“Laissez les bons temps rouler,” as they say in New Orleans which means “Let the good times roll!” With so much to do in this city, we found plenty of New Orleans attractions and fantastic New Orleans restaurants to keep the good times rolling through each day of our long-weekend stay.
Hop on the trolley car stop just outside of Hilton New Orleans Riverside for a short ride to the French Quarter. Take in the sounds of jazz music and see many other talented performers as you wander the streets of this famed area.
Even if you aren’t an architecture aficionado, you will quickly develop an appreciation for the buildings, balconies, and baskets of greenery located throughout. Don’t be intimidated by the lines at Café Du Monde; grab an outdoor table and enjoy the beignets and café au lait in this French Quarter landmark. Just across the street you can select a mule and carriage — or perhaps find the guide that looks most entertaining — for an old-fashioned, lively jaunt in this historical, legendary section of New Orleans.
THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM
I was pleasantly surprised at the level of interest my young boys took in the National World War II Museum. Even kids who can’t read all the displays yet will gain insight from the video and digital displays throughout.
The Victory Corps Hands-On stations were staffed on the day we visited the museum. Local teenagers man small tables to let guests touch, smell, and learn about different things used during the war. The highlight of the museum for my kids was the U.S. Freedom Pavilion, the Boeing Center which displays a number of restored WWII airplanes. Check the weather before you go and plan this mostly indoor activity for a rainy day.
SURREY BIKE RIDE – NEW ORLEANS CITY PARK
My kids are always begging to try surrey bikes, so when I found a deal on Groupon for a two-hour surrey bike rental with Wheel Fun Rentals in City Park, we were on it! Some of the best parts of the park, such as Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and Storyland playground, were closed during our off-season visit, but we still enjoyed our ride under the moss-draped oak trees and around the park. We will certainly make this a stop on a future trip when more of the park attractions are open.
Five minutes from the more developed Oak Alley Plantation, the St. Joseph Plantation was another Groupon find that proved to be a treasure. This working sugar cane plantation provided a great opportunity to discuss both agriculture and civil war history with our kids. Listen carefully to the guide while touring the plantation owners’ house because of the information provided as well as the unmistakable Louisiana accent you’ll need to decipher! (Says the Texas native with another unmistakable accent!)
A walk through the old slave houses afterwards showed the contrast between the two classes and allowed for an age-appropriate talk about the life of a slave. I appreciated the small group and less commercial feel of St. Joseph, though I would not hesitate to suggest a visit to both Oak Alley and St. Joseph plantations if time permits.
NEW ORLEANS RESTAURANTS
I’m fairly certain you could walk into just about any of the many New Orleans restaurants and be greeted with some mouth-watering culinary delights. In a city with outstanding restaurants, a mediocre offering just won’t survive. Here are a few that we found well worth the calories.
- Drago’s: Sadly, I’m not a seafood fan, but my husband raved about the charbroiled oysters at Drago’s the entire trip. As one of the restaurants at Hilton New Orleans Riverside, the location was perfect for us, too!
- Katie’s: Say yes to the Cheese Fries with debris gravy and, per my husband, have the oysters here, too. Chat with the friendly waitstaff, the owner, and even fellow diners in this local hot spot.
- Mulate’s: A quick walk from Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Mulate’s entertains guests with a live Zydeco band and plenty of room to show off your Cajun dance skills. Four desserts, two ice teas, and one CD of the band later, and we were more than glad we stopped in.
- Joey K’s: When the shopping on Magazine Street has left you famished, head to Joey K’s for Eggplant Napoleon, an unusual dish of fried eggplant, fried shrimp, and crayfish cream sauce.
Now is a great time to “Be A Weekender” and head to fabulous, family-friendly New Orleans. Because New Orleans attractions “Let the good times roll”…family-style!
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.