If you are looking for things to do in New Orleans with kids, don’t sleep on the Westbank! Whether you are moving to New Orleans or simply here for a few days, the Westbank contains some hidden gems for families to enjoy.
Explore New Orleans With Kids :: Hidden Gems on the Westbank
Whenever you hear of Louisiana, I bet the first thought that comes to mind is New Orleans. From the French Quarter to Mardi Gras to the Audubon Zoo, there are so many things to do with kids in New Orleans. We have such a beautiful state and so many fun things to take part in – even weekend getaways – but they aren’t just in New Orleans.
Just a short drive over the GNO (Greater New Orleans) bridge, you will find yourself on the Westbank. While we don’t have nearly as many things to do as in the city of New Orleans, we still have a few things that are fun! And we are here to debunk myths about the Westbank, while also sharing what we love about it!
Confetti Park, located at 451 Pelican Avenue in Algiers Point, is arguably one of the best playgrounds in New Orleans for kids. There are picnic tables underneath gorgeous cypress trees, which is perfect because that means you can stroll with your margarita from Barracuda and watch your kids run wild. This is a toddler mom’s dream come true, are we right?! You could also pick up donuts from Terrytown Café and Donuts (in Terrytown, so map the roughly 10 minute drive accordingly) and then head to the park if a New Orleans donut playdate is more your speed. Confetti Park also inspired a much larger movement with the same name; you can learn more about the Confetti Park radio show and podcast, as well as the family-friendly New Orleans events it hosts, online here. This playground is worth a trip to Algiers Point because Algiers Point itself is a lovely destination with lots of history.
Did you know that Algiers is the second oldest neighborhood in New Orleans? Downtown Algiers is beautiful! It contains some truly gorgeous houses; some of the homes even date back to the 1840’s! How amazing is that? If you enjoying being on the water, the ferry from downtown New Orleans crosses the Mississippi River and is really fun. Moreover, the ferry ride only $2 (you’ll need exact change), which is a total plus in my book. There are a ton of great restaurants to check out while you are in the area. Tonti’s Hand French Bistro is a fabulous little spot that serves lunch and dinner right in the heart of Algiers. Plume Algiers is delicious Indian food, and a must try if you have never been there before! There is always something going on in Algiers Point, which makes it truly family-friendly and a great way to spend a day in New Orleans. From festivals, to readings at the library, to bonfires – Algiers Point, just across from downtown New Orleans, is a genuine gem!
Sugar Roots is a working farm with animals whose mission is “foster a new generation of farmers by empowering the New Orleans community with the knowledge and tools necessary to grow healthy and ethically sustainable food.” Open every Saturday to the public, kids can enjoy up close encounters with ethically treated farm animals and enjoy the outdoors in a very natural setting. Sugar Roots also boasts vegetable and herb gardens, a composting site and organic farming. If your little one is interested in farming or the outdoors, a visit to Sugar Roots Farm is a must.
The Westbank is home to Gretna, a sometimes overlooked but charming neighborhood in New Orleans. You need more than a day to enjoy all of the fabulous restaurants in Gretna. In no particular order, here’s where we love to eat in Gretna (and yes, they are all worth crossing the bridge for) :: Gattuso’s (New Orleans fare, po-boys, children’s menu and daily specials), Amore (breakfast and lunch in a café setting; delicious bakery), Banana Blossom (Thai in a modern atmosphere) and Rivershack (casual food and tons of beer on tap). Many New Orleans foodies drive to Gretna specifically for Tan Dinh, some of the best Vietnamese food in New Orleans. If you are a breakfast lover, or if you love to let the kids run around while you eat, you absolutely must check out Toast, which just opened in 2023. Chicken’s Kitchen is also worth a big shout out for not only its delicious food but the community-oriented mission. This is a spot that requires advanced planning because – while they are open daily Monday through Friday – once they sell out, that’s it. And the sell outs are by design, an attempt to cut waste. When you arrive at Chicken’s Kitchen, you can expect a line and a wait because the food is that good. Towards the end of lunch, you may indeed be turned away. The chef and proprietor is a native New Orleanian, totally self taught and his business grew organically from cooking out of his home to catering to now running one of the hottest eateries in New Orleans. Inside the restaurant, guests find an abundance of support for other Black owned businesses via posters and ads, as well as pop ups like the desserts from Anointed Confections. This is a true gem of a restaurant that embodies everything we love about New Orleans. Top off your night with a glass at Stained Glass Winehouse – a super cute lounge that hosts loads of special events and delicious pop ups. If all of that isn’t enough to get you to Gretna, Gretna also hosts Gretna Heritage Festival, the biggest festival on the Westbank. Gretna Fest has bands that play on one of their many stages, craft areas, more food than you could possibly eat, and a kids area with rides. You can go for the day or buy passes to go for the whole weekend. Gretna is host to many other events throughout the year including The Little Rascals Parade, The Irish-Italian Parade, Christmas on The Huey, and lots more. Check their event calendar to find out all the latest going on! There is a lot of history in Gretna, and it’s worth spending time in this charming New Orleans neighborhood with your kids.
One of the newest places that is still undergoing improvements is Gretna City Park! Opening in 2023, this new park includes 1.5 miles of pedestrian trails, an open water pond with a kayak launch, a 1,500 square foot pavilion, and 2 pedestrian bridges. The area is absolutely beautiful if you haven’t been. Best part is, the planted 400 new trees and the area will allow as a catch basin for 6.5 million gallons of rainwater! Go take a stroll, have a picnic, and enjoy the scenery.
