19 Best Things to Do in New Orleans with Teens

Our Adventure Is Everywhere contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Affiliate Program. If you make a purchase using one of my Amazon or other affiliate links, I may receive compensation at no additional cost to you. Read my full privacy policy for more information.

Table of Contents

Have you always wanted to check out New Orleans but weren’t sure you should bring along your kids? That was me, but I finally decided to take the plunge and planned a long weekend in New Orleans with my teenage son.

I’m glad I did because it turns out that just like in Las Vegas, there are actually plenty of fun things to do in New Orleans with teens – we were nonstop BUSY and still didn’t manage to see and do it all.

I’ve learned that New Orleans isn’t just a city—it’s a melting pot of music, food, and history that left me wanting more. Grab your walking shoes and your sense of adventure, because I’m about to dive headfirst into the heart and soul of NOLA and how to experience it with your teens.

From jazz-filled streets to spine-tingling ghost tours, there’s something in the Crescent City for everyone.

🎺For the ultimate teen-friendly stay in New Orleans, consider booking a room at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter, where comfort meets convenience close to the heat of the action.

Welcome to New Orleans sign in front of trees and tall buildings.

Exploring NOLA’s Heartbeat: A Bus Tour, Bourbon Street, and Frenchmen Street Adventure

The first thing I like to do when traveling somewhere new is get the lay of the land. Back in the old days that would mean studying a map for a few minutes to figure out where I am in relation to the places I’d like to go. These days, I have more fun ways to do this!

1. Small bus city tour

We started our New Orleans adventure with a small bus city tour. It was the perfect way for me to figure out how to navigate the city (turns out it’s really easy), and it helped us decide where we wanted to go back and visit later.

We chose a small bus as it was able to navigate some of the tighter areas of the city. Although I love those double-decker hop-on hop-off buses, for this visit, the small bus tour was ideal.

Our tour of the city included a cemetery visit which was not only super interesting but also a little bit creepy. I think on a future trip I’d love to take a walking cemetery tour, but this at least gave us a good feel for the famous above-ground cemeteries in New Orleans and why they are unique.

🚍 Get the BEST overview of New Orleans on a small bus city tour!

View of Bourbon Street in New Orleans from a second story balcony

2. Dive into the heart of Bourbon Street

At some point on your trip to New Orleans with teenagers, you need to spend a little time on Bourbon Street. It reminded me a bit of Nashville and it’s Honky Tonk’s on Broadway, but it was MUCH longer.

These days the bars and restaurants on Bourbon Street aren’t all jazz clubs, so if that’s not your musical taste, I’d be willing to bet you can find something you prefer. Although we did experience Bourbon Street both during the day and at night, most of the places don’t allow teens, so daytime was better – we were able to enjoy the street musicians and not worry about being unable to enter the bars.

colorful mural of a cat playing a sax on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans

3. Experience live jazz on Frenchmen Street

Luckily, since the jazz clubs aren’t as prevalent on Bourbon Street anymore, there is still an area that focuses on jazz, and that’s Frenchmen Street. We grabbed an Uber to head over there one evening and were able to find a restaurant that had live music and allowed kids.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner, great service, and excellent music at Three Muses. We even nabbed a window seat so we could watch the fun in the street too. After dinner we wandered over to the Frenchmen Art Bazaar for a little shopping and were able to listen to the music spilling out of the other bars as we strolled. It was one of the highlights of our trip, and felt exactly like what I had imagined Bourbon Street to be like!

close up of a muffuletta sandwich in New Orleans

Savoring NOLA’s Flavorful Feasts

My family loves good food, and New Orleans did not disappoint. We ate our way through the city, enjoying every bite!

4. Enjoy the tastes of New Orleans on a food tour

One of our favorite things to do in a new city is indulge in a food tour. It’s a fantastic way to explore a section of a city, learn a little history and enjoy some of the food the area is known for. For this visit, we decided upon a food & history tour of the French Quarter.

