Traveling to New Orleans with teens and looking for the best things to do in New Orleans with teenagers? This guide to New Orleans for teens has the coolest attractions, things to do, must-eats, and even recommendations for best New Orleans teenager tours. This guide will also prove helpful if you are traveling to New Orleans with tweens. You may also like our 3 Days in New Orleans Itinerary for couples and families.

Not many visitors think of New Orleans as family-friendly. However, the Big Easy is perfect for vacationing families and those traveling with kids and teenagers. We love traveling to the city with our kids and extended family, including nieces and nephews. In fact, we visit New Orleans 3 to 4 times every year and it is one of our favorite cities for a vacation.

A New Orleans vacation with teenagers has the potential to be lots of fun but also can go downhill quickly if you don’t plan it around their interests.

New Orleans is an especially tricky city to navigate with a teenager in tow. For adults, the city is made for fine-dining, sipping cocktails, and listening to jazz  – all quality time activities while the typical teenager wants high energy outdoor activities.

If you have two to three days in New Orleans with a teenager, then we suggest taking the time to explore different neighborhoods every day including the French Quarter, Garden District, Uptown, and Algiers Point.

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If you have less time, the city highlights can be easily seen on an awesome hop on-hop off tour in an open-top bus that will cheer all teenagers. New Orleans also has a few targeted teenager tours – Cajun Kids tour is for the entire family while the New Orleans kids walking tour is for kids only and ends with beignets!

But if you are looking for other meaningful ways to explore the city, there are plenty of things to do in New Orleans with teens – once you know where to look!

Best Time to visit New Orleans with teenagers

New Orleans is an ideal destination year-round. The city has mild winters and its hot summers are nowhere as hot or intolerable as compared to Texas, Arizona, or Florida.

In the summer season, you will find events and happenings all over the city. Tourists flock to New Orleans during the school vacations – hence you need to book your tickets well in advance if traveling to New Orleans during major summer holidays like the 4th of July.

In summer, find Crawfish Bloody Mary at French Quarter Tomato Festival

New Orleans is also quite popular during the Holiday season and if you happen to visit during this time, you will find the French Quarter beautifully decorated in Christmas wreaths and ribbons and poinsettias.

The most crowded, popular, and happening time to visit by far, however, is Mardi Gras Day. If you are planning a trip to Mardi Gras then we suggest booking your hotels and making other reservations in the previous summer or fall. Yes – that’s how early the hotels get booked out!

Where to stay in New Orleans

Our favorite place to stay in New Orleans is the French Quarter. While the Quarter is generally known for its rambunctiousness – it also has many family-friendly hotels. One thing to keep in mind while booking a hotel in the French Quarter: the room sizes of almost all hotels are small.

Mostly you will find rooms with two doubles instead of two queen beds and it might suit your needs better to just get two rooms. We often do that with our two kids – especially if we are in NOLA for long – that makes the stay more comfortable for us all. Another thing to remember is that if traveling by car – parking will set you back quite a bit.

Our favorite by far is the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. This elegant hotel has a lot of character and an amazing location right off Bourbon Street. We have stayed here quite a few times and love the grand lobby. It also has a nice big pool which is a hit with the kids. All the partying noise does not penetrate the building, especially if you get the Courtyard View room.

Lobby of Bourbon Orleans Hotel during our Christmas trip

Another great option is Dauphine Orleans. It has a quaint New Orleans charm and is great for families, plus is a 5 minutes walk from Jackson Square and Cafe Du Monde. A good budget option is the Best Western French Quarter – they also provide cribs upon request and have a great location with a quiet pool area. Courtyard by Mariott French Quarter is also a good option – you can even book a king suite with two king beds.

For a little more luxury and comfort – bigger rooms and modern decor – consider some of the splurge hotels in the French Quarter. Hotel Hyatt Centric New Orleans is a wonderful property with good amenities. The Omni Royal Orleans Hotel is also good with big rooms and nice facilities.

For historic ambiance, try Hotel Monteleone. Many famous people have stayed here including Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Tennesse Williams, and Faulkner. The hotel is famous for its legendary guests, a rotating Carousel Bar – only one of its kind, and the rooftop swimming pool. The hotel is very family-friendly and great for the kids.

View from the New Orleans river cruise

Things to do in New Orleans with teenagers

Here are some of the very best points of attraction and activities for teens in New Orleans.

