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Hi.

We're cruising out of NOLA just before Fat Tuesday.... a dream of mine (I'm an adult) but I'm taking my impressionable young kids with me (5, 7) and my parents (mid-70s, get around but definitely showing their age).  We want to see the town, eat in great restaurants, stay in nice/convenient places, but I need to stay in my lane as a mom and as a doting daughter. (My kids are super sheltered, but very well behaved and do very well in public situations/fancy restaurants/learning opportunities).

 

Best place to stay?  Best place to eat?  Things to do?

Beignets are a must.  Fun activities for kids is preferred...

 

Flying in, do we need to rent a car?  Staying 2 days before we cruise out... We'll also have nearly a full day after we disembark.

 

A big please and a huge thanks for your help!

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Do a Google search for "New Orleans With Kids." Lots of choices there, depending on what you and the kids like to do. Some are free, others are guided tours.

 

I would look for a hotel in the Warehouse District. There are lots of them with larger rooms, free breakfasts and other amenities, roomier and less expensive than French Quarter/Canal Street hotels. They are in walking distance of the French Quarter and other  attractions, and close to streetcar and bus lines. www.norta.com. Also very close to the cruise terminal.

 

You won't need a car unless you plan to go outside the city. For shorter trips there are cabs/Uber/Lyft.

 

www.nomenu.com is a good source for restaurant ideas, including many within easy walking distance in the Warehouse District. This site lists restaurants by area, cuisine and price. 

 

If you are coming in around Mardi Gras, there are also parades, and online sources that will show the schedules and routes. You can download apps that will follow the progress of the parades.

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New Orleans can be a great family friendly destination. In fact, the vast majority of the parades are family friendly, especially those outside the French Quarter. Use the resources that Jgmpuma has provided for a list of parades.

 

I agree with the above that the Warehouse district might be ideal for you to stay. Many hotel choices from full service to free breakfast places. They will be slightly bigger and not quite as "crazy" as French Quarter hotels. I have taken my kids to NO a few times and have stayed in either the Warehouse District or in the Central Business District.

 

As for kids activities, my daughter loved the Louisiana Children's Museum and Mardi Gras World. She was about your kids age the first time we went.

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Posted (edited)

The Parades are Family friendly.  Don't go down into the French Quarter!  During Carnival season, anything goes!  It is not family friendly!!  We stayed at the Drury Inn, 3 blocks from the FQ.  Go to the French Market, that's where you get the Beingets.  If you don't want to wait in the long lines, get some powder sugar donuts, same thing!!  Go to Jackson Square, you can't go into the Cathedral during Carnival, but it is beautiful.  The streetcars do not run during Carnival season!!  But we took the Pedi-cabs and Ubers everywhere!!!  Go to a cemetary!!  

If you like seafood, it is wonderful here!!!  Landry's Seafood is great, and reasonable.  Also, Deanies Seafood is fantastic!  We have been for 8 days during Carnival thru Mardi Gras, and then last year without Mardi Gras.  Different town altogether!  The Garden District is very pretty.  

Enjoy, I can't wait to go to Mardi Gras again!!!

Edited by WashCoCruisers

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I am from New Orleans and may have a different perspective...Mardi Gras with young kids can be fun, but it can also be stressful due to large crowds. With some planning it can be a great time. I want to stress the crowds will be crazy, especially the weekend before Mardi Gras when the most popular parades are. Crowds at these parades at certain places can be 20 people deep. For more family parades, try Uptown or Metairie parades. Go early to get a good spot. You probably will have a hard time finding a hotel in the French Quarter and I wouldn't suggest it. Stay in the warehouse district or even a little further out. Reserve a hotel as early as you can because they fill up! Do not bring your kids to Bourbon Street, not even during the day.  Other places in the French Quarter I recommend are Cafe du Monde (go early for a good table), the French Market, or Jackson Square. In the warehouse district is a Children's Museum that my kids have loved and the Audubon Zoo (Uptown) is fabulous. The Aquarium is downtown as well and very nice. There are too many good restaurants and it really depends on your price range, but do try the local cuisine (gumbo, crawfish, poboy, red beans, jambalaya). Hope this helps!

