7 Exciting & Family Friendly Things to Do in New Orleans

New Orleans may not be the first place you’d think of taking your family for a long weekend, but it really is a fun, family-friendly destination.

Our family cruised out of New Orleans, so we planned to arrive a couple of days early and stayed a day after the cruise too and got to explore this exciting city.

Here’s our list of favorite things to do in New Orleans.

  1. Mardi Gras World


This place was super cool. This is where most of the Mardi Gras floats are built and you get to tour around the warehouse with a guide teaching you all about Mardi Gras history and the float making process.. We were there on a Sunday, so there were not a lot of people working, but it was still great to see all of the floats, props and learn about something new.


  • They are open 7 days a week and offer 60 minute tours.

  • The first tour is at 9:30 a.m. and the last tour begins at 4:30 p.m.

  • The tours include seeing floats, props, and costumes along with a video and a slice of King Cake.

  • A free shuttle is provided from 20 different downtown locations.

    Pricing: Adults $22, Seniors 65+: $17, Students with college ID: $17, Children 4-11: $14

2. National WWII Museum


This is not to be missed! This is a large museum filled with so much World War 2 history. Young kids would probably get restless, but our teenagers really enjoyed it. The museum is housed in four buildings and carefully tells the full story of World War 2 through stories, displays and memorabilia. We did not have time to watch any of the movies (additional cost) but I would really enjoy adding that to my itinerary next time.


  • Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for a few holidays

  • Prices - Adult: $24, Child (K - 12th Grade): $18, under 5: Free

  • Plan on spending at least 2 hours

3. Beignets @ Cafe du Monde


Yes, this is a popular thing to do in NOLA and for good reason! Stop by Cafe du Monde for fresh, hot fried pillows of deliciousness. They also serve coffee, hot chocolate and chocolate milk. If you arrive when they are busy, look for the line on the back (east) side of the building. It’s shorter and seemed to move faster. Once you are at the front of the line, just quickly grab a table for your group. A server will be along to take your order. They also serve complementary glasses of water which is very welcome after a long day of walking.


  • They have several locations. We visited the original in the French Market.

  • Hours vary depending on location. The French Market location is open 24 hours.

4. Commanders Palace


Ward and I absolutely loved our Jazz Brunch at Commander’s Palace. Our kids liked it, but said they would rather have more basic food somewhere else. They were happy that they got to try it out once! I’d recommend this place for older kids or maybe a fun meal for adults. Every bite of the food is like a work of art in your mouth. The flavors were amazing. We went on a Sunday morning and had a live jazz band taking requests and playing while we ate. It really was a magical meal.


  • Make reservations & note their dress code.

  • Consider going on Sunday morning for the live jazz brunch.

  • Check out the menu ahead of time to be sure your group will enjoy the food. There are basics like waffles, chicken and steak, so I think there is something for everyone.

5. Cemeteries + Private Tour


We decided to do a private tour with Celebration Tours. We had two families with a total of 10 people. We decided this tour would be a great way to see the city in the limited amount of time we had to explore. We had a large van that toured us to the 9th ward where we learned a lot of history about Hurricane Katrina. We also toured the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, cemeteries, the New Orleans City Park (with a pit stop for beignets!) and beautiful classic neighborhoods.

One of the tour highlights for me was visiting the cemeteries. They are very well maintained and quite beautiful. We learned all about family crypts and burial rituals. It was really interesting.

The tour was really perfect for our group. Personally, I’d usually rather be out walking, but we would not have come close to covering that much ground on our own in only 3 hours.


  • They pick you up at your hotel/landmark.

  • It was $50 per person.

  • They will customize the tour to things you want to see.

6. Plantation


We had a few hours left before we needed to head to the airport and we decided to drive to Oak Alley Plantation. We had a rental car for the day, so it was easy to drive the hour out to the plantation. I really enjoyed getting out of the city and seeing some of the countryside along the way.

We toured the grounds and the big house along with former slave quarters. Although it was difficult to understand how plantation life seemed okay when it was functioning, it was an interesting piece of history to think about and learn from.

There were plenty of tours from NOLA to plantations, but we enjoyed taking ourselves.


  • We didn’t purchase tickets ahead of time.

  • Plan on spending 1.5 to 2 hours.

  • Open 9am to 5pm daily.

  • Prices - Adults: $25, Children 13 - 18: $10, Children 6 - 12: $7, Under 6: Free

  • 60 minutes from downtown New Orleans.

7. Night Ghost Tour


You may not think that this is family friendly because it could be scary, but our two families had a great time. The youngest in our group was 8 years old and she enjoyed it. You just have to decide it this is something that your own kids would enjoy.

It’s a lot of humor and history mixed with some scary-ish (and maybe made up) stories about people who used to live in New Orleans.

We met at our assigned location and then walked around while hearing stories from our guide who shared things with an actor’s flair. It was a fun and entertaining way to spend an hour and a half.

There are a lot of ghost tour companies Here is one option.


  • We booked on our phone about an hour before the tour started. They may sell out if you are there is busier seasons.

  • Prices - Adults: $19.99, Kids 6 - 11: $9.99, 5 and under: Free

  • Plan on walking/standing for the entire tour.

So what do you think? Does New Orleans look like a place you’d love to take your family? I think it would be fun (and a bit crazy) to visit sometime during Mardi Gras!