The French Quarter is brimming with nightlife and entertainment, but there are plenty of family-friendly activities as well – most of which are within walking distance of our hotel. Hotel Monteleone has an on-site restaurant plus a rooftop pool to keep kids entertained, but there are a host of other activities right in the neighborhood.
Here are a few family-friendly suggestions on what to do (and how to stay cool) during your summer family vacation in New Orleans:
Explore the History of Mardi Gras
The Louisiana State Museum showcases the history and origins of Mardi Gras within the historic Presbytère, which stands next to St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. The second floor of the museum houses their permanent exhibit, Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana, which offers an interactive look at Mardi Gras then and now. Adults will enjoy viewing the elaborate 19th century Carnival costumes while the kids will delight in climbing over parade floats and pretending to ride in a Mardi Gras parade.
Nearby, Mardi Gras World offers an inside glimpse at how Mardi Gras gets made, as daily tours walk visitors through the production area where local artists create the Mardi Gras floats that will be used in more than 40 parades throughout Carnival season. Each visitor also receives a free slice of king cake, which is difficult to find out of season. Mardi Gras World provides a free shuttle service offering rides to and from the French Quarter.
Cruise Down the Mississippi River
The historic Steamboat Natchez offers a variety of daily cruises that are a great activity for all ages. The day-time Harbor Jazz Cruises depart twice daily, Monday through Saturday, and feature live jazz music and a narrated tour of the sights and historical facts. Children under 6 cruise free with a paid adult. This summer brings even more fun as the Family Day cruise on Saturday, June 11 features plenty of child-friendly entertainment including live appearances by Captain America and other characters.
Watch a Movie at Canal Place
The Theatres at Canal Place are a memorable place to catch a summer blockbuster on a rainy or hot day. In addition to sumptuous seats and a luxury setting, the theaters offer full-service dining – you won’t even need to leave your seat! Kids will enjoy The Trifecta popcorn (popcorn with peanuts, bacon, and chocolate) and traditional movie theater candy, but adults can really indulge: choose from small plates, flatbreads, paninis, and a full list of cocktails, wine, and beer.
It's a family-friendly #frenchquarter this summer. Here are some fun, kid-approved activities. Click To Tweet
Or, Head to the IMAX
If you and the kiddos are of the “bigger is better” mentality, you might prefer the IMAX theater. Located practically next door to Canal Place, the Entergy IMAX Theatre is part of the Audubon Institute’s Aquarium of the Americas. The 3-D theater showcases films perfect for nature lovers. Find movies about the hidden wonders of the ocean, the big cats of Africa, and more.
Admire Sea Life at the Aquarium
After you go to the IMAX (or even if you don’t) plan to work in time to explore the Aquarium of the Americas. Open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the aquarium is a great, family-friendly place to explore the wonders of sea life. A stingray touch pool and stingray feed session (check in advance for days and times) are sure to create lasting memories for kids. Want to really splurge? Book a Backstage Penguin Pass which will let the kids get up close and personal with an endangered African penguin.
Learn About Bugs and Butterflies
The Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium on Canal Street is a great venue for kids to learn about animal life in a fun way. Open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the insectarium features a variety of butterfly species (they are out in the open and just might land on your shoulder!) and educational activities. Even better? CNN voted it “A top museum for you and your kids.”
Do Some Back-to-School Shopping
Outfit the kids in back-to-school fashion on a budget when you take them to the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. Retailers include outlets from Gap, Neiman Marcus, Gymboree, and Famous Footwear. If you can’t get the kids excited about this one, bribe them with beignets: there’s a Café du Monde inside.
Looking for something with more local flair? Nola Kids (333 Chartres Street) offers clothes, New Orleans-themed kids’ books and cute gifts to bring home as souvenirs. Little Toy Shop is practically a French Quarter institution with two locations (513 Saint Ann Street and 900 Decatur Street) offering toys that will take you on a trip down memory lane.
Stay At Our Kid-Friendly French Quarter Hotel
Take advantage of our special summer rates and book a summer vacation with the kids in New Orleans!
Our prime French Quarter location makes it easy to visit top area attractions without the hassle of a car, and our All About Kids Vacation Package is the perfect addition to your trip. Just add it to any stay (2-night minimum) and get admission to the Louisiana Children’s Museum, admission to your choice of Audubon Aquarium of the Americas or Entergy IMAX Theater, plus a disposable camera, coloring book, crayons, and a deck of cards to keep the kids entertained.