People watch in Jackson Square and explore surrounding buildings

Start your day in New Orleans at the famous Jackson Square in the French Quarter. This square is named after Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. There are so many things to do with teens in New Orleans Jackson Square and people-watching is our favorite. You can see the statue of Andrew Jackson inside the square. Many historic buildings line Jackson Square and we recommend visiting them all.

At the center, you will find the iconic St. Louis Cathedral. You can visit the cathedral unless it is closed for a wedding or another private event. The Cathedral is beautiful inside out and the stained glass windows are worth a look. The buildings on either side of the Cathedral resemble each other and contain the Louisiana state museums.

St Louis Cathedral as seen from Jackson Square

The Presbytere has two exhibitions: one on Mardi Gras and one on Hurricane Katrina. Both are great to visit. Teenagers will especially love looking at the splendid Mardi Gras costumes, climbing up on floats, and looking at various throws. Hurricane Katrina is a great educational experience and is an intense exhibit about the devastation and rebuilding of New Orleans in 2005.

Another favorite of things for teenagers to do in New Orleans is the open-air artist colony in the square. You will find various types of artwork including acrylic paintings, digital artwork, wooden carvings, and lots more being sold here. This spot is also popular with temporary tattoo artists, palmists, jugglers, musicians, and magicians. We recommend watching the performances and tipping the artists to appreciate their efforts.

Artists selling paintings near Jackson Square

Admire the beautiful architecture of the French Quarter

After checking out the area around Jackson Square, venture inside the narrow streets of the French Quarter. Most of the French Quarter has beautiful architecture and is, contrary to what you hear, very family-friendly.

The only areas where partying is prevalent and the atmosphere is not suitable for kids is on the two blocks of Royal and Bourbon Streets. We would also recommend avoiding this area of the French Quarter during Mardi Gras and late at night.

Taking a stroll through the French Quarter with our kids and exploring the unique shops, museums, and art galleries are among our favorite things to do in New Orleans. The French Quarter has beautiful architecture with wrought iron balconies and overhanging ferns and flowering plants, lots of history, and is a great place to visit.

We love taking a stroll through the French Quarter in the morning

Teenagers will love exploring the unique shops including voodoo shops, souvenir stores, and art galleries. If your teenager isn’t up for the walking, you can also take a horse-drawn carriage tour through the French Quarter. These tours originate in front of Jackson Square and give you a brief history of the French Quarter.

Or you can see the area by opting for bike tours – one of the best New Orleans teenager activities. Another tour that ranks top of things to do for teens in New Orleans plus is an instant hit is the Segway ride through the French Quarter. All kids love traveling on Segways and the tour is a perfect way to plan the trip keeping their interests in mind.

Bourbon Street during Pride Week

Eat the famous beignets at Cafe du Monde

Where do you take your famished teenagers after they have spent hours walking in the French Quarter? To eat beignets and drink coffee at Cafe du Monde!

Eating beignets at Café Du Monde is a New Orleans tradition as old as the city and one of the best things to do in New Orleans with tweens and older kids. The Cafe Du Monde eatery is open 24/7 and has only two things on the menu – beignets and au lait coffee.

Families with teenagers will enjoy the beignets – these sumptuous treats are fried French doughnuts liberally dusted with powdered sugar. Your teenagers will also love the iced Cafe Au Lait – chicory blended coffee. That doesn’t mean these treats are things to do for teenagers only – you will see adults everywhere eating beignets and drinking Cafe Au Lait with the same enthusiasm as your hungry kids.

Cafe Du Monde often has huge crowds and you will need to wait for seating – another option is to get your beignets and coffee to do. However, we do not recommend this as eating the beignets is a messy affair. We love going for a stroll along the riverfront park after eating the beignets.

Beignets and Cafe Au Lait at Cafe Du Monde

Take a walk down the Riverfront

We love taking a walk down the Woldenberg Riverfront Park. This is a wide, paved area along the river where you can walk or bike. The views of the river from the riverwalk are relaxing and we have often seen families flying kites, fishing, and playing frisbee here – all fun activities for teens!

Many sculptures are located along the park and my kids love to see the ships on the water and the Canal St tram as well as the city skyline from the other side. You can walk all the way along the Riverfront from the French Market to the Audubon Aquarium and the Riverwalk Mall Outlet shops.

The kids will be able to see a variety of ships on the water including cargo ships, shipping containers, and steamboats – you can see why this is one of the coolest things to do in New Orleans with a teenager!

