A Family Getaway in the French Quarter
If you think the French Quarter is only for adults and off-limits to kids, you may have some pleasant surprises coming. While that may be largely true of Bourbon Street, which is dominated by music clubs and other venues that have age limits, as well as certain types of adult entertainment that would be inappropriate for kids, Bourbon Street does not make up the entire French Quarter. It’s only one street among many. There are actually many New Orleans attractions for kids in the Quarter. Here are just a few of them:
- Mardi Gras Exhibit in The Presbytere
- Carriage and walking tours
- Street entertainment
- Masks, costumes, crafts, toys, books and other fun shops
- The New Orleans French Market
- Strolling by “Old Man River”
Mardi Gras Exhibit
“It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana” is the year-round the Mardi Gras exhibit on display at the Presbytere, alongside St. Louis Cathedral facing Jackson Square. During your family getaway here, you will see displays of Mardi Gras costumes, rare artifacts and other memorabilia, audiovisual presentations and more.
Tours for the Family Getaway
There are a number of tours, both free and paid – walking and riding – that will take you around the French Quarter pointing out historical sites and explaining their significance. Carriage tours are a fun way to see the Quarter, clattering through the streets in an old-style, mule-drawn conveyance. For a complete listing of French Quarter tours click here.
Jackson Square and Royal Street are meccas for unusual street entertainment during your family getaway. Clowns twist balloons into animals and other familiar shapes and give them to your kids for whatever you can donate. Jugglers will amaze you with their dexterity and showmanship. Mimes will amaze you even further with their ability to freeze in one place for long minutes at a time. And, if you’re really lucky, you might even catch an impromptu show put on by talented street performers.
Masks, Costumes, Crafts and Books
Strolling down Royal, Chartres or Decatur streets, you may stumble upon some intriguing toy and novelty stores, most featuring handcrafted items for sale at reasonable prices. Mask and costume shops will also delight the kids with colorful outfits at reasonable prices. Bookstores, featuring new and used books, are yet another place where families can browse and shop. There have been many books written for kids about New Orleans, and you might even be lucky enough to catch one of these children’s authors signing books and telling spellbinding stories about the characters they’ve written about. Click for more information on New Orleans attractions for kids and shopping.
The New Orleans French Market
And, finally, no family getaway through the French Quarter would be complete without a stroll around and through The New Orleans French Market. The New Orleans French Market has something for everybody of all ages. Clothes, toys, dolls, wood carvings, books, recordings, DVDs, etc... and food. You might have trouble getting your kids to eat alligator sausage at home but if you don’t tell them what it is they’ll swear it’s polska kielbasa.
Strolling by the River
After a long, full day of traipsing around the French Quarter, you and your young ones may opt to relax with a leisurely stroll along the adjacent Mississippi Riverfront. A short walk across Decatur Street and the railroad tracks opposite Jackson Square will take you to the Moonwalk and Woldenberg Park for an unobstructed view of the river.
With all these fun and wonderful things to do with your kids in the heart of the Crescent City, you’ll know at the end of the day that the French Quarter isn’t just for adults. For a suggested itinerary of other fun things you can do with your family, click here.