Things to do in
New Orleans

Be sure not to miss the spectacular jazz, cajun-tastic cuisine, and bustling French Quarter in the Big Easy.

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Our most recommended things to do in New Orleans

New Orleans: Day Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

1. New Orleans: Day Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

Savor the beauty and romance of New Orleans and take a journey back in time aboard the Sternwheeler Steamboat Natchez, the only authentic steamboat in New Orleans. Cruise along the Mississippi River, enjoying an optional delicious lunch, a brunch, or simply listening to the incredible live jazz band onboard. Your two-hour cruise from the heart of the French Quarter takes you back to a time when life was as slow and graceful as the current on the Mississippi. The tour will take guests to see New Orleans from the river, one of the world's most active ports. Visit our museum quality Engine Room to learn how steam powers this magnificent boat through the “Mighty Mississippi.” Add an optional Creole lunch, prepared fresh on board, and savor the tastes of New Orleans as you relax on your 2-hour cruise, before docking back where you started the tour. Sample Menu Lunch Monday - Saturday on 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM cruises Southern Fried Fish Red Beans and Rice Jambalaya Salad Du Jour Community Coffee and Iced Tea included Menu items are subject to change by season and availability.

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New Orleans: Evening Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

2. New Orleans: Evening Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

Journey back in time aboard the Sternwheeler Steamboat Natchez – the only surviving authentic steamboat in New Orleans. Sit back, relax and enjoy the New Orleans atmosphere as the smooth jazz of the Dukes Trio fills your ears. This 2-hour cruise from the heart of the French Quarter will take you along the graceful Mississippi River. Seating is available indoors and on deck for the very best views of the river and the City of New Orleans. The indoor areas are climate-controlled and the outdoor space allows for tours of all levels of the boat. There is nothing more charming than an evening on the Steamboat Natchez. Ending back where you started, leave your cruise feeling invigorated by the Mississippi's fresh air. Sample Dinner Menu Natchez Tossed Salad: Mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, red onions and croutons with a sugar cane vinaigrette and served family style Chicken and Sausage Gumbo: Made with a traditional Louisiana roux and served with rice Baked Chicken: Served with a mushroom ragout Bayou Seafood Pasta: Crawfish tails and shrimp tossed in a white wine and garlic Parmesan cream sauce with penne Herb-Garlic Fingerling Potatoes: Fingerling potatoes roasted with fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic and ground pepper Pasta Primavera: Fusilli pasta, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, in a zesty basil pesto Green Beans Almondine: Southern style green beans topped with toasted almond slivers White Chocolate Bread Pudding: A soufflé of local Leidenheimer French bread in a rich custard with a decadent white chocolate sauce Bananas Foster: A New Orleans original. Fresh sliced bananas sautéed in butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and rum. Served warm atop vanilla ice cream Garlic Rolls Community Coffee and Iced Tea included Menu items are subject to change by season and availability.

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New Orleans: 2-Hour Haunted Cemetery and City Tour at Night

3. New Orleans: 2-Hour Haunted Cemetery and City Tour at Night

Explore the spooky side of New Orleans on a 2-hour tour of the city and one of its most haunted cemeteries. Listen to chilling tales from your local guide and learn about the darker parts of the city's history. Begin your tour in the heart of the French Quarter. Meet your guide and board the bus to head to the tour's first location. Along the way learn some fascinating New Orleans Voodoo history. Arrive at the first stop, an above-ground cemetery. Learn about some of its most notorious residents including those who still walk among us today. Next, follow your guide to a burial ground containing 1000s of spirits who met their unfortunate fate in a tragic event. Finish off the tour by stopping at a haunted mansion, the Coven House from "American Horror Story". Here you will have the opportunity to take a picture before going back to the French Quarter.

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New Orleans: Ghosts, Vampires, & Voodoo French Quarter Tour

4. New Orleans: Ghosts, Vampires, & Voodoo French Quarter Tour

Listen to stories of witchcraft and keep watch for spirits on a guided city walking tour of New Orleans. Explore the historical French Quarter, as you indulge in stories of magic, ghosts, vampires, and voodoo practitioners from your expert guide. Travel to several of the city's venerated neighborhoods, soaking up stories about the witches, ghosts, vampires, and Voodoo practitioners who have contributed to the city's colorful past. Meet your local guide and set off on a journey through New Orleans’ haunted history. Pass outside well-known sites such as Muriel’s Restaurant and the Old Ursuline Convent. See the exterior of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, where bloodletting and leeching took place in the 19th century. From the outside, see the house where Jacques Saint Germain — who was rumored to be a vampire — once lived. Plus, hear chilling tales of LaLaurie House and its mistress, Madame LaLaurie. Let your guide entertain you with local folklore as you continue past the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. The final stop of your activity is outside Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, where your spooky experience will end.

