Over Thanksgiving break last year my family went to New Orleans. It was my first visit as a mom, and my husbands first visit. The trip with a 10th birthday gift for our older son, who is a big World War II buff. We figured it was time to take him to the museum, so I contacted the Convention and Visitors Bureau and they were nice enough to provide us with some VIP passes to more attractions than we had time to see. We had a great time and are excited to go back – this isn’t a city you can see in one trip! What other advice do you have for families making this trip? Please share via a comment!
First off, some resources to help you plan your trip.
- New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
- New Orleans Moms Blog: Tips for Visiting New Orleans with Kids
- City of New Orleans Tourism website: New Orleans Online
We got a suite at the Loews Hotel. Our package included valet parking – which is a good thing to keep in mind as the daily fee isn’t cheap. There was a heated pool, which the kids loved, and a fabulous view of the river. We could walk to the aquarium but had to drive to several spots as our five year old just doesn’t have the stamina to walk too far. Here are some spots the moms recommend:
- We get a suite in a hotel just off the French Quarter (see Magazine street). It’s a little quieter, and some of them offer a nice breakfast in house so you don’t have to rush out the door.
- Stayed at Homewood Suites a few blocks off Canal and Bourbon. Easy walk but far enough off to not be noisy. Quiet area, no drunk people wandering around. Suites have totally separate bedroom (good for kids or babies). Free dinner M-Th in the lobby with wine and beer. Free breakfast every day. Indoor pool. Still cheaper than almost any other hotel I’ve stayed at in or near the quarter. I will always stay here again.
- We stay at the Hampton Inn Garden District. It is a lovely, clean, well located older building with parking, and a great value. There is a good Mexican restaurant (Superior Grill) a few doors down and a fantastic breakfast spot (Coulis) a short walk from there. The streetcar passes by right in front of the hotel, and it is a short ride to a great playground. Audubon Zoo is not far.
- The Westin is a great and centrally located to all things French quarter and street cars.
- If the quarter isnt your thing, the Hampton inn garden district is a great hotel w a pool, on st Charles ave in the garden district. Easy to get everywhere from and free parking!!
- Ritz-Carlton has suites and it’s just right around the corner from the French Quarter.We stayed there because we got such a great rate, though we didn’t stay in a suite.
- Embassy Suites, which is not too far form the Ritz or even Homewood Suites. Embassy Suites is the closest to the French Quarter
New Orleans is a fabulous place for people who like great food. Unfortunately my 10 year old is very picky and eating at restaurants stresses him out. He loved some spots and cried at others. Such is life. Both kids inhaled the pancakes at Stanley’s (no ice cream, and they added chocolate chips). My husband talked about his breakfast at Surrey’s the entire trip, and I posted my Stanley’s breakfast on Facebook it was so good.
Here are the spots the moms recommend for breakfast:
- Mother’s don’t just order ordinary stuff. Get the Cajun stuff.
- Elizabeth’s Praline bacon and “ghetto fabulous mimosas”
- Cafe Du Monde
- The Coffee Pot get Calla Cakes
- Stanley walk through St. Louis Cathedral after breakfast and see the artists at Jackson Square
- La Boulangerie
- The Camellia Grill
- Ruby Slipper
- Cafe Adelaide If you wear a hat, you get complimentary hat-tinis.
- Oceana Grill
- Slim Goodies
- Commander’s Palace
- The Grill at The Windsor Court Hotel
- Court of Two Sisters
- Cafe Degas
- Morning Call
- Red Fish Grill
- Dominica has great pizza for the kids and fabulous food for the adults
- Reginelli’s Pizzaria
- Deanie’s Seafood
- Court Tavern Po-Boy
- Acme Oyster House
- Oceana Grill
- Our favorite place was take the trolley to the garden district for pizza place Slices (we ate their three times the time we visited).
Attractions: Younger Kids
Check on which days attractions are open when planning your trip. Most are closed on Mondays.
Attractions: Older Kids
While older kids will certainly enjoy the aquarium, Insectarium and other attractions mentioned above, there are some spots that are really best for school-aged children. Obviously we took our kids to the National World War II Museum, which I highly recommend, but it was a bit much for our five year old. If you’ve got school-aged kids I highly recommend you take them there, especially to meet a veteran (while they are still alive). It’s a really amazing place full of information on an era your kids really need to understand. Make sure you go to the Beyond All Boundaries film and sit in the front three rows so you can catch the “snow.” This movie has a lot of special effects that will hold your child’s attention, but it also provides a great overview of the war (and made me reach for the tissues). We had a great lunch there at the American Sector restaurant and (of course) came home with a bucket of army men (soldiers from Allied and Axis countries).
Other spots the moms recommend:
- Take the girls to Bourbon French Perfumes!!!! They make it JUST for you!!! I loved it at 14 and i’m taking my daughter soon!!!!
- swamp tour
- Take a bus/carriage/steam boat/walking tour to learn more about the city. Way more interesting than a book, but you do need to listen to the guide to really enjoy this.
- Alligator farm
- Stay away from Bourbon Street, even during the day