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New Orleans on a Budget with Kids

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Visiting New Orleans on a budget with kids is easy with so many kid-friendly and affordable things to do. New Orleans is renowned for Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street and cocktails. But there’s much more to this famous Louisiana city. Here’s what to do, where to eat, and where to stay when visiting New Orleans with kids, without breaking the bank.

New Orleans on a Budget with Kids

Free Activities for Families New Orleans

Free attractions abound for kids and families in New Orleans on a budget. Wander through the French Market Community Flea Market, which is full of booths selling everything from New Orleans souvenirs to plumeria plants. Take a walk along the Mississippi River to hear the calliope on the Steamboat Natchez. Spend some time in Spanish Plaza at the Riverwalk Marketplace, looking at the fountain and the boats on the river. Performers in the French Quarter delight kids and adults alike with musical performances, dancing or acrobatics. Wander the beautiful New Orleans Botanical Gardens, which are beautiful and free to the public.

French Market on Decatur Street ~ New Orleans on a Budget with Kids

French Market on Decatur Street (Photo credit: Hackman,

Inexpensive Activities in New Orleans for Kids

In addition to free fun, New Orleans is full of low cost attractions for kids. At the Louisiana Children’s Museum, children explore interactive exhibits and participate in imaginary play. Take a ride on the St. Charles Streetcar to see Tulane and Loyola University as well as beautiful homes. Visit the Dreams Come True art exhibition with over 600 works of art from the Disney movies including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and several others, at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

The famous St. Charles Street Car in New Orleans ~ New Orleans on a Budget with Kids

The famous St. Charles Street Car in New Orleans (Photo credit: Hackman,

If your kids are fascinated with animals and sea life, buy the Audubon Experience package, which includes tickets to the Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, and Insectarium. You can purchase the tickets individually but if you plan to visit all three, save money by buying the bundled tickets.

Save money by buying the Audubon Package ~ New Orleans on a Budget with Kids

Save money by buying the Audubon Package (Photo credit: Fotoluminate,

Eating in New Orleans on a Budget with Kids

To save money for activities when visiting New Orleans on a budget, my family cuts costs in other areas, like dining out. We carry hearty snacks like homemade granola and snack mixes with us while we are exploring. Our family also brings sandwich fixings to make our own lunches back at the hotel room. Also, my two little ones share a meal at dinnertime.

Of course, you will want to splurge on some delicious meals when visiting the Big Easy, too. When I think of dining in New Orleans with kids, I automatically think Decatur Street. It boasts numerous restaurants and shops but is more family-oriented than Bourbon Street. We head to the Crescent City Brewhouse where families are welcomed and the food is delicious. Although it is a chain restaurant, we also like to eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company because it is loud so we don’t have to worry about our kids bothering our neighbors and it is the one place where both of my children will eat!

Decatur Street is full of family-friendly restaurants ~ New Orleans on a Budget with Kids

Decatur Street is full of family-friendly restaurants (Photo credit: Fotoluminate,

While wandering down Decatur Street, be sure to stop by Aunt Sally’s for a praline sample. Aunt Sally’s are the best pralines I have had. They are the only pralines my daughter will eat and I have yet to duplicate the recipe at home, even though I bought a cookbook with the actual recipe.

For a scrumptious snack or breakfast, walk to Café du Monde for beignets and chocolate milk. If it’s crowded, skip the wait for a table and get in the take-out line. Often, an employee will take your order before you even get to the window. When you have picked up your beignets, walk to the Mississippi River to enjoy your treat with a view.

No trip to New Orleans with kids would be complete without beignets ~ New Orleans on a Budget with Kids

No trip to New Orleans with kids would be complete without beignets (Photo credit: Dbvirago,

Affordable New Orleans Hotels for Families

Deciding where to stay in New Orleans with your kids is one of the biggest travel expenses for families. Thankfully, finding an inexpensive hotel in New Orleans is not impossible. Staying outside or on the outskirts of the French Quarter can help cut hotel costs. Queen & Crescent Hotel on Camp Street is just a 10-minute walk from many of the French Quarter’s famous attractions. If you like staying in a suite when traveling with kids, check out Stay Bridge Suites New Orleans. It’s got an outdoor pool that the whole family can enjoy after a day of exploring. Although Hilton Garden Inn New Orleans Convention Center is further in distance, the price is reasonable and parking is included.

The Queen and Crown Hotel, a.k.a. Q&C Hotel is great for families on a budget

The Queen and Crown Hotel, a.k.a. Q&C Hotel is great for families on a budget (Photo from

Why New Orleans with kids?

When most people think of New Orleans, they picture beads tossed to a rowdy crowd drinking Hurricanes. I picture my kids covered in powdered sugar from their beignets, the smiles on their faces as they dance to the calliope, and the many adventures we’ve had exploring the town as a family. For me, New Orleans is the perfect destination for a fun and affordable getaway with the kids.

Beignet ~ New Orleans on a Budget with Kids

My daughter eating a beignet along the Mississippi River in New Orleans (Photo credit: Jennifer Close)

Learn more about New Orleans and Louisiana

For more about travel to the Big Easy, read 10 Ways to Find Romance in New Orleans or How to Enjoy Christmas in New Orleans Like a Local. To learn about “the other side” of Louisiana, check out this story about Shreveport-Bossier.

Additionally, Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day is a very helpful resource. It’s a pocket-sized guide book with 22 smart ways to explore the city and includes a handy foldout map. Get your guide now!

Do you have any tips or questions about visiting New Orleans on a budget with kids or free New Orleans attractions? Let us know in the comments below!

Jennifer Close loves to explore and take new adventures with her family down the street, across the country and around the world. She writes about her adventures on her family travel blog, Two Kids and a Map. This story originally posted in 2010 and was updated in 2017.

About Jennifer Close, Travel Mamas Blogger

Jennifer Close loves to explore and take new adventures with her family down the street, across the country and around the world. She is a former family travel blogger and current grade school librarian.

  1. Thank You for the tip. We have two small children and live close enough to New Orleans that we would like to make the trip out there. From your post, it seems this is a trip that would be fun, enjoyable and will NOT break the bank.

  2. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Thanks for the wonderful guest blog post, Jen! I’ve never been to New Orleans and have been hoping to sneak away without the kids sometime for a getaway with the hubs. After reading your article, I think maybe we should plan a family trip instead!

  3. Thanks so much for the opportunity, Colleen! It was fun to share some of our favorite things to do with the kids in New Orleans. My husband and I have made several trips without the kids as well…I think going with kids vs. on your own is like comparing apples to oranges…they are two different types of New Orleans…I like them both equally!

  4. Great stuff to know — thanks! laissez les bons temps roulez, kids!

  5. Chrishandwa says

    This is sooo cool, especially when I’m a single mother of 13, 2 of which have autism. Their names are Leo and Phil. This is very cool because I am on a budget and want to go to the Deep South. My name is chrishawnda.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Chrishandwa – I hope you can visit New Orleans with your kids someday! On a separate note…my husband’s name is Phil and my son’s name is Leo. Small world! 🙂


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