Inside: The best things to do with teens in New Orleans, from food to shopping to swamp land fun!

I love traveling, especially with family. we recently took our teens to New Orleans and it was the most enjoyable city to travel with teenagers in tow. Between the amazing food, a few out of box experiences & the gorgeous culture our entire family had a blast!

New Orleans is such a wonder filled with so much history and culture, and of course, the best food too! Honestly, I feel like I always just vacation for the food, especially with my high school aged son. 😉

Here are just a few of the awesome things we did while there and a couple more ideas that I can’t wait to go back to try next time. Have you ever been to New Orleans? What was your favorite part of your trip?

Things to do with teens in New Orleans

Depending on how long your trip to this southern coastal city is you may be able to get through a bit or all of this list! Either way, these ideas should give you the wiggle room you deserve to plan a fun trip.

If planning a trip with your teens is high on your list, but maybe the destination is still not set – here’s a list of our other city guides to explore as well:

Things To Do In New Orleans with Teens

Going on a trip with teens can be super fun when you plan it properly. There are several things to keep in mind when you go, and I will be giving you one tip per section.

The tip for our first stop is always to plan around food!

If you are going on a bike tour, either pack food or find somewhere to stop and eat.

1. Go on a Bike Tour

I put this first because it is the prime example of the perfect thing to do with teens on a trip. Do something that is adventurous, informative, and super fun.

Gumbo food tour best food to eat with teens in New Orleans

2. Eat Classic New Orleans Food

Matt and I are foodies, so naturally our kids are as well. We’ve started doing food tours on every trip we take and it’s always a shining moment for our entire family. We did this amazing tour with Dr. Gumbo that was both educational and yummy! The entire family enjoyed it. There are so many foods that are unique to this area it would be a shame not to try them all.

3. Swamp Tours

We did a swamp tour and it was just the most fun! 3 of the 4 of us had recently read Where the Crawdads Sing and getting to tour through the swamps brought this book to life for us all. Plus we got to see fun things like crocodiles and wild hogs roaming the swaps. Honestly, this was one of my favorite things because we felt like we were in another world.

Just make sure to braid your hair. Otherwise, you will end up with knots for days. 😉

We stopped toward the end of the tour to see the alligators just swimming around us and lounging on the sides of the river. It was one of the most unique travel experiences we’ve had as a family and one I will not forget anytime soon.

4. Visit the Snow Ball

This is a real place, and it is beautiful. I cannot wait to see this for myself when I go back next time.

New Orleans family trip swamp tour activity

5. Mardi Gras World

I think the coolest thing about New Orleans has to be the culture, and I think the fact that there is a Mardi Gras world speaks to that. If you are headed to the city not during the party time of the year, this is a fun way to see a piece of it anytime.

6. Go to a Festival

This one, you will have to plan around when you are going to be there, since we are still planning around the school schedules it didn’t work for us, but I think it would be so much fun to catch a festival while in New Orleans. Here’s the current calendar to check out what’s coming.

New Orleans best food with teens

7. Get Some Beignet Donuts

So we of course went to the original birth place of the authentic Beignet, but I have to tell you that this place actually had my favorite one! You can easily eat your weight in the fluffy versions of donuts this city loves.

8. Take a Segway Tour

Segway tours might take some skill, but if you are confident in your ability and your teen’s ability to steer, I think you are in the clear. Hey, that rhymed!

9. New Orleans Theater

If your teen loves the theater, what better place to bring them to see some drama? The New Orleans theater looks too legit. I am excited.

10. Haunted Tour

Okay, is one is very cool, but it isn’t for the faint of heart. If you love spooky stuff, this is a fun evening activity that takes you to some places (think cemeteries) that you may not venture to otherwise. There is quite a lot of voodoo folklor in this town and this would be a fun way to see it all.

11. Audubon Zoo and Aquarium – 

I don’t think I will ever get tired of aquariums, so take your teens to go and see one! Anything that has an immersive experience.

Educational Things To Do

If you want some more enriching activities for your teens, this list is for you.

Tip Number Two:  Make sure you plan at least one day for an active rest day.

You don’t want to stress everyone out with an overpacked schedule. This is vacation, after all. 😉

Best shopping New Orleans

Extra Fun Things To Do in New Orleans with Teens

I wanted to end this list on a high note, so I added all of the extra fun ideas here.

Tip Number Three: Have your teen help you pick your itinerary.

This not only helps you find things that they want to do, but they get to feel included in the planning process. It is a true win-win.

22. Zip Nola – This is a pretty active thing, so just keep that in mind when planning your trip. I would schedule this as it’s own activity, along with some must-hit eat spots.

23. Loop Nola – Another active one, but I think you are up for it. Just make sure to stretch first, the last thing you want is to be sore on vacation.

24. En Direct USA – This is an important landmark for New Orleans, so I think it would be loads of fun to go and visit it.

25. Riverboat City of New Orleans – The fact that I am literally counting down the days to another trip to try this again, is hilarious to me. I am definitely hitting up this spot everytime I venture down to New Orleans.

Crab catching fun family activities gulf coast with older kids

26. City Park and Boat Rental – City Park and boat rental is an affordable place to be able to rent cute paddle boats to explore the waters of New Orleans.

Or go on a crab catch like we did by the coast! It was unforgettable for sure.

27. New Orleans Museum of Art – This would be such a fun one for teens to experience, even if they don’t know it. I remember having the best time at art museums that I didn’t even want to go to in the first place. Just make sure to have snacks.

28. Audubon Park – This one is free and affordable, so if you are trying to save money I think this is a wonderful option for you.

29. Pitot House – Super iconic house that your teens will love if they are a fan of history like mine are.

30. Toulouse Theatre – The interior of this theater is unmatched. Please check it out!

31. The Music Box Village – This idea is for those of you who love music. You need to spend some time at the music box village. This is on my list for sure.

I hope you enjoyed this list of the best things to do in New Orleans with teens. I know how hard it can be to plan a trip with your teenager that everyone will love. You never know what they want to do or how they are going to feel, but what you do know is how to have a good time. So focus on that! You are bound to have a great time, and so will your teen.

I think that the whole point of a vacation isn’t to squeeze as much out of it as possible but to relax and experience a new place. If you are rushing around, you don’t get to stop and appreciate the history and beauty of it.

If you are planning a road trip with teens, then you should get a kick out of some of my other articles. I have found the best things for teens to do in many places across the U.S.!