When someone mentions New Orleans, there is a general assumption that the visit will revolve around a never-ending alcohol infused party with an ”adults only” theme in the French Quarter that would not even include one’s grandparents. At least, that’s what we thought until we heard about the other side to New Orleans. It turns out the city is extremely family friendly! Below we’ll detail where we ate, the sites we visited, and the tours we enjoyed, all of which are completely family-friendly.
New Orleans is surprisingly simple to navigate, and transportation is readily available. For an authentic experience, take a streetcar around town, the New Orleans version of iconic transport.
We began our adventure at The Court of Two Sisters, which happens to be right on infamous Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, with a delicious sampling of the famous Cajun cuisine crafted by the talented Emeril Lagasse.
We were recommended to attend the Sunday Jazz Brunch and we’re so glad we tried it. Truly, there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world. This is the real deal…Creole Seafood Gumbo, Corn Fried Louisiana Catfish, Shrimp and Grits, Crawfish Louise, Turtle Soup, Bananas Foster, and on and on. Our taste buds were in heaven! The great thing about the Court of Two Sisters is that the Sunday Jazz Brunch is every day.
After brunch is the perfect time to let someone else drive you around to get an overview of the city. We opted for the Gray Line Super City Tour which gave us a chance to plan the rest of our visit. The bus was comfortable, and our guide was very entertaining. The tour included the French Quarter and Jackson Square, home of the Cabildo and Presbytere Museums. The two and a half hour tour took us back in time to the early history of New Orleans. After exploring cemeteries, sculpture gardens, and City Park, we’d built up quite an appetite.
After our tour, we boarded the Steamboat Natchez which is the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River. The two-hour cruise is a fantastic way to get a feel for the rhythm of the river and the influence it has on everyone near it. Many options are available for those who would rather cruise either during lunch or dinner. With all that Cajun food in New Orleans, there are so many choices to pick from. Plus, enjoy the sounds of New Orleans, with the saxophones and trumpets blasting!
Plantation and Swamp Tour:
The next day we opted for the Plantation/Swamp Tour, which was a combo ticket through Gray Line. Through the stops, we learned of the rich history of the Destrehan family and their sugar dynasty. With two levels to explore, the tour guides also include costumed re-enactors that showed us what life was like in 1787. After our tour, we cruised through an alligator filled swamp, all while on the lookout for Rougarou, the Cajun werewolf legend. As if being up close with alligators isn’t enough of a thrill, the Manchac Swamp is filled with all kinds of creatures, both big and little.
Family-Oriented Mardi Gras:
We planned our visit to Mardi Gras World as a final stop. This is a fantastic way to see how amazing the Mardi Gras floats are, which are viewable year-round! The tour takes you down history lane, from the conception of the floats, to how they are built and stored. The artists who design these massive floats happily chat with guests. Mardi Gras World also offers a free shuttle that will pick you up and then drops you off at the front doors of the museum. Children can try on authentic Mardi Gras costumes here! With lots of things to see and touch, it’s the perfect place for even the smallest members of the family.
New Orleans offers lots of fun and free activities for families as well. According to Sherry Constance, a New Orleans expert, the French Quarter is great for families. Take the kids to run off some steam in Jackson Square or plan a low key night at the French Market to take in the sights and smells of all New Orleans has to offer.
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