascinated by all of the beautiful flowers, cool art, and interesting characters. Its like a sensory wonderland!
There’s a ton of culture to be had in the French Quarter with no shortage of entertainment, museums, tours, and riverboat cruises. This is also the area where you’ll find endless options for eating, drinking, and shopping.
The French Quarter is a great place for strolling around; try to time lunchtime with naptime for an uninterrupted meal, and some interesting shopping afterward.
Recommended Ages: All ages. This is a great place to let little kids explore, stretch their legs, and take in the culture, sights, and sounds of New Orleans.
French Quarter Kids
For a more engaging, family-friendly French quarter tour, consider touring with French Quarter Kids. These are teacher-led tours, and they have several tours depending on your kid’s age and interests. Currently, they have a pirate treasure hunt tour, a ghost hunt for kids tour, a creole tour, a twilight tour, a life science scavenger hunt tour, a teen tour, and a music tour.
The tours range in length from 1.25-1.5 hours and are largely outdoors. A parent/guardian is required to attend, and each person on the tour needs a ticket. Although called ‘French Quarter Kids,’ these are touted as whole-family tours.
Recommended Ages: Here are the ages for each of the French Quarter Kids tours:
- Pirate Treasure Hunt: 4-7 yrs. old
- Ghost Hunt for Kids: 4-8 yrs. old
- Life Science Scavengers Hunt: 5-10 yrs. old
- Creole Kids Living History: 7-12 yrs. old
- Twilight Tour: 8-12 yrs. old
- Teen Tour: 11-18 yrs. old
- Teen Tour: Music for Teens: 11-18 yrs. old
2. Listen to Live Music in Jackson Square
Next, Jackson Square! Jackson Square is in the French Quarter and is one of the first places to visit when visiting New Orleans with kids. Jackson Square is a series of concentric circles located within the square, and is a great place for letting kids run around and stretch their legs and listen to FREE live music!
Perhaps my favorite part of our stay in New Orleans was listening to the jazz band rock out in front of the St. Louis Cathedral. You cannot beat free live jazz music, outdoors on a beautiful day in New Orleans. Letting your kids dance it out to live jazz music is one of the best things to do in New Orelans with kids!
Recommended Ages: ALL ages! Kids can let loose and dance around to the live jazz, or let it lull them to sleep for naptime!
3. Grab some Beignets
Beignets are little pillows of fried dough, doused with a healthy dusting of powdered sugar. Warm beignets are literally heaven on earth.
Eat Beignets at Café Du Monde
On the opposite side of Jackson Square Park is one of the most iconic, Big Easy, beignet restaurants, Café Du Monde. Not only do they have excellent beignets, but they also have great coffee. Their claim to fame is that they brew their coffee with chicory. Chicory is the root of the endive plant (a type of lettuce), which is ground and added to the coffee to soften the bitterness of the dark brew.
What the kids really want though are the beignets. Café Du Monde sells their beignets in orders 3, enough for the whole family (if you are feeling extra hungry grab an order to go). Eating beignets was one of my son’s favorite things to do in New Orelans!
Eat Beignets at Café Beignet
Café Beignet is another restaurant in the French Quarter that serves its beignets hot and cooked to order. Café Beignet’s slogan is that they have ‘New Orleans’ Best Beignets.’
We ate at both Café Du Monde and Café Beignet, and no clear winner emerged. I encourage you to go on a beignet taste test and see for yourself!
Recommended Ages: ALL! This is one of the highlights of a visit to New Orleans with kids! Powdered sugar-dusted faces, and sticky hands!
4. Moonwalk at the Mississippi
Hang out and watch the ships go down the Mississippi at the Moonwalk (across train tracks, right behind Café Du Monde; After walking around Jackson Square Park and getting a few beignets, stroll over to the Moonwalk on the Mississippi (right behind Café Du Monde), and watch the steamships go by. It’s a good opportunity to relax, take in the mighty Mississippi, and escape the chaos of NOLA.
Recommended Ages: All ages. You have watch little kids, as there are no railings. We took our son, and there were many families there with small children. Bigger kids will like to watch the boats as well.
5. Ride the Canal Street streetcar- City Park/Muse- out to City Park
In my opinion, riding the Canal Streetcar, along with visiting New Orleans City Park is one of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids!
The streetcar (see streetcar routes) is a symbol of old-world charm, and of a simpler time, and has become an icon of New Orleans.
