The Easiest, Most Perfect Family Date in Springtime New Orleans

It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year in New Orleans: that period of ideal spring weather just before the heat gets ridiculous. Now is the perfect time for an outdoor family date in the city. Spending the day downtown has become our family tradition to welcome spring and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

We have two boys, ages 9 and 7, who love a trip to the French Quarter on a pretty day. We start off parking at Jax Brewery and head up to the Moonwalk for a picnic lunch. We take our time, watch the boats, and throw rocks into the water. We also have a small, no-assembly kite that’s a lot of fun to fly with the wind picking up off the river.

Then, we stroll over to the Paris-inspired “Love Locks” gate. When we first placed our lock a few years ago, we decorated it with colorful permanent markers at home and added it to the fence. Since then, we’ve been back a few times to visit it. The kids get a kick out of finding it—”Look! It’s still there!—and sometimes we unlock it and move it around.

After we visit our Love Lock, we walk to the French Market to browse the handicrafts and trinkets. Oscar’s booth is our favorite. We always stop to admire all the bright, metallic hues of his pieces.

From there we head to Jackson Square, typically falling into an ice cream shop along the way. We walk the square checking out all the art and inevitably stumbling upon the various street performers and buskers. This is a favorite part of the day, as our boys love to stop at every act from the silver man to the tap dancers to clown magicians. As much as they enjoy all the little performances, their favorite part is dropping a few dollars in the buckets to tip the entertainers. For this reason, my husband and I make sure to bring some dollar bills.

I love this day because it’s easy. It requires no advance planning. You can make it as long or as short as desired. And, you can keep the cost to a minimum, or you can add in a trip to the aquarium, lunch at Maspero’s, and some shopping on Royal. The entire excursion is customizable and all about enjoying each other during a beautiful time of year in New Orleans. It may not sound like much, but we love that it’s so laid back but packed with local flavor.

Alyson lives in Metairie with her husband, Patrick, their 8 and 6-year-old boys, and their Morkie, Beignet. After teaching for almost ten years, she left a career in education, earned her BSN, and now works as a pediatric emergency nurse. In her free time, Alyson enjoys flipping furniture, writing, dancing, and painting. She is always looking for a racquetball partner and loves streetcar rides and playing board games with her family. A good cook, she is constantly on a quest to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” but has thus far been unsuccessful.

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