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I've been traveling to NOLA for vacations since I was 4.  I want to recommend you stay at Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter.  That has been my family's home away from home all these years and it's just a fabulous and historic place to stay! There's nothing objectionable in the immediate area. Be sure to visit their world famous Carousel Bar and breakfast at the hotel is fantastic.  You can get sweet beignets at breakfast in the Hotel Monteleone restaurant and savory ones in the Carousel Bar.  Your parents should love this hotel, too as it is really lovely and special.

 

You will need restaurant reservations, even for lunch.  I recommend trying at least one or more of the classic restaurants such as Arnaud's, Antoine's, Galltoires, Dooky Chase, Court of 2 Sisters, Brennans, Broussards, Commander's Palace, Willie Mae's - read up on these and find out what dishes originated at these restaurants and take that into consideration when ordering.  I also recommend trying some of the newer restaurants such as G.W. Finn's and August.  There is also Emeril's NOLA.  

 

For a cheap lunch, go into practically any restaurant on Decatur Street and order a whole Mufaletta (it's huge and feeds 4).   Another classic NOLA lunch is a shrimp or oyster Po'boy.  

 

I strongly recommend going to Brennan's for Brunch.  Be sure to have the Banana's Foster for dessert as they originated this dish as well as Eggs Hussarde.  I must admit I cannot get enough gumbo when visiting NOLA, so I typically would have that and some oysters as well.  Brennan's was my favorite restaurant as a kid (like yours, I was used to fine dining) and my dad bought me the cookbook and I learned to cook from Brennan's.  In short order I won several state fair cooking competitions!

 

On at least one evening of our trip, my parents would take me to Pat O'Brian's piano lounge and I always thought that was fun.  They would order a Shirley Temple for me!

 

If you walk down to Decatur street, in front of the St. Louis Cathedral you can get in a horse drawn buggy and take a ride around the French Quarter.  This is very useful for getting the lay of the land and learning some French Quarter history.  

 

There are also French Quarter history tours for kids: https://www.frenchquarterkidstours.com

 

With all the crowds and hoopla surrounding Mardi Gras, you might want to get out of town for a day trip to see the plantations on the River Road.  There are bus tours you can go on or rent a car for the day (car rental place on Decatur St).  It's about a 1 hour drive each way and totally worth it!  https://www.cajunencounters.com/tours/plantations/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxMjnBRCtARIsAGwWnBN9LxhxPJJlG6PmFdgMOZJQtPCZvdwqKF-0OHDXxQEbWIA8Os86LNsaAjCMEALw_wcB

 

If you want to do a cemetery tour, you are required to go with a guide nowadays.  Here's a good one: https://www.neworleanslegendarywalkingtours.com/tours/french-quarter-cemetery/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxMjnBRCtARIsAGwWnBOdPVhBADAMAgFSvQ_QFBsba-EBiqKhXRyIFf6skaCToHb9aBn2MyUaAk-PEALw_wcB

 

I also want to recommend you consider doing a swamp tour.  They are so much fun!  https://www.bayouswamptours.com/?kw=swamp tour new orleans&gclid=Cj0KCQjwxMjnBRCtARIsAGwWnBNgbermEhJbpHndysx-TGvEisjVU4xLBUQt662pU5saILPLRxtab7waAmkCEALw_wcB

 

The Audubon Zoo and Aquarium of the Americans are absolutely great but the Insectarium is amazing: https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/insectarium 

 

Preservation Hall is the most kid friendly music venue in NOLA.  http://preservationhall.com/hall/

 

The main place you are likely to see drunks/lewd behavior/nudity is on Bourbon St. Just steer the kids around Bourbon St. Here's a helpful guide to enjoying Mardi Gras in NOLA with kids: https://www.ytravelblog.com/new-orleans-mardi-gras-with-kids/

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21 hours ago, SuiteTraveler said:

I've been traveling to NOLA for vacations since I was 4.  I want to recommend you stay at Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter.  That has been my family's home away from home all these years and it's just a fabulous and historic place to stay! There's nothing objectionable in the immediate area. Be sure to visit their world famous Carousel Bar and breakfast at the hotel is fantastic.  You can get sweet beignets at breakfast in the Hotel Monteleone restaurant and savory ones in the Carousel Bar.  Your parents should love this hotel, too as it is really lovely and special.