For Lafitte Nature Trail can be a little harder to find if you aren’t familiar with the area, but it is definitely worth finding. It is an elevated boardwalk through Cypress swamps with amazing views, picnic areas, and even sometimes a tour boat for show that you can sit on and take a break. The trail is a mile long and makes a full circle. Be sure to wear bug spray and bring your camera. The scenery is really beautiful. This is a really fun outing for New Orleans families, and it is a short drive from the city itself.
This is another little trail just outside of New Orleans that we really enjoy. It goes through marsh, swamp, and the bayou, and we have seen nutria, alligators, and all kinds of birds and bugs. We have always done the self guided walking tour, but they do have guided ones with the rangers, as well as a cell phone guided one. Another thing that I think is pretty neat is that you can also tour it via water – by kayak or canoe! Now, you definitely won’t catch me out there on the water, but for the adventure seekers? Perfect! After the trail, we go to the visitor center. It is really nice to cool off and a great hands on learning experience for the kids. The kids can even join the Junior Ranger program. They have lots of buttons to be pressed that talk and teach you neat little things. It is also a gift shop so if you are thirsty they have drinks, restrooms, and little souvenirs. The guided nature trails with the rangers are at specific times, so be sure to check their website or call for those specific times and dates.
Located in Marrero, Parc De Familles has a variety of activities to explore! They have a beautiful disc golf course (which is really fun if you have never played) that winds through the cypress swamp trees. There is a 2,000 foot boardwalk to enjoy the views of nature, along with a dog park and splash pad. The dog park has two separate areas for smaller and larger dogs, surrounded by a wrought iron fence to keep them contained. The splash pad has 14 different activities to entertain and keep your kids busy! Beat the summer heat by watching them from the covered areas for parents.
Swamp Tours and Fishing Charters Near New Orleans
What do you think of when you hear of Lafitte? I think of fishing, alligators, and delicious seafood. Fishing charters are a way of life here! There are many different companies to choose from, so it really depends on your price range and what exactly you are looking for. A swamp tour is a must! They are so neat! Seeing these guys get so close to the alligators and some even getting in with them? Blows my mind. You wouldn’t catch me dead getting in the water with them. Airboat Adventures is the one my husband recently went on and enjoyed it, and he grew up on the bayou. But there are many different tours like Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours and Louisiana Swamp Tours.
If you have never made a pass through Westwego (which is almost impossible living in New Orleans), you are missing out on a cool little city. Home to Buck’s Sno-Wiz – a delectable
snowball and ice cream shop that has been around for more than 50 years! Looking for fresh seafood? The Westwego Seafood Market is the place to go, open every weekend providing community all the best catches. Bayou Segnette State Park is located here as well. A true gem located just 20 minutes from the city, Bayou Segnette offers areas for picnics, has playgrounds, and a wave pool! They also have cabins that you can rent, offering fishing, camping, canoeing, and boating. The waterfront cabins have boat access or just fish right off the dock. For only $25-$33 a night, this is a STEAL when you feel miles away from the city. Every year the annual Westwego Crawfish Cookoff is also an event you should put on your list. They host some of the best boilers around every year, located in their historic district.
If you have a child in New Orleans who loves all things cars, this is the destination for you! From the littlest car enthusiast to the biggest thrill seekers, there are plenty of things to do here! They have go-karts, races, and even events that they host on property. This also makes a really neat gift idea for the thrill seekers in your life.
Indoor Activities for New Orleans Kids
There are several venues on the Westbank that offer fun activities for New Orleans kids. First is Candyland; I found this gem because it is where everyone goes for children’s birthday parties on the Westbank. It is an inflatable playground and so much fun! Candyland always smells like vanilla cupcakes when you walk in; the venue is always clean, well air conditioned (or heated) and the staff is very friendly and helpful. They have walk-in play as well, but their schedule varies weekly. Next up is the Crescent City Ninja Academy. If you are looking for all things American Ninja Warrior in New Orleans, this is a great option! This new facility opened in May 2023 and it is unlike anything that we have in the area. They have scheduled classes that you can drop in on and try, and every Saturday they have open play time from 2-6 that is open to all ages. With a ton of space, and dedicated party rooms – this is perfect venue to host your next birthday. Many people don’t realize, but we even have a skating rink on the Westbank, Skate Country. The unfortunately are still under repair from Hurricane Ida but we hope they open back up soon. Of course don’t forget Airborne X which is still one of the newest and expansive trampoline park in New Orleans. This is a great place to burn off energy on a rainy or cold day in New Orleans! Utopian Gaming has just opened in Gretna at 605 Lapalco Blvd. and they are the only place that “customers can come to for their games, collectibles, and other gaming, anime, and pop-culture merchandise and is the community’s go to place for location-based gaming entertainment. UG’s game lounge is packed with gaming options including 18 game consoles (Switch, PS5, and Xbox) and 14 gaming PCs packed with games, and 18 board game tables complimented nicely by a growing board game library of over 130 games!” There is nothing else in the city like it and it is definitely worth the trip to the Westbank to experience, especially if you have a gamer in your house!
So the next time you are looking for things to do in New Orleans with kids, look no further than the Westbank. Whether you are looking for a great restaurant, outdoor adventure or rainy day fun, there is something for everyone … and it’s always fun to explore a new part of New Orleans!