The 12 Best City Tours in New Orleans

Kaylee Giacomini

Whenever I check out a new city I like to orient myself with the local landmarks and culture by embarking on a city tour. Moving to New Orleans presented me with the conflicting identity of not necessarily being a tourist, yet not exactly being a local either. I believe that it’s important to be a tourist in your own city - to get to know it inside out and understand why it’s so beloved. Unsure how to do this? The best way to start is to take a tour. In my years living in New Orleans, I’ve had the privilege of taking quite a few; here are my favorites.

Garden District, French Quarter, Bayou St. John, Steamboat NATCHEZ, SoBou, Haunted History Tours, Jackson Square, FreeWheelin' Bike Tours & Rentals, City Sightseeing New Orleans, St. Louis Cathedral, Louis Armstrong Park, Royal Carriages

  • Garden District in New Orleans, United States

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      Garden District Tour: Two Chicks Walking Tour - The Garden District is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the United States. My first home in New Orleans was on the cusp of this district bordering Central City, and most days I watched this tour company pass by. Two Chicks Best of New Orleans Walking Tour takes guests to all of the marvels of the Garden District, including pop culture filming locations and lavish celebrity homes.

  • French Quarter in New Orleans, United States

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      French Quarter Tour: Legendary Walking Tour - The French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. The heritage of the city’s original Creole and Cajun settlers glimmers through in the antiquated architecture and rich culture that can be found on each street. Legendary Walking Tours does the best job of submerging tour-goers into this heritage. Their classic New Orleans French Quarter Walking Tour lasts two hours and takes guests through 300 years of history. They’re immersive and go everywhere from the banks of the Mississippi to the Quarter’s oldest streets.

  • Bayou St. John in New Orleans, United States

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      Bayou St. John by Kayak Tour: New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tour - New Orleans is bordered by swamp and river, but did you know that you can take a kayak tour in the heart of the city? Bayou St. John is yet another beautiful neighborhood in New Orleans with an expansive waterway cutting its way right through the middle. This kayak tour takes you down this waterway through lush neighborhoods and highlights famous homes, buildings, and historic sites along the way. Bonus: Unlike most swamp tours that take you away from the city this one is a mere 10 minute drive from the French Quarter.

  • Steamboat NATCHEZ in New Orleans, United States

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      Riverboat Tour: City of New Orleans Jazz Tour - Take a leisurely journey down the Mississippi river by way of Steamboat on this two hour cruise. There are options to do a brunch or dinner cruise, but my advice: save your money and opt out of food on the boat. Instead, enjoy the bars on each deck, grab an open air seat overlooking the water, and enjoy the views of sunset and glittering city skyline during an evening tour. Jazz music serenades the trip, and at times your captain cuts in to offer insight on the landmarks the boat passes by.

  • SoBou in New Orleans, United States

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      Food Tour: Doctor Gumbo Tour - One of my absolute favorite parts of New Orleans is the food - it’s all just so good. Yet If you’re here for a weekend or even a week it can be impossible to experience all of the culinary wonders of this city. The best way to get an immersive taste of the best dishes NOLA has to offer is to take a tour. Doctor Gumbo does it best. The $70 walking tour includes dishes from 5 different establishments ranging from gumbo to pralines, tales of dynastic restaurant families like the Brennans, and expert recommendations on where to eat on your future dining endeavors.

  • Haunted History Tours in New Orleans, United States

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      Ghost Tour: Haunted History - I’ve shamelessly taken three different Haunted History tours - they’re both thrilling and educational. Their Ghosts and Legends tour covers the most ground, but they also offer exciting vampire, voodoo, and true crime tours. This two hour walking tour takes you through the French Quarter’s most notorious haunts. Drink in the dark history of this neighborhood, and make a halfway stop in one of the most haunted bars in America for their famous Hurricane or Voodoo Daiquiri.

  • Jackson Square in New Orleans, United States

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      Cocktail Tour: Drink and Learn - Did someone say happy hour? Take this boozy tour to get a buzz while you learn all about New Orleans cocktail culture. The Drink and Learn Cocktail Tour takes you through the most famous landmarks in the French Quarter as you sip four classic New Orleans cocktails like the sazerac. All drinks are included in the price, making it well worth the $55 ticket. This should go without saying, but all guests must be at least 21 years old with a valid ID.

  • FreeWheelin' Bike Tours & Rentals in New Orleans, United States

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      Bike Tour: Beyond Bourbon - If there’s one thing I’ve learned since living here it’s that New Orleans is far more than the French Quarter - this tour does a great way of showing this by bike. Beyond Bourbon is a great tour if you want to cover a lot of ground while seeing the city in an authentic way. Guides take out small groups to see everything from beaded trees to voodoo sites on a five mile course from the Marigny to Bywater.

  • City Sightseeing New Orleans in New Orleans, United States

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      Bus Tour: City Sightseeing - For those who don’t want to walk or bike, the City Sightseeing bus tour is an exceptional way to take in the city. The bus operates on a continuous loop all day so you can get on and off whenever you want. Included in your ticket are also restaurant and city attraction deals all over the city. My recommendation: do this tour early in your visit to sample sites across New Orleans and take advantage of the deals it comes with throughout your stay.

  • St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, United States

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      Culture & History Tour: Tours by Marguerite - Any New Orleans tour will touch on culture, but if you’re looking to strictly learn about the city’s original settlers this is the tour for you. Tours by Marguerite takes guests on a walking tour of the French Quarter focused on the original inhabitants of the city. Although limited to the streets of the Quarter, this tour describes Louisiana as a whole and how it became one of the most unique places in the United States.

  • Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans, United States

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      Jazz Tour: Urban Adventures - Urban Adventures offers plenty of great tours, but their Jazz Tour is the best. Bonus: you even get a complimentary beer along the way. The tour starts with an overview of a history of jazz before taking guests to some of the best jazz clubs on Frenchmen Street, the stage at Armstrong Park, and other places to view live brass and jazz bands on the streets of the Big Easy. It’s as much a moving concert as it is a tour.

  • Royal Carriages in New Orleans, United States

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      Carriage Tour: Royal Carriages - If you walk past Jackson Square you’re sure to see a group of mule-drawn carriages offering to take visitors on a tour of the French Quarter. Royal carriages does it best for a few reasons. For one, they treat their mules well. The tour itself is also informative and enjoyable. Guides take small groups out for an hour long tour by mule drawn carriage starting in the Quarter. After seeing the sites, the group then has the choice of touring Treme, Marigny, or St. Louis Cemetery n. 1. No option is better than another, but I will always love the Marigny.