In the busy summer season, you will find entertainers performing on the riverfront park. During New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations, French Quarter Festival, and for many other events, you will see special event stages along the riverfront and be able to participate in concerts, shows, etc.

Views from Woldenberg Riverfront Park on a cloudy day

Cruise down the Mississippi in a real steamboat

If you are wondering what to do with teens in New Orleans that involves more time on the water, then consider a river cruise! New Orleans’ location on the banks of the Mississippi makes it perfect for cruises along the river. Most of these cruises leave from the Woldenberg Riverfront Park area.

Families with teenagers will enjoy these cruises; many of them also provide meals including dinner cruises, lunch cruises, and jazz brunch cruises. These cruises offer great views of the New Orleans skyline and are one of the most fun things to do in New Orleans for teens.

The two most popular boats are the Steamboat Natchez and the Creole Queen. Steamboat Natchez is known as New Orleans only authentic steamboat and is big and beautiful. You can book a day river cruise in Steamboat Natchez; the tour is very interesting for tweens and teenagers. The Creole Queen is a beautiful historic Paddlewheeler with a 24-foot diameter paddlewheel that churns the water.

Steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi

Looking for what to do in New Orleans with teens on a budget? Don’t spend the money on a cruise – instead experience the mighty Mississippi River and see the views of the city from the water through the budget-friendly Algiers ferry. This ferry is New Orlean’s equivalent of Staten Island ferry and the ride lasts about 10 minutes. The ferry used to be free, but now costs $2 for pedestrians and you can return from Algiers Point to New Orleans side via the return ferry.

If you are taking the ferry, we recommend checking out Algiers Point, the city’s second-oldest neighborhood. There are lots of things to see in this historic neighborhood including the impressive Algiers Courthouse building, beautiful Creole houses, Jazz Walk of Fame, and the Duverje Plantation House.

Algiers Ferry and the skyline

Shop and dine at New Orleans French Market

The French Market is one of our favorite places to rest and duck inside to escape heat or rain in New Orleans, making it one of the best indoor things to do with teenagers in New Orleans.

The French Market is 6 blocks long and has a variety of shops, eateries, and flea market stalls. The French Market also holds many events including the Creole Tomato Festival where you can eat green fried tomatoes and drink a variety of Bloody Mary’s.

We recommend starting at the Joan of Arc statue opposite the Market Cafe. Then wander down the shops and find your favorite ones. You will find lots of arts and crafts stalls by local artists, bookstores selling books by local authors including Anne Rice and her famous Vampire Chronicles books for young adults, fresh produce at the Farmer’s Markets and candy stores selling New Orleans famous pralines.

The French Market is a great place to shop

Towards the end, you will find many food shops and eateries. Two of our favorites include the Holy Crepe for awesome crepes and the sno ball stand for refreshing New Orleans style sno balls.

Our kids love the sno balls and can’t get enough. We have tried several different ones on various occasions and I love the cucumber melon one. You will also find oysters, crawfish, creole food, a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, roasted corn, boiled peanuts, and lots of other delicious food here.

Not many visitors check out the Flea Market at the end of the French Market. However, this is my personal favorite and you will find everything from t-shirts, dresses, jewelry, hats, wooden toys, and more. My son’s favorite stop is the ‘Bricks & Boards’ stall selling custom lego figurines.

The figurines sell anywhere from $5 to $20 depending on the uniqueness. If you are with teenagers in New Orleans, they will love the variety and can find some of their favorite characters here – including Darth Vader minifig, Tron minifig, Ironman, Spiderman, and even dinosaurs.

Find the amazing minifigs in French Market outdoor stall ‘Bricks & Boards’

Take a ride on the ‘Streetcar Named Desire’

New Orleans Streetcars are a historic icon of the city. The streetcars became more popular after Tennesse Williams wrote the play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ around them. We like to take the day pass at $3 and ride to our heart’s content – super budget-friendly teenage activities!

The streetcar route that is most popular with tourists is the St. Charles route. This is the longest route and also the oldest continually operated rail in the world. The streetcars used on this route are vintage cars and taking a ride in them is lots of fun. You can take the St. Charles route at Canal Street origin stop.

