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Nicknamed the “Big Easy,” and known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene, and spicy, exceptional cuisine, New Orleans is nothing less than spectacular. While the city’s vibrant lifestyle is one of its major drawcards, its cuisine is another, reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. New Orleans is also home to a wide variety of attractions for children and their families, including the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, the Audubon Zoo, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, and the Audubon Butterfly Garden, and Insectarium.
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» Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
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The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is an aquarium in New Orleans run by the Audubon Institute and is home to over 10,000 animals representing 530 species. Located along the banks of the Mississippi River at the edge of the historic French Quarter, the Aquarium was opened in 1990 and features a selection of fascinating exhibits showcasing aquatic animals, insects, and birds from regions throughout North and South America. Notable exhibits include the Amazon, a humid, climate-controlled greenhouse which is home to freshwater stingrays, piranhas, macaws, and an anaconda; the Caribbean reef which boasts a variety of sea life; the Mississippi River gallery, showcasing catfish, owls, paddlefish, and a leucistic white alligator. The aquarium is also home to the Entergy Giant Screen Theater and habitats for African penguins and sea otters. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas also covers the Audubon Zoo, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and Audubon Park.
1 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 800-774-7394
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» The French Quarter
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The French Quarter (le Vieux Carré), also known as ‘The Quarter,’ is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans and steeped in history and heritage. Dating back to 1718, the district was established by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and grew around the central square of the Vieux Carré. Home to magnificent historic buildings, cathedrals, and famous jazz clubs, the French Quarter has a history that dates back 200 years and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Resting at the heart of the French Quarter is the 18th-century historical Jackson Square, formerly known as the ‘Place d’Armes’ and later renamed in honor of the Battle of New Orleans hero Andrew Jackson. Overlooking the Mississippi River, the square is surrounded by famous old buildings, including the St. Louis Cathedral, the Presbytere and Cabildo Museums, and the stunning Pontalba Apartments, as well as a plethora of restaurants, museums, cafés and art galleries.
New Orleans, LA 70130
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» Jackson Square
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Formerly known as "Place d'Armes" in the 18th century and later renamed as Jackson Square in honor Andrew Jackson who was a hero in the Battle of New Orleans, the historic Jackson Square is a beautiful space and popular tourist attraction in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans. Facing the Mississippi River and surrounded by historic buildings, including the Louisiana State Museums of the Cabildo and the Presbytere, and the magnificent St. Louis Cathedral, this famous landmark is packed with things to see and do. A favorite site for visitors and locals, the Square has shops, restaurants, cafés and coffee shops, galleries, museums and more, along with a renowned open-air artist colony who has been displaying their work on the square's iron fence for more than 50 years. Jackson Square is open seven days a week during daylight hours.
French Quarter, New Orleans
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» Louisiana Children's Museum
© Louisiana Children's Museum
The Louisiana Children’s Museum is a playful and educational place for children and their families to enjoy hands-on, interactive exhibits that encourage learning through play. Located in the Arts District/Convention Center, the museum boasts 30,000 square feet of immersive exhibitions that explore art, music, science, math, and health. Exhibits include the Little Port of New Orleans, which teaches children all about life in a ship; Eye to Eye which boasts a kid-sized eye clinic where children can pretend to be ophthalmologists or patients and learn about the eye’s anatomy and functions; and a pint-sized grocery store and café, where children can pretend to shop and be a chef in a five-star restaurant. The Louisiana Children’s Museum is on the first floor and sells a variety of playthings and toys, from games and puzzles to science kits and party tricks.
420 Julia St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-523-1357
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» Audubon Zoo
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The Audubon Zoo is a 58-acre zoo that forms part of the Audubon Nature Institute which also manages the Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, and Audubon Park. Named in honor of naturalist John James Audubon, the zoo is located in a section of Audubon Park on the shores of the Mississippi River in Uptown New Orleans and is home to 2,000 animals. Notable exhibits at the zoo include the Louisiana exhibit which features a rare white alligator with blue eyes, the swamp exhibit which is home to animals native to southern Louisiana such as black bears, river otters, raccoons, and nutria. The zoo is open year-round Tuesday through Sunday and Monday through Sunday in the spring and summer.
