The New Orleans Guide
The first thing that hits you when you arrive in New Orleans is that it feels unlike anywhere else in the country (or the world, for that matter). No other city has the same fascinating sense of time and place—and no other city can lay claim to introducing the world to Creole cooking, jazz, and of course, Mardi Gras. In the fourteen years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the region, New Orleans has flourished. We recently paid a visit to check out the city’s newest, greatest restaurants, hotels, and bars—plus a few classics we missed the first few times around.
Audubon Nature InstituteZoo: 6500 Magazine St. | Aquarium: 1 Canal St. | Insectarium: 423 Canal St., Uptown | 504.861.2537
Within the Audubon umbrella there's an aquarium (fish galore, plus a hurricane simulator and dive experience), a zoo (all the standard fare plus a petting zoo, a dinosaur adventure, and a water park), and a butterfly garden and insectarium (Louisiana bugs are stuff of legend). In addition, you'll find an IMAX and a park with tennis, stables, golf, and running paths.
City Park1 Palm Dr., City Park | 504.482.4888
Numerous playgrounds, an amusement park, a hand-carved wooden carousel, paddle boat rentals, and a botanical garden are just a few of the offerings at this historic, 1,300-acre park. There are also tennis courts, running trails, and a stand of oak trees that date back 800 years. While the park was devastated by Katrina (it was almost completely submerged under water for weeks), locals banded together to resurrect it to its former glory and then some.
Louisiana Children’s Museum420 Julia St., Warehouse District | 504.523.1357
A climbing wall, eye exhibit (where kids can see what it would feel like to see the world through the eyes of a honeybee, rabbit, or hawk), and a mock grocery store are just a few of the exhibits here, which is a great place to let a little one run wild on a rainy afternoon. There's a lot on display that's specific to the region, too, ensuring a mini history lesson.
Pippen Lane2930 Magazine St., Garden District | 504.269.0106
Everything at this long-standing New Orleans children's boutique is hands-down adorable, whether it's a red eyelet Stella McCartney onesie, a Hawaiian-print romper, or an Ollie & Bess crawler stamped with crocodiles. There are picks for older kids, too, including glittery jeans from Joe's, art deco-inspired party dresses from Tutu du Monde, and multi-colored boys buttondowns from Andy & Evan.
Hansen’s Sno-Bliz4801 Tchoupitoulas St., Uptown | 504.891.9788
Snow balls are a big deal in New Orleans, and there are a handful that stand-out as rightful heirs to the throne. One of these is Hansen's Sno-Bliz, which is still owned and operated by the Hansen family. In fact, Ernest Hansen invented the first ice shaving machine back in 1939, while his wife Mary got busy concocting flavors (it's a complicated dance of ice, syrup, ice, syrup, etc.).
For more than 150 years (the longest to continually operate in the world), the New Orleans streetcars have shuttled people around the city. The cars are beautiful—mahogany seats, brass fittings—and slow-moving, making them perfect for seeing a larger swathe of the city with kids. Meanwhile, if you take the Charles Street line, make a pit stop for lunch at Superior Seafood. We've been told that it has a great kids menu (as well as gluten-free options).