You can catch the Canal Street streetcar anywhere along Canal Street, which forms the western boundary of the French Quarter. Depending on where you get on the streetcar, it takes about ~35 minutes to get out to the Museum of Art, which is where you want to get off. You’ll then walk over to the New Orleans City Park, which hosts a ton of activities for kids and families.
A Note on Strollers: You can bring strollers on the streetcars; however, you must collapse them. This can be problematic if your kid is asleep in the stroller, so plan accordingly. The streetcars can get packed, and the aisles are narrow, as the streetcars are old. Overall, it’s a great experience for kids, but like all public transportation, it can be busy.
Recommended Ages: ALL! This is a great way to take in the city, for all ages.
6. New Orleans City Park
New Orleans City Park has several of the best things to do in New Orleans with Kids. It’s a 1300-acre park, with tons of activities. The beauty of City Park is that there is something for all ages, tastes, and interests. I’m going to run down the highlights of City Park, for kids; however, you can get a full map here, and a map of the south side of the park here. Most of the things to do for kids are on the south side of the park.
Within New Orleans City Park there are seven things to do with kids, that we cover below!
Storyland is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a garden with “larger-than-life” storybook figures. It’s a playground with life-size storybook sculptures. You’ll see familiar scenes from Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Cinderella’s Pumpkin, Three Little Pics, the Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe, and other well-known fairytales. Other highlights of Storyland are Captain Hooks life-size pirate chip, and a big dragon slide for kids to play on. All told there are more than 20 storybook sculptures for kids to ogle over. If your kids are into fairytales then they’ll love Storyland!
Hours & Cost: Currently, Storyland is open from 10am-4:30pm, and costs $6/per person, with kids under 35” being free.
Recommended Ages: ALL!! Great for littles, and 5-8; maybe a little underwhelming for bigger kids; however, all kids will recognize these iconic fairytale figures.
8. Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Carousel Gardens Amusement Park features 18 rides for kids.
Hours & Cost: Carousel Gardens Amusement Park is only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-6pm. Carousel Gardens is free for children under 36 inches, and $25 for children over 36”. Its $15 for a Chaperone or Seniors pass.
Infants: Infants are permitted on the Train and the Carousel with a paid adult.
Children Under 36”: Children under 36” are permitted to ride the Construction Zone, Slime Buckets, the Carousel, and the Train, with a paid adult.
Minimum 36”: Children over 36 inches can ride the Monkey Jump, Red Baron, and the Umbrella Cars. Kids over 36” but under 42” can ride the Whacky Check, Fun Slide, and Rocking Tub, with a paid adult.
Minimum 42”: Children over 42 inches can ride the Coney Tower, Whacky Shack, Fun Slike, and Rocking Tug without a paying adult. To ride the Carousel without a paid adult children must be over 42 inches.
Minimum 46”: Children over 46 inches may ride the Tilt-a-Whirl. Also, children over 36” may ride the Tilt-a-Whirl with a paid adult.
Minimum 48”: Children over 48 inches may ride the Bumper Cars (or 42 inches with a paid adult), Ferris Wheel (or 36 inches with a paid adult), the Scrambler (or 36” with a paid adult), and the Train (under 48 inches must ride with a paid adult).
Minimum 52”: Children over 52” may ride the Ladybug Roller Coaster (or over 40” with a paid adult), and the Musik Express (or over 48 inches with a paid adult).
Recommended Ages: ALL!!
9. Louisiana Children’s Museum
The Louisiana Children’s Museum is a great children’s museum located in the heart of City Park.
Hours & Cost: The Louisiana Children’s Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30am-4:30pm, and on Sundays from 11:30am-4:30pm. Children under 1-year-old are free. Adults and children over 12 months are $14.00. Seniors and active military are $12.00.
The Louisiana Children’s Museum is one of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids! They have weekly and monthly programming for kids, along with permanent and rotating experiences for kids.
Programming: They have weekly programming for toddlers, including yoga, messy playtime, storytime, and water play. Additionally, they have a daily ‘Sedimentation Table Demonstration in the Dig Into Nature Gallery.’ You’ll also find programming learning about plants in the edible garden, nature exploration, and story time in the “Talk and Play Center” and the “Toddler Landscape.” They also have monthly programming, which you can follow here.
Experiences: In addition to Programming, they have numerous ‘experiences’ or exhibits.
