Updated: Nov 9
Is New Orleans kid friendly? Absolutely! Sure, there are places within the city that aren’t. But the city is a very family friendly place. Even Mardi Gras Uptown is an event for kids to enjoy. It really is. Let us prove it, If you’re bringing kids and / or teenagers to the Big Easy, we have some suggestions for you. You and your family will have so much fun. We have added New Orleans and Company suggestions, along with our own, for things to do with teens and kids in New Orleans for some truly great family fun.
56,000 sq ft is packed with interactive exhibits for every kid, including a sensory lagoon, the Mighty Mississippi exhibit, a nature center, a food exhibit, and much more. Here is a link to their calendar so you can pre-plan your visit.
2. The Presbytere Museum: (Mardi Gras / Katrina)
This beautiful marble structure designed in 1791 celebrates the origins of and the annual celebration that is Mardi Gras on the 2nd floor while the 1st floor has an exhibit on Hurricane Katrina and how it affected the city and its residents.
If you’ve never been to an uptown Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, this is your chance to experience what goes on aboard the mighty floats and even how they ae made. Mardi Gras World gives you a behind-the-scenes look at past floats on a tour of the warehouse. They even have King Cake for you!
One of the only places in the French Quarter where you can take children and teens to enjoy jazz music. This is the mecca for celebrating New Orleans jazz, both its current musicians and its history. The hall features concerts from local musicians almost every day of the year. It's the perfect way to hear great music with kids, as all ages are welcome.
5. Vue Orleans
This is hands down the best tourist experience! Located at in the Four Seasons Hotel, Vue Orleans is a multi-level interactive 4-D experience that takes the visitor on a deep dive into New Orleans history, music, and culture. The attraction offers original films, interactive exhibits, and the city's only rooftop 360-degree panoramic viewing platform. It’s more than bells and whistles. Vue Orleans uses technology to shine a focused spotlight on the vast array of culture found only in New Orleans.
This huge museum is the place to learn about World War II, its impact on the country, and the price of freedom. The six-acre facility has more than 250,000 artifacts from World War II, as well as stories and insight from thousands of soldiers and civilians.
7. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (which also includes Insectarium)
Located near the French Quarter, this New Orleans aquarium features a walk-through tunnel highlighting the Great Maya Reef and a 400,000-gallon exhibit on the Gulf of Mexico. It's listed as one of the best and favorite aquariums in the country.
Located within City Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is an exquisite art museum and a great air-conditioned reprieve from the elements. The museum is New Orleans' oldest art institution, featuring more than 40,000 pieces. Right outside NOMA sits the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden featuring more than 80 sculptures.
This make-your-own-art boutique is located on Magazine Street in the Garden District. Families take use shards of glass in various sizes, colors, and textures to create a brand-new piece of art. Younger kids will definitely need help handling and cutting the glass shards.
If you're not planning on attending Mardi Gras but want to look at and buy similarly festive strands, take our insider's tip, and visit Beads by the Dozen, located in an industrial area of Elmwood. During retail hours, kids will love running down the aisles of countless beads, tiaras, hats, and toys—all with that New Orleans twist.
11. Audubon Zoo
Audubon Zoo is home to dozens of species and features an exhibit on the Louisiana swamp. Located Uptown, the zoo allows children to travel by train ride and cool down at the splash pad. It's a fun visit for kids, who may catch one of many peacocks strolling the grounds.
This nature center next to the zoo reopened in 2017 after Hurricane Katrina with new and beautiful trails, educational buildings, and a planetarium.
13. French Quarter
While some areas of the French Quarter are not a good destination for kids, there are stops that many children will love. Visit antique shop peruse the French Market, take a carriage ride, get your fortune told, and fill up on so many delicious treats.
14. Walking Tours
Take a walking tour of the French Quarter, the Garden District, and other neighborhoods in the New Orleans area. Most walking tours are family friendly (there are a few adult only). Many tours are themed, making it easy to find a subject and an area to discover. You can find a good array of them on DuPont and Company.
15. City Park
From the daily train rides to the beautiful scenery to the great playground, there are so many things to enjoy about City Park. Most of the park is well-shaded, making it a great spot to visit even during the hot summer months. There’s even an amusement park that’s open seasonally.
