Let’s imagine that you’ll only visit New Orleans once (highly unlikely after you’ve been there but humor me). You’re with your kids. What are the MUST DOs?
TOP 5 THINGS TO SEE:
1. The French Quarter. Grab a beignet, stroll Jackson Square and the surrounding streets to listen to the street performers, and hope that there is a second line parade that you can shake your tush to! If you have time, take the kids to Preservation Hall for some Jazz. Reserve tix in advance though because the first come first serve spots go FAST.
2. The Mississippi River and Steamboat Natchez – Park near Jacksons in the French Quarter and you can catch both.
3. Mardi Gras World – The tour shows you how the floats are made and they truly are larger than life.
4. City Park – There’s a great playground there and parking is free. Across the street is the Botanical Garden, Storyland and Carousel Gardens and the Art Museum/Sculpture Garden.
5. If you have school aged kids, visit Congo Square. Lots of history there and a great opportunity for the kids to run around and play.
BONUS: Grab a swamp tour of the Louisiana bayous if you have time! Those airboats are fun!
TOP 5 THINGS TO EAT:
1. NOLA = Beignets! See my post on Cafe du Monde vs. Cafe Beignets.
2. Crawfish – Go to Boil Seafood House near the garden district and if the kiddos don’t like the crawfish, there is a Dat Dog next door, which is a NOLA experience you shouldn’t miss either!
3. King Cake – Available during the carnival season, get the original and let the person who gets the baby be the King/Queen for the day! My kids loved being able to pick what we did for the day. If you can’t find King Cake, then stop by District Donuts for some NOLA deliciousness!
4. Sazerac – Adults only! This cocktail originated in New Orleans and it would be quite a shame not to try it while you’re there!
5. Gumbo/Jambalaya/Etoufee – Personally, I like etoufee the best, but take your pick! Some good place to grab some: Coop’s, Mother’s (be prepared for a line), Gumbo Shop or Gumbo Ya-Ya.
BONUS!: Some restaurants to try while you’re in town – Muriels in Jackson Square (it’s apparently haunted! We didn’t notice anything but good food 🙂 ), Commander’s Palace (make advance reservations — jacket required), Compere Lapin (great for lunch or dinner). SKIP Antoine’s. The food was meh and the bill was $$$$$.