Play With Me: This experience is dedicated to children under 4. Exhibits include a Sensory Lagoon (which littles can roll around on a water bed of lily pads, hear the water, and feel the movement of the water), play with the Felt Wall, explore the Discovery Zone (explore mirrors and other sensory phenomena), Read under the Cypress Tree Book Nook, or let your littles lose in the Climbing Space (a space for physical and kinetic play). There are also several other exhibits including shadow and light play, peek-a-boo theater, and a mirror labyrinth.
Outdoor Adventures: The Great Outdoors anyone?! Let your kids play in the sun while learning a little something! Featured exhibits include the Toddler Landscape & Burrow Hummock (great for gross motor skills, as little scamper through tunnels, trails, and hone the art of climbing), the Music Hummock, or the Eye Spy Stations (explore the surroundings with binoculars). Additional exhibits include a Floating Classroom, the Pelican’s Perch, and an Edible Garden. They also have live classes to explore the Edible Garden further.
Move with the River: There’s nothing more iconic for middle America, and New Orleans in particular than the Mighty Mississippi. Featured Exhibits include the Mighty Mississippi (essentially a 100 foot water table with locks, dams, ports, and drainage systems), a Water Wall, Rocks & Springs for Tots (a water area just for toddlers), and Cargo & Destinations (load and unload cargo ships, just as they are on the Mississippi River). Additional exhibits include Water Dialogue (for adults), and License Plate Bingo (find numbers, letters, signs and pictures located along the water table).
Make Your Mark: Make Your Mark celebrates New Orleans culture stemming from his robust history of architecture, art, music, and culture. Featured exhibits include Soundscape and Jackson Square, Jammin’ House, Bubble Studio, and Build Big Dreams. Additional exhibits include Studio in the Park, Shotgun House, and a Design Studio.
Dig Into Nature: Dig Into Natures explores all things animals, plants, and water. They have a Sedimentation Table, a Nature Caring Station (caring for animals), Engineering Tables, A station exploring the Pirogue and Bayou-two ecosystems unique to Southern Louisiana, and a large Microscope station. If nature is your family’s thing, your children will love these experiences! There are several other exhibits including the Trading Post, the Promise Tree, the Storytelling Nest, and the Wave Wall.
Follow That Food: Follow that Food is an exhibit that follows food from the field to your mouth. Exhibits include Food and You Market (a grocery store with working registers), the Creole Kitchen, Mr. Okra’s Truck (emulate Mr. Okra selling and delivering fresh fruits and vegetables throughout New Orleans), and the Bean Machine (moving coffee beans up and down with a giant crane). Additional exhibits include Growing and Gathering, Plinko and Gears, a Scent Wall, and the Corn Husker exhibit.
Recommended Ages: All ages will enjoy the Children’s Museum; older children may find it underwhelming.
10. Botanical Gardens
Hours & Cost: The Botanical Gardens is open on Wednesdays from 10am-8pm, and Thursday-Sunday from 10am-4:30pm. Adults are $10, Children 3-12 are $5, and Children under 3 are Free.
This may seem an odd one for a list of best things to do in New Orleans with kids; however, children will be mesmerized by all of the brilliant colors and sounds of the Botanical Gardens. Specifically, check out the Tropical Garden, the Butterfly Walk, the Japanese Garden, and the Historic New Orleans Train Garden.
The Botanical Garden also boasts a small sculpture garden highlighting the works of Enrique Alferez.
Train Garden: On highlight of the Botanical Gardens for kids is the Train Garden. The Train Garden is a miniature scene with trains, streetcars, and traditional New Orleans homes and architecture made from botanical materials. Visitors to the Train Garden walk throughout the garden stopping along the tracks to read snippets of history about various neighborhoods, streetcar lines, and the city in general. The Train Garden is open while the Botanical Garden is open; however, the trains only operate on Saturdays and Sundays, and during the Celebration in the Oaks.
Recommended Ages: All ages may enjoy the Botanical Gardens
11. City Putt
City Putt is a 36-hold mini golf course made up of two courses: (1) a Louisiana course, and (2) a New Orleans Course. Each featuring cultural highlights and iconic themes from around NOLA and Louisiana.
It is ADA accessible and you’ll find City Putt right across from the entrance to Carousel Gardens, the Botanical Gardens, and Storyland.
Hours & Cost: City Putt is open from on Wednesday-Friday from 3pm-10pm, and on the weekends from 12pm-10pm. Adults and children over 13 are $10, children 4-12 are $8, and children 0-3 are free. If you play a second round in the same visit you’ll pay half price for the second round.
