Welcome to the Big Easy! New Orleans is a unique and unusual city, and I’m glad I get to live near it and enjoy it. Below are short tips on what to do and see (or not see. . .) with and without children. At the end you’ll see specific posts with more details!
When to Visit
New Orleans is in a semi-tropical climate, meaning the weather doesn’t usually get crazy cold, and can be enjoyed nearly year-round. It does, however, get brutally hot in July and August. My favorite months of the year here are March, April, the first half of May, the last half of September, and October. Spring in New Orleans is particularly lovely, with many flowers blooming and everything becoming lush and beautiful. That’s not to say that the weather in other months can’t also be very nice (shorts on Christmas have not been unknown). Except for July and August. They don’t deserve to be mentioned in polite company.
How to Get to New Orleans
If you’re not driving in, the Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) is a major airport with excellent flight selection from around the world. If you have children with you, I consider a car a necessity to get around and see the best the city and area has to offer. Numerous car rental companies are at the Louis Armstrong International Airport. Public transportation isn’t widespread, and some attractions require a car. Both of those limitations can be easily worked around if an adult couple is visiting sans children.
What to Do
Here’s the very short, bullet-point list of what I’d recommend in a visit:
- Walk around the French Quarter; if with children avoid Bourbon St. and instead enjoy Royal St. All the charm, none of the smut.
- Ride the streetcar to see St. Charles’ mansions and oaks and ice cream at Creole Creamery (see below).
- Eat: beignets, both sliders/donuts at District Donuts, get a snoball somewhere. Hansen’s is supposed to be great, on my list to check out), BBQ shrimp at Mr. B’s (the name is misleading — the shrimp is cooked in garlic and butter!), bread pudding at Bon Temps Cafe, Mais Arepas has amazing Colombian (see below!), Compere Lapin is bit of splurge but so good, Mother’s is the iconic place for poboys, PIZZA Domenica does half-price pizza happy hour.
- Walk up and down Magazine St.
- See Oak Alley
- City Park has a Cafe du Monde, art museum, and free sculpture garden! Also the Children’s Museum is now there.
- If you love history at all the WWII Museum is a MUST.
- Do a swamp tour in Slidell (and eat delicious food there too! See below)
- The Audubon Zoo (see below)
Click on the images below to read more about some of our favorite places and activities in the city.
If you’re coming to Slidell to do a swamp tour (or driving Slidell through on your way in to New Orleans), have we got some delicious restaurants for you! Don’t let the small size fool you, Slidell offers plenty of excellent authentic Creole and Southern fare. Stretch your legs, see the gators, and sample the best of Slidell.
Incredibly tasty and high-quality, come to the St. James Cheese Company not only for specialty cheeses and charcuterie boards, but also excellent salads and sandwiches. Two locations.
The St. Charles Streetcar is great fun for the whole family, and a delightful way to see one of New Orleans’ most beautiful areas. Check out our St. Charles Streetcar Riders’ Guide for all you need to know.
District Donuts is a favorite spot of ours to bring visitors to for its unique donut flavors, excellent sliders, crazy cheese fries, and delicious coffee. I mean, at least visitors are the excuse we give for why we’ve been so often. . .
A splurge-worthy restaurant, Compère Lapin is worth trying to carve a date night out for!
You already know we love us some well-crafted coffee, but we love it even more when can be enjoyed in a charming setting. Stumptown Coffee delivers on both counts!
The Creole Creamery has an astounding range of flavors, matched only by how delicious they all are!
A new (to us) favorite, Maïs Arepas serves up food bursting with flavor, and is a unique spot in New Orleans’ culinary scene. I’d suggest lunch if you’re going with kids, and reservations for dinner if you’re having a parents’ night out.