We love museums and excursions in almost any city, but we also know that these can often take a ton of planning and prep. Sometimes, you just want to get out and go! New Orleans is a fabulous place for a day with minimal planning. Here are our five favorite “on-the-fly” activities when visiting NOLA.
Walk the French Quarter
This is a must when visiting NOLA and a walk in the French Quarter is anything but JUST a walk. It is a dining, drinking, concert, architectural experience. Taking in the club and festive vibes of Bourbon Street on the weekend is memorable! It is safe for kids during the day/early evening. Pedestrians walk in the streets, and you can “responsibly” walk with a beverage in hand. Tons of Mardi Gras-themed shops sell masks and beads. So, the whole family can get in the NOLA groove. Make your way over to Decatur Street for Cafe DuMonde Beignets and Coffee. Then enjoy the music on every street corner by insanely talented Jazz musicians.
Taking a Mule drawn carriage ride through the city is one of the easiest and fun ways to get some quick history. Carriages are waiting on Decatur St. just outside of Jackson Park and across from Cafe DuMonde. Most days, they are waiting for passengers. So, no need to call ahead or make a scheduled time to go. Just walk over and see who is available. Companies and pricing will vary. You could look it up online if you are trying to plan for it and not just spontaneously giving in to the two-year-old begging to take a carriage ride.
Highlights from the tours are learning about why cemeteries are not underground and which hotels are considered haunted! Although it is not at all scary. The tour guides seem to love children and chatting them up! A great activity for the kids when visiting NOLA!
Visit City Park
A visit to the vast grounds of City Park can be as action-packed or as chill as you want to make it. Home to another Cafe DuMonde location, this spot is a much more low-key place for beignets and coffee. Take a stroll around the pond, hang or hang out in the open fields to relax. If you want something more interesting, take the kids to one of the dozen attractions. Some quick suggestions? Storyland is a playground with each area themed after a classic story or fairytale, or practice your swing at City Putt, or give the beautiful Botanic Gardens a stroll.
Hanging at City Park is Free. However, the attractions all have different pricing. If you want to take a peek, check out their website.
Take a Streetcar Adventure
The trolley system in New Orleans is a fantastic (and inexpensive) way to do a little tour of the neighborhoods. Choose a line and ride the Trolley through historic areas and see some fascinating homes and buildings. The littles will get a kick out of taking the Streetcars anywhere. You can take it up a notch, hop off, and visit a local restaurant, or go for a quick neighborhood walk.
A One Way ticket is $1.25, but you can also purchase passes if you plan on being there for a few days and want to save a little!
A little shopping and a Bite at the French Market
Only a few blocks North of Jackson Park, the French Market could easily be part of a day of walking the rest of the French Quarter or be an activity all on its own. Small food vendors include crepes, Cajun breakfast, and lunch favorites! Chairs are situated outside on the sidewalk and in the closed street. The open-air marketplace has local sellers and independent artists selling their goods and creations. An excellent place for a few spontaneous purchases or a new art piece to mark a memorable NOLA trip!
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