The Ultimate New Orleans Summer Bucket List

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With so many things to do on our New Orleans Summer Bucket List, it is positively impossible to be bored with over 100 of our favorite ideas for every budget, interest and age. Special thanks to the New Orleans Public Library for sponsoring this guide. They are an amazing resource for summer fun for kids and adults of all ages this year. Register now for their Summer Fun program HERE starting June 1st.

Now let’s get started, and be sure to show us YOUR New Orleans summer adventures by using the hashtag:

#NOMBSUMMERFUN

Please note, we do recommend that you check each event/business website for the most up to date information.

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New Orleans Summer Fun for the Whole Family

  • Check out one of the exhibits at the New Orleans Museum of Art! Free for Louisiana Residents on Wednesdays and free every day through the end of 2019 for teenagers (ages 13-19).
  • Head on over to one of New Orleans family friendly breweries :: Urban South, Port Orleans, Second Line Brewing, NOLA Brewing, Parleaux
  • Take a day trip to Avery Island home of Tabasco! Visit the factory or restaurant. Take a guided bird tour or take a self guided tour through the Jungle Gardens. Are you a foodie? Then sign up for one of their cooking classes or guided culinary tours through Cajun country.
  • Enjoy an animal encounter at Global Wildlife. This wildlife sanctuary, located in Folsom, LA, includes zebras, giraffes, camels, and more!  Feed these free-roaming animals located on over 900 acres of farmland from your own guided wagon ride.
  • Find a table in the shade at The Backyard and enjoy a playground, food, and drinks or venture inside to enjoy your favorite sporting event on one of their 9 large televisions.
  • Take a day trip to Bay St Louis for a beach day! It’s a little over an hour drive from New Orleans with free public beaches complete with bathrooms, outdoor showers for rinsing off, and free parking. Pack a lunch or check out one of the restaurants in the area.
  • Bring a lawn chair and set up for Dinner and a Zoovie at the Audubon Zoo. Bring your own dinner or take advantage of the food trucks and zoo concessions on site.
  • Head to Lakeside Shopping Center where there is something for everyone :: shopping, eating, and an awesome play area for the littlest members of your family.
  • Spend a day at City Park :: visit Storyland, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, or play a round of miniature golf at City Putt. Rent a paddleboat for a ride across Big Lake or rent a bike from the boathouse to trek across City Park’s natural wonders. There are 4 playgrounds within the park and so much to explore for every member of your family.
  • Ride the Street Car and hop off at one of your favorite shops or restaurants.
  • Explore the French Quarter :: eat Beignets at Cafe Du Monde, shop at the French market, take a tour of the Cabildo (a/c!!!) and take a family selfie in front of Jackson Square.
  • Pack the family up and take the short trip out to Sugar Roots Farm to pet the animals, ride horses, and taste some of the deliciousness produced on the farm.
  • Put on your bathing suit and check out one of the city’s hot spots for water fun.
  • Check out one of New Orleans free public pools! Check your local recreation department website for locations and hours.
  • Want to swim with the dolphins? Pet Stingrays? Kiss a sea lion? Take a drive to Gulfport, Mississippi to make special memories at Ocean Adventures Marine Park.
  • Looking for something to do in the Hammond area, then take a look at our handy guide.
  • Share a day at the lake making memories at White Sands Lake Day Beach. Enjoy an aqua park, boat rentals, volleyball and more.
  • Located a short ferry ride from Mississippi’s coast, you can find some of the last undeveloped barrier islands in America at Ship Island. You can rent a chair and umbrella once you get there.

New Orleans Summer Fun for the Littles:

  • Ready to learn to swim? Here’s our handy guide to swim lessons.
  • The Kids’ Castle at Lakeside mall is the perfect place to beat the heat with your littles and it’s free!
  • Cool down at one of New Orleans splash pads.
  • Rock out to musical instruments and bond with your littles at Kindermusik with Madeline.
  • Looking for free enrichment to enjoy with your child, then head to one of New Orleans public libraries to read some books and enjoy story time.  Check your local branch for story time and hours of operation.
  • Let your little one reach for bubbles and take a ride on a parachute at a Gym Rompers class where they can explore childhood through both independent play and group engagement.
  • Dig in the dirt! Thursday mornings during May and August, Longue Vue House and Gardens will be hosting Toddler Time in the Garden.
  • This will be The Louisiana Children’s Museum’s last summer on Julia Street! Enter through the iconic blue doors and check out the museum that has delighted New Orleanians for over 30 years.
  • Get a membership to the Parenting Center! The parenting center is a play space designed for children 3 and under.  They offer independent play, music classes, water Fridays, and so much more.
  • For the really hot weeks, head to an indoor play place like The Monkey Room, Palm Tree Playground, Bookoo Bounce, We Rock the Spectrum, and Luv 2 Play.
  • Knock Knock Children’s Museum in Baton Rouge was named “Louisiana Museum of the Year” last year.