We recommend taking this line and reaching the Garden District to see the mansions and the cemeteries. This line will also take you to Audubon Park and Zoo if you wish to go there. We also love taking a ride on the Riverfront line – starting at the French market and going to Cafe du Monde, river cruise ticket station, Harrah’s Casino, Riverfront Mall, etc and back.

Historic St. Charles Street Car

Admire the mansions of Garden District

The Garden District of New Orleans is famous for its mega-mansions, St Charles Avenue, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, and Commander’s Palace restaurant. The restaurant is one of NOLA’s best and requires advance reservations to dine here.

Ride the streetcar to the area and then walk the streets looking at the beautiful historic homes: these grand mansions have striking architecture and beautifully landscaped yards. Here you will find Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne. If you look closely at the many mansions, you will find unique decorative elements including a cornstalk fence, spiked fences, gas lights, wrap-around porches, and ornamental fountains.

We also recommend stopping by the Rink shopping mall – our favorite area of the Garden District. There is one of the coolest indoor places in NOLA and has lots of boutiques, bakeries, and stores. Stop at Still Perkin’ coffee house for iced mochas and step inside the Garden District Bookstore. This is a delight for book lovers and your teens can pick up signed copies of books by Anne Rice.

Mansions of Garden District

Eat desserts and more on Magazine Street

Magazine Street is located adjacent to the Garden District and Uptown area and has lots of stuff to do for teens. This street is our go-to-place for sugary desserts. This is a hip and trendy street with many upscale eateries, restaurants, boutique stores, antique shops, art galleries, tattoo parlors, and Creole houses.

We usually visit either Sucre or La Boulangerie Bakery to satisfy our sweet cravings. Sucre has amazing macaroons and a variety of sundaes while La Boulangerie has amazing bread, pastries, and sorbets. If you are hungry for more, try Dat Dog for hotdogs or Mahoney’s for po’boys. Here you will also find Shaya: one of the best New Orleans restaurants serving Israeli food.

Before leaving, stop by The Bead Shop – dedicated to jewelry making supplies and tools. The store also has jewelry making classes and is one of the fun places for teens to go if they are interested in learning to make their own jewelry. But the best part is looking at the variety of Mardi Gras beads on display.

Inside La Boulangerie on Magazine Street

Buy Cajun-inspired and sci-fi books or walk in literary footsteps

New Orleans has an amazing literary history and connection and is great for book crazy teens. There are so many fun places for teenagers to go including the statue of Ignatius Reilly and the famous Hotel Monteleone where many famous authors stayed including Hemingway, Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, and John Grisham.

The city also has many amazing bookstores. The Garden District Bookstore is my personal favorite followed by Faulkner House Books and Crescent City Books. I especially love Louisiana themed children’s books including Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud, P is for Pelican, and Three Little Cajun Pigs!

If your kids love sci-fi, then the coolest teenage hangout places are Crescent City Comics and Tubby & Coo’s Mid City Book Shop. Crescent City Comics has Marvel and DC Comics as well as other graphic comics, novels, and board games including Dungeons and Demons. Tubby & Coo’s Mid City Book Shop has a Harry Potter area, Star Wars Game Room, etc and is a wonderful place to spend a few hours.

Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans

Search for haunted sites in the Voodoo City

You wouldn’t believe it – but New Orleans has the reputation of being the most haunted city in the country. The city is famous for its many ghost stories, paranormal sagas, voodoo and occult shops, and haunted places. This reputation is further strengthened by the city’s above-ground cemeteries – popularly known as cities of the dead. The search for these spooky places and eerie happenings are sure to delight and fascinate New Orleans teens and tweens.

Many of these infamously haunted places are located right in the French Quarter. Drop inside Muriel’s Restaurant opposite Jackson Square and check out their haunted top room. Say hello to William Faulkner’s ghost at the Faulkner Bookstore. Even the St. Louis Cathedral is said to be haunted by the ghost of a pastor.

The best way to listen to all the ghostly backstories is to book a haunted city tour and visit the sites on a convenient guided walk. The ghost tour at night is one of the spookiest things for teens in New Orleans. Check out the 2 hr ghosts and vampires walking tour for the entire family and enjoy the paranormal world of New Orleans with your teenagers.

Teenagers will enjoy listening about ghouls, horrifying history, ghosts, and the macabre details and will love to brag about their haunted tour post-trip. Ghost tours are also a great way to visit New Orleans’ many neighborhoods after dark.

