Explore New Orleans: Nine Hidden Gems on the Westbank

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 :: Nine 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! I was born on the Westbank, and my husband has lived his whole life here. So, this is our home! And we are here to debunk myths about the Westbank, while also sharing what we love about it!

Confetti Park

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 Cafe 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.

Algiers Point

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. Once you get to Algiers Point, be sure to stop for coffee at Congregation Coffee – the best! We recommend staying for an early dinner at Tavolino Pizza, which offers delicious pizza and outdoor seating just steps from the ferry. 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.

Lafitte Nature Trail {For Easy Hiking Near New Orleans}

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.

Barataria Preserve {For Easy Hiking Near New Orleans}

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.

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 Area 51 Laser Tag. If you are looking for laser tag in New Orleans, this is a great option! Whether you are actually playing laser tag, watching from the television screens outside the tag rooms, eating snacks, or playing games on the computers or gaming consoles, you will enjoy yourself. Area 51 always runs specials, so be sure to like their Facebook page. Many people don’t realize, but we even have a skating rink on the Westbank, Skate Country. Last but not least is the new trampoline park in New Orleans, Airborne X. This is a great place to burn off energy on a rainy or cold day in New Orleans.

NOLA Motorsports Park

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.

Gretna

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 cafe setting; delicious bakery), Banana Blossom (Thai is a moden 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. 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. 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. While this only happens one weekend a year, we definitely think it is worth making a trip to the Westbank for. There is a lot of history in Gretna, and it’s worth spending time in this charming New Orleans neighborhood with your kids.

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.

Sugar Roots Farm

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.

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!

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