NOLA Summer Fun for the Bigs (School Age Kids and Beyond):


New Orleans Summer MSY Love:

  • Take a stroll along Royal Street to check out the art galleries before heading to Sucre to delight in a decadent dessert.
  • Take a Swamp Tour and see if you can spot an alligator!
  • Visit Whitney Plantation to learn what life was like for the slaves who worked this plantation.
  • Shop the Crescent City Farmers Market and stock up on supplies to make your favorite New Orleans recipe.
  • Marvel at the creativity of our locals and purchase something for yourself or loved one at the Palmer Park Art Market, (May 25, June 29, July 27, August 24).
  • Explore a historic landmark while shopping and eating along the way at the French Market.
  • This summer you can enjoy the new addition to the Sculpture Garden at City Park. The expansion opens May 15.
  • The Music Box Village is made up of structures such as phone booths, houses, and Japanese pagodas that play music.  It’s a hands-on experience during public hours, and it hosts musical concerts as well.

New Orleans Summer MSY Eats:

  • Make a blueberry pie after picking fresh blueberries from Blue Harvest Farms in Covington.
  • Put the kids to bed for 30 seconds, then run in and tell them it’s time to get in the car and go get ice cream :: we particularly love Creole Creamery.
  • Cool off with a milkshake from Shake Therapy or Camellia Grill.
  • Saturday mornings are made for donuts. Try District Donut for something truly indulgent.
  • You can’t let the summer pass without trying a Snoball. Head to Hansen’s for a truly historic (and delicious) New Orleans delicacy.
  • Summer is synonymous with burgers, right? Check out some of our favorites :: Cowbell, Company Burger, Camelia Grill.
  • It’s iced coffee season! There are so many options, visit one of New Orleans local coffee shops!
  • Hit up one of the area’s amazing food trucks or head to Deja Vieux Food Park where you can sample from an assortment of food trucks, enjoy lawn games, and even catch a game on one of their televisions!

New Orleans Summer Outdoor Adventures:

  • Get moving at a favorite local park :: team favorites include Audubon Park , Lafreniere Park, and City Park.
  • Get up close and personal with the wildlife at the Audubon Zoo.
  • Float down the Bogue Chitto River. At the Bogue Chitto Tubing Center, you can choose your means of transportation- tube, canoe, or kayak.
  • Finally, learn how to horseback ride at Sunflower Farm and Ranch.  A short drive from New Orleans makes this the perfect way to spend a summer day.
  • Rent a kayak and travel through the bayou with Bayou Paddle Sports. They have a fleet of junior kayaks making it an adventure the whole family can enjoy together.
  • Go fishing with the littles! You can catch and release in City Park or rent a boat from one of the many local fishing charters.
  • The Barataria Preserve offers a taste of Louisiana’s wild wetlands.  Take a self-guided tour on their boardwalks and dirt trails or enjoy the exhibits in their visitor center.
  • Catch a gorgeous Louisiana sunset at The Fly from the Southshore or from Sunset Point from the Northshore (bonus points for this spot where you can spend the afternoon fishing before catching a beautiful sunset).
  • Take some family pictures at the picturesque Fontainebleau State Park beach. Rent a cabin or explore the lake on kayaks or canoes.
  • Hop on a blue bike and explore the city you love!
  • Explore 10 acres of cultivated gardens at The New Orleans Botanical Gardens.

New Orleans Summer Festivals and Concerts: 

  • Kick off the Summer vibes with a festival on the bayou! Bayou Boogaloo is May 17-19.
  • New Orleans Oyster Fest features the city’s beloved mollusk in all its many forms – fried, chargrilled, raw, in gumbo, in a po boy…you get the drift. (June 1-2)
  • If Cajun and Zydeco music are your jam, then you don’t want to miss the Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco Festival.  This festival features a stellar lineup of musicians, delicious seafood, a large arts market, and activities for the kids. (June 22-23)
  • Essence Fest is a celebration of black culture and all of its contributions to our society. If you love music, food, fashion, educational panels, entertainment, travel, and being empowered, then this is the festival for you.  (July 5-7)
  • July 4th in New Orleans means the annual fireworks display over the mighty Mississippi. Check out Algiers Point or Crescent Park as a viewing location. If you want to catch fireworks, but want to skip the downtown spectacle, try July 3rd when you can catch them at the Babycakes game or Lafreniere Park’s Uncle Sam Jam.
  • Want to celebrate Bastille Day in the most French city in America?  NOMA hosts an annual BASTILLE DAY FÊTE that has tons of activities for children, and the Faubourg St. John neighborhood welcomes visitors to a neighborhood block party honoring the French culture.
  • Can’t make it to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls? No problem! New Orleans offers a fun alternative with its San Fermin in Nueva Orleans. Instead of bulls, we have the Big Easy Roller girls. So don your white and red and meet at the Sugar Mill bright and early on the morning of July 13th.
  • The Satchmo Summer Fest doesn’t let the August heat dampen its spirit. Named after native New Orleanian Louis Armstrong, Satchmo Fest celebrates the famed trumpeter and the jazz music that he helped to make famous. (August 3-5)
  • Is linen your summer fabric of choice? Then don your best white duds and head on over to the warehouse district for the famous White Linen night celebrating the local art scene. Grab a cocktail and pop in and out of galleries while looking chic in your best summer wear (August 3).
  • Didn’t make it to White Linen Night? No worries, you still have one last chance to peruse galleries while sipping cocktails and wearing linen. Dirty Linen is the following weekend and moves to the French Quarter and trades in white for anything but white (August 11).
  • A road race with a dress code…Get your red dress ready because every participant in the Red Dress Run comes to slay in their own red dress (August 10).

