Whether you’ve lived in the New Orleans area for years and are considering a move to the Northshore or your family is moving to New Orleans for the first time, we are so glad you found New Orleans Mom. If you are new to the area, we have compiled several resources for living in New Orleans with kids, and we pride ourselves on representing all families and perspectives. If you don’t see what you are looking for on New Orleans Mom, please reach out!
Why the Northshore Is a Great Place to Live With Kids
About three years ago, we moved to Mandeville, which was a major life change at the time. After working in downtown New Orleans for over ten years and living in Lakeview, Metairie, and Old Metairie, I definitely considered myself a “city girl” with a high appreciation for the activities, culture and lifestyle of a mini-metropolis. I was used to living within New Orleans with kids, with easy access to all of the city’s attractions and restaurants. Side note – we have some amazing “must try” restaurants on the Northshore, too.
When I started telling friends and coworkers that I was planning to move to the Northshore (GASP!), I was often met with expressions of shock and horror (ok maybe that’s a bit exaggerative, but it’s not far off). How could you do that?
For me, leaving New Orleans and relocating to the Northshore all made perfect sense due to our family’s needs, proximity to my husband’s job and access to the things that were really important to us. The good news is that there are dozens of neighborhood options throughout the New Orleans area. Even on the Southshore, there are some more “rural” areas that are fabulous for New Orleans families, including both Harahan (just beyond Elmwood) and St. Charles Parish (the Destrehan area). Families may choose these options because they are outside of the city without being on the Northshore. However, after moving over to the Northshore I can tell you that living here with kids is terrific … so if you are thinking about it, here’s what you can expect to love about life over here!
10 Things to Love About Living on the Northshore of New Orleans
- The Real Estate Options: We are easily able to afford much more house that is well-suited for our family. Although real estate costs are trending upward, we are very happy that our home comfortably fits our family and features a nice-sized backyard. Backyards are hard to come by in New Orleans.
- The Safety: No place is perfect, and I certainly keep an eye on my kids and my surroundings at all times. But there have definitely been moments where I’ve recognized a slightly different feel and comfort level in everyday situations. I can’t say that I often felt unsafe previously, but living outside of the city has a calm about it that I can’t quite describe.
- The Outdoors: This is probably one of the biggest reasons we love the Northshore! Access to the water and proximity to the lakefront have been huge for us! We walk, bike, or play on the lakefront nearly every weekend. We fly kites, visit the playgrounds, walk around, grab dinner, meet up with friends, and more. With several wonderful playgrounds within a ten-minute drive to our house, we find ourselves outside all the time! (There is also great access to rivers and lakes for boating and fishing, which we also enjoy.) Bonus – there are terrific farmers markets on the Northshore, and we are within close distance of the incredible Fontainbleau State Park and neat adventures like White Sands Beach. If camping is your jam, there are wonderful places to camp right outside New Orleans.
- The Tammany Trace: Riding the well-paved, mostly-shaded bike trace is a gem I can’t say enough about. No matter where you access the Trace or how far you want to go, it’s fitting for everyone. I see walkers, joggers, speed cyclists, and five-year-old bikers enjoying the path all along the way. It’s peaceful and one of my favorite things! Heck, you may want to drive over from New Orleans just to take your kids on this trail for a simple family-friendly outing.
- Great Dining: There is no place like New Orleans with its dozens of family-friendly restaurants! But we are so close, we certainly enjoy some really great dining options and very quickly developed our family’s favorites list. A few of our favorites (well-worth a drive for my Southshore friends) are: Breakfast – Liz’s Where Y’at and LaLou; Brunch – Hambone; Lunch – Beach House, Rusty Pelican, Abita Brew Pub; Dinner – Leonardo’s, Trey Yuen, Habaneros; Poboys – Mandeville Seafood, The Poboy Company; Pizza – Coscino’s, McClain’s; Date Nights – New Orleans Food and Spirits, Duman Pizza, Pat’s Rest A While and Barley Oak.
- Proximity: It may seem like we’re far out, but we are about 35 minutes from downtown New Orleans, 25 minutes from Slidell, 45 minutes from Bay St. Louis, and 50 (or so) minutes from Baton Rouge. In some ways, I feel like we are even more centrally located to take fun day trips now. We still enjoy a dinner date or event downtown from time to time and then jump back on the Causeway to head home. It seems like a big deal, but it really isn’t. Somehow you get used to the 24-mile drive, you really do. (Side note: I never believed anyone who told me this previously.) Please note that we elect not to travel during rush hour as best we can!
- The People: We really love meeting new families, hanging out with our neighbors, and getting to know the other people (transplants and natives) who live in and around our area. We’ve been warmly welcomed and have created some wonderful friendships during our time here. In general, we have really appreciated the family-friendly nature of the Northshore.
- Retail Access: As odd as it sounds, I live closer to stores and have more options within five minutes of my house than I did when I lived in Metairie. I can access several grocery stores (four, to be exact) within a few minutes. The stores here sometimes have more limited selections than their Metairie counterparts, but I can usually find clothing or gifts really easily when I’m looking. The amount of boutique shops and big-box options is actually pretty decent over here, and it continues to grow as the population increases.
- Outdoor Events: This is a big one! We really enjoy the outdoor music offerings at the trailheads, lakefront, and Bogue Falaya Park. During the spring and summer months, there is always something going on. We enjoy the farmers markets in each town and the family-friendly festivals that (usually) take place.
- The Landscape: One friend’s son surprisingly and excitedly told his mom, “It’s so treesy here!” when driving over to visit recently. It was quite adorable, and I laughed at his reaction to the lush landscape. It IS treesy, and we really appreciate the greenery, the open spaces, and the abundance of live oaks along the lakefront and at the parks. We visit Fontainebleau State Park and Fairview State Park often. Bringing a picnic, taking a walk, playing in the splash pad (Fountainebleau), or watching the boats go by (Fairview) are some of our favorite pastimes.