Are you thinking about taking a vacation to the “crescent city”? Maybe you are a little hesitant and have some questions. Is New Orleans safe? Is there more than beads, booze and boobs? Yes, there is a family friendly side to New Orleans. Let me show it to ya!
Everyone knows about the open container, party atmosphere – Mardi Gras celebrating city of New Orleans. Let’s be honest, this destination is usually the party destination for college kids. But with all the history, natural beauty and delicious food – New Orleans is a place for for everyone.
I recently spent a week in New Orleans with my husband and two young kids (6yrs & 4yrs old). We found the beads and skipped the booze! Let me show you the beautiful kid-friendly version of New Orleans!
Where to Stay | Family Friendly New Orleans
There are beautiful neighborhoods all over New Orleans. But if you want to stay “near the action”, I suggest you stay close to the French Quarter. We opted to stay in the Central Business District close to the Garden District. It felt a little safer and cleaner than the French Quarter. If you have a stroller, or your kids don’t mind walking – stay in the prettier safer area.
We rented an Airbnb with a full kitchen. I always prefer staying in an apartment over a hotel when I travel with my kids! There’s a bit more room and you have a kitchen. There are a bunch of small little grocery stores all over the city. We walked to a few of them and did groceries every other day. It also helps you to experience the city and feel like a local! Not to mention it saves you a TON of money!
Outdoor Fun | Family Friendly New Orleans
My number 1 tip when I visit a new city with kids, is to FIND THE PLAYGROUNDS. It helps you connect with the locals and get a real feel for the city. It’s also FREE FUN. I recommend the Audubon Park. It has a large walking/biking trail around the perimeter. This park has 2 playgrounds! My kids loved it, there is also a historical church with bells that go off every hour on the hour. It’s kind of magical. The park is also surrounded by beautiful historic homes.
If it’s good weather, go and find the historic squares like Jackson Square. There is a wonderful Riverwalk in downtown New Orleans by the Mississippi River.
If you do experience some poor weather, there is a Riverwalk Indoor Mall, Museums, Aquariums and insectariums downtown. To really experience a city, you need to GO OUTSIDE. Walk the streets and feel the energy!
The Food | Family Friendly New Orleans
One of the best parts about visiting a new city is experiencing the food. New Orleans has some of the best. Here are a few places that make New Orleans specialties! All these restaurants are kid friendly and you won’t feel embarrassed bringing your kid inside!
The Best Red Beans & Rice is at Mothers Restaurant. (401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130)
Open since the 1930s, the recipes are original. Check out the menu HERE. Or in or to-go, cafeteria style.
Really good Seafood Gumbo is at Mothers Restaurant. (401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130)
You won’t believe how much flavor and seafood is packed into this gumbo. Add rice and it’s the perfect dinner! I got it “to-go” and ate it on our Airbnb rooftop balcony!
Delicious Beignets at Café du Monde. (800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116)
Yes there are other places that serve this sweet treat, like Café Beignets. They are cute, but the beignets are not as good. Trust me. Trust me childrens reviews. This fried dough covered in powdered sugar should only be consumed at Cafe du Monde.
I suggest you get the Beignets to go and eat them across the street in Jackson Square! It’s a gorgeous park with long benches all over the place. Even on a crowded day, you can find a seat under the oak trees.
Crawfish Etoufee at Bon Ton Café. (401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130)
This quaint little hidden gem is so good. The atmosphere feels like a classy southern comfort dinner table. I promise this is the best meal you will have in New Orleans. It was also the best service – thanks Beth!
Muffuletta Sandwich at Napoleon House Bar. ( 500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130)
This Muffuletta classic sandwich is huge! You might want to share it with someone.
But you have to go to Napoleons House Bar to get a Muffuletta. This place has been here FOREVER. They have homemade bread with all their sandwiches and the highest quality ingredients to go inside.
Alligator Sausage at Daisy Dukes. (121 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130)
Yes, I made my kids try it. No, they didn’t like it. But they had preconceived notions about what an alligator would taste like. They were so nervous but ate it anyway! I think it was pretty good and on the salty side! Very unexpected! When in Rome, right?
King Cake from the Bittersweet Bakery in the French Market. (725 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130)
At the French market you can get a small individualized King Cake complete with the toy baby for good luck! This tiny cake was the perfect size for the 4 of us to share.
Pina Colada from the Organic Banana (1100 N Peters St # 27, New Orleans, LA 70116)
This was sooo refreshing on the hot and humid days in New Orleans. They make this smoothie right in front of you. They also had strawberries dauqirs which is what my kids got!
The Culture | Family Friendly New Orleans
Along with the delicious food, there is a very special ingredient to the New Orleans culture! It’s MUSIC! New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz. Be sure to soak in some free live outdoor Jazz music at Café Beignet or Gazebo Café.
The History | Family Friendly New Orleans
The Gulf South was first inhabited by Native Americans, starting as early as 1000 B.C. New Orleans the actual city was founded in the spring of 1718 by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of the French explorer, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.It was named after Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. Spain occupied this area for nearly 40 years toward the end of the 1700s. Then in 1800 France regained control, but Napoleon sold it 3 years later in the Louisiana Purchase.
Don’t forget to check out the Joan of Arc golden statue! Place de France, Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
We can’t talk about New Orleans history without mentioning Hurricane Katrina. It was the most catastrophic hurricane to hit the United States. It hit Louisiana August 23rd, 2005, it caused terrible flooding. 1833 people died and there was $125 billion in damage. I believe it’s important to teach our children to good and bad parts of history.
Should I take my kids to New Orleans?| Family Friendly New Orleans
New Orleans is a tough city that has seen better days. The streets of the French Quarter are rough and worn. There is still a lot of rebuilding happening.
Come on over and bring the kids to New Orleans. You might want to avoid the beads and booze streets (Bourdon St). But it’s worth it to find the family friendly side of new orleans.
Just past the haunted grimy windows, there is a glimmer of light. The culture and history is not all together lost.
So come see New Orleans for yourself.