If you are considering taking a family vacation to New Orleans but aren’t sure if you should because it’s not family friendly… stop! There are so many things to do in New Orleans with kids it’s mind-blowing.
We weren’t sure how it would turn out or if there would be things to do in New Orleans for kids but we were wrong.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the streets were clean and there wasn’t puke anywhere! Score!
We went to New Orleans for the first time as a family and explored as much as we could in the few days we were there.
There was more we wanted to do but just didn’t have the time to fit in.
Things to Do in New Orleans with Kids
We went thinking it would be crude and the kids wouldn’t be able to do much but we were really happy to find it was the opposite.
Let’s dive into the things we did while we were there then I’ll rundown the things we have on our list for when we return.
New Orleans City Park
If you haven’t heard of this park then go ahead and carve out some time on your schedule to head over there and check it out when you visit.
This park was among one of the only things to do in New Orleans with kids that I had on my list. For real.
I was reading about the park and it’s bigger than New York’s Central Park by 50%! Yes, you read that right. It’s huge. It’s also over 160 years old with trees that will make you swoon.
The amount of space for your kids or pets to run is phenomenal.
Take a blanket and a picnic basket and head over to City Park and enjoy the scenery!
Visit Jackson Square
Jackson Square is a National Historic Landmark right down in the center of the French Quarter. There is a statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback that you cannot miss. It stands tall in front of the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica.
Within Jackson Square, there are a number of shops, eateries, and things to do.
St. Louis Cathedral Basilica
This cathedral is the oldest operating Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States. When you are standing in front of it your neck will hurt from looking up at the steeple. The walls are made of stone and the entryway is inviting.
The original church was built in 1727 but burned down. The church that you see today was completed in the 1850s.
If you go inside you are welcomed by a parishioner who will tell you it’s okay to take pictures. The inside of this church is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
The second I walked inside a feeling of peace and calm came over me. Our children even calmed down while we were in there!
The walls, ceilings, and even the stained glass windows are something of beauty.
This is definitely a must see!
Plus the building that flanks the church on the left is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed! Talk about a history lesson.
Walk the French Quarter
If you are planning to spend time in the French Quarter make sure you pack good shoes! This is a walking city and you will put in some miles without even realizing it.
Walking the French Quarter will allow you to see the sites without having to constantly find a place to park or worry about pedestrians crossing.
The cars down there know there are pedestrians are everywhere and don’t drive like maniacs for the most part.
Visit the LaLaurie Mansion
The LaLaurie Mansion is located on 1140 Royal Street and is an unmistakable piece of architecture. It’s has a gray facade and wrought iron gates.
The home was reportedly purchased by a private citizen and is no longer available to take tours.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth walking by to check out. The history behind the LaLaurie Mansion is a bit morbid. The building was formerly owned by Madame LaLaurie, who tortured slaves there.
Ride the Canal Street Ferry
We rode the ferry each day we were there and it was 100% worth it. If you are looking for parking in New Orleans and you are staying across the river your best bet is over by Algier’s Point. There is a parking lot there that you can park in and ride the ferry across the muddy Mississippi.
The ferry cost us $2 per person per way and the parking lot was $20. The parking was high due to the festival that was going on when we were there. Usually, parking is between $5-10 per day.
Walk Bourbon Street
The first day we were in the French Quarter Bourbon St was dead. We were able to walk up and down the street without anyone else.
Bourbon Street is iconic and worth walking. It’s neon signs are a signal to the typical adult-themed entertainment that takes place there after dark.
Walk Royal Street
Royal Street had even more beautiful homes and businesses to see. This street was so much prettier than Bourbon Street in my opinion. The wrought iron balconies, hanging plants and art galleries full of beautiful things will make you feel like you were transported to another time.
The kids really loved walking down this street and looking in the windows of the art galleries. Their “oohs and ahhs” made me feel like they were appreciating the culture in front of them.
I noticed quite a few little hidden dining areas dotted along Royal Street. There are a few cafes and shops that are really popular that we tried getting into but the lines were long.
There is a shop we went into that has a massive collection of antique guns and money that boggled my mind.
We like to collect old coins and this store definitely got me excited. There was a coin in there that dated clear back to BC times.
The Louisiana Supreme Court is also on this street and is a sight to behold. The kids were fascinated by the Justice Statue that is outside on the steps.
There are so many things to do in New Orleans with kids that you can’t possibly do it in 2 days.
We took in the French Quarter Fest while we were there which is why we didn’t do as many of the activities I’m going to mention next.
Things to Do in New Orlean with Kids – Honorable Mentions
Take a Cemetery Tour
This is something we badly wanted to do but we overheard a few people talking along the way and decided it wasn’t something we wanted to do with the kids.
They were charging $20 per person including the admission for kids and the tour guides were giving a ton of information they would never appreciate.
If you have older children this may be something for you but paying $20 for our toddler to kick rocks wasn’t worth it for us.
Ride a Trolley
We kept trying to ride the trolley while we were there and never caught it in time. When we go back we will definitely ride!
Cost: $1.25 per person per direction
National WW2 Museum
This is another option on the list of things to do with kids. If you are headed to New Orleans when it’s going to be hot this might just be something you want to do.
This would be a great option for air-conditioned activity.
Military, Children over 5 & College Students: $18
Children under 5 are free
Location: 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
The Aquarium is the one place the kids begged us to go see but we wanted to listen to the music and see the sights so we didn’t do the aquarium this time around. It’s right down from where we got off of the ferry.
Cost: (Prices vary by purchases online vs at the gate)
Location: 6500 Magazine Street New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
Storyland in City Park
We tried to visit Storyland but they were closed when we arrived which was a big bummer. The only thing I wanted to do in City Park was to visit the historic carousel.
If you are in City Park definitely check out Storyland. It looked like a lot of fun.
Cost: $4 (under 36’ is free)
Location: 1 Palm DriveNew Orleans, LA 70124
Take a Ride on Steamboat Natchez
Take a ride on the only steamboat in New Orleans today. We will definitely look into this next time!
Cost varies by what you want to do. They have sightseeing cruises and brunch or dinner cruises.
600 Decatur St. Suite 308 New Orleans LA 70130
A Few More…
- Tour the Garden District
- Museum of Art
- Louis Armstrong Park
- French Quarter Kids Tour
- Preservation Hall
The amount of things to do in New Orleans with kids is a mile long. We only spent 2.5 days in The Big Easy but we could have easily spent a week and not done everything we wanted.
It’s easy to put in 5-10 miles per day by foot which is why I mentioned taking good shoes!
New Orleans is definitely a family-friendly place if you are on the hunt for a new place to visit.
We loved it there and are planning another trip both with kids and without.