6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118, Phone: 504-861-2537
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» New Orleans Museum of Art
© New Orleans Museum of Art
Established as the Delgado Museum of Art in 1911, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is the oldest fine arts museum in the city. Situated in City Park, the Museum is home to a renowned sculpture garden and a magnificent permanent collection of almost 40,000 art objects. The collection, which has a distinct focus on French and American art, is made up of paintings, including works by masters of the School of Paris such as Picasso, Braque, Dufy and Miro, drawings, photography, glass, and African and Japanese works. The five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features over 60 sculptures dotted around a beautifully landscaped site and surrounded by winding footpaths, ancient oak trees, and pedestrian bridges, is one of the most important sculpture installations in the United States.
One Collins C. Diboll Circle, City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana 70124, Phone: 504-658-4100
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» Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
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The Carousel Gardens Amusement Park is a seasonally-operated amusement park located within the New Orleans City Park. The family-friendly theme park has been a family favorite for more than 100 years and has delighted children and their families with a variety of fun-filled rides such as a traditional Ferris wheel; a drop tower called the Coney Tower, the Live Oak Ladybug Rollercoaster, and a miniature train that tours the park. Carousel Gardens is home to one of the oldest carousels in the country known as the ‘Flying Horses’ which is one of only about 100 antique wooden carousels in the country and features beautifully carved horses created by famed carousel carvers Looff and Carmel. Other attractions in the park include the Rockin' Tug, Bumper Cars, Construction Zone, Scrambler, Tilt-A-Whirl, Red Baron Mini-plane, and Umbrella Cars.
7 Victory Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124, Phone: 504-483-9402
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» Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
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Located in the Old New Orleans Customs House in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Audubon Butterfly Garden, and Insectarium is an insectarium and entomology museum that is devoted to all tiny things that crawl, fly and walk. Based on the historical, white-marble columned structure on Canal Street, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium span 23,000 square feet and features over 900,000 examples of known insect species and their relatives. Visitors can explore the museum’s outstanding exhibits and displays and learn more about the insect world and their role on earth. The museum boasts a variety of presentations, including live insects and mounted specimens, as well as interactive experiences and hands-on displays, and trained, expert staff, are on hand to interpret and answer any questions.
423 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-524-2847
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» City Park
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City Park a 1,300-acre municipal park and urban oasis that has enchanted New Orleanians since 1854. One of the nation’s oldest urban parks and the 87th largest urban public park in the country, City Park features huge historical oak trees and picturesque moss canopies, sprawling green lawns and several walking, jogging, and biking paths. There are also 26 tennis courts and a new 18-hole links golf course within the park, as well as a beautifully maintained botanical garden and the open-air Besthoff Sculpture Garden which features an array of artworks and sculptures. Families can enjoy a wide range of activities, including the one-of-a-kind antique wooden carousel in the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, which has been a family favorite for nearly a century.
1 Palm Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124, Phone: 504-482-4888
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» Mardi Gras World Tour
© Mardi Gras World Tour
Mardi Gras World Tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Mardi Gras on a fantastic one-day tour of the Blaine Kern Studios, which is world-renowned for building magnificent parade floats for Mardi Gras and other parades all over the world. Knowledgeable guides lead visitors through the large studios, sharing the history of the unique and festive tradition of Mardi Gras, as well as providing a better understanding of the planning and work that goes into the annual parade. Visitors get to see how the massive floats and props are built and can explore the art behind the costume making before enjoying a complimentary slice of King Cake. Tours are offered seven days a week and run every 30 minutes.
1380 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-507-9319
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» The Cabildo
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Located on Jackson Square next to the St. Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo is a museum that showcases the rich and colorful history of New Orleans and Louisiana. Built between 1795 and 1799, the Cabildo served as the seat of government in New Orleans during the Spanish colonial period and today is one of the most historically significant buildings in America. The Cabildo features a variety of permanent and rotating exhibits that highlight the many cultures, ethnic groups, and nationalities that contribute to the cosmopolitan flavor of the city. The museum also boasts more than 1,000 artifacts and original works of art, including Eugene Louis Lami’s huge 1839 painting titled The Battle of New Orleans. Other works include portraits of famous Louisiana figures, engravings of nature artist John James Audubon, and a variety of interactive displays about the history of Louisiana.
