I have been to NOLA aka New Orleans (locals pronounce it New Awlins) several times during my college years. Many memories with my husband (then boyfriend) attending the Mardi Gras celebration, walking down Bourbon St. and enjoying the music and local food. One time my friend invited my sister and me to the Krewe of Bacchus parade and Mardi Gras ball. That was a fun experience. We actually threw the beads from the balcony on Bourbon St. I also spent a Summer in New Orleans for my internship at the Department of Energy. My fellow interns and I explored the city through the locals. Many memories were made before I had kids.
Years later, my husband and I have taken our girls a couple of times in New Orleans. On our way to Disney World or Panama City Beach, Florida, we’ve stopped in New Orleans for the night. There’s plenty to do during that time period. Many people only know New Orleans as a destination for adults. There are actually several places to enjoy as a family. Although there are many fun places we haven’t been to, here are some of the things we enjoyed.
Things to do with Kids in NOLA
- A walk to Jackson Square – Jackson Square is located in the historic park in the French Quarter. There are local artists, musicians, and performers entertaining Jackson Square. It’s definitely more family-friendly than walking down Bourbon St. There are great Cajun and Creole restaurants. My girls enjoyed looking at the performers. There are usually Jazz musicians playing and tap dancers performing. The girls would dance along with the music. The most notable landmark, St. Louis Cathedral, is located in Jackson Square. It’s a very distinctive beautiful church that has been on many photos and postcards.
- Eating at a local Cajun or Creole restaurant – New Orleans has the best Cajun and Creole food. We ate at Napoleon House off of Chartres St. and St. Louis St. (https://www.napoleonhouse.com/). They have a delicious Muffuletta sandwich. It is a classic New Orleans sandwich that consists of a large wide bread, filled with layers of a marinated olive salad, cheese, and Italian charcuterie. The kids love the boudin. Boudin is a cooked sausage made from pork meat and rice, plus various vegetables and seasonings. Some of our favorite Cajun foods are jambalaya, red beans and rice, and gumbo. I recommend at least trying one of these famous dishes.
- French Market – The French Market is six blocks of restaurants, shops, a farmer’s market, and a flea market. The ambiance walking through the French Market is very pleasant listening to the jazz musicians and smelling the food being prepared. We enjoy just discovering what they have to offer. The Café Du Monde is also located in the French Market.
- Café Du Monde (https://shop.cafedumonde.com/) – Every time we visit New Orleans, we must stop at Café Du Monde. It is a famous café known for its Coffee and Beignets, French-style doughnuts covered with powdered sugar. The one located in the French Market is the original stand. My girls love eating the Beignets for breakfast which they pair with hot chocolate.
- The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk (https://www.riverwalkneworleans.com/) – This is a huge outlet mall next to the Riverwalk located in the center of New Orleans. This is usually the last place we go when we take the kids. We do a little shopping here before we head home. There’s also a Café Du Monde inside the mall.
There are several places to take the kids to New Orleans. One of the things I experienced during my internship is riding the trolley to and from work and around town. It’s a great way to see New Orleans outside of the downtown center. The Audobon Zoo (https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/zoo) is one of the best zoos in the nation according to USA Today. We haven’t had a chance to visit the zoo. The Aquarium of Americas (https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/aquarium) is one of the largest aquariums in the United States. It’s located next to the Riverwalk. Hopefully, we’ll be able to take the kids to the zoo and the aquarium. We always have a great time in New Orleans.
We stayed at the Sheraton off of Canal Street. We had a comfortable stay with the kids. There are many amenities such as a pool, restaurants and etc. Having a safe place to park our car was convenient for us. There are several other hotels on Canal St. which are located to all the downtown sites.
Facts About New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is well-known worldwide for its distinct jazz music, creole and Cajun cuisine, unique dialects, and its celebrations and festivals such as Mardi Gras. The heart of the city is the French Quarter know for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and lively nightlife on Bourbon St. It’s definitely a destination worth experiencing for all ages.
We visited these places pre-covid. Please check their website for hours and covid precautions.