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Things to Do

Things to Do for Teens in New Orleans

Under 21? No problem.

gasa gasa new orleans freret street
Catch a variety of great live music at Gasa Gasa on Freret Street for ages 18 and up. (Photo: Susan Whelan)

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:

Segway Tours  Teens might get jaded with your average walking tour, but a Segway tour around the French Quarter keeps things interesting. Or, give bike tours (or bike rentals) a spin. 

Riding bikes through the French Quarter. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

State Museums at Jackson Square  Jackson Square is a great jumping-off point, where the Cabildo and Presbytere museums are just steps away.

Riverboat Tour  From the museums, teens can stroll over to the Mississippi River and take a ride on the Creole Queen or Steamboat Natchez, a thrilling way to see the city skyline.

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…) .

Steamboat Natchez. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

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).

Ample swamps around New Orleans are ideal for teens to explore by airboat or kayak. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

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.

Lafitte Greenway  Another great way to let ’em enjoy the great outdoors is to rent bikes or hike the Lafitte Greenway, the fresh new path connecting Armstrong Park to City Park.

City Park  With the Botanical Gardens, City Putt, bike paths and the New Orleans Museum of Art, teens could spend a day at City Park alone.

An ancient oak tree in City Park. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Eat & Drink

Teens and tweens can be picky eaters, but these restaurants are guaranteed crowd-pleasers (even that crowd is finicky). 

Beignets from Cafe Du Monde   One of the most iconic spots in the city and perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. Cafe du Monde is a must — just remember it’s cash-only.

Elizabeth’s  Praline bacon. What’s more delightfully decadent than that?

Praline bacon at Elizabeth’s. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

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.

Order your Dat Dog hot dog with a side of crawfish etouffee fries. Trust us. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

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.

Music

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! 

A local legend, Rock ‘n’ Bowl Mid City Lanes offers free shoe rentals during family bowling, Mon – Thurs, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Photo via New Orleans Tourism Marketing)

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.

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