This is one of those times it’s nice to have a teenage boy along – he happily finished my food as it was WAY more than I could eat.

Our guide was a retired teacher and knew the city well. He also introduced us to some New Orleans classics like a mufuletta, po’ boy, jambalaya, gumbo and a sweet praline for dessert. Everything was delicious and we had plenty of food. We did the 11:00 tour so it was the perfect lunch.

🌟Don’t miss out on this mouthwatering experience—book a New Orleans food tour today and indulge in the city’s culinary delights!

coffee cup and beignet from Morning Call in New Orleans

5. Vote for the best beignet in New Orleans

I have yet to meet a teen who doesn’t love beignets! So a fun thing to do on your visit it try to find what your family considers the best version. They are really all over the city, and we certainly took a beignet break as often as we could!

Of course you should try the iconic Cafe du Monde, but you should also give the ones from Cafe Beignet a try. One of our favorite versions was at Morning Call Cafe – not only were the beignets delicious, the iced cafe au lait was unbelievably good!

crawfish beignet from Katie's in New Orleans

6. Savor a leisurely brunch

Brunch is a way of life in New Orleans, and as I always tell my teenage daughter “brunch is never a bad idea”. With all that, your issue is going to be deciding where to brunch! On our last trip we actually enjoyed brunch two of the mornings. Our first day we walked over to the iconic Creole House thanks to a tip from our hotel concierge.

Later in the trip we headed out of the French Quarter area to a local hot spot Katie’s for brunch. Katie’s was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, and is a happening place perfect for a Sunday brunch. Definitely order the Crawfish Beignet – it was amazing!

sign for Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Piano Bar & Lounge in New Orleans

Thrilling Ghost Tours and Spooky Adventures

Teens are the perfect companions for ghost tours or museums that are a little bit spooky or weird. They are old enough to appreciate the fun, and often find scary things fascinating.

7. Try a French Quarter ghost tour

Of course, we had to do a ghost tour in New Orleans, right? After a fun one here at home in Indy, I knew this would be a part of our New Orleans trip. I wanted it to be after dark, so we planned it for Sunday night – which also gave us something fun to do after dinner.

My insider tip: the guide you get will make or break your tour, so you might want to check reviews and then call to ask who will be the guide on the night you want to participate.

The history in New Orleans is just made for ghost tours! We spent about two hours walking around the French Quarter learning about the various haunted spots, and even made a quick stop at the oldest bar in the city – Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.

👻Embark on a spine-tingling journey through New Orleans’ haunted past—book a ghost tour now for an unforgettable thrill!

8. Check out one of the unique and spooky museums

New Orleans is home to not one, not two, but THREE unique and spooky museums. So, if the ghost tour was a hit, consider spending an hour or so exploring the New Orleans Historic VooDoo Museum, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, or the Haunted Museum.

Heck, even if you don’t have time for a museum you can easily duck into a VooDoo store, or do what we did and enjoy happy hour (oysters, wine and beer along with some amazing truffle popcorn) at the spooky-themed Apothecary. Conveniently it was also where we started our ghost tour!

enjoying the rooftop pool at the Marquee in New Orleans with the city in the background

Chilling Out NOLA Style: Relaxation and Recreation for Every Mood

We’ve learned through the years, that when we travel with our teenage son, he is in a much better mood if he gets a chance to hit the gym at least a few days each week. And my daughter loves her pool time! So, we try to accommodate them both.

9. Chill by the pool

I try to book a hotel with a pool when I’ve got the teens in tow. They enjoy laying out and working on their tan, and a break in the afternoon helps keep us all sane. Even if it’s too cold for me to be in the water I do enjoy relaxing with a tasty beverage and a good book!

One of the reasons I like the Hyatt Centric (in addition to its great location) is that it has a nice outdoor pool – so you can explore all morning, relax by the pool for a few hours in the afternoon, and then head back out for the evening. Vacation at its best!

