Whether you're scouting potential colleges or dropping an incoming freshman off to start the school year, this transition is a truly special time for families. A bittersweet milestone that marks the closing of one chapter before embarking on the next and New Orleans is the perfect place to explore bridging that gap.
New Orleans has the benefit of big-city amenities, whether it be access to unique, world-class cultural resources and experiences or incredible restaurants at a variety of price points, while also having the accessibility of a smaller, college town. It’s easy to navigate, making New Orleans the ideal environment to live, learn and grow for students, while also providing an enjoyable backdrop for parent and family visits throughout the year. See our picks below for how to make the most of your family’s higher-ed scouting trip to NOLA.
This historic streetcar route conveniently takes you right to the front doors of both Tulane and Loyola universities. After you’ve finished your campus tours, spend some time soaking up the views of the charming St. Charles Avenue, Audubon Park, and the entire Garden District. Explore even more with our streetcar itinerary, which breaks activities down by route, and is a great resource for making the most of this historic (and fun) means of public transportation.
If you plan on taking the streetcar a few times, we recommend downloading the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority’s official app, Le Pass. You can get real-time updates on bus and streetcar schedules, purchase single fares, or go all-in with a Jazzy Pass ($3 for unlimited single-day rides or $8 for unlimited three-day rides). Learn more here.
New Orleans is known for its array of Creole and Cajun classics made with Gulf-fresh seafood and plenty of herbs and spices. Try one of the city’s traditional dishes or dine at one of the city’s most iconic restaurants. If your child ends up at one of the Uptown universities, it’s safe to assume they’ll be spending a lot of time along nearby Freret Street. Dat Dog, Bearcat (which also offers vegan fare) and Vals are favorites among local college students.
If you’re visiting University of New Orleans, Southern University at New Orleans, or Dillard University, check out our guides to Gentilly and nearby Lakeview. You can find fresh seafood with waterfront views at places like Blue Crab or Felix’s, or classic New Orleans cuisine at The Munch Factory, PeeWee’s Crabcakes on the Go, or The Original Fiorella’s.
Outside of the classroom, there are many ways for students in New Orleans to learn and enjoy the city. Countless museums, art galleries, theaters, and more make the Crescent City a stomping grounds for culture, excitement, and discovery.
Explore the New Orleans Jazz Museum with your soon-to-be music industry major, the Audubon Nature Center, botanical gardens, or bayou swamp tours with your young biology buff. NOMA, Studio Be, and the Ogden Museum are all perfect for art aficionados, and history lovers are sure to enjoy the National WWII Museum, Le Musee de fpc, The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, or the Cabildo.
It wouldn’t be a trip to New Orleans without some live music. Even if you’re kids are under 21 (or even 18), there are still plenty of ways to experience the city’s world-renown music scene. Historic Preservation Hall is a must-see for any visitor to the city, but you can find even more ideas for where to hear music at any age here.
While New Orleans may be known for our famously warm summers, the weather is New Orleans is mild and typically pleasant during the school year. From Bayou Saint John to City Park, there are plenty of picture-perfect outdoor and recreational activities in New Orleans. Whether it's kayaking along the Bayou, picnicking near the Fly, or a simple stroll through the timeless French Quarter, the outdoors are ideal for fun in the sun.
And should your child decide that NOLA is the place for them, we’ve even got an empty-nester’s itinerary–giving you even more to get excited about exploring in your potential new home away from home. You can also sign up for our monthly eNews, which will keep you in the know on upcoming events, insider itineraries, and things to do.