When you think of New Orleans, you think of Mardi Gras, King Cake, strolling the French Quarter sipping Hurricanes, catching beads, awesome parades and attending Essence Fest with your girl friends. But, how often do you consider Nola when it comes to planning your family vacation? I bet it’s at the bottom of the list with places like North Dakota and Kansas! However, I am telling you to not sleep on New Orleans as a family friendly travel destination. We visit at least once a year and Niah and KJ love it!
Each time we visit, we find more and more to do. I anticipate that the options will be plentiful as they continue to build the city up more and more! I’m such a big fan of my children witnessing how people live from city to city and from all walks of life. Sandy beaches, giant cruise ships, over priced Disney, and massive resorts are awesome but there is more to travel then this. My goal is to help them visit all 50 states. In doing so, I want them to also experience the raw, non-commercial, cultural side of travel within safe boundaries.
As a result, I’m glad the smell of pee consumed their nose on the unrefined streets of the New Orleans corridors. I was thrilled they had to skip across puddles because the possibilities of what it could have been were endless. I was happy they were eager to feed the less fortunate! But, most importantly, I was thrilled on our last day when they acclaimed “this was the best trip ever!” I hope that all we experienced sincerely allows them to appreciate living as they know it. We talked history, we walked through history so I am eager to share with you the best way to conquer New Orleans with kids!
THE BEST WAY TO CONQUER NEW ORLEANS WITH KIDS
Select The Best Accommodations
You need to select accommodations that are centrally located and in the mix. We spent Thanksgiving in New Orleans and we stayed at the Westin Canal Place for the first time. I don’t think I want to stay any where else when I bring the kids. It is located amongst the hustle and bustle on Canal Street but was the perfect location for us!
- Attached Mall
- Movie Theater
- Short Walk to the New Orleans Riverfront
- Short walk to the Audubon Aquarium and IMAX Theater
- Short walk to the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk
- Street car stop is just outside its doors
- Endless restaurant options
- Directly across from the Casino
- Short walk to the Convention Center
Visiting the New Orleans Riverfront is a Must
The Riverfront is situated right along the Mississippi River. It’s 3.2 mile stretch is the perfect destination for families to walk about, people watch and explore. It’s easily accessible and a great staple no matter the season.
- It’s Free to walk about
- The kids can run about and burn off some energy
- Home to the Audubon Aquarium and IMAX Theater
- Home to the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk
- Home to the Convention Center
- Home to cruise ships and boat tours
- Home to some fantastic monuments and sculptures
- Home to the ferry terminal
Get Out and Explore
The best part of New Orleans to me is exploring. It is so much to see! Once you have selected the best accommodations for your family, exploring will be easy to do. There is no car needed! You can walk right from your hotel’s lobby on to some of New Orleans most famous streets for a day of adventure.
When we visited this past Thanksgiving, once they got past the smelly stenches in the air my kids loved the colorful architecture, the rich culture, and the unique balconies. The street shows soon became our favorite as KJ and I got pulled into a street show. KJ made $20 and well I just made a fool of myself! lol
We also drooled over the opportunity to take pictures in front of bright colored door fronts, cool sculptures and enchanting water fountains.
My family loves to venture off the beaten path! So we didn’t miss the opportunity to hop in the car to hunt for street art and to eat like the locals.
Take a Ride on the Street Car
The street cars are a great way to experience the city! The best part is that is completely affordable. You can snag a day pass with unlimited hop and on and off for only $3! The three different lines afford you some great opportunities to venture outside of the tourist area and become one with the city. This is a must do when you visit with children because they will definitely be fascinated with the trolley style street car that’s a New Orleans staple and all the sights along the way!
You Must Go to a Parade
Visiting New Orleans during the time of year where parades are offered is ideal. This was our second year in a roll spending Thanksgiving in New Orleans. Every year during this time the Bayou Classic takes place. As a result, we always attend the Bayou Classic Parade and the kids love it! They love catching the beads and other paraphernalia and then arguing over who got the most once it’s over.
Being apart of a New Orleans parade is an experience that everyone should partake in at least once! Trust me, the kids will love it.
Visit During Holidays/Events
Visiting during holidays and when major events are taking place may bring the crowd but it will be unforgettable. As a result of our Thanksgiving visit we got to venture into the city for the grand opening night of the Winter Lights event at New Orleans City Park, Celebration in the Oaks! It was such an amazing experience. It was a costly event but it was worth it. There were tons of amusements, eats and beautiful Christmas Light displays. We also caught some great photo opportunities to add to our travel collection.
Carnival season may be another great time of year to visit. It normally starts early January and runs through early February, right after Mardi Gras. There will be plenty going on for sure. Don’t be fooled! Carnival season is very much family oriented despite the perception that it’s for adults only and full of alcohol and nudity. It’s the perfect time for a family vacation and the perfect opportunity to explain to your children the history of said event.
You Must Eat Like the Locals
New Orleans is known for it’s food scene, gumbo, beignets, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and po’ boys just to name a few! You can not visit the Big Easy and not try the delicious cuisine they are known for. Fill the kids bellies with these famous fares and they’ll be begging for more!
Also, never overlook the amenities that your hotel provide. Kids love to swim all year around! Unfortunately, our hotel’s pool was closed for the season. But, securing a hotel with an indoor pool may prove to be beneficial for your family. Hotels that offer free breakfast or evening receptions may also be ideal as it saves a ton of money for families.
It’s important to do your research whenever you travel. New Orleans is home to many other kid friendly attractions as well, such as, tours, museums, Audubon Zoo, and countless parks. Happy Family Traveling!
Our Thanksgiving Photo in New Orleans
Have you ever visited New Orleans with your kids?