Indoor pool at the New Orleans Athletic Club

10. Try a local gym

A really cool place we found in New Orleans was the second-oldest Athletic Club in the United States. It was just a few blocks from our first hotel, and my son was able to get a guest pass for $20. He was in heaven.

After the first visit, he declared it “the gym of all gyms.” The New Orleans Athletic Club is in a beautiful old building and houses an indoor pool, every kind of equipment you can imagine, a coffee/juice bar, a regular bar, and a library. It was well worth visiting even for a casual athlete.

Outside view of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans

Cultural Immersion and Historic Exploration

I like to sneak a little education into our family vacations and I’ve learned through the years that as long as I sandwich it with fun it will be well accepted.

11. Spend an afternoon at the World War II Museum

Typically a museum would not be at the top of my teenage son’s list of places to visit, but he happened to be studying WWII at school, so he was a little interested. Now, my daughter loves history (we once spent 7-8 hours at Pearl Harbor), so this museum would have been a highlight of the trip for her.

The National World War II Museum is quite impressive. It covers multiple buildings and is immersive, educational, and a little bit exhausting. Your pass is good all day, so because it’s so big, I’d recommend spending a few hours in the first part of the museum, taking a lunch break, and then finishing up after lunch.

House in the Garden District of New Orleans surrounded by trees

12. Admire the Garden District (along with a little shopping)

When we drove by the Garden District as part of our bus tour, I knew it was an area we’d like to return to. We ended up spending a few delightful hours strolling the streets, shopping in the boutiques and even had a delicious lunch.

On my next trip, I plan on signing up for a walking tour of the Garden District but I figured I had already pushed my luck with planned activities so just enjoyed the area on my own this time around.

New Orleans Weekend Getaway

New Orleans Weekend Itinerary

Visit my Etsy store to get a “done-for-you” weekend itinerary for New Orleans with your teens. All the planning is done for you – just print it out and follow along!

LEARN MORE

13. Explore the French Market

Another fun historic area to explore is on the edge of the French Quarter near Jackson Square. There you’ll find the French Market. There are several blocks of vendors, restaurants and even farmer’s market-type stands under a covered roof.

It’s a happening place and a perfect location to search for souvenirs (which I know my teens love to do). Spend a little time shopping and then make a pit stop at the nearby Cafe du Monde for a beignet and cafe au lait break.

View of the Mississippi River in New Orleans

Unique Things to Do in New Orleans with Teens

If you have kids who love wildlife, then make sure to spend a little time checking out the options that New Orleans has to offer.

14. Check out the wildlife up close on a swamp boat tour

A swamp boat tour is a lot of fun for teenagers. We had a blast on a swamp tour a few years ago at Vero Beach, Florida, and so I was excited to discover how many options there were for them in New Orleans.

If you don’t have a car on this trip (and you really don’t need one in New Orleans), pick a tour like this highly-rated one that has a hotel pickup. It will make life much easier for you. These airboats do go pretty fast and get windy, so dress accordingly. Also, load up on the sunscreen and bug spray – you’ll need it!

15. Go wild at the zoo, aquarium, or insectitoruium

This was something we 100% would have done when the kids were younger, but they still enjoy the occasional zoo or aquarium as teens. What’s interesting is that in addition to Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium, New Orleans has an Insectarium. I’ve never heard of one before, but if you have a kid that finds bugs fascinating, it would be a must-stop.

All three are fairly close to the main tourist areas in the central business district, so you’ll have no trouble getting an Uber there and back. You could even take the Canal Street trolley and get close enough to walk if the weather is nice.

Cup of coffee from Morning call with a tree and a streetcar in New Orleans

Only in New Orleans

There are some things that you can’t find everywhere, so they should absolutely be added to your agenda of things to do with teens in New Orleans.

16. Hop a street car and explore the city

The street cars in New Orleans are a fun way to affordably explore the city. You can buy a 24-hour pass for only $3 and ride them all day. There are three separate lines, so just figure out where you want to go and hop on the correct streetcar. It’s also a fun way to see the various areas of the city – almost like an inexpensive bus tour!

