There are so many amazing things to do in New Orleans and it has long been on my bucket list of places to visit because it’s full of rich history, delicious food, and so much more. If you haven’t been to New Orleans, you must go. And take the whole family because everyone will enjoy it!!
*Many thanks to the New Orleans CVB for complimentary tickets and discount passes which allowed me to try many of the things in this post.*
5 Reasons New Orleans Must Be on Your Bucket List
From above-ground cemeteries to streetcars to museums and zoos, there are so many family-friendly and educational things to do in New Orleans. Yes, New Orleans is infamous for Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras, but it’s also a great place for the whole family, kids included.
The French Quarter
Founded in 1718, the French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans and the whole district has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In addition to stunning and colorful buildings, history lessons abound here. For instance, prior to the Louisiana Purchase, all residents of New Orleans were required to be Catholic – religious freedom was not a right! Slaves were also allowed to buy their own freedom (something they were not permitted to do elsewhere) and the Creole culture is really fascinating. Ghost and voodoo stories are everywhere and so interesting!
The French Quarter is full of beautiful architecture, educational museums, unique shopping, and lots of delicious food. Make sure to stop in the French Quarter for a beignet and a crepe! More on them later, but no trip to New Orleans is complete without a walking tour of the French Quarter.
The Garden District
The Garden District was developed between 1832 and 1900 and is home to so much amazing architecture. We took the streetcar down St. Charles Avenue to get to the Garden District because we wanted to see the beautiful mansions and the above-ground cemeteries. The Garden District did not disappoint!
Also called Hollywood South, Nicolas Cage, Anne Rice, and Sandra Bullock all have homes in this beautiful neighborhood. The original cafe from the Eiffel Tower is also in the Garden District on St. Charles Avenue. It was a restaurant for three years in the 1980s, but didn’t make it financially, and today it houses event space.
Lafayette Cemetery #1 is another must visit destination in the Garden District. There aren’t very many above-ground cemeteries in the world and they are fascinating to tour. If you can, go with a tour guide to learn more about the historic significance. The tour guides work for tips and are very fun and knowledgeable.
So Many Family-Friendly Attractions in New Orleans
In addition to exploring the French Quarter and the Garden District, your family will find many more family friendly attractions! I love visiting history-rich locations and New Orleans does not disappoint. So many museums sneak in interesting history and science lessons, and I love that when I’m touring with my kids.
Things your kids will love:
Mardi Gras World – call for a free shuttle to pick up your family so you can explore Mardi Gras floats, costumes, and masks!
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium – kid friendly museum with thousands of butterfly and interactive insect exhibits.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americans – over 15,000 different types of sea life live in this famous aquarium! Both young and old folks will find plenty of fun things to marvel at here.
Louisiana Children’s Museum – 30,000 square feet full of interactive and hands-on-learning suitable for children from birth to 11 years of age. If you’ve ever been to a Children’s Museum as an adult however, my guess is even older guests will find fun things to do.
National Wold War II Museum – Older kids might enjoy learning more about World War II at the World War II Museum. It’s another interactive museum where visitors follow the life of a real WWII soldier and see how he or she fared during the War. I really enjoyed this museum and would love to spend more time there on our next visit.
Transportation is Easy in the Big Easy
I loved pretty much everything about New Orleans, but one thing that is especially nice is how easy it is to get around the downtown area without a car. Once we got from the airport to our hotel (via Uber) we walked, took the streetcar (a steal at $3 per person per day!), and also enjoyed the Hop On Hop Off Bus.
The Hop On Hop Off Bus was fun because it was more than just transportation. The knowledgeable tour guides shared personal stories and insights into the city, and funny stories as well. It costs a little more than the streetcars, but it’s also a great way to see the city, and tickets are valid for three days.
You really don’t need a car for visiting downtown New Orleans. That said, a car would have made visiting the plantations easier, something we didn’t get to do on this trip. That just means I have to go back, right?!
Food is Delicious in New Orleans
Let’s not forget about the food, because the food in New Orleans is delicious and plentiful. Everywhere we went, there was something else to try and everything we ate was better than the last. From beignets, to beans and rice, to muffulettas, to crepes, everyone in your group will find something amazing to eat. Food you must try while you’re in New Orleans:
Beignets from Cafe du Monde in the French Market – because you can’t go to New Orleans without eating beignets…
Charbroiled Oysters from Drago’s Seafood Restaurant – they were really tasty, a great way to eat oysters if you don’t really care for them!
The Works Crepe from the Crepe Cart at the Farmer’s Market in the French Quarter – this crepe was my absolute favorite lunch during our trip. I wanted to eat another one every single day.
A Muffuletta at Central Grocery – followed closely by the muffuletta. I could have eaten this every day too.
Jazz Brunch at the Court of Two Sisters – such a fun experience. The food, service, and ambiance were all really neat.
And there you have it – five reasons you must put New Orleans on your family bucket list. I took this trip without my kids, but I know they would love the city as much as I did. And since I didn’t get to visit any of the plantations or many of the museums, I am excited to return, hopefully sometime soon, and with my family!
If you haven’t yet made it to New Orleans, put it on your list! If you have been, I’d love to hear what you most enjoyed!