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City Tours in New Orleans

New Orleans, affectionately known as ‘The Big Easy,’ offers an array of city tours that provide a deep dive into its vibrant culture, rich history, and unique attractions.

From the storied streets of the French Quarter to the serene beauty of the Garden District, these tours showcase the city’s diverse neighborhoods and landmarks.

Whether you’re a history buff, a music lover, or simply in search of family-friendly fun, New Orleans city tours cater to all interests, making every trip an unforgettable experience.

Exploring the Heart of New Orleans

Exploring the Heart of New Orleans

French Quarter Highlights

The French Quarter, often referred to as the Crown Jewel of New Orleans, offers a vibrant tapestry of culture, history, and festivity. Stroll down the timeless streets where every corner whispers tales of the past, and the architectural splendor stands as a testament to the city’s rich heritage. Notable landmarks such as St. Louis Cathedral and the bustling French Market are must-visits for any traveler.

  • Jackson Square, a historic park, is a focal point for artists, musicians, and street performers, encapsulating the artistic soul of the city.
  • Bourbon Street provides an electrifying nightlife experience with its famous bars and jazz clubs.
  • The serene Mississippi Riverfront is perfect for a picturesque walk, especially at dusk.

The French Quarter is not just a destination; it’s an experience that engages all senses, from the tantalizing Creole cuisine to the melodic rhythms of jazz that fill the air.

Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning to relive the magic, the French Quarter’s highlights promise an unforgettable journey through the heart of New Orleans. The New Orleans website page highlights top attractions including the French Quarter, offering tours and diverse experiences for all visitors.

Jackson Square’s Historical Significance

Nestled in the heart of New Orleans, Jackson Square stands as a testament to the city’s layered past. The iconic flagpole at its center is more than just a landmark; it symbolizes the 1803 ceremonial transfers that marked Louisiana’s transition from Spanish to French control, and ultimately to the United States, reflecting the area’s rich colonial history.

Jackson Square has been a focal point for both residents and visitors, encapsulating the essence of New Orleans’ historical and cultural identity. Surrounded by historic buildings, including the St. Louis Cathedral, the square offers a glimpse into the city’s storied past.

The square’s open-air artist colony, where painters, caricaturists, and street performers share their talents, adds a vibrant layer to the historical significance of the area.

For those looking to delve deeper into the history, various tours are available, including alligator, city, ghost, and swamp boat tours, each offering a unique perspective on this storied city.

The Vibrant Atmosphere of Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is the pulsating heart of New Orleans’ nightlife, a place where the music never stops and the party seems to go on forever. Every corner of this iconic street is steeped in history and alive with energy, offering an experience that’s quintessentially New Orleans. From jazz clubs to raucous bars, the street is a symphony of sounds, tastes, and sights.

Bourbon Street is not just a street; it’s a celebration of New Orleans’ spirit, where every night feels like Mardi Gras.

For those seeking the full Bourbon Street experience, here’s a list of must-do activities:

  • Take a French Quarter Sightseeing Carriage Ride to see the historic architecture.
  • Join a VIP Live Music Pub Crawl on Frenchmen Street for an unforgettable night.
  • Embark on an Adults Only Haunted Ghost Tour for a spine-tingling adventure.

Discovering Bourbon Street is also about finding the perfect spot to watch the world-famous Mardi Gras parades. Whether it’s from the panoramic views of a rooftop bar, the cozy confines of a neighborhood bar near the parade routes, or a charming bar in the Garden District, each offers a unique vantage point to enjoy the festivities.

Cultural and Historical Landmarks

Cultural and Historical Landmarks

The National WWII Museum Experience

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans offers a profound journey through the American experience in the war that changed the world. Visitors are immersed in thought-provoking exhibits that detail the historical events from the D-Day invasions to the war’s final battles. The museum’s interactive displays, personal accounts, and wartime artifacts provide a comprehensive and moving experience.

The museum is not just a collection of memorabilia; it is a tribute to the courage, teamwork, and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation.

The museum also emphasizes educational outreach, with programs designed to inspire current and future generations. It’s a place where history comes to life, connecting the past to the present in a way that resonates with visitors of all ages.

To make the most of your visit, consider the following tips:

  • Plan your visit in advance to avoid peak times.
  • Allocate enough time to explore the extensive exhibits.
  • Engage with the museum’s interactive elements for a more enriching experience.

St. Louis Cathedral: An Architectural Marvel

St. Louis Cathedral stands as a testament to the rich history and architectural heritage of New Orleans. Recent excavations at the cathedral have uncovered artifacts that span three centuries, offering a unique glimpse into the city’s past. The Cathedral Excavation reveals a 300 Year History, showcasing how each layer tells a different story of the people and events that shaped the French Quarter.

The cathedral’s design is a blend of various architectural styles, with its iconic triple steeples dominating the skyline. Visitors are often captivated by the intricate details and the serene ambiance within its walls. The following points highlight the cathedral’s significance:

  • A symbol of New Orleans’ religious and cultural identity.
  • A showcase of exceptional craftsmanship and artistry.
  • A historical site with layers of stories waiting to be discovered.