701 Chartres St., Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA 70116, Phone: 504-568-6968
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» The National WWII Museum
© The National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum is a military history museum that highlights the contribution made by the United States to the Allied victory in World War II. Formerly known as The National D-Day Museum, the National WWII Museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and emphasizes the American experience in World War II. Located on Andrew Higgins Drive in the Central Business District of New Orleans, the museum has several notable features including the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion which boasts exhibits about the amphibious invasions of the Pacific War; the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion, the Solomon Victory Theater, the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, and the Campaigns of Courage Pavilion. Several permanent galleries document the Home Front, Planning for D-Day, and the D-Day Beaches through fascinating exhibits.
945 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-528-1944
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» The Natchez Steamboat
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The Natchez Steamboat is a traditional steamboat that offers daytime, dinner and jazz cruises up and down the Mississippi River. Owned by the New Orleans Steamboat Company, the Natchez Steamboat is the last authentic steamboat on the river and has been in operation since 1975. Cruises include dinner, Sunday brunch, harbor cruises, and the Riverboat City of New Orleans, and packages include Paddle & Wheel Combo and a Dinner/City Combo, which include an evening jazz cruise with dinner and sightseeing, and a Gray Line Super City Tour.
600 Decatur Street, Suite 308, New Orleans LA 70130, Phone: 504-586-8777
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» Emeril's New Orleans
© Emeril's New Orleans
Emeril's Restaurant is celebrated chef Emeril Lagasse's flagship restaurant located in a beautifully renovated pharmacy warehouse in New Orleans' Warehouse District. The timeless elegance and muted natural colors of the décor are broken up with splashes of colors from the artwork on the walls. The open kitchen is set like a stage, and diners can watch the drama involved in the creation of one of the chef’s masterpieces. Emeril’s is considered one of the finest restaurants in New Orleans, the city famous for its spectacular dining scene. The menu features Louisiana staples prepared with a contemporary twist and the chef’s individual flare. Don’t miss the incredible barbecue shrimp and legendary banana cream pie. Ask for the daily special and enjoy the best Emeril’s can offer.
800 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-528-9393
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» Cafe Du Monde
© Café Du Monde
Café du Monde is a world-famous open-air coffee shop and New Orleans landmark on Decateur Street in the heart of the French Quarter that has been serving freshly brewed coffee and warm, crispy beignets since 1862. Located at the end of the French Market directly across from Jackson Square, the popular tourist destination serves the original beignet, the state doughnut of Louisiana and a variety of coffees, including the New Orleans favorite of creamy café au laits. In addition to coffee and beignets, the iconic eatery’s menu also features hot chocolate, freshly-squeezed orange juice, iced coffee, and sodas. Café du Monde is open Monday to Friday.
800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, Phone: 504-581-2914
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» Ogden Museum of Southern Art
© Ogden Museum of Southern Art
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is dedicated to exploring the showcasing the visual arts and culture of the American South. Located next to Lee Circle in the Central Business District, the museum is associated with the University of New Orleans and features a collection of works from 1733 to the present by artists from or associated with fifteen southern American states, and the District of Columbia. The collection features over 4,000 works of all materials ranging from paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints to photographs, sculpture, wood, and crafts, and notable artists include Benny Andrews, Ida Kohlmeyer, Walter Andrews, Hunt Slonem, Clementine Hunter, William Dunlap, and George Ohr. The museum is also home to the Center for Southern Craft and Design, the Stephen Goldring Hall, the Clementine Hunter Education Wing and the Henry Hobson Richardson-designed Patrick F. Taylor Library.
925 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-539-9650
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» Leah's Pralines
© Leah's Pralines
Leah’s Pralines is a small, family-owned and operated the confectionary store with an old-fashioned vibe that has been selling handmade chocolates, pralines, and other sweet treats since 1944. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Leah’s Pralines is renowned for making handmade chocolates in an old-fashioned way and sells a wide variety of pralines, artisanal chocolates, frosted pecans, dessert sauces, peanut brittle, and a decadent bacon pecan brittle. Leah’s Pralines also offers catering services for special occasions such as weddings and celebrations and is open seven days a week.
