New Orleans, LA
All That Jazz
Child at Jazz Fest,
copyright New Orleans
Plan to spend most of your time in the French Quarter, New Orleans' heart and soul. With its narrow streets and mix of French and Spanish architecture, this 70-block enclave is steeped in Old World charm. Plus, it has a colorful past that includes pirates, voodoo queens, Spanish baronesses, and French conquerors.
Despite its size, the French Quarter is very walkable, even for smaller kids. But be prepared for sensory overload. There are many sights, sounds, and smells calling for attention; you could easily spend the whole weekend here:
- Street performances. Jazz bands, tap dancers, jugglers, magicians, mimes, and human statues draw crowds to Jackson Square day and night. As part of the ongoing fanfare, street artists draw caricatures and palm readers tell each family member's fortune.
- Mule-driven carriage rides. They're quaint, folksy, and a great way to sneak in a history lesson. A half-hour clip-clop ride will take you past all the famous French Quarter landmarks including St. Louis Cathedral, the statue of Andrew Jackson, the Old Mint, and William Faulkner's house.
- Cajun and Creole cooking. For the budding chef in the family, a demonstration lunch class at the New Orleans School of Cooking teaches Cajun and Creole basics. Host-chefs kick it up a notch with trivia and tall tales. Pass the gumbo, jambalaya, and bread pudding, please.
- Pastry anyone? A visit to New Orleans isn't complete without a stop at Cafe du Monde for its signature beignets (pronounced bin-yays) and cafe au lait. Trust us: Even the fussiest of eaters won't pass on the puffy, square-shaped fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Drop in on Frankenstein at the Musee Conti Wax Museum. Like most wax museums, this one's a bit spooky. That's precisely why Goosebumps readers and history buffs will think the 154 wax figures are awesome. The museum takes you through 300 years of New Orleans' history. The tour ends at the Chamber of Horrors, an exhibit of ghouls right out of the Literature books. Besides Frankenstein, you can say hello to Cyclops, Dracula, and the Phantom of the Opera.