New Orleans with kids? Absolutely! There’s so much more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street. New Orleans also referred to as “The Big Easy” and “Crescent City” is a city full of culture, delicious food, jazz music, street performers, and amazing architecture. There’s just no other city like it here in the US.
There are plenty of fun things to do in New Orleans with kids! Trust me, I know! I’m lucky enough to live only a couple of hours away from this amazing place, so we visit frequently with our kids!
Here are 25 fun things to do in New Orleans with kids!
Explore the French Quarter
No, trip to New Orleans is complete without exploring the French Quarter. The French Quarter is the heart and cultural center of New Orleans. Famous for its architecture, history, street performers, and world-renowned dining. Here are the best things to do in the French Quarter with kids.
1. Jackson Square
Jackson Square is a historic park located in the heart of the French Quarter. It’s one of the most recognizable places in all of New Orleans.
A statue of Andrew Jackson is located at the center with the beautiful Saint Louis Cathedral behind it.
Jackson Square is a very busy area with a lot going on. Along the perimeter of the square, you will see artist after artist lined up selling their beautiful artwork. There is a wide variety of art, from oil paintings of famous New Orleans landmarks to more unique, creative drawings.
Want a portrait sketch of you or your kids? You can find an artist here to do that. Want to get a prediction of your future? Fortune tellers are also setup here.
You will also probably see a street performer playing some jazz music or someone painted pretending to be a statue. Like I said earlier, there’s no place like New Orleans!
2. St. Louis Cathedral
St Louis Cathedral, located behind Jackson Square, is another one of New Orleans ‘ most notable landmarks. It is the oldest cathedral in continuous use in the United States.
Take a walk inside and enjoy the stunning architecture and the beautiful, intricately designed ceiling. Enjoy the peace and serenity and light a candle for a loved one.
Operating Hours: Open from 8:00-4:30 PM
3. Eat Beignets at Café Du Monde
You can’t visit New Orleans without visiting the iconic, famous Café Du Monde. Café Du Monde is a world-renowned café known for its beignets and café au lait.
What are beignets? Beignets are squared pieces of dough that are deep-fried and topped with powdered sugar.
What is café au lait? Café au lait is made with equal parts coffee and milk. The difference between a latte and café au lait is that lattes have more milk. Café au laits have more coffee and less milk, making it a stronger coffee.
The location here in the French Quarter, across from Jackson Square is its main location. They have been in operation since 1862! The menu has basically been the same all these years with a simple menu of beignets, coffee, cafe-au lait, milk, hot chocolate, and orange juice. More recently iced coffee and sodas have been added to the menu.
Every time we go to New Orleans, eating at Café du Monde is a must. I enjoy my beignets with either a hot or iced cafe au lait! My kids like to eat their beignets with a cup of chocolate milk or hot chocolate.
Eating beignets in New Orleans with your kids is a must! The kids may leave covered in powdered sugar, but it is so worth it!!
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They only close on Christmas Day and of course when there is a hurricane.
Only CASH is accepted!
This place is VERY busy, so come EARLY in the morning or be prepared for a long line to get in.
City Park (much less crowed)
The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk
4. Stroll the French Market
The French Market is one of the most popular areas in the city and a must-visit destination in New Orleans with kids. The French Market begins at Café Du Monde and spans 6 blocks to the flea market at the end of Esplande Avenue. It includes many restaurants and cafes, boutique shops, a farmers market, and a flea market.
It’s common to hear street performers here playing jazz music. There’s nothing liking walking down the street in New Orleans and hearing some jazz music! This is what New Orleans is all about!
Between Café du Monde and the Flea Market, you will come across a couple of toy stores you kids would love to browse in. You will also come across a few places to buy pralines. New Orleans is famous for its pralines. Pralines are a sweet treat with pecans, sugar, and cream.
The farmers market and flea market are located in the outdoor “French Market” building.
The farmers market has eateries where you can purchase true New Orleans foods such as alligator on a stick or an alligator burger!
The flea market is a great place for your kids to find souvenirs to bring home. My kids enjoy browsing the flea market and all its unique things. They have handmade crafts, jewelry, t-shirts, and more.
Operating Hours: 10a -5pm daily
5. Browse Art Galleries with Your Kids
Yes, you can browse art galleries in New Orleans with your kids! They have a couple, that I recommend that even your kids will love; located right in the French Quarter!
