10 Ways to Tour New Orleans
Get better acquainted with the Crescent City by taking one of its many tours.
There's so much to see and experience, for every interest, in New Orleans. Whether you book a tour with one of the city's many knowledgable guides, or take a self-guided tour at your own leisure, leave nothing unexplored after following this guide.
1. Step Back in Time: History Tours
Rest assured: History sure ain’t boring in New Orleans. Great fires, rapscallion characters, culture clashes: The city’s colorful past is evidenced right in front of you in New Orleans—if you just know where to look. That’s where a tour with Historic New Orleans Tours and comes in handy. Knowledgeable guides will reveal the stories you’d never suspect existed behind the curves of a wrought-iron fence, a bubbling courtyard fountain or a hard-to-pronounce street name. G L-f de Villiers New Orleans Historic Tours offers a Literary History Tour. To learn more specifically about the Civil War in the area, check out Civil War Tours of New Orleans. And for animated chronicles of pirates of the past, Pirates of the Quarter Tours is a must.
2. Eat Your Way Through New Orleans: Culinary Tours
New Orleanians will find a way to bring food into any activity—and tours are no exception. Indulge in fare from classic New Orleans restaurants while learning the history behind the cuisine with Confederacy of Cruisers New Orleans Culinary Bike Tours. Looking to actually get into the kitchen? Try a hands-on approach at the New Orleans School of Cooking, where you can discover the secrets behind New Orleans’ most famous dishes like barbecued shrimp, jambalaya and corn-and-crab bisque. Hungry?
3. Sip Your Way Through New Orleans: Cocktail Tours
New Orleans has a long lineage of libations. Learn about America's first cocktail, the Sazerac, and local cocktail culture at the Sazerac House, through interactive exhibits and tastings. New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours offers a Legends & Spirits Cocktail Tour. Or go right to the source with a tour and tasting at one of New Orleans' many breweries and distilleries.
4. Ride in Style: Carriage Tours
Always wanted to ride with Aretha Franklin through one of America’s greatest music cities? Now’s your chance. With Royal Carriages, you’re bound to enjoy the clip-clopping of hooves while meandering down cobblestone alleys as your driver narrates the sights of the French Quarter or Garden District. Arrange for pickup at your hotel, or head to the Decatur Street side of Jackson Square, where the carriages gather, and hop in.
5. Choose to Cruise: Riverboat Tours
Step aboard the regal Creole Queen or Steamboat Natchez for an enchanting paddlewheel ride up the Mississippi River, accompanied by live music from the likes of the Dukes of Dixieland. Choose from a romantic evening with a dinner and jazz cruise, or experience riverfront history with the Chalmette Battlefield cruise, which disembarks at the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans and tours historical combat sites.
6. Spook Yourself Silly: Ghost Tours
Get the chills with a nighttime adventure, where you’ll hear about ghost stories and explore French Quarter locations known for their paranormal activity. There are so many tour options to choose from, including Witches Brew Tours, New Orleans Ghosts, Spirit Tours of New Orleans, Spectral City Tours and Haunted History Tours. Trying to find a genuine haunted house? Spot spooky apparitions at Mystère Mansion/Haunted Mortuary, a sprawling, neoclassical mansion built in 1872 that boasts nine resident ghosts.
7. Walk Among the Dead: Cemetery Tours
Wander through historic cemeteries, where the city’s unique aboveground tombs, stone sarcophagi and massive headstones mark burial sites for New Orleans’ deceased. Visit their graves and learn about the supernatural craft of voodoo, including its West African origins, Catholic influences and modern-day practices. Save Our Cemeteries offers tours and proceeds benefit the preservation of the city's cemeteries. Nola Tour Guy and Free Tours by Foot offer cemetery tours as well.
8. Distinguishing Designs: Architecture Tours
Admire the unique styles of building and houses as you explore the architecture of the "The Northernmost Caribbean City" with New Orleans Architecture Tours. With colorful houses, balconies overflowing with hanging plants, and courtyards draped in wisteria, the New Orleans architecture will draw you in. You'll find French, Carribbean, and Southern American influences mixed with blended architecture, making it New Orleans' distinct style. The city has structures that range from modern to the late colonial era, which will weave history and culture into your architecture tour. Two Chicks Walking Tours offers a Garden District Tour, taking visitors past the opulent homes and abundant architectural marvels of the area.
9. Live It Up: NOLA Nightlife Tours
Sightseeing by day, party by night. Flambeaux Tours offers a NOLA Nightlife Ride through the city's vibrant nightlife hot spots, complete with light-up bikes and bumping tunes. Buzz NOLA Bike Tours also offers musical nighttime rides on blinged-out bikes for groups of 10 or more.
10. An All-Encompassing Experience: Vue Orleans
Tour all aspects of New Orleans right in one place - at the top of the Four Seasons Hotel! Vue Orleans is a one-stop shop where one can enjoy 360-degree views of New Orleans and the Mississippi River, plus interactive experiences that explore the city's rich history and unique culture. High-tech, touchless exhibits feature legendary New Orleans figures and ground-floor exhibits feature a visual explosion of local artwork. Hear the stories behind local dishes, hear the sounds of jazz in a larger-than-life trumpet-shaped listening station, and learn everything there is to know about what makes New Orleans so special.
Can't choose? Louisiana Tour Company, Livery Tours and Gray Line Tours offer a wide variety of tours, from city tours to swamp and plantation tours just minutes away - you'll want to book 'em all! And City Sightseeing New Orleans offers one, two, and three-day hop on, hop off tours plus customizable private tours. Go forth and explore!