A Family Focused Day in New Orleans: An Itinerary

An editor's guide to big-time small-fry fun

The arrival of June signals the onset of summer. Make the most of family free time by exploring the kid-friendly side of the Crescent City. Think New Orleans is for adults only? Think again.

9 am

Get your beignets at Morning Call, where they let you dust ’em with powdered sugar yourself. Work off that sugar rush exploring City Park, one of the nation’s largest urban green spaces. Kids will find lots to keep them busy, from the park’s century-old wooden carousel to City Putt, a recently added miniature golf course with local history lessons at each hole. Check out the Historic Train Garden with local landmarks created from all-natural materials.

New Orleans Historic Train Garden in City Park

11 am

Take the Canal streetcar to the Mississippi riverfront, where the Audubon Aquarium provides hours of fishy fun. Or head for the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, where they’ll bug out over the resident creepy crawlies and edible insects.

12:30 pm

Worked up an appetite nibbling on chocolate-chirp cookies? Anchor for a while at the Crazy Lobster overlooking the river, or make a fast run to Krystal Burger, the South’s oldest quick-service chain.

1:30 pm

Afterward get hands-on at the Louisiana Children’s Museum, where budding chefs call the orders in a pint-size café and junior architects can design their own homes. Or send them back in time on a guided French QuarTour Kids excursion.

3 pm

Hop a mule-drawn carriage in front of Jackson Square, and let little hands take the reins. Following the tour revisit kid-friendly French Quarter boutiques you passed along the way. NOLA Kids mixes cute clothing with Crescent City-themed collectibles, while the Little Toy Shop is all about big fun and artist Jamie Hayes charms with his kooky voodoo dolls.

7 pm

Book a dinner cruise aboard the Creole Queen or Steamboat Natchez, where parents can enjoy live jazz while small fries live out Huck Finn fantasies. Or stick to shore and fill up on pie at the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen or gourmet weenies at Dat Dog.

Creole Queen

9 pm

Finish the day with another round of beignets at Café Du Monde, where children are treated to souvenir paper hats and you can grab a box of beignet mix so they can help make their own back home.