With its legendary music, nightlife, and laissez faire atmosphere, New Orleans is where adults go to rediscover their youth. And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sacrifice your “big kid” plans to accommodate for the real kids in the family. There are tons of things to do in here that are available to anybody — teens, tweens, and everyone in between. But with teens in particular in mind, take a look at things to do in New Orleans that the whole family (even the hard-to-please) will love.
Things to Do for Teens in New Orleans
See & Do
Swamp tours, steamboat tours, Mardi Gras World, the National World War II Museum… all of these centrally located activities provide hours of fun-filled exploring. With these suggestions, they’ll be anything but bored:
Ghost Tours — New Orleans has plenty of ghost stories that will make you quiver, but some tours are more educational than paranormal in nature. Try a tour by New Orleans Teenagers — they’ve got options created just for teens and tweens that explores New Orleans’ history through the eyes of a teenager (including the same teenage woes since time immemorial: school, dating, parents, fashion…) .
The Swamps — Take a day trip and jump on an airboat or swamp tour to get up close and personal with Louisiana wildlife. Because who doesn’t want to pet an alligator? Teens with a budding interest in ecology will love the Lost Lands Environmental Tour.
Mardi Gras World — This massive warehouse takes teens behind the scenes of our world-famous festival without the stress of the crowds (and need for adult supervision).
The National World War II Museum — Most history museums can get a little boring, but The National World War II Museum (repeat: it’s the definitive World War II museum for the entire nation) has interactive digital experiences that actually make you feel like you’re traveling back in time.
Eat & Drink
Teens and tweens can be picky eaters, but these restaurants are guaranteed crowd-pleasers (even that crowd is finicky).
Elizabeth’s — Praline bacon. What’s more delightfully decadent than that?
New Orleans School of Cooking — The whole family can take a cooking class at this famous French Quarter spot.
Snowballs — Go ahead, let the kids start a snowball fight with these refreshing sweet treats that will put everyone in a good mood.
Dat Dog — Dare your teen to order a crawfish sausage dog. It’s extremely delicious, uniquely New Orleans, and very Instagrammable.
Mocktails — NOLA has mastered the art of the cocktail — with or without the alcohol. While mom and dad sip the real deal, teens and tweens can feel oh so sophisticated with a mocktail at the Columns Hotel or the Windsor Court.
Preservation Hall — All ages are welcome at this famous French Quarter spot, where you can find local jazz legends playing on any night of the week.
Rock ’n’ Bowl — Head to Mid-City for Cajun music, dancing, and bowling for the whole family. You can save a few bucks, too: Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. is “Family Bowling” — shoes are free!
Concerts — Some of the most popular venues around town open up their doors for prepaid concerts. So while the adults can access the full bar, teens can still get that quintessential New Orleans music experience. Check out the schedule for the New Orleans Jazz Market (my favorite family-friendly theatre), or try these suggestions for live music under 21.