"A theme park for adults" is one of the more popular slogans for New Orleans.

Can this town that's well known for its adult diversions also cater to children? New Orleans has a lot to offer everyone in the family, from street performers, to live music, to museums.

Immerse yourself in the best experiences the world has to offer with our email newsletter delivered weekly into your inbox.

There is more than a grain of truth to the Big Easy's penchant for taking it easy. In New Orleans, a stuffed-shirt approach doesn't work very well. Kids in high-end restaurants are usually looked after with a good smile.

Getting around New Orleans with children in tow 

If you're going to explore by foot in New Orleans, you should bring a stroller that is maneuverable and durable. Bicyclists can choose to go through the city. You can cross the entire town in 45 minutes on a bike. A car is the easiest way to travel if you want to get to Mid- City.

Best things to do in the French Quarter with kids

The French Quarter is a popular place to visit with your family. Although many visitors treat it as a sort of adult playground, with Bourbon Street serving as a neon heart of bad behavior, skip this side and you will find a compact neighborhood where historical preservation, incredible dining and great nightlife intersect.

The Friends of the Cabildo offer a morning walking tour. It is an excellent introduction to the area. You can catch a concert at the New Orleans Jazz Museum after taking a walk along the river. You can either walk up and down Royal Street or sit by the river. Rent a bike and you can cover a lot more ground. There's a lot to see here.

The hub of activity in Jackson Square is sure to be loved by kids. There are steps leading up to the Mississippi River and a fairytale cathedral in the middle of the square. There are some powdered-sugar treats at Cafe du Monde.

Are you looking to stay by? The Olivier House is a great place for kids to stay. The Dauphine Orleans is a family friendly hotel.

 People in costume celebrate Mardi Gras on the streets of New Orleans.
Music, colorful costumes and joy in abundance at Mardi Gras © Suzanne C. Grim / Shutterstock

Where to find the family-friendly Mardis Gras spots

Colorful spectacle is core to New Orleanian identity, and this sort of pageantry gets put on parade every winter, spring and fall weekend during a celebration known as second lining. They are open to the public and many local families march with their children in tow, but loud music and alcohol consumption is not uncommon. Live music is great for kids who like it, but it can be a sensory overload for others.

This city doesn't lack parades. Processions associated with festivals and holidays like Decadence, Gay Easter, Halloween and, of course, Mardi Gras include people in fantastic costumes tossing "throws" to children. Many locals would argue that the preceding two weeks of Carnival are family-oriented and that there are accessible parades for children.

The main parade route on St Charles Avenue is always filled with families, even though you can see public intoxication in the city during Carnival.

The Endymion parade is held up as a family friendly event, but we find it too crowded for our tastes. Barkus marches through the French Quarter while Chewbacchus goes through Faubourg Marigny.

Bourbon Street and Frenchmen Street are usually the focus of drunken adult behavior during Carnival, but if you head a few blocks away from these places you can find families enjoying themselves.

Many theater programs in New Orleans market themselves to families because of their love of theater. There are family-oriented shows at the Cafe Istanbul in the healing center.

Barataria Preserve
Barataria Preserve is a great place to check out Louisiana's swamps © Donald Atkinson / Getty Images

Take them on a swamp tour

South Louisiana has its own type of playground, but it is not easy to get to. If you don't want to spend a lot of money, you can walk the boardwalk at the Barataria Preserve, which is just south of the city. Even if you don't see the grinning reptiles, the local cypress swamp is an amazing place to visit.

The Audubon Louisiana Nature Center is located in New Orleans East and has boardwalk trails that go through it. South Louisiana is warm and humid. It's a good idea to bring lots of cold water for nature outings.

The carousel in City Park in New Orleans
Take a turn on the vintage ferris wheel in Carousel Gardens Amusement Park © jaimie tuchman / Shutterstock

Choose your own adventure in City Park

Central Park is smaller than City Park, but it has alligators. It is home to long lines of live oaks and weeping willows, a botanical garden that contains New Orleans in miniature, and a sculpture garden that surrounds the New Orleans Museum of Art.

You will feel like you are far away if you walk through the Couturie Forest. Laborde Mountain is the highest point in the city and you can see it from the paths.

The 1906 carousel is one of the gems of vintage nostalgia. A tilt-a-whirl is one of the thrills.

New digs were built by the Louisiana Children's Museum. It is a theme park for children. There are a lot of things that should appeal to any child under the age of 10.

Spend a day at Audubon Park

Audubon Park is located on Magazine Street and St Charles Avenue and has good food options. The Audubon Zoo is located at the location of the Fly.

The Audubon Zoo is popular with tourists and locals. The setting in Audubon Park is wonderful and the zoo is an excellent example of the genre. It will be closed for a renovation in November of 2022, but will reopen in the summer of23.

The Cool Zoo is located in the shadow of Monkey Hill and there is a waterfall.

There is an oil rig and sea life living in perfect harmony at the aquarium of the Americas. A cafe that sells all kinds of insect-derived food is also located at the Insectarium.

Purchase the Audubon Experience package and see all three within 30 days, as well as an IMAX movie, at a reduced price.

Two-story 19th-century building in New Orleans with wrought-iron railings is illuminated at night
Dat Dog is one of many kid-friendly restaurants in New Orleans © Katie Sikora

Dining out with children in New Orleans

You don't have to miss out on the best food in New Orleans just because you're traveling with children. Most New Orleans restaurants are more than willing to adjust the menu to a child's tastes.

Kids and families are welcome at some of the buzzy magnets like MoPho and Carmo. There are other restaurants that are family friendly.

There are dedicated child-friendly areas at many of the city's local breweries. When in doubt, call ahead, as some food mainstays that derive a large portion of their income from alcohol sales, like Bacchanal and Coop's, don't allow minor drinkers on site.

Outdoor performances and live music

Most music clubs in New Orleans serve alcohol and have 21-and-up entrance requirements. You can catch outdoor performances on Frenchmen Street if you hang out on the second floor balcony of Dat Dog.

Even though bigger acts are playing elsewhere, parents will still hang out in the dedicated children's tent at Jazz Fest. French Quarter Fest is said to be a good, kid-friendly festival, by dint of its free admission and multiple venues located in the French Quarter.

If you or your children have a hard time pushing through large crowds, you may want to skip this option. Jazz Fest also draws large crowds, but its open location at the race-course grounds makes them easier to navigate.

If you want to see music in a setting that is easy for families, you can go to the Bayou Boogaloo or the Congo Square Rhythms Festival. They have plenty of food vendors and an easy going crowd that is not too aggressive.

The article was first published about a year ago.