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Father and son with astonished expressions at Audubon Aquarium

Family Fun in New Orleans

With an annual calendar full of festivals, an outstanding system of parks and recreational spaces, and a variety of exceptional schools, Greater New Orleans is a wonderful place to raise a family.

The region is full of activities the whole family can enjoy – and many of them are free! Parades during Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, and other holidays are free. Parks such as Audubon Park and Jean Lafitte State Park are all free and open to the public.  The Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, and Insectarium all offer family-oriented, affordable fun. City Park also boasts a free sculpture garden, paddleboats, Storyland and the Amusement Park, miniature golf, and a brand-new Children’s Museum. While New Orleans might have a reputation for adult fun, you will find children might enjoy it even more

Additionally, a large network of clubs, newsletters, and resource centers exist to help parents navigate the school system and ensure a happy, healthy family.

Parades, Parks & Parenting

Families in New Orleans can enjoy a mix of activities that is hard to replicate in any other city. Streetcar rides can take you through historic neighborhoods and bring you into the most iconic area of all: the French Quarter. The downtown district contains art museums inspired by contemporary and southern styles and historical museums, such as the World War II Museum.

Our park system also ranges from small neighborhood parks to urban parks like 1,300-acre City Park with plenty to see and do, including paddleboat rentals at Big Lake, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, a Mother Goose-themed playground called Storyland, and the brand new Louisiana Children’s Museum.

Audubon Nature Institute features 10 parks and museums across the New Orleans area, including a world-class zoo and aquarium, as well as an insect and butterfly museum and nature center.

Outlying Parishes have access to boating and sailing on Lake Pontchartrain and bike trails such as the 27-mile St. Tammany Trace rails to trails project. The Children’s Museum of St. Tammany is another fun spot for local families.

Regional cuisine to suit every age

Food is a vital part of Southeast Louisiana culture. But, it’s definitely not all about fine dining. Most cooking and eating in New Orleans revolves around family and friends sharing the experience. Kids learn to peel crawfish and shrimp in backyards, and will find plenty of local dishes to enjoy like po-boy and muffaletta sandwiches.

While white tablecloth and James Beard Award-winning restaurants are prevalent, the region offers many casual ethnic options from Honduran to Ethiopian to Israeli and so much more. Families also can easily find classic Sicilian restaurants and Japanese sushi outposts in nearly all of their neighborhoods. Vietnamese food is plentiful throughout the region, too.

Tradition also runs deep on the food calendar. For example, red beans and rice are always served on Mondays, and fish fries are held on Fridays. And family secret recipes for shrimp creole, etouffe, gumbo, and jambalaya are not only coveted, but also handed down from generation to generation.

Sportsman's Paradise is for real!

From competitive sports to leisure hobbies, the region provides access to all.

Communities throughout the New Orleans region have recreational departments that offer a range of sports and extracurricular activities. Booster clubs in New Orleans and beyond also offer sports programs such as soccer, basketball, football, lacrosse, baseball, and softball. Private and club leagues have emerged for higher caliber athletes with travel and select teams in popular sports. Recreation activities also are available with an abundance of sailing, fishing, and other water sports in lakes and rivers throughout the region.

Rankings & Facts