While the cathedral is a place of worship and reflection, it also serves as a beacon of hope and resilience for the city. Its presence reminds us of the enduring spirit of New Orleans and its people.

New Orleans Jazz Museum: A Musical Journey

The New Orleans Jazz Museum stands as a tribute to the rich musical heritage of the city, showcasing the evolution of jazz through its comprehensive exhibits. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant history of jazz, from its early days to contemporary forms, engaging with interactive displays that bring the music to life.

The museum not only celebrates jazz but also hosts a variety of events throughout the year. One such event is the 2024 Claiborne Avenue History Project Soirée, which promises to be a night of cultural enrichment and entertainment.

The museum’s dynamic educational programs cater to all ages, ensuring that the legacy of New Orleans jazz continues to inspire future generations.

For those looking to delve deeper into the museum’s offerings, here’s a quick guide:

  • Explore the permanent and special exhibits
  • Attend live music performances and lectures
  • Participate in educational workshops
  • Experience the annual Jazz Fest

Whether you’re a jazz aficionado or a curious traveler, the New Orleans Jazz Museum offers a unique window into the soul of New Orleans’ musical landscape.

Unique Tours and Attractions

Unique Tours and Attractions

Mardi Gras World: Behind the Scenes

Step into the magical world of Mardi Gras with a behind-the-scenes tour at Mardi Gras World. Here, the rich history and vibrant culture of New Orleans’ most famous festival come to life. Visitors can witness the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into creating the elaborate floats and costumes that define the city’s iconic celebrations.

  • The experience includes a captivating film and a guided tour, providing a comprehensive look at the artistry behind Mardi Gras.
  • See firsthand the colossal floats and intricate designs that are central to the festivities.

Embrace the opportunity to learn about the traditions and work that make Mardi Gras an unforgettable event.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, this tour is a unique chance to delve into the heart of New Orleans’ cultural heritage.

Garden District Walking Tour

The Garden District Walking Tour offers an intimate glimpse into the heart of one of New Orleans’ most enchanting neighborhoods. Stroll through streets lined with antebellum mansions, lush gardens, and historical landmarks. Each step tells a story of the city’s rich history and architectural grandeur.

The tour is not just a walk; it’s an immersive experience that captures the essence of New Orleans’ opulence and Southern charm.

Here are some practical details to help you plan your visit:

  • Tour Duration: Approximately 3 hours
  • Age Suitability: All ages
  • Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible options available

Please note that the tour schedules can be affected by local events, so it’s advisable to check for the latest timings. For instance, during the Mardi Gras period, there are changes to the usual operating hours.

Remember, no visit to New Orleans is complete without exploring the Garden District’s beauty and history. Reviews like Angie’s Garden District tour being a “pure delight” and the tour being the “best value in town” are testaments to the unforgettable experiences awaiting you.

Creole Queen: A Riverboat Adventure

Step aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen and embark on a journey that combines New Orleans’ rich history with an entertaining dining experience. As the riverboat glides along the Mississippi, guests are treated to a historical view of the city’s riverfront, narrated by knowledgeable guides.

The Creole Queen offers a variety of cruises, including the popular Jazz Dinner Cruise. This evening adventure provides a relaxing atmosphere where you can enjoy live jazz music, a lavish Creole buffet, and stunning views of the New Orleans skyline.

The Creole Queen is not just a riverboat but a floating celebration of New Orleans’ enduring spirit. The gentle waves of the Mississippi and the rhythms of jazz create an unforgettable ambiance, perfect for those looking to experience the city from a different perspective.

For a detailed itinerary and booking options, visit the official website or contact the tour provider directly. Ensure to check the latest schedule and availability to plan your visit accordingly.

Family-Friendly Activities in New Orleans

Family-Friendly Activities in New Orleans

Audubon Aquarium: Marine Wonders

The Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans is a family-friendly destination that delights visitors of all ages. With a variety of aquatic habitats and exhibits, the aquarium offers an immersive experience into the underwater world. From the mesmerizing tunnel with manta rays and fish to interactive touch pools, there’s something to captivate everyone’s curiosity.

The aquarium’s staff are known for their enthusiasm and knowledge, always ready to answer the ‘crazy questions’ that come their way, making the visit both educational and entertaining.

Here’s what you can expect during your visit:

  • Encounter a wide array of marine life, including sharks, sea turtles, and rare fish.
  • Enjoy the unique experience of walking through the underwater tunnel.
  • Participate in educational talks and feedings throughout the day.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the Audubon Aquarium is a must-see attraction that provides a deeper appreciation for the marine environment and its inhabitants.

City Park: A Green Oasis

City Park in New Orleans offers a verdant retreat from the urban hustle, providing families with a plethora of activities and attractions. Spanning over 1,300 acres, this park is one of the largest urban parks in the country, and it’s brimming with opportunities for recreation and relaxation.

Among the park’s attractions, Storyland stands out as a magical playground where children can immerse themselves in a world of fairy tales and larger-than-life characters. The park also hosts various seasonal and holiday events, ensuring that there’s always something new to experience.