Parade in New Orleans with a banner stating "Krewe of the Rolling Elvi New Orleans established 2003"

17. Experience a New Orleans parade

New Orleans is well known for their Mardi Gras parades, but when we visited we learned that this city loves ANY excuse for a parade. Even weddings have parades (we got to see one and it was lovely!). Parades were a highlight of our trip!

Our trip coincided with Easter so I was thrilled to get to experience a parade. We had so much fun at the first one we watched that we went back and enjoyed the last parade of the day (there were three total). Everyone is in a great mood, and all kinds of fun things (not just beads) are being tossed to the crowd.

18. Visit Mardis Gras World

If you aren’t in New Orleans when there is a parade, you can still get a feel for the floats and the fun by visiting Mardi Gras World. This huge place showcases many of the floats that you’ll see in the Mardi Gras parades and shares quite a bit of information about them. It’s a fun place to visit that’s very specific to New Orleans.

Building with balconies and ferns on corner of Royal and St. Louis in New Orleans

19. Listen to jazz on Royal Street

Finally, one of our favorite things for teens to do in New Orleans was just to wander Royal Street and enjoy the live jazz. We were lucky enough to visit over a weekend, so on the corner of Royal and St. Louis we got to see Doreen’s Jazz perform.

This amazing performer is on this street corner almost every weekend from about 11 to 1 and man is she talented. When she plays her clarinet or sings it gives you all the feels. Make a point to check her schedule before your visit and take the time to let her entertain you – even my teenage son who isn’t necessarily a jazz fan was on his phone videotaping her!

Sign for Hotel Fontenot in New Orleans

Where to Stay When Visiting New Orleans with Teens

As I mentioned, the Hyatt Centric is a great place to stay in New Orleans with your teens due to its location, pool, and the fact that it’s been recently remodeled.

Another good choice is the Kimpton Fontenot. We stayed one night at the Kimpton and although it didn’t have a pool, we enjoyed the bougie vibe, incredible service, wine hour, and great location near good restaurants and the casino. And the bed was heavenly!

FAQs: Things to Do in New Orleans for Teens

Is it okay to take kids to New Orleans?

Absolutely!

Is it safe to walk the French Quarter at night?

Generally yes, but like any city, watch your surroundings.

Is Bourbon Street safe for tourists?

Always be careful when you are in a city, but Bourbon Street isn’t known for being dangerous for tourists.

Can kids go on Bourbon Street?

Yes, but at night there isn’t much for them to do, so I’d look for other things to do in the evening with kids.

Can minors go into bars in New Orleans?

Most bars require patrons to be 21+

Can kids go into jazz clubs in New Orleans?

There are a few jazz clubs that allow kids. We had luck at Three Muses on Frenchmen, Cafe Beignet in the French Quarter and the legendary Preservation Hall (buy tickets before you go – they will sell out).

Night time view of Canal Street and surrounding buildings in New Orleans from rooftop

Conclusion: Things to Do in New Orleans with Teenagers

In the bustling streets of New Orleans, adventure awaits at every turn, making it the perfect destination for families with teens. From the lively rhythms of jazz to the tantalizing flavors of Creole cuisine, the Big Easy offers a plethora of experiences that will captivate and delight.

As I discovered during my own journey with my teenage son, New Orleans isn’t just a city—it’s a mix of history, culture, and excitement waiting to be explored. And with so much to see and do, from strolling along Royal Street to embarking on thrilling ghost tours, there’s never a dull moment in NOLA.

So, whether you’re indulging in beignets and coffee, immersing yourself in the city’s rich history, or simply soaking up the vibrant atmosphere, New Orleans promises an unforgettable adventure for families of all ages. I definitely fell in love with the city and can’t wait to return!

So, pack your bags, round up the family, and get ready to experience the magic of New Orleans with your teens. Trust me, it’s a trip you’ll never forget!

PIN FOR LATER:

Planning on visiting NOLA with your teenagers? If so, here are some of the best things to do in New Orleans with teens.