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From Lafitte: Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat

5. From Lafitte: Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat

Climb aboard a unique airboat to explore Louisiana’s wetlands south of New Orleans in a truly unique fashion. Board an airboat just 30 minutes from downtown New Orleans, and listen to informative commentary as you zip through the bayou and squeeze into tiny canals hidden deep in the swamp. For 105 minutes, the captains at Airboat Adventures share some of the most beautiful and secluded areas of Louisiana. Wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and birds are common sights, but you never know what else might come out to visit! Round-trip transfers are available from New Orleans for guests without a car. Upon arrival, check-in to the Airboats Adventures facilities, before departing on the airboat to zip across the swamps. Grab a snack at the gift shop, or check out Sugar and Flour, the only albino alligators on the bayou. Picnic tables are available both inside and out, where you can relax before your airboat departure. The boats can hold between 6 and 27 people. Opt for a small boat, with capacity for 6-8 passangers, for a more personal tour, when the captain can spend more time with each guest. But even the large boats, with capacity for 15-27 passengers allow an up close experience with the wildlife of the Louisiana swamps. Sit back and enjoy the ride through a unique landscape, and listen as you captain feeds you fascinating bayou facts. You never know; he might haul in a ‘gator if the opportunity arises, or even let you hold a baby ‘gator!

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New Orleans: 1-Hour Carriage Ride Through the French Quarter

6. New Orleans: 1-Hour Carriage Ride Through the French Quarter

Discover the historic neighborhoods of New Orleans in a traditional mule-drawn carriage, taking in the vibrant history, culture, and architecture of the French Quarter. Relax and travel in style through some of the most exciting neighborhoods in America. Learn the basics of New Orleans's history as you travel in style around its vibrant streets. Discover fascinating anecdotes about the people and places that have contributed to making New Orleans truly unique and unforgettable from your licensed local guide. See French Quarter sights like the Saint Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, Napoleon House, the French Market, and Bourbon Street. Choose between a walking tour of St Louis Cemetery #1, or a ride through the Faubourg Marigny with its unique architecture and live music venues. Enjoy peace of mind knowing that group carriage tours travel at a leisurely pace and with small groups exceeding no more than 8 passengers per carriage. A private carriage tour for 1 to 4 passengers is also available (if option selected).

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New Orleans Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

7. New Orleans Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

This New Orleans hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour gives you access to enjoy and take in this beautiful city at your leisure. Hop-Off at the Superdome, originally named the Louisiana Superdome, which is the largest fixed dome structure in the world, and home to the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Take the bus tour to all of the city’s popular attractions. Visit the stunning St. Louis Cathedral, which is a major landmark in the French Quarter and the oldest continuously active cathedral in the United States. Wander down Royal Street, one of the city's most historic streets, for crafts, antiques, art objects, and museums. Or, Hop-Off at the French Market and peruse stands loaded with fresh local produce along with an array of items including keepsakes and souvenirs. Whatever you choose to do during your stay in New Orleans, this hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour will give you a chance to see the most with the least amount of hassle. Route Stops Include: 1. Jackson Square 2. French Market 3. Esplanade 4. Treme 5. Basin St. Station 6. Canal Street 7. Riverfront at Harrah’s Casino 8. CBD - Poydras & Carondolet 9. Louisiana Superdome - Hyatt Regency 10. The National WWII Museum 11. Magazine Street & Jackson Ave. 12. Garden District on Magazine Street 13. Magazine Street & Louisiana 14. St. Charles Avenue 15. St. Charles Avenue 16. Convention Center Pedestrian Park (Hall E) 17. Arts District - Julia Street 18. Harrah’s Casino on St. Peters Street

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New Orleans: Evening Jazz Boat Cruise with Optional Dinner

