Guest blogger Jill Martin Wrenn and her family (three kids under five!) had a great time visiting all of the children’s attractions during their weekend in New Orleans. But you can’t go to New Orleans and not indulge in the fabulous food, so they made sure to go to some kid-friendly restaurants that the grown-ups were impressed with too.
While we realized that some of New Orleans’ more formal restaurants were out of our reach seeing as our party included a one-year-old, a three-year-old and a five-year-old, we were determined to sample some of the city’s famous cuisine. On our first real day of sightseeing, we paid an obligatory visit to Café Du Monde, a restaurant crowded with tourists lining up to sample the beignets, a New Orleans staple. Our kids loved the deep fried dough smothered in powdered sugar, while my husband and I liked the café au lait.
On our second night, we ended up at Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar, just down the street from our hotel in the French Quarter, after a friendly local warned us that our original choice had white table cloths and a fancier atmosphere. Felix, a well-known Creole seafood house featured the local dishes we wanted to try, like gumbo and po-boys (big submarine sandwiches filled with fried fish). And nobody was alarmed when our three-year-old had a temper tantrum.
There wasn’t a line outside Felix’s at 6 PM on a Thursday night — but it was a different world on Friday. The French Quarter was heaving the first night of the weekend, even at 6 PM. I had thought our cunning plan of visiting the city just after Mardi Gras meant that we would miss the crowds of revelers.
That was a naive assumption. We arrived on a Wednesday, then watched the crowds build into the weekend. We realized that a double stroller was not the best mode of transport on a Friday night in the French Quarter.
While pushing our two sons across streets teeming with cars, but lacking in traffic lights, we encountered a scene that looked fun for adults, but potentially treacherous for toddlers. There were throngs of people milling around the Bourbon Street area, enjoying live music and ample drinks.
Lines stretched outside nearby restaurants, where we discovered half-hour long waits. So we retreated back to our hotel, the Iberville Suites, which shares a building with the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. We got a great rate on a one-bedroom suite, and enjoyed taking advantage of the Ritz’s amenities — particularly when I ran into several Dallas Mavericks in the gym, including Dirk Nowitzki.
Returning from our thwarted Friday night out with the kids in the French Quarter, we dined on gumbo, po-boys and sliders in the enclosed courtyard outside the Ritz’s bar, while the kids played in a gazebo under the moonlight. They say that the evening was their favorite part of the trip. And the bill was unexpectedly reasonable.
Even with toddlers, a visit to New Orleans can be full of surprises.
Read about the Wrenns’ favorite family attractions in New Orleans.