All kids love Dr. Suess! The art gallery, The Art of Dr. Suess is a perfect place to go. It’s amazing to see the works of this talented man. Your kids will love seeing their favorite Dr. Suess storybook characters on the wall!
Another art gallery I recommend is George Rodrigue Studio. This gallery sells the iconic blue dog painting and prints.
6. Ride the New Orleans StreetCar
Riding the New Orleans StreetCar is not just a way to get around in the city, it’s also a fun experience for the whole family.
There are a couple of routes I recommend if you want to hop on the streetcar for fun or take it to your destination!
St Charles Avenue Line– The Historic St. Charles Streetcar Line is the longest in the city. It is also the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world! The line runs from Canal Street and St Charles Ave and makes stops at the World War II Museum, Garden District, Audubon Park, and Audobon Zoo.
The Riverfront Line– The Riverfront line runs parallel to the river from the French Market all the way to the Convention Center. This is a great line for those traveling along those areas wanting to make stops at The French Market, Café Du Monde, Jackson Square, and the Aquarium.
Paying on the Streetcar with Cash:
Children 5 and under Free
You can also purchase by GoMobile App or online.
TIP: You do not need a car, when in New Orleans. New Orleans is a very walkable city. For further away places, you can take the streetcar or an uber.
7. Enjoy a Courtyard Dining Experience
When in New Orleans, you have to dine in one of the French Quarter’s many restaurants with an outdoor courtyard. Here are a few of my favorite kid-friendly New Orleans restaurants with courtyards.
The Court of Two Sisters– I love, love, love this restaurant! The courtyard setting is just beautiful! Its setting is definitely what you think of when you think of French Quarter dining. From the beautiful outdoor fountain to the live jazz music, to the king cake for dessert. This is a definite must-eat restaurant when in New Orleans with kids!
Napoleon House-A kid-friendly restaurant with a beautiful courtyard setting. They serve New Orleans’s famous muffuletta and Po-boys. My kids enjoyed the meatball sandwiches!
Oceana Grill-Another delicious, kid-friendly restaurant that has a courtyard setting. They have a huge menu and offer your typical l New Orleans food such as crabcakes, Po-boys, gumbo, and seafood. Kid menu items include chicken strips, hamburgers, cheese sticks, fried shrimp, and fried fish.
Attractions & Museums to See in New Orleans with Kids
8. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Explore the underwater world at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. This aquarium is consistently ranked in the top five aquariums in the United States.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is beautifully located on the Mississippi River, near the popular French Quarter. The Aquarium has a wide variety of underwater life from all over including the Caribbean, Amazon Rainforest, Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Some are my favorite animals to see here are the penguins and sea otters! I have been to a lot of aquariums all over the country and this is definitely one of my favorites!
Thursday-Monday from 10 AM – 5 PM
Tuesday & Wednesday
9. Audubon Zoo
View the animals at the Audubon Zoo! The Audubon Zoo is also consistently ranked in the top ten zoos in the United States.
The Audubon Zoo is a beautiful, large zoo with a wide variety of animals including elephants, lions, orangutans, jaguars, flamingos, and sea lions.
A unique part of this zoo is the “Louisiana Swamp” section. This is a great place to explore the plants and animals of Louisiana including a white alligator! You can also get a taste of Lousiana here by trying some gumbo, etouffee, or PO-boys!
If you are here during the summer months, the kids will love to explore the Cool Zoo and Gator Run.
The Cool Zoo, a splash park with waterslides, is the perfect way to cool off on one of the hot, humid days of summer. Gator Run is a part of Cool Zoo. It includes a lazy river with two sand beaches, water cannons, water curtains, and jumping jets!
Wednesday-Friday from 10 AM – 4 PM
Saturday & Sunday from 10 AM-5 PM
Monday & Tuesday
10. Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is definitely one unique place. It is an attraction fully dedicated to insects! You will see and learn so much about insects here.
There are many hands-on exhibits for the kids and a 4-D movie. If you are brave enough, eat one of the free sample insect dishes!
If you are not into bugs, then the butterfly exhibit is something here that you will love! It’s amazing to see so many butterflies flying around you!
