Best New Orleans Tours

The birthplace of jazz, the American cocktail and Creole food, New Orleans’ rich past makes multiple tour options a must. Explore The Big Easy by foot, bike, boat or plane with our top tour picks.

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Tom Bastin, flickr

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: iStock

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Ryan Lackey, flickr

Photo By: LaLaurie House, Tom Bastin, flickr

Photo By: ScubaBear68, flickr

Photo By: Richard Martin, flickr

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Photo By: CrackerClips, iStock

New Orleans Plantation Tour

Explore New Orleans’ antebellum past on a plantation tour. More than 400 plantations once lined the banks of the Mississippi between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Today only a handful remain. Among them is The Houmas and the Destrehan Plantation, the closest plantation from New Orleans, located just 25 miles upriver. 

NOLA Cocktail Crawl

Did you know America’s oldest known cocktail,the Sazerac, got its start in The Big Easy? Explore New Orleans’ rich cocktail history on a bar crawl, swinging by the French Quarter’s best bars, like Pat O’Brien’s, whose motto since 1933 has been, “Have Fun!” We’ll drink to that.

Big Easy Neighborhood Tours

Get a feel for The Big Easy’s diverse communities on a New Orleans’ neighborhood tour. Top of our list is the Vieux Carré, the famed French Quarter and oldest neighborhood in the city. Right next to the Quarter is New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood, which was originally settled by “Free People of Color,” often referred to as Creoles.

New Orleans Garden Tour

Love gardens? You’ll find no shortage of plant and flower varieties at the New Orleans Botanical Garden. A city fixture since 1936, the grounds are home to more than 2,000 species of native and exotic plants, including the largest palm collection in Louisiana. Step inside the garden’s conservatory (pictured) for an exhibit on fossils of prehistoric plant life.

Big Easy Aerial Tour

For a truly unique view of New Orleans, take an aerial tour of the famed city by the banks of the Mississippi, and prepare to go, “Wow.” From up high, get a whole new perspective of city landmarks such as St. Louis Cathedral and Chalmette Battlefield.

Culinary Tour, Big Easy Style

Crawfish etouffee, Southern oxtail soup, jambalaya... ah, worked up an appetite yet? Satisfy your taste buds for New Orleans’ dining beston a culinary tour. With more than 1,300 restaurants to choose from, you may have a hard time choosing -- we suggest including classic New Orleans restaurants like Arnaud’s on your tour.

Louisiana Swamp Tour

Set foot in one of Louisiana’s wildest swamps. Just 50 minutes from New Orleans, the New Orleans Honey Island Swamp comprises nearly 70,000 acres of permanently protected wildlife area. The waters are home to fish such as bluegill, largemouth bass and warmouth, as well as alligators and... maybe even a Bigfoot-like creature. Ask your swamp tour guide about the Honey Island Swamp monster.

French Quarter Tour

See where legend and history intersect on a tour of the French Quarter. New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood spans roughly 70 city blocks, home to some of the best-preserved architecture in the U.S., including the Pharmacy Museum (pictured), which was constructed in 1823 for the first licensed pharmacist in the U.S. Also check out Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, which, according to legend, was once owned by a pirate. You decide.

Spooky New Orleans

Believe in ghosts? Explore The Big Easy’s spooky side on a tour of haunted New Orleans. Must-see stops include LaLaurie Mansion. Located on the corner of Royal Street, the three-story property was where Louisiana-born socialite and serial killer Delphine LaLaurie tortured and murdered slaves, before an outraged mob intervened.

Mardi Gras Tour

See where all the magic surrounding New Orleans’ biggest annual celebration happens. Take a tour of Mardi Gras World, the massive 400,000-square-foot warehouse where parade floats -- more than 500, each year -- are made for the grand event. Open seven days a week, Mardi Gras World tours last about one hour.

Big Easy Sounds

Savor Big Easy sounds in the city where jazz was born. At the top of any New Orleans jazz tour list should be Preservation Hall, a music venue in the heart of the French Quarter that features jazz concerts nightly. And just outside the French Quarter, tour the two-block Frenchmen Street, home to some of New Orleans' most epic jazz.

Mississippi Riverboat Tour

Board a paddlewheel steamboat to see the Mighty Mississippi. Up to a century ago, steamboats like this were the only way to reach New Orleans. Step into the past, as you board from the French Quarter to embark on a two-hour riverboat cruise. New Orleans' only steamboat, Steamboat Natchez, provides tours with live jazz accompaniments for extra-smooth sailing.

Romantic NOLA

Where there’s jazz and good food, romance isn’t far behind. Board a mule-drawn carriage for a view of New Orleans' romantic side. You’ll find local company Royal Carriages on Decatur Street at Jackson Square and on the corner of St. Louis and Royal streets. Bring the champagne.

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