Recommended Ages: City Putt is great for any aged child who can walk and hold a golf club. Even little kids will enjoy this as they can roll the golf ball into the holes.
12. Sculpture Garden
Officially known as the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, the garden is officially part of the New Orleans Museum of Art, and is located inside City Park adjacent to NOMA. The Sculpture Garden is outside and boasts more than 90 life-size sculptures.
The Sculpture Garden makes the list of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids because it is a visual and sensory wonderland. The sculptures are colorful, made with unique materials, and you can walk right up and touch the sculptures. Some sculptures are reflective, and some look like they were shaped by the wind, and some are objects that kiddos will recognize (like a life size safety pin, and a bear).
All told, it’s a great place for kids to stroll around, stretch their legs, and have their senses stimulated.
Hours & Admission:
Admission is free and the Sculpture Garden is open 10am-6pm seven days a week.
Recommended Ages: All ages!!
13. New Orleans Museum of Art
In addition to having art collections from across the world (Africa, Antiquities, Native American, Asian, pre-Columbian Art, and textiles, to name a few), the New Orleans Museum of Art boasts several programs for Kids and Families.
Hours & admission:
NOMA is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10am-5pm. Adult admission is $15 and youth 0-19 are free.
Aside from the art galleries, NOMA has programming geared towards Kids and Families:
Studio Kids! is the NOMA Saturday morning art-making workshop for kids. Kids enjoy strolling around NOMA galleries and then they get to make their own art with a NOMA artist. Registration includes all materials. Check out the NOMA Studio Kids! website for dates and times.
Art Making Activities: These activities tie in crafts that kids can make at home, with concepts inspired by art at NOMA. For example, one Art-Making Activity is ‘Paper Planet Orbs,’ inspired by Dawn DeDeaux’s video entitled ‘One Drop,’ and other spherical pieces found throughout the museum. There are several Art-Making Activities that families found on the NOMA website, that families can make from home. Some activities include making art with produce scraps, paper sculptures, paper flowers, egg dying, and collage making, to name a few. All of these crafts can be made form home, with items found throughout your house.
NOMA at Home: This is the official hub for NOMA’s family resources. Much of these resources are meant to be used in conjunction with visiting the museum. They have an activity book, ‘to-do’ activities for walking through the Sensory Garden, and accompaniments for some of their festivals.
Family Festivals: These festivals take place 2-3 times per year, on certain Saturdays, and are geared towards families. Family Festivals are free, and no registration is required. These festivals are immersive art experiences including performances, art making, and interactive activities.
Recommended Ages: Ages vary depending on the activity; however, NOMA is generally suitable for 5-18 years old. Although small children will particularly enjoy the crafts.
14. Take a Mississippi River Boat Cruise
Hands down, one of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids is to take a Mississippi River Boat Cruise. There are several to choose from; however, our recommendation is the Creole Queen Riverboat Cruise. Most riverboat and paddle boat cruises have several cruise options including Jazz Cruises, Brunch Cruises, and Dinner Cruises.
We like the Creole Queen because it also offers a Historic Cruise. The Historic Cruise cruises up the Mississippi River, but also stops at Chalmette Battlefield for a little bit of history. This is also great for families as kids have a chance to get off the boat, stretch their legs, and run around a bit.
Hours & Admission:
Currently, the Historic Cruises run twice per day, once at 10am and again at 2pm. Historic Cruises are 3 hours long. However, there are other tours, so check out their website for up to date cruise offerings and times.
Each cruise also runs a buffet and ala carte menu, and pricing will vary depending on whether you’d like to eat or not. For example, Adult with lunch is $59, whereas Adult no lunch is $39. Kids under 5 (no lunch) are free, kids under 5 with lunch is $10. Check out the website, and your particular cruise for current pricing.
Recommended Ages: All Ages!! I recommend wearing little babies and toddlers off the boat. You can leave strollers and bags on the boat if you disembark for the Chalmette Battlefield. Otherwise, kids are free to roam the boat.
15. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Part of the Audubon Nature Institute, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located at 1 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70130. This Aquarium is unique in that it is broken down into regions of the world, and by type of animal, and consistently makes any list of the best thigns to do in New Orleans with kids.
For example, they have exhibits on the Amazon Rainforest, the Mississippi River basin, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Maya Reef. They also have exhibits featuring penguins, sea otters, jellyfish, and a shark and ray touch pool.
