NOLA for 20th Anniversary, with 12 year old.
November 16, 2016 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Planning a first (and likely only) trip to New Orleans for the 1st week in April. We will celebrate our anniversary, but also have our 12 yr old son along. Having read older questions, I'm still looking for tips, suggestions for specific tours, etc and wondering what a reasonable timeline would be.

For the purposes of this trip, we are looking to be tourist-y and not terribly off-the-beaten-track types. We intend to eat ALL THE THINGS. My husband wants to stay in the FQ, and we'd like a room with a balcony. I'm looking at the Bourbon Orleans but very open to suggestions (I assume we should avoid the actual street when out with the boy?) We will not have a car. I'm thinking Mon-Fri (includes flying cross-country.)
Things we're thinking about:
Anniversary lunch at Commander's Palace, tour Garden District and St Louis Cemetery #1
Some sort of haunted tour
Possibly the WWII museum (we are Civil War and WWII reenactors, so we've seen a lot of that stuff)
Plantations? See above
Son wants to go on an airboat tour
Creole Queen paddleboat to the War of 1812 battlefield
Any specifics in the FQ?

Any and all personal recommendations are appreciated! There are so many tour companies and so much to do it's hard to narrow it down. Thanks!!
posted by Cloudberry Sky to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I recently stayed at the Inn on St. Peter in the French quarter and found it quite reasonable when booking out in advance, though we were staying in one room with one bed. That said the place was awesome, we loved the room and having a balcony to sit out on was amazing.

Food wise, my partner and I had some of the best meals of our lives. I'd definitely recommend Commander's Palace and the Caribbean room if you're looking for amazing food. Both of those places were out of this world. As well, we went for our anniversary brunch to Brennans, they were amazing, offered us free champagne, had a ribbon on the table, every one wished up a happy anniversary. I imagine that since Commander's is the same restaurant group it would be a similar experience once they know it's your special day :).

As well,mail me your email address if you'd like, my friend has a compiled list of some of the best things to do and eat, and I found it indispensable for planning my own trip.
posted by Carillon at 8:36 PM on November 16, 2016

I've done a few tours with these guys and almost always had a good time (save for once with a guide who suddenly turned Confederate apologist). There are so many haunted tours in the FQ that you don't need to do much advance planning. The Garden District and St Louis Cemetery #1 tours were memorable. Just walking around the FQ, day or night, can turn up some fun.

The shows at Preservation Hall are truly awesome, intimate, and of a length that even a 12 year old can handle. (No booze.)

Plantation tours can be great though renting a car is vastly preferable to one of the bus packages. We did four in a long day, which was probably too much but we enjoyed each of them.

Food is as good as advertised.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 8:45 PM on November 16, 2016

And not far from the WWII Museum is the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum. I've never been inside, but the building itself is eerie.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 8:48 PM on November 16, 2016

I always recommend The Richelieu for lodgings. It's on the opposite side of the quarter from the most touristy parts, but the quarter isn't that big. Plus, yeah, Bourbon is fine during the day, but too full of drunks at night for a 12-year-old. Closer to Frenchmen, it's nicer and easier. The Richelieu isn't top-flight, there are more luxurious hotels (I adore The Monteleone), but it has charm that I think is worth it. We had our wedding in the quarter, and had the party (and ourselves) stay at The Richelieu, which I'm only saying to reinforce that it's great.
posted by Pacrand at 8:51 PM on November 16, 2016

And my absolute favorite meal in the USA is the BBQ shrimp poboy at Laiuzzas By The Track. Should not be missed.
posted by Pacrand at 8:53 PM on November 16, 2016

Make a day trip to Plantation Laura.
posted by brujita at 9:38 PM on November 16, 2016

The sculpture garden at NOMA has free entry.

If you're going to rent a car to visit a plantation may I suggest Whitney Plantation which actually focuses on the slaves that were present and doesn't just kind of sweep their existence under the rug like so many other plantations do.
posted by komara at 9:41 PM on November 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

In the French Quarter, visit The Historic New Orleans Collection. In the first week of April there will be an exhibition on the history of retail in the Quarter, and one on Jazz and Storyville (opening Wednesday the 5th). It's free! Disclosure: I work here. :)
posted by CheeseLouise at 8:00 AM on November 17, 2016

I would definitely go on a swamp tour. They're super fun. There are several ones and I don't recall a major difference between them. I would actually go on a regular boat, not an airboat, because the airboats are really loud and detract from the experience.

I never got a chance to go to the Insectarium but I heard it's really cool.

Unless your son realllly likes history, he's probably not going to love a plantation tour. I went once with my parents when I was like 19 and I was really bored. OTOH, the WWII museum is pretty cool.

For fancy restaurants, I much prefer Palace Cafe to Commanders. Same family, amazing food, but less stuffy atmosphere.

Also, skip the line at Mother's and get your po-boys from Parkway. A little out of the way but worth it.

I also agree that you might not want to stay right on Bourbon. It's so crazy at night.
posted by radioamy at 8:01 AM on November 17, 2016

If you're doing a cemetery tour, please book here because the money actually goes to help preserve the cemeteries.
posted by Ruki at 8:21 AM on November 17, 2016

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