714 St Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-523-5662
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» New Orleans Public Library
© New Orleans Public Library
The New Orleans Public Library is located in the Central Business District and encompasses three main floors and two sub-basements which are home to a comprehensive collection of books, music, and movies. Opened in December 1958, the library features several departments, including Information Services, Youth Services, Best Buy Teen Tech Center, Louisiana Division/City Archives & Special Collections, and YMCA Educational Services (YES!). The library also has an extensive research collection of various sources and presents New Orleans 300, which is a fascinating series of presentations, symposiums, workshops, book-signings, and readings with the aim of bringing the world of literature to life.
219 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112, Phone: 504-596-2560
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» Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
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Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is an expanse of land in the historically diverse Louisiana Mississippi River Delta that protects a rich array of natural and cultural resources endemic to the region. Named after the pirate, Jean Lafitte, the park consists of six physically separate sites, namely the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, the Barataria Preserve in Marrero, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery in Chalmette, the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux, and the French Quarter Visitor Center in New Orleans. Together, these six sections explore the history of the area and tell the story of the diverse cultures that inhabited and developed it. The headquarters of the park and preserve are in New Orleans at the French Quarter Visitor Center in the historic French Quarter and features interpretive exhibits and information on the history of New Orleans and the diverse cultures of Louisiana's Mississippi River Delta region.
419 Decatur Street, New Orleans, Phone: 504-589-3882
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» Lake Pontchartrain
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Lake Pontchartrain is an oval-shaped 40-mile wide lake in southeastern Louisiana covering 630 square miles and serving six Louisiana parishes and 1.5 million people. The second largest inland saltwater body in the United States, Lake Pontchartrain is an estuary that connects to the Gulf of Mexico and is crossed by the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which is the longest, straight bridge over water in the world. Formed over 5,000 years ago, the lake is part of a vast ecological system called the Pontchartrain Basin, which is renowned for its meandering rivers and bayous, tranquil swamps, and lush hardwood forests that provide essential habitat for countless species fauna and flora. The Pontchartrain Basin is also the beating heart of southeastern Louisiana's unique cultural heritage, supporting rural farming communities, and the fishing, shrimping crabbing, and oyster industries of New Orleans.
New Orleans, LA 70116
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» Mosquito Supper Club
© Mosquito Supper Club
Mosquito Supper Club is a gourmet Cajun restaurant in New Orleans, acclaimed in international publications such as Food and Wine, Garden and Gun, and Modern Farmer. The restaurant, which was opened in 2014 by executive chef Melissa M. Martin, serves up exclusive family-style dinners in a 19th-century homestead each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening for a maximum of 24 guests. Upscale menu options pay tribute to the region's seafood workers, highlighting dishes such as crawfish boulettes, fried soft-shell crabs, and shrimp and okra gumbo. Reservations are required for all meals. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, the restaurant also offers artisanal baked goods from Levee Baking Company.
3824 Dryades St, New Orleans, LA 70115, Phone: 504-517-0374
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» Creole Creamery
© Creole Creamery
Creole Creamery is an old-school, traditional American ice cream parlor in the heart of New Orleans that makes artisan ice creams and sorbets with fresh locally sourced ingredients every day. The parlor serves a wide variety of diverse flavors ranging from classic strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla to unusual tastes such as Lavender Honey, Nectar Cream Sherbet, Peanut Butter Fudge Pie, and Salted Caramel. Seasonal flavors include A Chocwork Orange, Apple Ginger Cobbler, Azuki Bean, Champagne Violette, Lemon Icebox Pie, Pear & Balsamic Caramel, and Strawberry Jalapeno Cheesecake. Ice cream lovers can enjoy a four-scoop mini sampler with a selection of flavors, as well as other sweet treats such as classic milkshakes, ice cream floats, and banana split sundaes. Creole Creamery also offers catering for special occasions.
4924 Prytania Street, New Orleans, LA 70115, Phone: 504-894-8680
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© Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
New Orleans is famous for its streetcars which are a fantastic way to see an explore the city. There are three different lines in the city – the St. Charles, Canal Street, and the Riverfront, each of which originates downtown and travel to various parts of the city. The St. Charles Line is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world and features mahogany seats, brass fittings and exposed ceiling light bulbs that harken back to a bygone era. Symbolizing the charm and romance of the City of New Orleans, the St. Charles Line has been operating along St. Charles Avenue and Carrollton Avenue for more than 150 years. The Canal Street Line travels into the Central Business District and Mid-City areas of New Orleans, and the Riverfront Line goes to New Orleans' most exciting attractions such as the French Market, the Riverwalk Marketplace, and the Aquarium of the Americas.
