blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: Family Trip with Toddlers to New Orleans

December 8, 2018

Family Trip with Toddlers to New Orleans

Happy weekend y’all! Today I’m sharing a highly requested post via Instagram after I shared so much of our family trip to New Orleans over the Thanksgiving holiday!

This year we weren’t able to make the trip all the way back home to Massachusetts for the holiday, and my parents who usually visit weren’t able to come down either - needless to say I was really down (it’s been a hard year in my family with multiple deaths and illness). So when the idea of traveling to New Orleans for the holidays was brought up, I thought about it long and hard. Nathan and I have been to New Orleans once before (just last year actually) and I loved it - the streets in the French Quarter were alive with so many weddings and second lines that we celebrated to, adorable shops and delicious restaurants, and at night the streets became even more festive! I loved dancing down the street with a drink in one hand and Nathan’s hand in the other. I don’t think anyone would even attempt to question whether or not New Orleans is a great place to visit for adults.

But what about kids? I honestly wasn’t so sure, but after getting some information from New Orleans Tourism, we decided we’d go for it and make the best of it! And let me tell you I’m so glad we took that chance - it was incredible and the girls have continued talking about the trip and asking when we’ll go back. So if you’ve ever thought about traveling to New Orleans with family (and especially during the holidays), I’m sharing some of our highlights and tips below!

Our Stay:
We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel, and it was perfectly situated at the Central Business District and only a few minutes walk to the French Quarter - and it was such a gorgeous oasis! Their lobby was a true winter wonderland with the most beautiful tree and lights, and they even had little teddy bears for the girls upon our arrival! We didn't book a rental car, we knew we'd be staying central to tons, so we used Uber or Lyft to get around if need be, but otherwise walked around town in our stroller wagon (you can check out my full review here).

First things first:
We had to go explore the French Quarter! We walked from our hotel and took in the incredible (and romantic, historic, just drool-worthy) architecture, the horse-drawn carriages, and shops. The girls were obsessed with all of the masks at each store we went by and it was so much fun trying them on! I especially loved watching their little bodies move to the beat of all of the live music in the streets in our wagon - the streets really do feel alive! Of course a trip to the French Quarter isn’t complete without a stop at Cafe Du Monde - their beignets are really out of this world! As a tip - this place is cash only (and crazy cheap) so make sure to bring some cash for a few rounds of beignets and cafe au lait! Also - baby wipes make for quick cleanup of all the powdered sugar ;)

Since we arrived on Thanksgiving Day we reserved dinner at Commander’s Palace, and this place did not disappoint! Our meal was delicious, and I loved that they even had a Thanksgiving meal especially for the kids on the menu (even an option for a little mocktail for them that came complete with a rubber ducky on top - adorable)!

Black Friday Brunch
We took the morning to relax (and Nathan went on his long run all the way down to Audubon Park - a gorgeous run he said) and then had brunch at The Ruby Slipper (right around the corner from our hotel)! This place has a long wait for a reason, but here’s a tip - add your spot to the waitlist on Yelp to see your place in line while you stroll around, then you can arrive when your table is almost ready! Their food was SO good - highly recommend the catfish and grits and the blueberry cheesecake stuffed french toast! Other Nola favorite brunch: Elizabeth’s Restaurant

We had plans to walk to the Audubon Aquarium from brunch, but on the way walked by the Audubon Insectarium - how cool! The girls were intrigued by the butterfly garden windows, and so we decided to pay a visit!

Audubon Insectarium!
This place was amazing! So much fun for everyone with all types of cool bugs and exhibits, including the crowd favorite, the butterfly garden. It’s been over a week and Liv is still asking when we’re going back to the butterfly garden. I love that it’s a small place so doesn’t feel overwhelming, but still has a lot to do! If you plan on visiting more than one of the Audubon Nature Institutions (they’ve also got the zoo and the aquarium, both are must-see) I definitely recommend buying the Audubon Experience tickets that get you discounted entrance to all 3!

Zoo Lights at the Audubon Zoo!
I think this was hands-down my favorite experience of the trip. There’s already something special about being in a park “after-hours” but add in spectacular holiday lights, Christmas music, charming hot cocoa stands, the Santa Claus himself, and big open spaces for the kids to play (including a snowflake light dance floor, arts + crafts stop, and a playground), and you’ve got one incredible night. Seriously. I found myself just smiling so hard this entire night. If you’re in New Orleans for the holidays with kids, go. Even without kids, go. I’ll remember it forever.

Audubon Aquarium
The next day we took it slow in the morning and ordered a delicious room service breakfast, then headed out to the aquarium! It’s right on the river, and the little walkway outside is beautiful! The aquarium starts with a jaw-dropping underwater walk-through tunnel with all of the sting rays - talk about making a good first impression! It’s complete with tons of fish, sharks, sting rays (and an area where you can touch them, the girls were in love), and so much more! Plus they’ve got a Haagen Dazs and Papa John’s on-site!

Garden District, Magazine Street
From the aquarium we took an uber down to Magazine Street - this street has miles of adorable small shops and restaurants, and was the perfect place for lunch and afternoon exploring (especially since it was small business Saturday)! A few notable places to eat on this street include District Donuts and Dat Dog! We walked around exploring for hours, had lunch at The Vintage and sat people watching, and made our way all the way down to Pinkberry where Santa was making a special stop!

Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and Celebration in the Oaks in City Park
Once it got dark we headed over to City Park where there was so much to do! First we fueled up at Morning Call inside the park (another spot with beignets and tons of yummy drinks). then started at Storyland, an adorable fairy tale-themed playground that the girls loved (only open until 6 so stop there first)! Then we headed into Carousel Gardens (open at night only during Celebration in the Oaks) and enjoyed some of the rides - the carousel was my favorite - then made our way to the Celebration in the Oaks - another incredible light display. This would be a perfect date night spot - it was so romantic - but also makes for a great family night as well!

We squeezed in a ton during our short 3 day trip and there was still more we could have done with the girls (including the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Audubon Park, and more)! The city definitely won me over and totally showed me that it is an amazing place to visit for the whole family! PS - I’ve made my Instagram stories a highlight on my page since many of you requested that, so go check it out to see video of our time in Nola!

This amazing trip was possible in partnership with the New Orleans Tourism Board!

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