8. New Orleans: Evening Jazz Boat Cruise with Optional Dinner

Step back into the glamour and romance of the riverboat era with a cruise on the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen boat. Tuck into a delicious dinner or simply sit back and relax with a cocktail in your hand, marveling at the views and enjoying the live jazz music. On this river cruise, experience the vibrant and lively jazz notes of the amazing Sullivan Dabney Jr. and the Muzik Jazz Band while enjoying a Creole-style dinner (if the option is selected). There will be some time to dance to the music after dinner in the gorgeous dining hall.  After dinner, enjoy a classic New Orleans cocktail on the promenade deck looking out over the Mississippi River as the city slips past. On the way back to dock where you began your tour, pass by Jackson Square and see the city lights under a starry sky.  SAMPLE DINNER MENU: • Cajun Caesar Salad • Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo • Louisiana Creole Jambalaya • Cajun Baked Chicken • Roast Beef Debris • Garlic Mashed Potatoes • Cajun Seafood Pasta • Red Beans & Rice • Corn Mac Choux • Fresh Roasted Vegetables • Paddlewheeler White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce (best in New Orleans!) • French Bread Rolls & Cornbread (Menu items are subject to change by season and availability)

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New Orleans: History and Haunts Carriage Ride Night Tour

9. New Orleans: History and Haunts Carriage Ride Night Tour

A carriage tour at night is a wonderfully spooky way to see the town, learn a bit of history, and experience a one-of-a-kind adventure. Visit famous haunted locations and be introduced to the ghostly lore and legends that New Orleans' French Quarter is known for. Thanks to 300 years of tragedy, New Orleans is filled with true stories of ghosts, voodoo, and vampires.  With so much paranormal activity happening in the city, the best way to tour these haunted locations is by carriage ride at night. Historical stories of love and tragedy come to life as the professional tour guides explain the legends and lore, in addition to historical narration detailing all major landmarks throughout the French Quarter. On the haunted tour, expect Voodoo galore, and learn about how Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen, applied her magical powers to shift the course of love, luck, and law in New Orleans. Learn about the bevy of haunted restaurants, like Muriel’s, where numerous seances have been held over the years. Witness the site of a 19th-century massacre, said to still hold ghosts of the tragedy.  You may even discover that your hotel is haunted, as the carriage ride rolls past all of the most haunted hotels in the French Quarter. Group carriage tours travel at a leisurely pace and with small groups exceeding no more than 8 passengers per carriage. For a more exclusive experience you can reserve a private carriage which holds 1 to 4 passengers.

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New Orleans: French Quarter Ghost Tour

10. New Orleans: French Quarter Ghost Tour

Learn about the ghostly history of New Orleans on this tour of the French Quarter. Visit famous landmarks, hear fascinating stories, and immerse yourself in the haunted world of this atmospheric district. Make your way to the French Quarter to meet your historian guide. Visit places like the infamous Lalaurie Mansion (as seen on 'American Horror Story Coven'), May Bailey's Brothel (as seen on Travel Channels 'Ghost Adventures'), and many other sites. Embark on the only ghost tour in New Orleans with access inside a haunted building. Enjoy a tour that is kid and alcohol friendly. Take a leisurely stroll through the haunted history of New Orleans´ French Quarter with frequent stops and restroom breaks.

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Frequently asked questions about New Orleans

What top attractions are a must-see in New Orleans?

Planning Your Visit

  • When to go?

    The height of summer (June-August) can get intolerably hot, but it's worth checking what events are happening the rest of the year before settling on dates. The famous Mardi Gras carnival takes place the day before Ash Wednesday (in February or March). If you want to sample some traditional street food though, arrive for November's Oak Street Po-Boy Festival to try the best Po-Boy sandwiches in town!

  • How long to stay?

    For sightseeing, four days should be enough time to cover the French Quarter and Garden District, however, New Orleans is a city full of life and culture that penetrates deep beneath its surface. Book a few extra days if you can, keep your itinerary loose, and be prepared to get drawn into a few pleasant surprises!

  • How to get around?

    Walking is by far the best way to see New Orleans, but when it's raining you can easily hail one of the city's many reasonably priced taxis. (Bear in mind though, that most cabs are more expensive and harder to come by on special event days.) There is also a well-connected bus network, but why not opt for the streetcars for which the city is famous? The St. Charles Avenue route, between downtown and Uptown, is a National Historic Landmark!