New Orleans, LA 70130
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» Swamp Tours
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Experience the timeless beauty of South Louisiana with a guided tour through the Louisiana swamps and bayous and explore the magnificent Jean Lafitte Barataria Preserve in comfortable custom-built swamp boats. Tours begin with a short drive across the Mississippi River in a motor coach before heading out into the swamps on flat swamp boats to see the waterways and the wildlife that resides within them, such as alligators, egrets, raccoons, nutria, and many species of snakes. All tours begin at the Gray Line "Lighthouse" Ticket Office in the French Quarter at the Steamboat Natchez Dock on Toulouse Street on the banks of the Mississippi River, and snacks and beverages are available to purchase.
Toulouse Street at the Mississippi River, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-569-1401
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» Crescent Park
© Crescent Park
Crescent Park is a 20-acre linear park that stretches for 1.4 miles along the riverfront in the Bywater area that boasts beautiful views of the river, the west bank, and the city skyline. Named for its location along the outside curve of the famous crescent on the Mississippi River, Crescent Park connects New Orleans and its communities to the riverfront and features wide paved walkway along the waterfront with benches and swings, a walking and running track, biking trails, grassy shaded picnic areas, beautifully manicured gardens with flowering plants, and spectacular unparalleled views.
Crescent Park Trail, New Orleans, LA 70117, Phone: 504-636-6400
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25 Best Things to Do in New Orleans with Kids
- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Photo: Courtesy of Semenova Jenny - Fotolia.com
- The French Quarter, Photo: Courtesy of Natalia Bratslavsky - Fotolia.com
- Jackson Square, Photo: Courtesy of flimages - Fotolia.com
- Louisiana Children's Museum, Photo: Louisiana Children's Museum
- Audubon Zoo, Photo: Courtesy of hfeveryear - Fotolia.com
- New Orleans Museum of Art, Photo: New Orleans Museum of Art
- Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, Photo: Courtesy of Brocreative - Fotolia.com
- Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Photo: Courtesy of Revilo Lessen - Fotolia.com
- City Park, Photo: Courtesy of jimbowie - Fotolia.com
- Mardi Gras World Tour, Photo: Mardi Gras World Tour
- The Cabildo, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- The National WWII Museum, Photo: The National WWII Museum
- The Natchez Steamboat, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Emeril's New Orleans, Photo: Emeril's New Orleans
- Cafe Du Monde, Photo: Café Du Monde
- Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Photo: Ogden Museum of Southern Art
- Leah's Pralines , Photo: Leah's Pralines
- New Orleans Public Library, Photo: New Orleans Public Library
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Photo: Courtesy of dejavudesigns - Fotolia.com
- Lake Pontchartrain, Photo: Courtesy of Kevin - Fotolia.com
- Mosquito Supper Club, Photo: Mosquito Supper Club
- Creole Creamery, Photo: Creole Creamery
- Streetcar, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Swamp Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Atomazul - Fotolia.com
- Crescent Park, Photo: Crescent Park
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of evenfh - Fotolia.com
Shops of the Colonnade - French Market
Once a Native American trading post that was founded in the 1700s, the world-famous French Market District is a bustling market in the vibrant French Quarter that spans six city blocks and is packed with diverse shops, award-winning restaurants, buzzing bars, and more. The market is home to some of the top restaurants in the city, including the Corner Oyster House Bar & Grill, The Gazebo Café, and Café Du Monde, which opened in 1862. The French Market features two bustling shopping areas including the Shops at the Upper Pontalba and the Shops of The Colonnade, which sell a range of goods from designer apparel to regional fine art and vintage statues, as well as a popular farmer’s market with year-round with endless selections. The French Market also hosts several festivals throughout the year such as the Creole Tomato Festival, the Downriver Festival, and the Harvest Festival.
1008 N. Peters Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, Phone: 504-636-6400