I can’t think of a more vibrant city than “New Awlins,” with its jazz musicians performing in the historic French Quarter, moss-covered trees surrounding mansion-lined streets, and some of the most inimitable restaurants in the country. While it does have a bit of a nefarious reputation at times, especially during Mardi Gras and New Years Eve, it is actually one of the most kid-friendly travel destinations we have visited. Every iconic restaurant welcomes children, and there are endless amusements, including streetcar rides, an aquarium and zoo. The whole family will love this beautiful, spirited town.
GUIDE TO glimpse
Each recommendation lists address, phone number, website (if available), and gives a basic overview for all of you busy parents. There are also a few words listed to sum up each restaurant, including the type of food they serve, and I have also included whether or not a restaurant has high chairs and a kids’ menu. Keep in mind, even if there is no specific menu, all restaurants on the list will work with families to come up with simple dishes.
Here is the guide to those words:
Contemporary – the décor is simple and modern
Classic – the décor is conservative yet elegant
Cont/classic – the décor contains elements of each
Constant – the spot never goes out of style
Hot – this is the place to be at the moment
Stylish – your outfit should be smart and sophisticated
Casual – jeans and flats are appropriate here
Posh – men grab your coat and tie, ladies, your heels and diamonds
713 St Louis Street
Since 1840, Antoine’s has been serving New Orleans’ elite and discerning tourists with their exquisite French-Creole cuisine in a beautiful setting of white tiled floors and 14 private dining rooms. Steeped in history, the oldest restaurant in town is continuously one of the most popular dining choices and kids will feel right at home in the rowdy atmosphere.
French Creole • Classic • Constant • Posh • High chairs • Kids’ entrees
813 Bienville Avenue
Arnaud’s is one of those visually stunning, historic restaurants that feels like a step back in time from the moment you walk in. Stained glass windows, tiled floors and intimate tables make up the entertaining scene, and like Antoine’s, the noise will drown out the sound of your children.
French Creole • Classic • Constant • Posh • High chairs • Kids’ entrees
800 Decatur Street
Only a crazy person would wait in the insanely long lines at Café du Monde, but having said that, it’s okay to be crazy when the famous beignets are that good. Head over the second your kids wake up and you may get in immediately. This is the original 1862 location and gift shop, but their website also sells beignet mix that can be shipped if you really don’t want to wait in line.
Beignets and coffee • Classic • Constant • Casual
626 South Carrollton Avenue
It seems as though all New Orleans recommendations include a large number of landmark restaurants, and Camellia Grill should not be kept off that list. This well-known diner has been serving locals since 1946, with a small closing following Hurricane Katrina. After reopening under new ownership it remains just as popular, and now has a second location in the French Quarter. Don’t miss the cheeseburger and pecan pie.
American • Classic • Constant • Casual • One high chair – call ahead
4330 Magazine Street
Famous for its authentic seafood, Casamentos is one of those super casual spots that attracts everyone from locals to well-known chefs, and has been featured on many TV shows. Open since 1919, this cash-only, restaurant should not be missed if you’re looking for a true New Orleans experience. Don’t forget to order the raw oysters, and keep in mind they do not take reservations.
Seafood • Classic • Constant • Casual
4600 Freret Street
Opened by locals not long ago, The Company Burger soon became a huge hit among diners. Serving classic American cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and all the usual sides, it is a welcome respite from the city’s typical seafood and French-creole dishes. Plus the counter service makes it nice and casual for the kids.
American • Contemporary • Constant • Casual
209 Bourbon Street
Another New Orleans institution, Galatoire’s is always a celebration, and the recipient of a James Beard Foundation “outstanding restaurant” award. Don’t be intimidated by the fine-dining dress code – in this city, fine dining means a party in a coat and tie, and families will love the exciting atmosphere. Like Antoine’s and Arnaud’s, the interior is a gorgeous mix of French and Southern influences, and the chef will work with you on dishes for the kids.
French Creole • Classic • Constant • Posh • High chairs
5757 Magazine Street
‘Classic’ might be the typical word used to describe most New Orleans eateries, but contemporary American whiskey bar and restaurant, Kenton’s, is currently all the rage. The stunning deep blue banquettes with emerald green chairs perfectly compliment the moody feel of this popular spot, where the inventive brunch is a true reflection of its New York owners’ roots.
