Weekend Getaway: New Orleans!

New Orleans! Oh I love this city even more now that I have children. Growing up less than an hour from Nola, with much of my extended living family still living there, I was lucky enough to be heavily influenced by the city’s rich culture, strong tastes, sounds, and sights. New Orleans may be notoriously known for Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras, and drive-thru daiquiris but there’s so much more to experience. The historic homes, the architecture, the hospitality, the energy, the Spanish moss that hangs from the ancient live oak trees (what I miss the most living “north!”), the rotating smells of beignets, Tabasco or unwelcome sweat – I just love it all. I often find myself telling people I meet who have never been that they must go, so below I’ve mapped out some great non-touristy places to eat, and some fun places with kids. Looking at this random collection of photos I’ve taken of our kids at various trips into the city got me so excited to head there soon, when it’s the hottest time of year no doubt. 🙂  So without further ado, a few recommendations on where to eat, play, and explore below.


You might be surprised to hear that there are so many non-New Orleans style food options. For certain you should definitely get beignets at Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter, split a few po-boys at Mother’s, have a fancy meal at Brennan’s, and a jazz brunch at Court of Two Sisters, but for some lighter food, and perhaps less waiting/lines, try these options below:

  • Bearcat Cafe for breakfast–whatever you order make sure you order the potatoes as your side! 
  • 1000 Figs for Lunch is such a sweet, charming, authentic, Mediterranean cafe. The small space and light airy setting will make you feel like you’re at a friend’s for lunch.
  • St. James Cheese Company is a great place for lunch or just an afternoon snack. Well-curated salads and sandwiches, not to mention a varied selection of artisan cheese. My girls love getting their very own cheese board at this stop and it’s great to get some things to-go as well if you’re staying at a vacation rental.
  • Reginellis for pizza to-go is a great option if you’re ordering take-out, just make sure you call the location nearest to where you’re staying!
  • Auction House Market for dinner is an awesome food hall in New Orleans where you can order a drink then choose from a variety of different dining options. It has a great atmosphere with the sassiest bathroom I’ve ever seen.  While I’ve never been to this one, St. Roch Market is another popular food hall in the city.
  • District Donuts is great for breakfast, lunch or just dessert. They have great sandwiches, biscuit concoctions and of course, donuts!
  • Cochon Butcher for lunch – great sandwiches!
  • Dung Phuong in New Orleans East (or Little Vietnam) for French bread, pastries and a superb Banh Mi. This is a bit out of the way but has a scenic drive through marshland and sights of old fish camps, bridges, and the occasional alligator. The spot recently won a James Beard award and while I’m not thrilled about having to possibly wait in line for some take home French bread, I’m so happy this family-run, long-time New Orleans business got some much deserved recognition


  • Storyland at New Orleans City Park is essentially a storybook inspired playground so a kids dream come true. It’s filled with all sorts of huge interactive sculptures inspired by the classic fairy-tales like Mother Goose and Captain Hook. The park has loads more to offer as well – a nice sized playground, beautiful grounds, and walking paths. 
  • The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is right along the river and a good place to explore indoors if you’re visiting in the summer. The rare white alligator will be a huge hit for the kids as well as all the other fascinating marine life. Our kids love the indoor garden.
  • Take the Riverfront Streetcar around different parts of the French Quarter and get wonderful views of the city-plus an old-fashioned streetcar is such fun to ride with kids! You can also take a streetcar through the Garden District and enjoy the historic homes.
  • Watch or take a ride on the Steamboat Natchez.
  • Explore Jackson Square in the French Quarter. This area is great for watching the artists, musicians and entertainers that set up in the French Quarter and there are some good play areas to just let kids run around too like in front of the Cathedral and along the river. You can also hit up Cafe Du Monde here and explore a few local shops!
  • Magazine St. is one of my favorite parts of New Orleans for it’s long strip of local shops, restaurants and galleries. I remember loving hitting up The Bead Shop as a child to make necklaces and bracelets with my sisters and cousin! Baru Bistro is a great stop for Caribbean food on Magazine St. There is also a Whole Foods if you need everyday items or food to cook say you’re staying at a vacation rental house.
  • Explore the vendors and local flavors of the open-air French Market (open 10am-6pm)


I can’t speak to this all that well since we often stay with family, however the historic Hotel Monteleone is a gorgeous hotel with a great rooftop pool in a central location and the Carousel Bar (yes it spins like a carousel!) is a must for a parents/adults night out. It’s been around for decades and was where I ordered my first grown up cocktail as a new 21 year old. 🙂 The Roosevelt New Orleans is another iconic, historic beautiful hotel. Vacation rentals are also great options, just make sure you pick one that is in a safe neighborhood and pick a spot that’s in a good location-the Garden District is a great option!


I know I’ve hardly scratched the surface on all there is to do in this city and since I’ve never actually been to New Orleans as a vacationer, no doubt there are things I don’t know but I’m happy to answer questions anyone might have or if you have some favorite places to explore, restaurants to try, let me know so I can add them to our queue. Thanks for reading!




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