This botanical garden inside City Park includes 10 gorgeous acres of gardens and art, including a sculpture garden. Kids will especially love the Butterfly Walk and the Historic New Orleans Train Garden (open only on weekends), which showcases G-scale trains and examples of miniature New Orleans architecture.
This must-visit City Park attraction features 18 rides (each with varying height requirements), including its famous carousel namesake. If you're in New Orleans during the holidays, check out Celebration in the Oaks as well.
18. City Putt
Kids will love City Park's 36-hole mini-golf complex with two courses and clever New Orleans-themed holes.
City Park's Storyland is a fantastical place for kids and adults alike. Enjoy the outdoor magic of having fairytales and fantasy come to life at this themed playground, which offers more than 20 interactive storybook sculptures with classic fairytale characters that kids can climb and play with.
New Orleans' above ground cemeteries (there are some in the ground cemeteries so don’t let the rumor fool you) are one of the most popular places to visit with families. St Louis #1 is the oldest and most visited but tours are rushed and only available with one tour company. St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 is our choice for a great cemetery to visit due to it’s upkeep and history, It is known for its massive gothic mausoleums and tombs. There are several tour companies to go with but if you make sure it’s a locally born and raised New Orleanian that’s taking you, you might just get to see family tombs and get some insight.
21. Take a Swamp Tour
Get up-close and personal with Louisiana's expansive and hauntingly unforgettable swamps. About 20 to 30 minutes outside of the city there are plenty of options for tours. One great option is touring the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, which spans several miles near the Mississippi River and is teeming with wildlife. If you have your own transportation, we recommend Airboat Tours by Arthur for a thrilling adventure.
22. New Orleans Riverfront
Get a captivating up close view of the Mississippi River while walking along the riverfront on top of the levee’s. Along the path you will find green spaces, benches, and picnic areas. The tugboats and freighters travel along the waterway and will amaze children and adults alike., You can also ride the Canal Street ferry that leaves twice every hour for a 10-minute ride across the Mississippi to Algiers Point. While there, take a look at the New Orleans skyline from our West Bank.
23. Ride a Streetcar
Ride our streetcar through the Garden District on our Green line and see the gorgeous large homes and beautiful Oak trees, See Mid-City, City Park and our Cities of the Dead on our red line. Either way you go, there are lots of great stops along the way or you can just take a ride along to see the city.
24. Steamboat Natchez / City of New Orleans
Take a ride on the only steamboats this side of the Mississippi. The Steamboat Natchez / City of New Orleans offers dinner cruises, sightseeing tours, and special seasonal offerings depending on the time of year. Expect a great view of the city and its surroundings. Kids will the love the chance to hop aboard.
Located in nearby Jefferson Parish, Bucktown Marsh Boardwalk is a wonderful place to learn about the local ecosystem while walking right above the marsh. Kids will love looking out across the water and using the surrounding signage to identify birds and plants. Plus, they'll get out a lot of energy running up and down the boardwalk.
Named for New Orleans own, Louis Armstrong, Armstrong Park is perfectly situated on the edge of the French Quarter in the Treme neighborhood wis hich the birthplace of many famed jazz musicians. Congo Square, where Jazz music was created, is located inside Armstrong Park.
27. Lake Pontchartrain Levee
Take a walk, bike ride, or jog along the banks of Lake Pontchartrain. This lake is massive, totaling 630 square miles. You will see sail boats, kite flying and lots of sports on both the water and the land. Nearby are many restaurants and even a lighthouse.
New Orleans Restaurants Kids Love
28. Cafe Du Monde
Enjoy New Orleans' most famous chicory coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Beignets are square-shaped pieces of fried dough covered in powdered sugar, but they are not funnel cakes. The line may be long but it moves quickly.
29. Fat Boy's Pizza
There's pizza, and then there's Fat Boy's Pizza. Each slice is the size of an adult human head, and a large pie measures 30 inches across. Kids will love the atmosphere and be shocked by the size of the pizza.
30. Camellia Grill
You cannot come to New Orleans without stopping at Camellia Grill. This landmark diner is one of the most famous New Orleans restaurants (and that's saying a lot for a town known for good eating). Come for the chocolate freeze and omelets, stay for the entertaining staff.
31. The Backyard
The Backyard is just what it sounds like—a casual family dining experience that looks and feels like a comfy backyard. Specializing in smoked meats and local craft beers, The Backyard also serves a delish kids' menu.