Contemporary American • Cont/classic • Hot • Stylish • High chairs
3637 Magazine Street
Lilette is easily one of my favorite restaurants. With the tiled floors, maroon banquettes surrounded by mirrors, and gorgeous bar commanding center stage, this French bistro feels like a chic Parisian transplant. Plus, I can never stop ordering the stone crab claws with passion fruit butter.
French • Cont/classic • Constant • Stylish • One high chair – call ahead
800 Magazine Street
The descriptions may sound cliché, but if you’re looking for mouth-watering, modern seafood dishes, look no further than Pêche. Local foodie friends swear it is the best restaurant in town, and it’s hard to disagree, especially if you want a change from the fine-dining classics in the French Quarter. Bonus – the Louisiana Children’s Museum is just a block away.
Seafood • Contemporary • Hot • Stylish • High chairs
4213 Magazine Street
Another popular recommendation from locals is Shaya, a restaurant focusing on modern Israeli cuisine while incorporating Louisiana influences. Chef Alon Shaya works closely with local farmers to create his seasonal, responsibly-sources menus, while also referring to the traditions of his upbringing in Israel. If your kids are like mine, they’ll love the hummus and pita bread.
Israeli • Contemporary • Hot • Stylish • High chairs
5004 Prytania Street
Does one really need a detailed explanation to visit a cheese shop and café? St. James Cheese Company has you covered when it comes to all things cheese. Plus with sandwiches and salads in a chic space two blocks off St. Charles Avenue, it’s the perfect spot to grab lunch on your way to the Audubon Park.
Gourmet grocery store • Contemporary • Constant • Casual • High chairs
417 Royal Street
Another New Orleans mainstay, Brennan’s provides a more modern version of the classics. The multiple dining rooms showcase fine dining at its best, and the gilded chandeliers and ornate velvet chairs make you feel right at home in the deep South. This is also a great spot for drinks and dessert after a night out.
Creole • Cont/classic • Constant • Posh
6100 Annunciation Street
While fine for kids, and they do have one high chair, Clancy’s can feel a bit cramped (in a good way), and adults may feel more comfortable calling a sitter for this one. Constantly recommended by locals as their favorite meal, the restaurant has been packed since its opening in the 1940s.
Creole • Classic • Constant • Stylish
1728 Soniat Street
Housed in a former pharmacy with no sign on the door, Gautrea’s is a hidden residential gem, and another choice for fine dining in New Orleans. Here the menu consists of inventive fish and meat dishes, and Food & Wine named three of their chefs “America’s Best New Chefs.”
New American-French • Classic • Constant • Posh
701 St. Charles Avenue
Herbsaint is a modern, upscale bistro located just outside of the French Quarter on historic St. Charles Avenue. Serving an inventive fusion of French, Italian and Southern dishes, diners will love the sleek interior and outdoor seating, and there is also a smaller bistro menu if you’re settling in at the bar.
French-American • Cont/classic • Constant • Posh
509 Dauphine Street
Often voted the number one hotel in New Orleans, Audubon Cottages is an oasis of seven beautifully decorated bungalows surrounding private courtyards and a heated, saltwater pool. Located right in the middle of the French Quarter, the boutique property is enclosed by walls so it is completely private, and guests will feel like they’re in an island hideaway, not a big city. Each cottage is individually styled with antiques – this is New Orleans, of course – and comes with a butler service. While fine for families, and convenient to many major attractions and activities, call ahead to make sure you are getting one of the rooms that allows multiple kids.
1133 Chartres Street
Perhaps the most charming of all the hotels on this list, Soniat House is a true boutique hotel. Made up of several adjoining 19th century homes in the French Quarter, it features only 31 rooms, each individually decorated with period antiques. The hotel boasts a coveted location within the historic area, with a quaint central courtyard, balconies with intricate wrought iron railings typical of New Orleans, a cozy sitting room with fireplace and honor bar, and in case you happen to fall in love with the furnishings (you will), the owners opened an antiques shop right across the street. Breakfast is especially luxurious, as it is served on silver trays either in bed or in the courtyard, and the discerningly stocked wine cellar will meet the standards of all French and American wine enthusiasts. Children will especially love the house cat, Claire, but keep in mind that because of the size and exclusivity of the property, only kids over 10 are allowed.