 

You will need restaurant reservations, even for lunch.  I recommend trying at least one or more of the classic restaurants such as Arnaud's, Antoine's, Galltoires, Dooky Chase, Court of 2 Sisters, Brennans, Broussards, Commander's Palace, Willie Mae's - read up on these and find out what dishes originated at these restaurants and take that into consideration when ordering.  I also recommend trying some of the newer restaurants such as G.W. Finn's and August.  There is also Emeril's NOLA.  

 

For a cheap lunch, go into practically any restaurant on Decatur Street and order a whole Mufaletta (it's huge and feeds 4).   Another classic NOLA lunch is a shrimp or oyster Po'boy.  

 

I strongly recommend going to Brennan's for Brunch.  Be sure to have the Banana's Foster for dessert as they originated this dish as well as Eggs Hussarde.  I must admit I cannot get enough gumbo when visiting NOLA, so I typically would have that and some oysters as well.  Brennan's was my favorite restaurant as a kid (like yours, I was used to fine dining) and my dad bought me the cookbook and I learned to cook from Brennan's.  In short order I won several state fair cooking competitions!

 

On at least one evening of our trip, my parents would take me to Pat O'Brian's piano lounge and I always thought that was fun.  They would order a Shirley Temple for me!

 

If you walk down to Decatur street, in front of the St. Louis Cathedral you can get in a horse drawn buggy and take a ride around the French Quarter.  This is very useful for getting the lay of the land and learning some French Quarter history.  

 

There are also French Quarter history tours for kids: https://www.frenchquarterkidstours.com

 

With all the crowds and hoopla surrounding Mardi Gras, you might want to get out of town for a day trip to see the plantations on the River Road.  There are bus tours you can go on or rent a car for the day (car rental place on Decatur St).  It's about a 1 hour drive each way and totally worth it!  https://www.cajunencounters.com/tours/plantations/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxMjnBRCtARIsAGwWnBN9LxhxPJJlG6PmFdgMOZJQtPCZvdwqKF-0OHDXxQEbWIA8Os86LNsaAjCMEALw_wcB

 

If you want to do a cemetery tour, you are required to go with a guide nowadays.  Here's a good one: https://www.neworleanslegendarywalkingtours.com/tours/french-quarter-cemetery/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxMjnBRCtARIsAGwWnBOdPVhBADAMAgFSvQ_QFBsba-EBiqKhXRyIFf6skaCToHb9aBn2MyUaAk-PEALw_wcB

 

I also want to recommend you consider doing a swamp tour.  They are so much fun!  https://www.bayouswamptours.com/?kw=swamp tour new orleans&gclid=Cj0KCQjwxMjnBRCtARIsAGwWnBNgbermEhJbpHndysx-TGvEisjVU4xLBUQt662pU5saILPLRxtab7waAmkCEALw_wcB

 

The Audubon Zoo and Aquarium of the Americans are absolutely great but the Insectarium is amazing: https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/insectarium 

 

Preservation Hall is the most kid friendly music venue in NOLA.  http://preservationhall.com/hall/

 

The main place you are likely to see drunks/lewd behavior/nudity is on Bourbon St. Just steer the kids around Bourbon St. Here's a helpful guide to enjoying Mardi Gras in NOLA with kids: https://www.ytravelblog.com/new-orleans-mardi-gras-with-kids/

Do you recommend dining reservations during all times or just Mardi Gras? I'm going in September. Thanks. 

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7 hours ago, JaxsMama said:

Do you recommend dining reservations during all times or just Mardi Gras? I'm going in September. Thanks. 

My advice is always this: if there is a place you really want to eat that takes reservations, make one. Worst case you can hopefully cancel. 

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On 6/2/2019 at 1:03 PM, JaxsMama said:

Do you recommend dining reservations during all times or just Mardi Gras? I'm going in September. Thanks. 

 

NOLA's best restaurants are super popular, so I recommend dinner reservations all year round and if you want to go to someplace like Brennan's for Brunch, get reservations for that as well.

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