Window display of a voodoo shop in New Orleans

Go on a kayak or airboat tour and look out for alligators in the swamp

A short drive away from the mansions of Garden District and the balconies of the French Quarter is the world of Louisiana swamplands. These abundant and extensive wetlands are created by the Mississippi River as it finds its way towards the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the best teen things to do is to visit the wetlands and understand their geology at the Barataria Preserve of the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park. We have been to this preserve several times and love hiking its many trails.

We recommend starting your visit at the Visitor Center and see the various exhibits about the development and decline of these marshlands. A variety of wildlife resides in the swamps including gators, egrets, snakes, turtles, eagles, hawks, and deer.

Alligator in the swamps

Your budding scientists will love the lively swamp tours through the many marshes and bayous. Different types of swamp tours are available including unique airboats tours and kayak tours. Airboat tours are popular with teens – everything from the giant fan-powered boats to the loud noise and noise-protection headphones screams super cool. Most trip durations are for 2 hrs – perfect to keep your fidgety teenagers interested.

Kayak tours are also a great option for adventure-loving kids. You will explore the swamp with an experienced guide who knows his way around the waterways and can lead you safely. Many companies offer beginner swamp kayak tours, so this is perfect even if your kids have never kayaked before.

Turtle at Barataria Preserve

Experience the celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans

No trip to New Orleans is complete without experiencing Mardi Gras in some form – whether its beads hanging from trees on Magazine Street or visiting a mask shop in the French Quarter. Of course, the best is Mardi Gras Day celebration and parades! We have been to Mardi Gras twice now and loved every moment of it. Our kids and their cousins had fun collecting the throws and looking at the vibrant floats.

Even your teenager will love Mardi Gras – it is honestly one of the COOLEST things for a teenager to do in New Orleans! Compared to what you hear, New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations are family-friendly. Just skip the Bourbon and Royal Streets of the French Quarter and you will enjoy the biggest free show on earth.

Teenagers will love catching throws, beads, waving at the krewes and dressing up in masks and costumes. If you are traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, check out our Mardi gras in New Orleans Travel Guide.

Mardi Gras parade floats

If you can’t visit NOLA during the Carnival season, you can enjoy Mardi Gras year-round at the Mardi Gras World workshop/museum – another of the fun places for teenagers. Mardi Gras World is a massive warehouse where the beautiful parade floats are built and assembled. Other Mardi Gras related things including masks and costumes are also designed at Mardi Gras World.

We recommend booking your tickets for a tour and enjoying this best New Orleans attraction for teenagers. As we already mentioned, another great place to understand Mardi Gras’s history is the Louisiana State Museum at the Presbytere (next to St. Louis Cathedral). The museum is a national historic landmark and features Mardi Gras floats, parade costumes, throws, and other fun exhibits.

The night parade of Endymion is one of the most popular ones in New Orleans

Listen to jazz music and understand the history of the blues at the Jazz Museum

We believe that It’s never too early to introduce the kids to the finer things in life. A New Orleans trip is perfect to introduce your teenagers to jazz blues, history of this genre, and famous jazz musicians. If your kids already enjoy jazz, go to the Preservation Hall and listen to free jazz music. This venue allows listeners of all ages and is a good teen hangout for music lovers.

We also enjoy visiting the Jazz Museum in the Old US Mint building near the French Market in the French Quarter. The museum has interesting exhibits on famous jazz musicians including Professor Longhair, renowned female musicians, and how the genre originated in Congo Square of New Orleans. Included in your ticket is an entry to the small US Mint museum where you can see minting presses and other machinery. We found the exhibit quite informative.

Another great way to enjoy jazz is by visiting jazz clubs on Frenchmen Street. The BB Kings Blues Club welcomes teens and children as long as they are accompanied by adults. The atmosphere is also quite family-friendly. However some clubs need kids to be over 18 – so do your research before going. For the smaller fry, take them to a jazz brunch – the kids can eat to their heart’s content while appreciating the live music.

Listen to famous blues tunes inside the Jazz Museum

Get down and dirty at a crawfish boil

From February to June every year, New Orleans is popular for its Cajun-style crawfish boils. Crawfish boils are teenager style meals. They are boisterous, informal affairs and the crawfish are served on either newspapers or basic metal plates– everything a teenager will enjoy.