City Park is not just a place to visit; it’s a space where memories are made, and the joys of nature can be appreciated amidst the cityscape.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a picnic, take a leisurely stroll, or engage in more active pursuits, City Park is a destination that caters to all ages and interests.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum: Exploring Medical History

Step into the intriguing world of pharmaceuticals at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, where history and medicine intertwine. This hidden gem offers a glimpse into the medical practices of the 19th century, showcasing an extensive collection of apothecary jars, medical instruments, and old prescriptions.

The museum not only exhibits historical artifacts but also provides educational guided tours. These tours delve into the evolution of pharmacy and healthcare, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in medical history.

For those seeking a more thrilling experience, the museum is often featured in various New Orleans tours, including the popular Ghost, Voodoo, and Vampire Walking Tour.

Beyond the French Quarter

Beyond the French Quarter

Magazine Street Shopping Experience

Magazine Street is a shopper’s paradise, stretching six miles from the French Quarter through the Garden District. Eclectic collectors and professional browsers will find a treasure trove of items, from antiques to modern boutiques, all housed in charming 19th-century brick storefronts. The street is known worldwide for its unique shopping experience, offering an array of goods that cater to all tastes and preferences.

The Magazine Street Merchants Association regularly updates on upcoming events and sales, ensuring visitors can plan their shopping around the best deals and festivities. From Jackson Ave to Louisiana Ave, you can enjoy happy hours and insider’s guides to the best shopping and things to do.

For those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture, Magazine Street is more than just shopping; it’s a vibrant part of New Orleans that reflects the city’s eclectic spirit. Here’s a quick guide to some of the highlights:

  • Antiques and vintage finds
  • Fashionable boutiques
  • Art galleries and studios
  • Diverse dining options
  • Specialty shops for unique souvenirs

Arts District: New Orleans’ Creative Hub

The Arts District of New Orleans, also known as the Warehouse District, has transformed from a hub of commerce into a vibrant cultural heartland. Galleries, museums, and performance spaces dot the area, each offering a unique window into the creative soul of the city.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of New Orleans’ art scene with stops at key venues:

  • The Ogden Museum of Southern Art
  • The Contemporary Arts Center
  • The National WWII Museum

The Arts District is a testament to New Orleans’ resilience and dedication to the arts, serving as a beacon for artists and art lovers alike.

Beyond the visual arts, the district is home to a variety of eateries and live music venues, ensuring that your cultural exploration is complemented by local flavors and sounds. Whether you’re strolling through gallery openings or enjoying a jazz set, the Arts District offers an experience that is quintessentially New Orleans.

Lafayette Square: A Historical Public Space

Lafayette Square, a serene park nestled in the heart of New Orleans, offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s bustling streets. At the center of this historical public space stands a significant monument: the statue of Andrew Jackson, a tribute to the seventh President of the United States and his role in the Battle of New Orleans. Erected in 1853, this bronze statue not only marks a pivotal moment in history but also holds the distinction of being the first of its kind in the area.

Visitors to Lafayette Square can enjoy the well-manicured gardens and take a moment to reflect on the park’s rich past. The square has been a key gathering place for community events and political rallies, echoing the voices of history that have shaped the city.

The tranquil ambiance of Lafayette Square contrasts with the lively streets nearby, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists seeking a moment of repose.


In conclusion, New Orleans offers an enchanting tapestry of culture, history, and vibrant street life, all of which can be experienced through its diverse city tours.

From the iconic French Quarter to the stately Garden District, the hop-on hop-off bus tours provide a flexible and comprehensive way to explore The Big Easy’s most famous landmarks, including Jackson Square, the French Market, and the National WWII Museum. 

Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply in search of the city’s legendary culinary and musical delights, New Orleans city tours promise an unforgettable journey through the heart of one of America’s most storied cities. With options for all ages and interests, and the convenience of hotel pick-up and climate-controlled buses, there’s no better way to dive into the rich tapestry that is New Orleans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the must-see attractions on a New Orleans city tour?

Must-see attractions include the French Quarter, Jackson Square, Bourbon Street, the National WWII Museum, St. Louis Cathedral, the New Orleans Jazz Museum, Garden District, and the Creole Queen riverboat.

Are there any family-friendly activities in New Orleans?

Yes, New Orleans offers family-friendly activities such as visiting the Audubon Aquarium, exploring City Park, and learning at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.

Can I explore New Orleans beyond the French Quarter?

Absolutely! Beyond the French Quarter, you can enjoy the Magazine Street Shopping Experience, visit the Arts District, and relax at Lafayette Square.

How long do most city tours in New Orleans last?

City tours in New Orleans typically last around 2 to 3 hours, offering a comprehensive overview of the city’s highlights.

Is it possible to hop on and off during a New Orleans bus tour?

Yes, many bus tours in New Orleans offer hop-on hop-off services, allowing you to explore the city at your own pace and visit attractions like Jackson Square, the French Market, and the Garden District.

Are there any unique tours available in New Orleans?

New Orleans is known for its unique tours, such as the behind-the-scenes look at Mardi Gras World, the Garden District Walking Tour, and the historical insights offered by the Night Bus Cemetery Tour.

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