City guide: New Orleans

Your one-stop city guide, packed with information on family-friendly hotels, restaurants, and local and unique attractions.

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As one of the oldest cities in the country, New Orleans is steeped in history, art and Southern Hospitality. Its diverse fabric has given birth to cultural icons and structures, such as the French Quarter and Garden District, and of course-who could ignore-the soulful, hip-swinging introduction of jazz. You and your grandchildren will enjoy this beautiful city. It’s the Big Easy, how could you not?


Intercontinental New Orleans
444 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA
(504) 525-5566
Price: Rooms starting at $109/night

If you want to be within walking distance from all the great sights and scenes in New Orleans, then InterContinental New Orleans has one of the most coveted locations. It’s simply two blocks from the French Quarter, six blocks from the riverfront, and right alongside the popular, Mardi Gras parade route, St. Charles Avenue. 

The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 648-1200
Price: Rooms starting at $159/night

The Roosevelt has come a long way, since 1893 when it was first built as the Grunewald Hotel by German immigrant, Louis Grunewald. Although it has undergone several renovations, the most recent due to Hurricane Katrina, the hotel still retains its original splendor and shine. Its history and elegance are what make the Roosevelt a must-see for you and your grandkids.

Royal Sonesta Hotel
300 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 586-0300
Price: Rooms starting at $112/night

With its “Old World” design and French Quarter location, the Royal Sonesta Hotel will surely take you and your grandkids back in time. Most of the rooms have a terrace or balcony surrounding the hotel’s tropical courtyard and overlooking the French Quarter region of New Orleans. 

Le Pavillon Hotel
833 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 581-3111
Price: Rooms starting at $116/night

When it comes to keeping with tradition, Le Pavillon Hotel has their own way of celebrating and making guests feel welcomed. Their popular Easter Sunday celebration, for example, includes a hands-on petting zoo of ducks, chicks, and of course, bunnies. There’s also their nightly PB&J tradition, where guests receive the sweet treat with milk and hot chocolate at 10:00pm. You can also ask for Le Pavillon’s Family Fling package that includes breakfasts and passes to the Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium, or Audubon Insectarium.  

Embassy Suites New Orleans
315 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA
(800) 445-8667

Price: Rooms starting at $127/night

The Embassy Suites New Orleans offers guest some of the best services and amenities in town: a complimentary newspaper, a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool spa. They also offer great packages for you and your grandchildren to make the best of your stay, such as the Build-A-Bear Workshop Explorer Package. Your grandkids receive Bear-sized explorer gear (pants, binoculars, etc.) and $5 off any participating Build-A-Bear Workshop store. 


Louisiana Pizza Kitchen
95 French Market Place, New Orleans, LA
(504) 522-9500
Hours:  11am-10pm (daily)
Price: $$
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

If there’s one thing about New Orleans, its beauty and essence derives from its diversity. That’s what Louisiana Pizza Kitchen wishes to bring with their American and Creole-flavored menu and dishes. Your grandkids will love their large selection of pizza toppings.  

Mother’s Restaurant
401 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 523-9656
Hours: 7am-10pm (daily)
Price: $$
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

There’s a lot of history behind Mother’s Restaurant’s storyline. What started in 1938, as a simple restaurant on the then popular Restaurant Row in New Orleans’ Poydras Street, quickly became a city staple with their delicious and fresh menu items. Mother’s prides itself on this tradition, and works hard to make sure customers receive the excellent, Big Easy treatment. As chef and proprietor, Jerry Amato, says: “Everybody gets fed. Everybody comes back.” Surely, you and your grandkids will agree. 

Gumbo Shop
630 Saint Peter Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 525-1486
Sunday: 11am-10pm
Friday-Saturday: 11am-10:30pm
Price: $$
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

You and your grandkids can’t leave New Orleans without grabbing a bite at the award-winning, Gumbo Shop. Selected as New Orleans’ “Best Place to Get Gumbo” for several years in a row, as well as the New Orleans’ Magazine Readers Choice Award for Best Louisiana Cuisine, this is the place to taste classic gumbo. Gumbo is a culmination of New Orleans’ Choctaw Indians version of an indigenous soup, along with what Africans called “kingumbo” (better known now as okra), and the influence of France and other European settlers. 

Ralph & Kacoo’s
519 Toulouse Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 522-5226
Monday-Thursday: 4pm-10pm
Friday-Saturday: 12pm-11:00pm
Sunday: 12pm-9pm
Price: $$$
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

It could be their delicious seafood menu, or the several awards under their chef apron, but one thing’s for certain, Ralph & Kacoo’s is “The Seafood Restaurant” in the French Quarter for families. You’ll enjoy not only their gumbos and Bayou specialties, but also their children’s menu that start at $3.99.  