The crawfish are served with Cajun boiled corn and potatoes and can be ordered as spicy as you prefer. You can also feast on shrimp, crab, and other shellfish. If your kids have never eaten crawfish – let them enjoy taking their crawfish apart and sucking the meat from the head – delicious!

Try gumbo, jambalaya, Po-boy, and other delicacies of the Cajun cuisine

New Orleans is popular for its Cajun & Creole cuisine. This cuisine originated as a result of New Orleans’s unique history as a French-Spanish colony and has African influences due to a large slave population.

Teenagers will love to experiment with the new cuisine and try the iconic dishes including gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, and Po’Boy sandwiches. We especially love the Po’Boys – a tasty and flavorful sandwich served on crumbly French bread. These can be eaten on the go and are great for picnic lunches and while walking.

Cajun seafood boil

Crawfish etouffee is a New Orleans signature dish and must be tried by everyone. Or you can try chargrilled or Rockefeller oysters. We also love bananas foster french toast for breakfast or bread pudding to end the meal while in New Orleans.

New Orleans also has many food tours. Take the celebrated 3 hr food history tour and sample all of New Orlean’s best foods. If your teens are vegans or have food allergies, read our guide to the best Vegan restaurants in the French Quarter.

Learn about the Normandy D-Day Landing at the WWII museum

New Orleans World War II Museum is among the best military history museums in the country. The museum is big and focuses on the US contribution to WWII victory. It was initially known as the D-Day museum because of its focus on the Normandy Landings invasion. It is the perfect place to take warfare and battle crazy teenagers.

A big section is dedicated to the amphibious Higgins Boats used in the Normandy Landings. The museum also includes other military boats and carriers used in the Pacific during WWII. You can also see various aircraft used during the war, making this one of the best NOLA teen places to go.

There are many interactive exhibits, restored machines, and real bomber planes. The museum offers a great educational experience that will satisfy even the most demanding teenagers. You can purchase the tickets to the museum here.

Military vehicles used during WWII at the D-Day museum in New Orleans (Photo – Lynn F / Wikimedia Commons)

Go shopping at the outlet collection at Riverwalk Mall

If your teenager loves shopping, you will love the Riverwalk Mall! The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk Mall is the only urban outlet mall in the US. The mall has all teenager friendly brands including Aeropostale, Charlotte Russe, American Eagle Outfitters, Gap Factory Store, Skechers, Claire’s, Forever 21, and more.

The Riverwalk Mall food court is big and nice and sells daiquiri for adults to enjoy. And off course, there is a Cafe du Monde inside the food court to get your fix of beignets! You can even eat your food out by the river. We also enjoy the area outside the mall which has a big fountain and is very pleasant, especially in the evening.

Visit the Audubon Zoo or the Aquarium of the Americas

While not strictly teen stuff – if your teenager or preteen still likes visiting the zoos or aquariums or if your party also includes younger kids, then a visit to the Audubon Zoo or the Aquarium of the Americas is in order.

The Audubon Zoo is located uptown and is surrounded by the Audubon Park – a large 340-acre park with trees, play areas, and lots of space to run wild. The zoo has tigers, rhinos, monkeys, and other animals. It is one of the most popular things to do with tweens in NOLA.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas at the Riverfront

The Aquarium of the Americas is located near the Riverwalk at the edge of the French Quarter. It is one of the best 5 aquariums in the country. We especially love the 400,000 gallon Gulf of Mexico tank with its sharks, turtles, and stingrays and the 30-foot long walk through the tunnel.

Audubon Insectarium is also located near the aquarium and has many bug exhibits that will delight the children. It also has a colorful, whimsical Japanese Butterfly garden and scorpion pits.

Visit the above-ground cemeteries and understand why New Orleans is called the ‘City of the Dead’

New Orleans cemeteries are one of its most popular tourist attractions. The cemeteries In New Orleans have to be high above the ground vaults since the water table is very close to the surface. As a result, you will find elaborate tall mausoleums and crypts in unique shapes and sizes from the past centuries.

Above-ground cemeteries

Walking among the towering tombstones and reading the beautiful inscriptions is a great way to experience New Orleans cemeteries. These cemeteries are called the ‘City of the Dead’ and are a glimpse into the Crescent City’s past events like yellow fever that killed hundreds, including babies and children.

New Orleans has numerous cemeteries for exploration and they definitely add to New Orleans’ spooky reputation. If your teenagers love the spooky, eerie, and gory details then they will love visiting the cemeteries.