The Aquarium has a kid friendly Café and is stroller friendly.
Hours & Admission:
The Aquarium is open Thursday-Monday from 10am-5pm. Prices vary depending on the date, and how far in advance you book your tickets. However, a general ballpark is $29-$31 for adults (13-64), and $24-$25 for kids (2-12).
A Note on the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium used to be a standalone museum; however, in 2020 it closed and will re-open at the Aquarium, in the river exhibit. Check back here for updates.
16. Audubon Nature Center
The Audubon Louisiana Nature Center is part of the greater Audubon Nature Institute, and is located at 11000 Lake Forest Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70127. The Nature Center boasts various exhibits and programing including walking trails, ranger programs, a planetarium, and an interpretive nature center.
They have a handy dandy ‘field guide’ with hand drawn pictures of various animals, that kids will enjoy.
Explore the Ranger Programs at the Audubon Nature Center! A Ranger is on duty on Monday-Saturday from 8:30am-3pm, to serve as a ‘personal nature concierge,’ and can recommend hiking trails, along with tips for wildlife viewing.
They also run a fun interactive game called Guide & SEEK, which is run on an app by iNaturalist. You use your smartphone to find things and record your discoveries. Guide & SEEK is on Thursdays from 10:30am-11:30am.
On Thursdays, the Rangers run a program called ‘Tree-Search 7 Hydro-logic,’ in which kids can explore forestry or water science concepts, and which help the staff to manage the forest and water ecosystems in the surrounding area. This program runs from 2pm-2:30pm on Thursdays.
The Interpretive Center is a 4,000 square foot complex, akin to a nature museum. They have small animal enclosures, nature facts, and exhibits, along with an interpretive guide to answer all of your questions. They have great hands-on exhibits for all ages. The Interpretive Center is open on Thursdays & Saturdays from 10am-2pm.
Hiking & Nature Trails
The Audubon Nature Center has several nature trails, including the boardwalk, the Adventure Trail, and the Discovery Trail. The Boardwalk is approximately one mile long and is suitable for strollers and wheelchairs. The Adventure trail is primitive, at either .8 or 1.3 miles long. Lastly, the Discovery trail is a .3-mile loop with a small bridge (not stroller friendly).
The planetarium is currently closed. But check back often for information on when it reopens. There are additional fees for the planetarium.
The Audubon Nature Center runs several educational programs including family friendly events, overnight camping, animal encounters, and guided hikes. Check their Education Programs page for up to date information on current programing. There may be additional fees and charges for individual and family programming.
Hours & Admission:
The Nature Center is open Monday-Saturday from 8:30am-3pm, and general admission is free.
17. Ride the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar out to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
The St. Charles Avenue Streetcar is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world. You can catch the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Line just outside of the French Quarter at the corner of Canal & Carondelet Streets. For Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 you’ll get off at either St. Charles & Washington or St. Charles & Sixth Street.
Alternatively, you can walk out to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, which is what we did. We walked out through the garden district, which is beautiful. The walk takes about an hour, which is perfect if you can time if for nap.
If you do catch the Streetcar please note that you’ll probably have to collapse your stroller while riding.
18. Visit Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is in the beautiful Garden District of New Orleans, is an iconic New Orleans fixture, and is great for photography buffs and those looking for something a bit different.
Graves in New Orleans are built above ground, as the entire city is below sea level.
It may seem a bit odd that this would make a list of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids. However, this attraction is good for families because little kids will be fascinated by the intricacy and ornateness of some of these tombs, while older kids are fascinated by its history and creepiness.
Hours & Admission: Admission is free; however, the Cemetery is current closed. Check back often to see when it will reopen.
Recommended Ages: All ages, so long as your kids isn’t creeped out by spooky things.
19. World War II Museum
The National World War II Museum may seem an odd choice for a list of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids; however, the interactive exhibits, multitude of programming, and the beautifully crafted lifelike exhibits are enough to hold a kids attention, and provide entertainment for the entire family. Below are the highlights that will catch and hold a child’s interest; however, there is much more to explore here.
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion: Building 1
This is where you enter the World War II Museum, and families are greeted with an atrium with life-size aircraft, boats, tanks, and other vehicles. There’s a life size recreation of a train station, with a train car, in which families can sit and ‘ride.’