Beignets from Café Du Monde

iStockphoto – Beignets from Café du Monde

Café Du Monde
800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 525-4544
Hours: Open daily
Price: $
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

What started as a simple, French market coffee stand in 1862, is now a world-renowned brand and franchise with eight locations in New Orleans. Café Du Monde serves traditional, dark-roasted coffee and chicory, with their creamy pralines and delicious Beignets. Beignets are pieces of deep-fried, powered sugar coated dough. It’s sort of like a French doughnut. Café Du Monde even has a beignet mix that families can take back home. 


National World War II Museum
945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 528-1944
Hours: 9am-5pm (daily)

Price: Children (K-12th Grade): $12, College Student: $12, Adult: $21, Senior (age 65+): $18
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

It was considered the war that changed the world, and now your family can experience why and what it means today. Founded in 2000 by historian and author of the bestseller Band of Brothers, Stephen Ambrose, the National World War II Museum showcases large artifacts from the war, the music and entertainment from that time, and even a soda shop. 

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
1 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA
Price: Children (ages 2-12): $14, Adults (ages 13-64): $21, Senior (ages 65+): $17
Hours: 10am-5pm (daily)
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

New Orleans has an amazing connection to its waters, which is why a trip to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas to witness the gigantic shark, sting ray and tarpon – as part of the Aquarium’s famous, Gulf of Mexico Exhibit – makes it all complete. There are also sea turtles through the facility as part of the Louisiana Marine and Sea Turtle Rescue Program, where these get prepared to be released to the wild. 

Audubon Zoo
6500 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 212-5301
Hours: Monday-Friday: 10am-5pm, Saturday-Sunday: 10am-6pm
Price: Children (ages 2-12): $11, Adults (ages 13-64): $16, Senior (age 65+): $13
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Visiting the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is like taking a quick, exotic trip around the world. With its mix of international animals, engaging educational programs, and hands-on animal encounters, you and your grandchildren could explore the deepest corners, or – with their unique natural habitat exhibits – the deepest swamps in all the land. Don’t miss the sea lion and elephant presentations mysterious, or highly endangered whooping cranes. There’s even an Amur leopards and orangutans exhibit, as well as white alligators.  

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
423 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 410-2847

Hours: 10am-5pm (daily)
Price: Children (ages 2-12): $11, Adults (ages 13-64): $16, Seniors (ages 65+): $13
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Why not spend a day showing your creepy crawlers some real creepy crawlers at Audubon Buttefly Garden and Insectarium, located in the U.S. Custom House on Canal Street. Families can wander through the mysterious Louisiana swamp and get shrunk to big size for all the fun. Selected as a “top museum for you and your kids” by, this insectarium will not disappoint with enough learning and exploring to captivate all five senses.

New Orleans Wax Museum
917 Rue Conti, New Orleans, LA
(504) 525-2605
Hours: Monday, Friday, and Saturday: 10am-4pm
Price: Children (ages 4-7): $6, Adults (ages 8-64):  $7, Seniors (ages 65+): $6.25
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

The New Orleans Wax Museum offers visitors everything from a rare look at life in Louisiana over 300 years ago, when none of the glamour and splendor was present, to the most recent influences of Jazz with Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Your grandchildren will see the history of this great city unfold before their very eyes. 

Louisiana Children’s Museum
420 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 523-1357
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 9:30am-4:30pm, Sunday: 12-4:30pm
Price: $8 per person
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

The Louisiana Children’s Museum is a great escape for kids, but most importantly-grandparents. This 30,000 square feet facility is full of hands-on and interactive activities for kids. It offers programs on constellations and mythology, to geography and the environment using the latest technology and classrooms to facilitate learning.  

New Orleans Museum of Art
One Collins C. Diboll Circle, City Park, New Orleans, LA
(504) 658-4100
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-5pm, Friday: 10am-9pm
Price: Children (ages 6-17): $6, Adults (ages 18-64): $10, Seniors (ages 65+): $8
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is New Orleans’ oldest fine arts institution with an impressive permanent collection of almost 40,000 objects. This fine collection features French and American art, photography, glass, and African and Japanese works, including one of the most important sculpture installations in the United States, the five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. For your grandkids, the museum hosts a Saturday StoryQuest program that encourages museum exploration through storytime. 

Mahalia Jackson Theater
1419 Basin Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 287-0351
Hours:  Monday-Friday: 11am-5pm
Price: Ticket prices vary
Age Range: Elementary, Tween, Teen

Named after the famous gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson, this unique theater offers visitors a soulful glimpse to the world of jazz and gospel as it was in 1927, when performers like Jackson reigned supreme. Although the facility was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the theater has since regained its title as Armstrong Park’s unique, cultural landmark. 

