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The boys at the NFL Experience at the NOLA convention Center

 

Travel-Mommy: Family Trip to Super Bowl 47

Our family has always dreamed of attending a Super Bowl. We “soccer moms”just love  taking our families to major sporting events! So when we moved to Houston, we promised the children that we would make the road trip to New Orleans for the big game.

But, since tickets for a family of five are the cost of a half-year of college tuition, we opted not to attend the main event. The good news is that there are so many other fun affordable attractions to see that allow your family to still feel part of the Super Bowl Experience! Moreover, we couldn’t wait to show the Big Easy to the children.

New Orleans ranks as one of our favorite cities. We love the history, the architecture, the beautiful and muddy Mississippi and the warm and friendly residents. Everywhere we went people welcomed us especially the children. It is truly a great city for an easy and fun family vacation because major museums, the Aquarium, the Riverwalk and the French Quarter are walkable from most hotels. More importantly, New Orleans works with any budget since families can enjoy for free many of the cultural attractions. In addition, inexpensive restaurants abound and the New Orleans’ “po-boy staple” can be devoured for less than $3.

We balanced our visit with a blend of touring NOLA and attending the Super Bowl events.  We loved how you could feel the excitement in the air for both the big event and Mardi Gras. Residents gave away beads or plastic footballs on almost every corner from the French Quarter, to the Warehouse & Arts area to the Garden district.  At the end of the day, our daughter could barely hold her head up from the weight of the beads.

How amazing that after the power failure delayed play, the Super Bowl game gained momentum. Luckily, Joe Flacco and the Ravens withstood a determined 49ers comeback to win the Super Bowl. “No” our children did not accidentally flip the power switch because we were already driving home to Houston because of school the next day. The Verizon NFL Super Bowl “live streaming” App was sure handy for those traveling.

Super Bowl Specific Events:

NFL Experience: Only $20 for kids and $28 for adults buys you a full day of activities from commemorative movies, to autograph signing parties, to Xbox Family stations to Under Armour training grounds. Our daughter loved the arts and crafts sponsored by the NFL Play 60 which encourages kids to be active for 60 minutes a day to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.  Given our background as co-founders of our local school’s wellness team, we applaud the NFL for bringing such critical programming to our nation’s children.  

Super Bowl boulevard: Sponsored by Verizon in the beautiful Woldenberg Parkthis free event featured live concerts, sporting events and crafts for the children.  

Super Bowl Parks: CBS and ESPN held live tapings in the parks along Decatur and the children got a “kick” out of watching the announcers joke around.  All of the different staging areas must have helped “zap the power grid” during the game.

Parking & Lodging

  • General lodging: book your stay months in advance for a major event and use the concierge service of any of your credit cards especially VISA and AMEX. Try to find a hotel in walking distance of the attractions so you don’t need to pay for parking. Also, make sure you sign up for all hotel loyalty programs so you can reap the rewards
  • Sheraton New Orleans and the Crowne Plaza: are both nice, not outrageous & very central to everything
  • VBRO  or  Dwellable.com: are great options for rentals and B&Bs
  • Parking: try to plan ahead because parking is a bear in big cities.  For the Superbowl, we reserved all parking in advance on the host committee website
  • Navigating the traffic: make sure you check the host committee website to avoid blocked areas and how to best navigate to avoid the barrage of “are we there yet?”  from the back seat drivers. Don’t be afraid to reach out to Tourist offices for help via social media because they want families to have a great experience in their city.  The Super Bowl App on our Verizon Nokia Lumia Windows phone was very helpful too.

Restaurants: 

Adults: Mother’s is the New Orleans soul food joint that opened in 1938 and trumpets “the world’s best baked ham” on its menu.  Photographers caught Beyonce and Jay Z at the hot spot during the weekend. Meanwhile, other fine culinary options are the adventurous haute cuisine at Stella, the updated regional fare at Donald Link’ s Cochon, and such grande dame New Orleans restaurants as Commander’s Palace

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Family friendly options:

  • Café Du Monde: for famous beignets topped with mounds of powdered sugar and chocolate milk. Don’t wait in the long line for outside seating but go inside for a table in the malt shop area which is absolutely adorable. Avoid wearing black unless you want to wear powdered sugar all day
  • Port of Call: fantastic hamburger joint at the end of the French quarter
  • Central Grocery: for the amazing Muffaletta sandwich made with Provolone cheese, Genoa salami and Cappicola ham, and then topped with olive salad – chopped, green un-stuffed olives, pimientos, celery, garlic, cocktail onions, capers, oregano, parsley, olive oil, red-wine vinegar, salt and pepper. 
  • Other more modestly priced local restaurants: Acme Oyster HouseLil Dizzy’s, and Willie Mae’s Scotch House.

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Unique attractions:

  • The French Quarter: A must-see but dependent upon the time of day and the ages of the children, you may want to stick close to Decatur and avoid Bourbon street (some Vegas like sections). The children really loved the wandering minstrels and artists like Rose’s face painting
  • Hot events: Mardi Gras in February and Jazzfest in April
  • Streetcar rides: great way to see the city for $1.25 per person or you could do carriage ride around the Quarter for $18 per adult and $10 per child but you need cash-ola. Take the streetcar down Canal street to Woldenberg park and the Aquarium.
  • Free Ferry Rides: walk to Canal Street where the free Algiers ferry gives an amazing view of the skyline and the St. Louis Cathedral 
  • Louisiana Children’s Museum: the perfect day of fun in the Warehouse & arts district
  • Pirate or haunted house tours: based upon the ages of your children, a tour could be hours of entertainment  For family friendly itineraries from NOLA Toursim click here  

Can’t wait for Superbowl 2014 in NJ at the Meadowlands! Start buying your hand warmers at Costco now!