As you move deeper into the exhibits there are additional recreations of scenes from the 1940s, which families will love. You’ll also find detailed and vibrant visuals of the road to war, and of the invasion of Normandy.
Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters: Building 3
The Campaigns of Courage building is the iconic World War II Museum building that you’ll see in most of the advertisements; its beautiful.
The exhibits found inside are called the ‘Road to Tokyo’ and the ‘Road to Berlin,’ and they are 360 degree exhibits. What makes both exhibits unique, and interesting for families are the lifelike and detailed exhibits; they are literally 360-degree recreations of some of the scenes. Replete with life like terrain, trees, snow, and bunkers, children of all ages will love the interactive displays.
US Freedom Pavilion: Building 5
If your kiddo is into vehicles, then this pavilion is for you! This pavilion houses several life size tanks, World War II era planes, submarines, and other vehicles of war. You can view the vehicles from the ground, or an arial catwalk. There are also interactive exhibits where kids can touch, feel, and tinker with the different vehicles.
There are two eating options at the World War II Museum. A legit restaurant & bar, and a smaller soda shop, decorated in a 1950s theme.
The restaurant, called ‘The American Sector,’ is open daily from 11am-4pm. This is a traditional sit-down restaurant, with a full menu.
The soda shop is called ‘Jeri Nims Soda Shop,’ and is open daily from 8am-3pm. This place is CUTE! They serve breakfast, sandwiches, and sweet treats.
The Museum also has a ‘lunchroom’ area where you can eat food that you have brought into the museum.
Hours & Admission
The World War II Museum is open daily from 9am-5pm; it is closed on Mardi Gras, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas day.
Recommended Ages: Older kids will get more out of the World War II history; however, we took our 3-year-old and he really liked all of the lifelike and colorful displays, despite having no idea what World War II was. That’s what makes the World War II Museum great, is that all age levels can get something different out of the exhibits.
20. Listen to Music in Preservation Hall
Preservation Hall, located at 726 Saint Peter Street, is a small music venue that boasts intimate, traditional New Orleans jazz shows and sessions. New Orleans jazz is a mix of Caribbean, European, and African music, blended seamlessly into what we have today as New Orleans Jazz. Preservation Hall as we know it was founded in the early 1960s. It was a space, in the south, where racially integrated spectators and musicians could share music in the Jim Crow south.
Now, they host intimate, living room-style performances for small groups a few times per day. Most weekdays they have a 5pm and a 6pm show, which would suitable times for families. They also have earlier shows, ~2:30pm and 3:35pm, on the weekends. During COVID times you must purchase your tickets ahead of time.
Recommended Ages: Preservation Hall welcomes all ages. Please check here for their vaccine policy, during COVID times, for unvaccinated children.
21. Eat Creole Food
You gotta eat Creole food when in New Orleans! NOLA is definitely for meat eaters. From seafood to steaks, NOLA is known for a vast array of cuisines. However, I’m vegan, and I still managed to get down on some delicious food!
Eat at Killer Po’ Boys
If you are vegan like I am, check out Killer Po’Boys. They have a DELICIOUS vegan po boy! The original location is in the heart of the French Quarter; they now have a second location on the western edge of the French Quarter. They have a vegan po boy at both locations; if you can get your hands on the Roasted Cauliflower Sandwich, I recommend that!
They also have grilled cheese and nut butter & jelly sandwiches, for the less adventurous.
NOTE: Killer Po’ Boys is not a vegan restaurant. They have plenty of items for meat eaters. They simply have a good option for those who don’t eat meat.
22. Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras World is over the top, colorful, larger than life, and opulent. Just like Mardi Gras itself. Currently they run self-guided tours, which are great for little kids as you can move as fast or as slow as you’d like. Mardi Gras World recommends about an hour for the tour.
It’s basically a repository for the Mardi Gras parade floats and attractions, and you can get up close and personal with the floats in a way that you cannot at the parade. Mardi Gras World is neat because you can see artists working on actual floats, and you get to see the floats in their varying degrees of doneness.
Hours & Admission
Mardi Gras World is open seven days a week from 9am-5:30pm. The last admission is at 4:30pm. Adult admission is $22, and children ages 2-12 are $14.
Recommended Ages: Mardi Gras World is appropriate for all ages; however, many of these floats and attractions are lifelike and some are scary. If your child frightens easily you may want to skip this one, or shuffle past the scary floats.