New Orleans Summer Learning Fun:

  • New Orleans is home to the #3 museum in the country according to Trip Advisor! Our WWII Museum is a must-see attraction that really can’t be missed if you live in this city. They offer children’s programming, a wonderful camp, movies in their Stage Door Canteen and volunteer opportunities for  children aged 13-17.
  • Check out the Ogden Museum for art exhibits and events for kids that include Baby ArtsPlay (for 0-4 year olds) and Fine Art Fundamentals classes for students in grades 2-5.
  • Sign your little one up for the New Orleans Public Library‘s reading challenge and Summer Fun Program.
  • Instill a love of reading and literacy in your children while you sing songs and play games together in New Orleans READ program.
  • The Backstreet Cultural Museum celebrates  New Orleans’ masking and processional traditions.  It houses a large collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes and even gives children a chance to learn to sew the costumes themselves.
  • Learn all about Insects at the Insectarium and then walk over to the Aquarium and enter an underwater world full of penguins, stingrays, and seahorses.
  • Take a drive to Mississippi to visit the Infinity Science Center and tour the Stennis Space Center.
  • Visit the St. Tammany Children’s Museum and build your own rollercoaster.
  • Scale the colossal Climbing structure at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.

New Orleans Summer Sports and Fitness:

  • The New Orleans Boulder Lounge is New Orleans premier indoor climbing facility.  They offer kids only hours on Sunday morning and youth climbing teams for children aged 5-12.
  • From babies to your 12-year-old, the Little Gym of Northshore offers something to keep all of your kiddos active. Gymnastics, sports, dance, arts and crafts, legos…there really is something for everyone!
  • Check out a Baby Cakes Game. Come for the baseball and stay for the fireworks show!
  • Get your run on at one of the many races this summer.
  • Sign your littles up for Soccer Shots at one of their many New Orleans locations. For children ages 2-8.
  • Take a bike ride along the scenic Tammany Trace that spans from downtown Covington, through Abita Springs, Mandeville, and Lacombe and ends in Slidell.
  • Summer means slowing down and taking some time to breathe. Lolo’s Youth Yoga specializes in Children’s yoga.
  • Cheer on the USA as our women compete in the World Cup. This international sporting event lasts from June 7-July 7 and there are viewing parties all over the city. Check your American Outlaw chapter for viewing parties.
  • Go for a run along Crescent Park, a beautiful urban park along the riverfront.

New Orleans Summer Date Night (or Date Day): 

  • Hit the town and enjoy a show at Saenger Theater :: the summer line up includes Kinky Boots, Derek Hough, Come From Away, and more!
  • Looking for something a little cheesy to do together? Sign up for a wine and cheese class at St James Cheese Company.  These Wednesday night outings usually come with a theme (think Rosé and cheese, French wines and cheese, etc.) and the wines and cheeses are always top-notch.
  • Take an overnight trip to the Northshore. Attend Jazz in the Vines at Pontchartrain Vineyards, stay at the Southern Hotel, and then enjoy brunch at Hambone.
  • Spend the evening painting the town at an adult class with Painting with a Twist.
  • Want dinner and a show but only have time for one location?  Then pick a movie theatre that also serves food and cocktails- Regal Cinebarre Canal Place, The Broad Theatre, Movie Tavern.
  • Looking for a location that gives you all the laid-back romance vibes, then Bacchanal Wine is the perfect place to spend some one on one time with your love. Good food. Good Wine. Great Ambiance.
  • Leave your cell phone in your bag and spend the night catching up over doberge cake, champagne, and board games at the Bakery Bar.

New Orleans Summer Homebodies:

  • Host a cookout with friends
  • Make homemade popsicles
  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Host a splash party with a water fight
  • Roast marshmallows for s’mores
  • Camp out in your backyard
  • Have a lemonade stand
  • Build a fort in your living room
  • Have a backyard picnic
  • Let the kids cover themselves in shaving cream in the backyard then hose them off
  • Arrange weekly letters with a friend (kids love getting mail and writing real letters is good for the soul)

Still Need More Ideas?

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Catherine Karas
Catherine followed her college sweetheart (and now wife) Claire to New Orleans after they both graduated from the University of Georgia. She is a twin mom, a stay at home mom, a boy mom, a Disney mom, and a 2 mom family mom...just to name a few. She throws a mean toddler play date and loves to host small humans in her home for themed out events! She is often planning her next great family adventure, and she is never scared to pack her twins up for a trip solo! Her parenting mantra is "embrace the chaos", and there is plenty of that when raising twin boys! You can follow her family adventures on instagram @krewedekaras

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