32. Dat Dog
You may like this hot dog, but you'll love Dat Dog! With three locations in New Orleans, Dat Dog offers diners the chance to choose their favorite type of sausage (including vegan options) and tasty toppings. Other menu items include beer-battered cod and tater tots.
There is no tastier treat during a hot New Orleans day than a snoball from Hansen's. Snoballs are cups filled with fluffy shaved ice and flavored with sweet syrups, toppings, and stuffing’s. These are not Snow cones though. Side note: Snoball season lasts from spring until the end of summer.
This famous seafood restaurant serves up a huge menu of New Orleans favorites like charbroiled oysters, gumbo, and—for the more daring—gator bites. The children's menu includes burgers and fries, fried shrimp, alfredo pasta, and fried or grilled chicken fingers.
35. Hard Rock Cafe
They have them in many cities but this one is on Bourbon Street and is still kid friendly. You can get a large ice cream sundae, nachos, or burgers. Your kids will say they’ve been to Bourbon Street but still have a kid friendly experience.
Other New Orleans Foods for Families to Try
There are many dishes that were born in this city—think etouffee, chargrilled oysters, and turtle soup—that are not kid-friendly (unless your child is an extremely adventurous eater). But there are other New Orleans staples your kids will want to try while in the Big Easy.
A relative of the hoagie or sub, this sandwich features crispy bread and is traditionally filled with roast beef or fried seafood.
Muffuletta is an Italian sandwich consisting of a round sesame loaf filled with ham, salami, Swiss cheese, provolone cheese, and olive salad.
38. King Cake
This dessert—part coffee cake, part cinnamon roll—is traditionally served during Mardi Gras. It features the holiday colors of purple, green, and gold.
Satisfy that sweet tooth with these simple candies consisting of sugar and pecans.
This Cajun and Creole stew features chicken, seafood, sausage, and lots of spices.
Family-Friendly New Orleans Hotels
41. Hotel Monteleone
Stay at one of the oldest, most celebrated hotels in the French Quarter with a visit to Hotel Monteleone. The lobby's Carousel Bar & Lounge is a wondrous spot to rest after a busy day of sightseeing, as well as to listen to live music every night of the weekend starting at 5:30pm.
Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Mississippi River, the Hilton New Orleans Riverside is an awesome hotel for families. It's located just a few blocks from the New Orleans aquarium and the French Quarter (and on a streetcar line), as well as epic shopping at Riverwalk. The famous Drago's Seafood is located on the first level.
This lavish hotel is a great way to show the kiddos the beauty of New Orleans. With an indoor pool and restaurant, Loews has great amenities, including its Loews Loves Families program. The program includes complimentary cribs, baby bath-amenity kits, children's game tablets, coloring books and crayons, and more.
Treat your kids to a luxury trip to New Orleans by staying at Omni Royal Orleans. This upscale French Quarter hotel offers a rooftop pool and on-site dining as well as the Omni Kids Crew program. Upon check-in, kids receive a backpack filled with fun items like activity books, stickers, crayons, and binoculars. Milk and cookies are delivered to the guest room on the first night.
Located in the cool artsy Warehouse District, the Renaissance Arts hotel pays homage to the talented work of local and nearby artists with an on-site art gallery and an indoor sculpture gallery. The hotel features a heated, rooftop pool overlooking the city, as well as two eateries.
General Tips for Families Visiting New Orleans
While New Orleans isn't huge, if you are traveling with young kids, it can be difficult to navigate. You can rent a car. Uber and Lyft drivers are plentiful and there are our iconic streetcars. Parking is fairly easy, and your own car gives you more flexibility.
Carry bug spray (depending on the season, the city is a hot spot for mosquitoes) as well as water and an umbrella or rain jacket. Keep in mind we have a sub-tropic climate.
Humidity is high and so are the temperatures. June through Sept is hot, humid, and sometimes can feel like temps of 115 or more. It’s humid so it’s not a dry heat. You will sweat and then sweat some more. October through May are the best weather to enjoy outdoors in our city, but the hottest months are the cheapest and least crowded. We usually have special events to attract tourists during our slow season.
If you're visiting with kids during Carnival (Mardi Gras), it's important to pick the right area to watch the parades. Avoid the French Quarter. Head uptown to St. Charles Avenue. The crowds are huge though so be prepared. Places like Metairie (suburb of New Orleans) also have parades and are a little less crowded and also safe for families.