921 Canal Street
Ritz Carlton’s are always great choices for travelers, and the one in New Orleans is no exception. Located just on the outskirts of the French Quarter and right across from the launching point of the St. Charles Avenue streetcars, it is the perfect starting point from which to explore the city. Also one of the more kid-friendly hotels on the list, it features the coveted Ritz Kids club, designed to incorporate local elements and attractions into the activities they provide. The luxurious spa is a nice way to relax while the kids are enjoying the club, and a popular farm-to-table restaurant rounds out the glamour of the hotel, complete with a chic, spacious bar area and Parisian-style courtyard.
130 Roosevelt Way
One of the older hotels in New Orleans, The Roosevelt is a luxurious Waldorf Astoria property that was completely overhauled following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The renovations brought it back to its glory days when the current property was first opened in 1907, and guests will feel the history as they step through the revolving doors and into the long marble corridor with brass accents. The grand restaurants and bars are known for their long history of entertaining locals and well-known guests, including such famous faces as Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles. Children will love the rooftop pool, and the holidays are particularly exciting, with such activities as a Teddy Bear tea.
300 Gravier Street
Located a couple of blocks from the aquarium, children’s museum, and butterfly garden and insectarium, is Windsor Court, another great hotel option near the French Quarter that takes style cues from England. Perfect for families, it is made up of mostly suites with enormous bedroom and living areas, complete with mini bars and marble bathrooms, and many with balconies. The massive, opulent lobby consists of comfortable social areas, and an elegant restaurant with English-themed adjoining bar can be found on the second floor. Also known for its world-class art collection, guests can enjoy audio tours while children play in the rooftop pool.
SHOPPING FOR KIDS
Southerners are known for dressing their children well, and below are the cutest shops in New Orleans, plus a few places for sweets
Angelique Baby – beautiful baby and kids clothes from dozens of well-known designers
- 5519 Magazine Street
Antoine’s Annex – an outpost of Antoine’s restaurant, serving sweets, pastries and coffee in an old-fashioned shop
- 513 Royal Street
Creole Creamery – a cute ice cream parlor close to the St. Charles Avenue trolley line
- 4924 Prytania Street
Hansens Sno-Bliz – a famous shaved ice and syrup shop, since 1939
- 4801 Tchoupitoulas Street
Mignon – stylish outfits and gifts for babies and kids
- 2727 Prytania Street
Peony – gorgeous children’s clothing, plus chic gifts for all ages
- 2240 Magazine Street
Pippen Lane – an adorable, well-known children’s designer clothing boutique
- 2930 Magazine Street
The Pressery – a great juice bar on Magazine Street
- 3005 Magazine Street
Sucre – hand-made chocolates, gelato and pastries
- 3025 Magazine Street
- 622 Conti Street
SHOPPING FOR ADULTS
New Orleans is known for its antique shops, and the list below includes additional boutiques, galleries and more
Adlers – where locals register for fine china or purchase luxury watches, gifts and jewelry
- 722 Canal Street
Aux Belle Choses – hand-picked home, garden and gift items from the English and French countryside
- 3912 Magazine Street
Clover – a clothing boutique full of upscale, neutral pieces
- 2240 Magazine Street
Faulkner House Books – a beautiful bookshop where William Faulkner used to live
- 624 Pirate’s Alley
Fleur de Paris – custom millinery in the French Quarter
- 523 Royal Street
Friend & Co – custom and estate jewelry, fine china and gifts
- 7713 Maple Street
Garden District Book Shop – there’s nothing better than a quaint, local bookstore
- 2727 Prytania Street
Julie Neill Designs – gorgeous custom lighting fixtures
- 3908 Magazine Street
Leontine Linens – the most gorgeous custom linens, plus beautiful baby and home gifts
- 3806 Magazine Street
Magazine Street – this 6-mile stretch of antique shops and boutiques is one reason to come to New Orleans
Martin Lawrence Gallery – a high-end gallery with pieces by artists like Picasso and Warhol
- 433 Royal Street
Maskarade – custom designed masks for all occasions
- 630 St Ann Street
Royal Street – one of the oldest streets in New Orleans, full of antique stores and art galleries
Rubenstein Brothers – upscale menswear
- 102 St. Charles Avenue
EXPERIENCES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas – one of the top aquariums in the country
- 1 Canal Street
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium – North America’s largest insect museum, plus thousands of butterflies
- 423 Canal Street
Audubon Park and Zoo – home to 2000 animals over 58 acres
- 6500 Magazine Street
City Sightseeing bus tours – hop-on hop-off double-decker bus tours, with free walking tours of the Garden District, French Quarter and Lafayette Cemetery #1
Gambit – a weekly magazine listing the city’s upcoming entertainment offerings. Copies can be found at The Roosevelt Hotel and Antoine’s Annex, among others, or online
Horse and carriage rides – kids will love riding through the French Quarter
- Hop on at Jackson Square on Decatur Street
Louisiana Children’s Museum – playful and educational interactive games
- 420 Julia Street
The Theatres at Canal Place – see the latest movies while enjoying dinner and cocktails from your seat. Kids are only allowed before 6 pm
- 333 Canal Street, 3rd floor
National World War II Museum – children will enjoy this museum as much as adults, and there are often family workshops and overnights, so be sure to check the website calendar
- 945 Magazine Street
New Orleans Museum of Art – so much for kids to do, including baby workshops, StoryQuest which incorporates literature and the arts, and many other studio projects
- 1 Collins Diboll Circle
Streetcar rides – three different lines take you all around for $1.25 per ride. Check the website for schedules and stops
Listed below are two sample itineraries appropriate for all ages. I have kept them light because we all know kids’ moods can be unpredictable. There is also an Adults Only itinerary, because what better city to call a sitter?
