New Orleans goes by several names out here because of its freestyle lifestyle. Some call it the ‘Big Easy’ while others like to refer to it as the ‘City That Care Forgot’. With such a reputation, one may think families going there with kids to have fun are insane.
This is not the case. There are tonnes of family activities to indulge in while there. You will be surprised at how many adults who toured the city when young have gone back with their kids to give them the same incredible memories.
When my baby brother visited my husband and me, we went to New Orleans for a week. We were awed by everything we saw, I cannot it keep to myself. How about I tip you on what not to miss when in the Big Easy?
Before you go…
As you prepare to leave, remember to book a hotel to stay in so that you are not stranded. Some of the hotels with great deals include Windsor Court Hotel and Staybridge Suites New Orleans. They are family friendly and can help you pick out fun activities for your family. We stayed at Dauphine Orleans Hotel and loved using their pool in the evenings.
If you are looking for a time to visit when the weather is cool and friendly, plan for any time between February and May. This is also when Mardi Gras is the whole town’s business. If, however, you want to go to a calm city where you do not have to make reservations a year before, January and December are the months.
On this trip, pack light and keep it simple. In the winter, make sure you have a sweater and scarf included. This time, you can leave your child’s toys behind; there is so much fun there. Do pack your dancing shoes too because you never know where the music shall take you.
When in New Orleans…
New Orleans has places you will love dining at. Their food, mmh… the thought of it makes me hungry. I especially loved Johnny’s Po’Boys sandwiches. Once you try their roast beef in French bread, your regular sandwiches lose meaning. Remind them to dress the Po’Boy with mayonnaise, tomato, prickles and lettuce. Yummy!
In the city, Mother’s Restaurant served the best red beans and rice my family knows of. This meal can be accompanied by smoked sausages and ham for non-vegans. If you are in the mood for pastry and chicory coffee, Café Du Monte’s got you. Their Beignets keep you coming back for more.
The seafood in the city is incredible. My husband keeps going on and on about how delicious the chargrilled oysters at Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter were. You can also try out Jacques Imos’ ‘lousy food’ which is not lousy at all. Their blackened redfish is out of this world.
Other staple foods in New Orleans include muffulettas, gumbo and jambalaya. You shall not go hungry with all the food trucks in the French Quarter and Mardi Gas route. In case you need to grab a drink, grab a hurricane cocktail and cold beer for adults. Kids can drown their sorrows of the day in various tropical juices available.
Fun things to do
This is what makes you and your folks go to New Orleans, right? Many people associate the City with the Bourbon Street kind of fun. I have news for them: there is more than enough fun stuff to do there that cuts across all ages. Below are just some.
Interact with nature
There are several places you should visit and witness how beautiful the world can be. If you set foot in Audubon Aquarium, you shall walk through the Caribbean Reef tunnel and view all these fish only divers see. There are also endangered species in the Aquarium like the white alligator. Do make a point of visiting Audubon Butterfly Gardens too.
At City Park, you may have a hard time choosing where to visit first. Shall you be amused by the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park or boat on Big Lake? If you have a son like my baby brother, you will be stuck in the colourful Storyland and Mother-Goose themed playground. Take a family walk in the beautiful Couturie Forest as you digest lunch.
Go to the museum
We thought it would be boring going to a museum until we stepped into National WWII Museum along Magazine Street. We felt in touch with history and got a deeper incept of the war’s impact on today’s development.
We also went to the famous Louisiana Children’s Museum, where you need at least 2hrs to walk around. All families in that museum were amused at just how much fun children can have when in the right environment. Amazing art galleries and music-related museums are also found in the city. Really, who thought The Big Easy is no place for family trips?
Have you ever been on a horse before? If not, grab this chance to be your first. If yes, then go do your thing! The Equest Stables at City Park and Cascade Stables have horseback riding lessons and trail rides for riders of all levels. It is a City with Frenchmen, what do you expect?
I just realized it is impossible to summarize fun in New Orleans. You will need more than just a day to listen to the live bands in the streets, participate in Mardi Gras celebrations and go to the historic French Market. The Little Toy Shop on St. Ann Street will top up the souvenirs you buy from The Crescent City.
In most parts of the world, people move about in luxurious personal cars, cabs or hit the road on foot. You could do that in New Orleans and get to your destination in time. I found streetcars and horse carriages an interesting means of transport.
Operational streetcars charge at least $1.25 for the fare. The beauty about them is that they move about in most of the busy parts of town, hence you will not have to walk long distances to your destination after alighting. The experience you get in the streetcar is worth it, ask your children about it later.
- Horse and carriage tours
If you want to get a taste of how ancestors there used to move about, stop any horse and carriage you see and hop on it. You can also find mule-drawn carriages at Jackson Gardens. The rider can take you through the history of the town as you tour the French Quarter and enjoy the view. It felt like royalty.
- Algiers ferry
This big city is called the Crescent City for a reason. Get on board and find out why. Besides that, you will enjoy a scenic view of New Orleans. Going to this American City was supposed to be just fun, but ferrying across Mississippi? That was a bonus to it.
It is easy for you to link up with a local driver to take you anywhere you wish within the city. Download the Uber or Lyf apps, order a ride and pay using your phone once you arrive at your destination. The drivers are really friendly and this can be one of the simplest steps to interacting with the locals there.
Other common means of transport are;
- Cabs and Taxis
- RTA Bus Lines
New Orleans has been so many things but has never been boring. My family enjoyed the city’s lifestyle and appreciation for creativity. When moving about in those streetcars, we could not help but be impressed by how well they have preserved their history.
The food there was healthy and easy to eat while moving about. As you can bet, music runs this City that Care forgot, but it is not necessarily chaotic. If rumours are what is stopping you from this trip of your life, get over yourself, buddy! Go to New Orleans with your family.