We visited New Orleans last weekend. I researched family-friendly activities in the Big Easy for a good 4 hours before our impromptu weekend getaway. That’s right. I’m thorough like that. There’s nothing worse than being stressed, lost, and indecisive on your “fun” vacation. So, I thought I’d post our guide to NEW ORLEANS IN TWO DAYS with TODDLERS. Hope it helps you make some priceless family memories like we did.
Day 1: On your way into town, visit Oak Alley Plantation ($22/adult, $0/kids under 5) We went because the place looks like this:
The restaurant and gift shop were both fun, so don’t miss them.
The tour of the house was interesting and not too long so it was manageable with our restless kiddo.
Couldn’t take enough photos of this gorgeous view. It took us about 3.5 hours to see everything we wanted to see, eat, and shop.
From Oak Alley it’s an hour-long drive into New Orleans so try to drive it at nap time. When you arrive, take a tour of the amazing 100-year-old homes in the Garden District. We drove it, but I would recommend walking too. Here are instructions for a walking tour and here’s the driving tour we took. It’s quick, half an hour.
There are TONS of restaurants featured on Diner’s Drive In’s and Dives in New Orleans. So, hit up one of those for dinner!
When it’s time to put that baby to bed, I’d recommend staying a little outside town. The hotels in New Orleans tourist areas are overpriced and parking is difficult to find.
Learn from my mistake: We stayed at The Saint. Don’t be mesmerized by the website photos like I was. This is not a family friendly hotel. Also, avoid getting stuck in the french quarter looking for a restaurant in the evening. Everything was packed, the streets literally smelled like vomit, and we ended up waiting an HOUR for takeout with a crazy tired toddler. Besides the droves of wild spring-breakers and rough-looking apparently parent-less teens, it was when the homeless beggar approached me and my nervous child that I realized the evening was a major oversight in my otherwise careful planning. So, yeah, don’t do that on your tour.
Day 2: Visit Metarie Cemetary. It makes a lovely morning walk.
Next, make sure you’re really hungry for brunch at the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant. You’ll need a reservation. Request a seat outside so your toddler is free to be noisy. It’s a lovely jazz brunch with European-style outdoor cafe seating. Great way to see the french quarter, enjoy a little jazz (which is difficult to do at night with a toddler) and eat way too much food. The sweet trolls, omelet/pancake station and craw fish are where it’s at. Go at 11:30ish so you can have breakfast AND lunch. yum. The public lot at 420 North Rampart Street is a good place to park.
Enjoy a walk around the French Quarter. The street performers were especially fun for our little guy. The Hermann-Grima House is a good museum to visit. Grab a chocolate treat at Leah’s on your way back to the car.
After nap, head to 111 Iberville Street for a good public parking spot. You’ll want to get there before 4:30 ish because it gets crowded toward the evening. From there, walk across the street and kitty corner to the Algiers Ferry. It’s free, quick and just right for kids. After your boat ride, walk along the river front (bring a small stroller) to Cafe Du Monde. Don’t wait in the ridiculously long line for outdoor seating. Go inside and seat yourself in the air conditioning so you can enjoy a hot chocolate with your beignets. (The beignets sans hot chocolate are much less enjoyable. Also, you’ll need cash). Then, enjoy the shopping on the way to the french market, 1008 N Peters St. From there, you’ll be right by a street car stop. Hop on and head back to your car. The kids will love it and it will save you the walk back (you’ll also need cash for the fare).
After all the excitement, you’ll have one tired toddler for the trip home. Make sure to have some snuggley PJs handy for your little one to change into. Hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did! Speak up if you have other tips to share for a family friendly trip to New Orleans.