- After breakfast at your hotel, which I find much easier to manage when traveling with kids who have woken up hungry, head to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
- Nearby is Pêche which features innovative seafood dishes
- Just two blocks away from the restaurant is the Louisiana Children’s Museum
- Antoine’s is the perfect end to your first day in New Orleans
- Start a science-filled day at the Butterfly Museum and Insectarium
- Afterwards, hop on a St. Charles Avenue trolley across the street and head uptown
- Hop off at the Robert Street stop and grab a bite to eat at St. James Cheese Company two blocks away. You can also order food to go and enjoy a picnic at the Audubon Park after hopping back on the trolley
- Enjoy the park and the nearby Audubon Zoo
- Head back towards the French Quarter and stop at Lilette on the way
If bringing a nanny or hiring a sitter, we suggest the following:
- Spend your morning with antiques shopping on Magazine Street. You also don’t want to miss Leontine Linens for bedroom and bathroom updating
- Kenton’s a great spot for lunch and whiskey tasting
- Explore the French Quarter where more antique stores and art galleries await you
- There are so many bars in the area, you could walk into any of them for a cocktail and have a good time
- Head back uptown to Clancy’s for a fun dinner amongst locals
- If you’re still up for some fun, head back to the French Quarter and enjoy the spectacle of midnight revelers and jazz musicians
CITY TIPS AND HELPFUL INFORMATION
Baby food, diapers, etc
- Pharmacies are great places for baby related items
- For organic baby food and baby items, head to Whole Foods on Magazine Street between Joseph and Arabella
- Each hotel we have listed is able to find reputable babysitters, but most require at least 24 hours notice
- There are public restrooms in the French Market near Café du Monde, and also the Audubon Park
- Many cafés are also great places to stop for a break and a snack, as they are usually just for paying customers
- There are a handful of embassies in New Orleans. To find a particular country, go here
- While cars are not necessary here, you may want to rent one at the airport if you plan to explore the Gulf Coast
- If you do not rent a car, the hotels on this list are all in, or within walking distance of, the French Quarter. If headed uptown to places like the zoo, the St. Charles Avenue trolley will get you there, as will taxis or Ubers.
- There are also horse and carriage rides for exploring the French Quarter
- Magazine Street is a great 6-mile stretch for walking and shopping
- Children’s Hospital of New Orleans
- 200 Henry Clay Avenue
Police and Emergencies
- In an emergency, dial 911 for police, ambulances and fire trucks
- New Orleans is a pretty easy place to get around with strollers. Although, some restaurants are tight, so call ahead to see if they can be parked next to any tables
- Tipping in America is customary, and 20% of the bill is normal in restaurants (although some are beginning to include the tip in the total, so be sure to look for “gratuity included’)
- Leave about $5 a day for housekeeping in hotels
- For porters, about $2 per piece of luggage is normal
- For a concierge, leave about $5 per reservation; $20 if it was particularly hard to get
- In taxis, round up to the nearest dollar and then add $1-$2 as tip. Obviously if you Uber, tip is already included
- If you valet your car anywhere, give $3-$5 when they pull it back around
- The official Office of Tourism website is here