On paper, New Orleans doesn’t seem like a city that appeals to the little ones. Heavy in the bar and nightlife department, New Orleans has long been a destination that favors adults. But what if you want to visit the city with kids? If you’re trying to figure out where to head with the family this summer, New Orleans shouldn’t be kicked off the list for not being kid friendly. We’ve come up with our 5 favorite activities to try with the little ones when you visit the Big Easy this summer!
Grab a Sugar Rush at Café Du Monde
Café du Monde doesn’t just appeal to kids. The French Market landmark has retained its popularity for the universal appreciation of its beignets. What began in 1862 in the French Quarter, just across from Jackson Square, has spread to include seven other locations in town. The French Market location remains open 24 hours a day. The classic New Orleans treat provides a great spot to take kids and adults to grab a hot chocolate, coffee, and of course those powdered sugar-drenched beignets.
Run around the Audubon Zoo
Post beignets, you’ll want to take the little ones somewhere they can release a little energy. The Audubon Zoo is the perfect spot to do so in historic Uptown. Home to endangered whooping cranes, Amur leopards, white tigers, and the unusual white alligator, much of the zoo’s space dates back to the early 20th century. Animals have roamed this corner of the city since the 1884 World Exposition in Audubon Park. The New Orleans zoo also tends to rank highly among the best zoos in the country.
Take a Carriage Ride Tour through the French Quarter
For a bit of rest, kids can hop aboard one of the many carriage ride tours through the French Quarter. The mule-drawn carriage rides not only take visitors back to the days of old in New Orleans, but also educate and entertain. While the driver details the area’s history, you can kick your feet up and enjoy the scenery with your kids. Countless themed tours are offered by carriage companies, from ghost tours to basic French Quarter history excursions. You can generally catch a carriage ride tour almost every hour of the day.
Find the Only Snoballs in the South
New Orleans doesn’t see snowballs of the natural variety. However, the city does have a knack for producing snoballs. Made from generations-old patented ice machines, flavored syrup, and condensed milk, snoballs are an essential sweet treat to have while in town, and one that the kids will just love! There are a number of places scattered around New Orleans where you can cool off with a snoball. Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, which opened in 1939, is one of the most famous flavored icemakers in the city. The parlor’s founder Ernest Hansen holds the distinction of inventing the first ice-shaving machine. Hansen’s makes its own flavors every day. All of the sweet, ice-cold goodness comes from the original machine. Hansen’s Sno-Bliz was even named a 2014 American Classic by the James Beard Foundation.
Experience Mardi Gras No Matter the Season at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World
Even if you can’t visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you can still experience the carnival spirit at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. Both adults and kids will get a kick out of seeing where more than 80% of the floats that parade down the streets for Mardi Gras are built and designed. Blaine Kern Studios hasn’t just been creating Mardi Gras floats since 1947 for the city. The studio is also responsible for building many floats for parades around the world.
RELATED: If you and the family are history buffs who’d love to learn more about Mardi Gras, check out what our travel experts have to say about the best Mardi Gras Museums in New Orleans!
New Orleans might be known for Bourbon Street and the many bars that populate it, but even if you are toting a family the city certainly deserves a second chance. From marveling at the colorful floats of Mardi Gras to getting powdered sugar treats at Café Du Monde, New Orleans proves its very much a kid-friendly city.
Have you traveled to New Orleans with kids? What other activities would you add to the list? Please let us know in the comments section below.