NOTE: ** TEMPORARILY CLOSED AND MOVING**
11. Mardi Gras World
Get a taste of what Mardi Gras is all about at Mardi Gras World!
Here you will take a tour of the float warehouse, where these beautiful floats that go parading down the streets of New Orleans are made. How cool would it be to see the floats being made by these talented, creative artists?
You will also watch a video about the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and even sample some king cake!
What is king cake? Kingcake is a cinnamon-flavored dough covered in sugar and icing in the colors of Mardi-Gras- green, gold, and purple. It’s absolutely delicious! It comes in many flavors. My favorite is king cake filled with cream cheese!
Because I grew up and live in Mobile, Alabama “the birthplace of Mardi Gras,” I have never been to Mardi Gras World. We celebrate Mardi Gras the same way New Orleans does by parading, going to balls, and eating king cake! I even belonged to a Mardi Gras organization for a couple of years where I paraded down the streets!
If you can’t be in New Orleans with your kids during the Mardi Gras season, definitely check out Mardi Gras World, to give them a glimpse into what this famous celebration is all about.
12. The National World War II Museum
Take your kids to learn about an important time in history at The National World World II Museum. It is a fun and educational museum for the whole family.
This museum is consistently ranked as the #1 attraction in New Orleans and also a top attraction in the United States.
There are many kid-friendly activities and events here throughout the year. Make sure to check their website to see what’s going on when you are in town.
To purchase tickets online click here.
Explore City Park in New Orleans with Kids
Exploring City Park when in New Orleans with kids is a must. City Park is a beautiful 1,300-acre public park with plenty of activities to keep you and your family entertained.
You could easily spend a whole day here or more here! So, take a break from all the sightseeing, head to City Park, and let the kids run free! Here are the best things to do in City Park with kids.
13. Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Take the kids to ride some rides in New Orleans at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Carousel Gardens Amusement Park is a small amusement park, but big on fun! Some rides here are the miniature train, carousel, bumper cars, and a tilt-a-whirl.
14. Storyland Park
Located right next to Carousel Gardens Amusement Park is Storyland Park. If you are in New Orleans with kids, you have to head here! This has got to be one of the most unique playgrounds for kids I have ever seen.
This playground is inspired and designed after the most popular classic fairytale characters. It includes about 20 large storybook sculptures that your kids will enjoy playing on/in including: climbing aboard Captain Hook’s pirate ship or exploring the three little pig’s houses.
15. Louisiana Children’s Museum
The Louisiana Children’s Museum is a fun, educational museum for your young kids! The Louisiana Children’s Museum has recently relocated from Downtown into a beautiful, large building in City Park.
This children’s museum includes two floors of fun! It has multiple hands-on exhibits including an extra-long water table, shopping in a grocery store, and standing inside a giant bubble.
16. New Orleans Botanical Gardens
The New Orleans Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to walk around in New Orleans with your kids. There are a wide variety of gardens and sculptures.
Your kids will love the Train Garden here. What’s so cool about the Train Garden, is that it is a model of historic New Orleans. It features New Orleans buildings such as the French Market and New Orleans-style homes and streetcars.
For all those Thomas the Train lovers, you might just get a glimpse of Thomas the Train here too!
17. Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden
The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is another great place to walk around in New Orleans with your kids. It is located behind the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park.
It is an absolutely beautiful area that includes bridges and reflecting pools, along with around 90 amazing sculptures! My kids had a great time here running around and looking at the interesting, unique sculptures.
18. City Putt
Play some miniature golf in New Orleans with your kids at City Putt. This is a great way to have some good ole family fun. City Putt has 2 different 18 hole courses you can play. One has a Louisiana theme and the other a New Orleans theme.
We did the New Orleans-themed course. I loved the New Orleans-themed designs including a giant mardi gras jester, a giant man playing jazz music, and a giant pot of crawfish.
Each hole has a description of a street in New Orleans. It was very interesting to learn about New Orleans ‘ most famous streets!
19. Boat or Bike City Park
We rented a large swan boat that fit our whole family of 5. The cost was only $44 and so worth it for an hour on the water.
Other Things To Do In New Orleans with Kids
20. Watch an NBA Game or NFL Game
New Orleans is home to two professional sports teams; the New Orleans Pelicans basketball team and the New Orleans Saints football team. If you are here during basketball or football season, come and take your basketball or football-loving kid to see a game!