23. Take a Kid-Friendly Swamp Tour
Lastly, take a kid friendly swamp tour! This may be a unicorn, but I recommend finding an eco-friendly swamp tour that respects and minimally disrupts the wildlife habitat. However, if you dan find one, this is one of the most enjoyable things you can do in New Orleans with your kids!
Things to consider when taking a swamp tour with kids, and selecting a swamp tour:
- Ask for any age restrictions on kids: Many tours do not allow small children as a safety precaution.
- Consider Boat type: Look for a covered boat and one powered by a motor, as opposed to an airboat. The covered boats are slower; however, they are safer for small children.
- Wild-Life preservation: Look for a tour that doesn’t offer any gimmicks when it comes to interacting with wildlife. Also, look for a tour that practices the ‘leave no trace’ policy.
We recommend Cajun Encounters Tour Co., which offers Eco-Friendly excursions. Cajun Encounters is a member of the Louisiana Nature Conservancy, and per their website, “we have a responsibility to protect the environment around us. Were’ dedicated to providing an intimate look at the swamp without impacting the environment or the many diverse species that live there.” Their swamp tours “provide a peaceful, educational look experience,” and aim to minimally disrupt the habitat. Additionally, their boats are motor powered, and they do not have airboats; they also offer tours on covered boats Most importantly, they welcome kids of all ages.
Kid-Friendly Accommodations in New Orleans
There are endless hotel options in the Big Easy. On our first night in NOLA we stayed at the La Quinta Inn & Suites New Orleans Downtown. It was kid-friendly, had a free breakfast, was close to the attractions, and we got a free upgrade! I’d definitely recommend it.
For the next three nights, we stayed at an Airbnb/VRBO. It was located near the warehouse district on Girod and Magazine streets. It was just under a mile from Jackson Square, so about a 5-15 minute walk through the French Quarter. This particular place was nice because we had more room to spread out, we could make some meals, and it was still close to the attractions. It had exposed brick and this industrial feel; it also had a record player and classic records, which was fun.
Frequently Asked Questions about Things To Do In New Orleans with Kids
Is New Orleans Child Friendly?
Yes, not only is New Orleans child friendly, but there are many fun and age-appropriate things to do in New Orleans with kids! Also, you can drink in the street, so you’ll be able to stroll around NOLA, enjoying a libration, while the kids enjoy the sights and sounds.
Are kids allowed in the French Quarter?
Yes, the French Quarter is a neighborhood, and kids are allowed in the French Quarter. Strolling around the French Quarter, taking in all of the sights and sounds, is our number one thing to do in New Orleans with kids! You should also have a stroll around Jackson Square, and visit the Moonwalk and the mighty Mississippi. Lastly, you’ll find the best beignets in the French Quarter!
Best time to visit New Orleans with family
The best time of year to visit New Orleans with kids is March through April and October through November. This is based purely on weather conditions and crowd levels. March-April is nice weather and its not too hot or humid. Many of the NOLA attractions are outside, so avoid the summer as its downright swampy.
Is New Orleans safe for a family vacation?
New Orleans is a safe city, but its an urban city, so take any precautions that you’d normally take in the city. I’d avoid February, during Mardi Gras, unless youlike drunk and debaucherous.
Free kid-friendly things to do in New Orleans
There are several free things to do on our list of ‘things to do in New Orleans with kids.’ See above for the following:
- Stroll around the French Quarter;
- Listen to live music in Jackson Square;
- Visit the Moonwalk and the mighty Mississippi;
- Within City Park the Sculpture Garden and the park itself, are free;
- The Audobon Nature Center; and
- Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.
New Orleans with a Baby
New Orleans is a walkable city; however, if you ride the streetcars you must collapse your stroller, which is a problem if your kiddo is asleep. Also New Orleans is an old city, which means that some of the streets and sidewalks are narrow. Also, New Orleans can be busy, so a small footprint stroller is ideal. I recommend the Jeep Umbrella Stroller, which has a small footprint, but still provides some storage room.
I recommend brining a baby carrier, in addition to a small stroller. New Orleans is HOT, so I recommend something breathable, like the Lillebay Complete Airflow.
New Orleans is a phenomenal town, and has lots more to offer than just Mardi Gras and debauchery!
There are tons of fun, exciting, and wholesome things to do in New Orleans with kids! I hope you found something on this list that interests you and your kids.
Have you been to NOLA with your family? If so drop us a line below and tell us what your favorite things to do are!