Degas House
2306 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA
Hours: By appointment only
Price: $15 per person
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

In 1872, Edgar Degas, the renowned impressionist artist, traveled to visit his American family in New Orleans and remained there for six months. His visit has now become a legend in New Orleans, and the Degas House is home that telling point in history. Although it’s transformed now into a bed and breakfast, there are many paintings and letters that illustrate Degas’ brief stay there. 

Mississippi River
New Orleans Riverfront
Hours: Daily
Price: Free

Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

As early settlers traveled and built in New Orleans, they realized the beauty and benefits of the Mississippi River along its border. They built local spots, such as restaurants and hotels, along this strip to accommodate, making it the biggest port in the country. Today, it’s still a very busy location. Despite Hurricane Katrina’s damage in 2005, it’s home to the popular Steamboat Natchez Riverboat, The Creole Queen Cruise, and many other cultural hang outs. 

Local uniques:

Haunted History Tours
97 Fontainebleau Drive, New Orleans, LA
(504) 861-2727
Hours: 10am-8:30pm
Price:  Children (ages 6-12): $10, Adults: $20, Students & Seniors: $17

Age Range: Toddler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

New Orleans is known for its unique, diverse history. But did you know it also has a darker side to it? Haunted History Tours has been exposing the spooks and paranormal of this old city since 1994 with its large selection of ghost tours. There are Voodoo Tours, Cemetery Tours, and – Twilight fans will enjoy this one-Vampire Tours. Families can bust a few ghosts with these ghost experts, whose work has been featured on A&E, History Channel, Bravo and the Travel Channel. Each tour has a different registration page online.   

Steamboat Natchez
400 North Peters Street, Suite 203, New Orleans, LA
(504) 586-8777
Daily Daytime Jazz Cruise:
Boarding: 11am and Cruising: 11:30am-1:30pm, Boarding: 2pm and Cruising: 2:30pm-4:30pm
Evening Dinner and Jazz Cruise:
Boarding: 6pm and Cruising: 7pm-9pm

Daytime Jazz Cruise: Children: $12.25, Adult: $26
Daytime Jazz Cruise and Lunch: Children: $20.25, Adult: $37
Evening Jazz Cruise: Children: $20.25, Adult: $42
Evening Jazz Cruise and Dinner
(Seating Time 6-7:15pm)
Children: $34, Adult: $70
Cruise and Dinner
(Seating Time 7:45-9:00pm)
Children: $34, Adult: $70
Age Range: Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

There’s nothing like visiting the Big Easy and enjoying a slow, quiet ride on the Steamboat Natchez along the Mississippi River.  Families can enjoy the Daytime or Dinner Jazz Cruise, or opt out for something a little more unique with the Hurricane Katrina Tour.

Backstreet Cultural Museum
1116 Henriette Delille Street, New Orleans, LA
(504) 522-4806
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-5pm
Price: $8 per person

Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Located in Treme, one of the older African American neighborhoods in the country, the Backstreet Cultural Museum exhibits a part of New Orleans that your grandkids will otherwise not know. This museum is not only a tribute to the urban history of the city and its connection to the history of Mardi Gras, but also an educational tool for all families that visit this home to local artists and musicians.

French Quarter Festivals, Inc.
400 North Peters Street, Suite 205, New Orleans, LA
(504) 522-5730
Hours:  French Quarter Festival: April, Satchmo Summer Fest: August, Christmas New Orleans Style: December
Price: Free
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Although New Orleans is most commonly known for the Mardi Gras tradition, the French Quarter Festivals hosts other festivals and events throughout the year that celebrate so much more. You and your grandchildren will be able to enjoy the music, food, art and everything that flavors this mélange of a city. So coordinate your visits to go with these festivities! First up, it’s the “French Quarter Festival” in April, then there’s the “Satchmo SummerFest” during the summer, and finally the “Christmas New Orleans Style.” 

Rock’n’Bowl New Orleans
3000 South Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, LA
(504) 861-1700
Monday-Thursday: 11:30am-12am
Friday-Saturday: 11:30am-2am
Family Bowling: Monday-Thursday: 11:30am-4pm
Price: $1 shoe rental, $24 an hour per lane (Maximum 6 bowlers)
Age Range: Elementary, Tween, Teen

Rock’n’Bowl might look like a regular bowling venue, but this spot has been recognized as a part of the New Orleans music scene since 1993, when the owner noticed a need for Zydeco music in the community. Great talents have also graced Rock’n’Bowl, adding to the dancehall vibe of the place. So a music act or two, Zydeco, with a dash of bowling nights make for a great New Orleans activity for you and your grandkids.