Most of the popular cemeteries can be visited on a guided tour. St Louis Cemetary #1 is the most popular one and can be visited only via a tour. This cemetery has the tomb of Marie Laveau, New Orleans infamous ‘Voodoo Queen” as well as tombs of other famous citizens.

Lafayette Cemetery tour includes a guided walk around the city’s oldest cemetery and the surrounding Garden District neighborhood. This cemetery has been the setting for many movies and is great for a walkthrough. You can even explore the cemeteries on your own but you won’t be able to understand all the history nuggets that tour guides can provide.

Walk under the moss-covered oaks at New Orleans City Park

New Orleans City Park is one of the best urban parks in the country. This 1300-acre large outdoor oasis will delight even the most tired and boisterous teenagers. If we are spending over 2-3 days in New Orleans, we like to sandwich a relaxing day at the City Park between two days of sightseeing.

The City Park is also one of the oldest parks in the US and has many live oak trees with pretty Spanish moss canopies. The park has many miles of walking and hiking trails and plenty of other attractions including the Carousel Gardens, Storyland, alligators, birds and botanical gardens among other things.

Storyland is interesting and fun for preteens and has fairytale characters popping out at every turn. The park also has a miniature of New Orleans streets and neighborhoods complete with streetcars and trains, which will be appreciated by the teenagers.

New Orleans City Park (Photo – Mr. Littlehand / Wikimedia Commons)

Kayaks and paddleboats are also available for rental at the lake inside the City Park and a cruise around the lake is one of the most fun things for teens to do in NOLA. Or you can rent a bike and cycle along the paths or enjoy a leisurely family picnic.

Tour a historic plantation and learn about the south’s antebellum past

Southern Louisiana has many historic, beautiful antebellum-style plantations and viewing them on a guided tour is one of the best things to do in New Orleans for teenagers. Most of these are located along the Great River Road and within an hour’s drive from New Orleans.

Plantation tours are a great way to understand the antebellum history of the south, view the stunning architecture of these homes, walk along oak-lined pathways, see the sugarcane/cotton fields, and understand about the slaves that worked in the fields. Most tours allow visitors to view the grand mansions from within; many others combine swamp tours with plantation tours for a full day of activities.

Some of the famous Louisiana plantations include Oak Alley Plantation, Whitney Plantation, Josephine plantation, and Laura Plantation. Oak Alley Plantation tour is one of the most popular ones because the Greek revival plantation home is opulent and beautiful and reminds one of Tara in the movie Gone with the Wind.

The tour takes visitors on a journey into the pre-Civil War era. Visitors can see its opulent rooms, walk around the estate, see the sugarcane fields, and learn about the history of the plantation.

Laura – A Creole Plantation along the Great River Road in Louisiana

Laura Plantation is a Creole plantation and was run by 4 generations of women. On a guided tour you will view the outhouses and slave quarters and understand about the owners. The on-site museum at Laura Plantation is also a poignant reminder of the past. The Laura Plantation is our personal favorite; it offers a great educational experience in New Orleans for teenagers.

Destrehan Plantation, the oldest plantation in the area, has a Slave Revolt museum on its premises. Whitney plantation’s Louisiana Museum of Slavery has many exhibits, an interactive video, and a history of slavery in the South and is one of the best slave museums in the country.

A look at slave history inside the Laura Plantation museum

View the city from above in a helicopter or hot air balloon ride

A helicopter or hot air balloon ride is guaranteed to excite the kids and is easily one of the best things for teens to do in New Orleans. The kids will love taking aerial photos and see the city from above while listening to the history of New Orleans.

New Orleans has many helicopter tours – the New Orleans sightseeing flight is a popular one with great guides and aerial views. Big Easy Helicopter tour is another great tour company. Their Downtown tours offer one of a kind experience and amazing views of the city.

Crescent City Helicopter tours allow passengers to take control of the helicopter and fly the machine. Their sunset tours and bird’s eye view of the city seen from the ride make these tours extremely popular and fun for teens.

New Orleans also has many hot air balloon rides which the entire family can enjoy. A hot air balloon ride is quite a different experience compared to planes and helicopters and kids are sure to enjoy the smooth, slow flight over the Crescent City.

Listen to jazz and have a chill time in NOLA!

Did you like our article on what to do in New Orleans with teenagers? Did we miss anything amazing that adolescents in New Orleans will love? Let us know in the comments!

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