I have been to both Pelicans and Saints games and the Smoothie King Center and the Mercedes Benz Superdomes are two awesome venues to watch a game!
21. Shop The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk
The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk is a huge shopping mall located on the Mississippi River, in the heart of downtown New Orleans. There are over 75 shops and restaurants here. Some retailers here include Carters (babies & kids), Claires, Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Under Armour.
My kids’ favorite store here is definitely IT’SUGAR! It’s a trendy candy shop with everything from your common candy to your not-so-common candy.
If you didn’t get your beignets in the French Market or would like to indulge in some more, stop at Café Du Monde’s other cafe here.
Tours & Guides In New Orleans with Kids
22. Take a Carriage Ride Through the French Quarter
A great way to learn about New Orleans and its history is to take a private carriage ride tour. Your guide will take you by the top landmarks and things to see in the French Quarter. The guides are highly knowledgeable and ready to answer any questions you have!
23. Cruise Aboard the Steamboat Natchez
Take a cruise aboard the family-friendly Steamboat Natchez!
Your family can sit back, relax and enjoy cruising down the Mississippi River while listening to jazz music. They provide an interesting narration of New Orleans and its history.
There are three different cruises to choose from: a day cruise, an evening cruise, and a Sunday Jazz Brunch cruise. You can add an optional lunch/dinner to both of the day and evening cruises. The Sunday Jazz Brunch does include brunch with the price of the ticket. The meal consists of delicious Creole-inspired food.
This is something I highly recommend doing while in New Orleans. We have done this many times and it’s always a good time!
24. Take an Airboat Ride and See Some Gators
The best way to experience New Orleans’ bayou country is on an airboat ride. An airboat ride tour is a fun, thrilling experience when in New Orleans with kids.
I recommend this highly rated airboat ride tour. You will speed through the swamp, past beautiful cypress trees, covered in moss while watching for alligators, herons, and turtles. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and entertaining!
25. Family Friendly Ghost Tour
New Orleans is known as being a haunted city. If your kids are into “spooky” things, take your kids on this spooky family-friendly ghost tour.
This is the perfect tour to get a glimpse into some of New Orleans ‘ spooky stories without being over the top scary!
Where to Stay in New Orleans with Kids
There are lots of great hotels to stay in New Orleans with kids. Here I will include three different hotels for every budget. One being more budget-friendly, one mid-range, and one luxury. I have personally stayed in all three of these and I highly recommend all of them!
Courtyard by Marriott New Orleans French Quarter/Iberville
Courtyard by Marriott New Orleans French Quarter/Iberville is an excellent choice when traveling to New Orleans with kids. It’s budget-friendly, super-nice, clean, and modern.
It’s also in a great location close to Canal Street and the French Quarter attractions.
The rooms are spacious, which is nice when traveling with kids. There is a separate sitting area with a sofa. A complimentary breakfast is included in your stay.
New Orleans Marriott
New Orleans Marriott is a great place to stay when visiting New Orleans with kids. It’s located right on Canal Street. Perfect for walking to the French Quarter, the Audubon Aquarium, and the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. You could easily hop on the streetcar to take you to the Audubon Zoo.
New Orleans Marriott is a full-service hotel offering all your amenities including an outdoor pool, gym, and a couple of different dining options. We especially love the breakfast buffet.
Roosevelt Hotel is another great place to stay when visiting New Orleans with kids. This hotel is luxurious, gorgeous, elegant, and classy! Also located on Canal Street, this hotel is a short walk to The French Quarter, Audubon Aquarium, and The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. It’s also an easy walk to hop on the streetcar.
This hotel offers an onsite restaurant, spa, and fitness center. You and your kids will love the rooftop pool!
If you are here during the holiday season, you will love the beautifully decorated lobby filled with Christmas trees and more than 60,000 lights!
The Wrap-Up: New Orleans with Kids
New Orleans is not just big on fun for grown-ups, but for kids too!
I hope my guide of 25 fun things to do in New Orleans with kids has inspired you to travel to New Orleans with your kids or helped you fill your itinerary with things to do!
For ideas on where to take your kids for spring break, read this! 27 Best Spring Break Destinations For Families In The US
For another city big on culture with kids, read this! 21 Best Things to Do in Miami with Kids