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    American Dollar ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-06:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    Spring, fall and winter tend to be more pleasant times to visit the city, not only to avoid the heat, but also to experience Mardi Gras, or one of the city's famous festivals. Check event calendars while planning your trip!

Insider tips: Planning a trip to New Orleans

There are so many reasons to visit New Orleans, this is one of the most unique cities in the world with cultural influences from African Americans, French, and Spanish throughout their world-class cuisine, music, traditions, and architecture. This is a destination full of energy any time of year but also the highly anticipated and attended Mardi Gras celebrations annually. Megan Indoe is a Brooklyn based travel enthusiast who shares her adventures with her husband and photographer Scott Herder across their travel channels on social media and their blog, Bobo & Chichi.

What should I do on my first trip to New Orleans?

There are so many wonderful things to do in New Orleans, but for any first time visitor you can’t miss strolling through the lush and beautiful mansion-lined streets in the Garden District and explore the French Quarter by day and by night head to all the jazz clubs on Frenchmen Street by night.

What are some hidden gems to see in New Orleans?

One of the best hidden gems is the Faubourg Marigny & Bywater area of NOLA. Be sure to explore this vibrant neighborhood on foot and enjoy the colorful, shotgun style homes. When you need a drink or a meal check out St. Roch Market and Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits for live music and drinks in the evenings.

How much time should I spend in New Orleans?

You need at least a weekend if not longer in New Orleans. But, not matter how much time you spend you’ll likely want to come back for more because like most destinations, you can’t possibly see everything in one visit.

What food is New Orleans known for? 

The beauty of New Orleans is that there’s no place in the world like it. There are influences from various cultures including Caribbean, French, Spanish, West African, and Native Americans to name a few. You’ll want to explore the Cajun and Creole dining scene here. Don’t miss trying powdered sugar covered beignets, Gumbo, po-boys, jambalaya, and local seafood like crawdads and shrimp to name a few of the local specialties.

What is the best way to get around New Orleans?

Much of New Orleans is walkable, but there are a few places that might be a little too far to reach by foot. Try taking a fide on the old fashioned street cars from the French Quarter to the Garden District for a unique experience or use a ride share app to get around when the walk is just a little too far.

What are the best months to visit New Orleans?

Avoid New Orleans in the month of June and perhaps through early fall, this is the rainiest time of year and hurricane season. The best time to visit would be February through May when it is much less humid and temperatures are more comfortable. Keep in mind if you’re hoping to visit during Mardi Gras, always around the Easter holiday, you’ll need to make your reservations well in advance.

What is neighborhood French Quarter known for?

The French Quarter is the most famous neighborhood in New Orleans famous for its gorgeous, historic buildings with gas lanterns. The neighborhood is famous for being home to the rowdy crowds on Bourbon Street, tons of shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels as the heartbeat of tourism in the city.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

The French Quarter has plenty of incredible dining options including some of the city’s most well-known and historic dining establishments like Galatoire’s as well as where you can find the famous Cafe du Monde for their beignets 24/7. The Garden District is also full of great restaurants, be sure to hit up Commander’s Palace for their famous 25 cent martinis at lunch and if you’re looking for a great po’boy and dive spot, head to Parasol’s.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping? 

One of the best spots for shopping in New Orleans, besides all the stores and shops in the French Quarter, can be found all along Magazine Street. You can find everything from vintage shops to home goods and quirky boutiques plus there are plenty of cafes and eateries to take a shopping break along the way.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit New Orleans?

If its your first time to New Orleans you should stay as close to the French Quarter as possible. Don’t worry about the noise, even the hotels that are near Bourbon Street somehow manage to remain quiet and have one of the best locations for exploring during your stay

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in New Orleans?

Take a half day tour or trip to a nearby swamp to get up close and personal to the famous Louisiana bayous and swamps while having wildlife encounters along the way.

What are the best annual events in New Orleans?

The most famous annual event are the Mardi Gras celebrations each year! Expect the two weeks celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans to be full of daily parades, floats, music, end loads of energy! Another great annual event to check out is Jazz Fest which celebrates the famous music scene here typically taking place at the end of April through early May.

Other Sightseeing Options in New Orleans

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What people are saying about New Orleans

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 12,636 reviews

James was a wonderful tour guide. gave us all sorts of info that was interesting and entertaining. We would love definitely recommend this tour.

It was amazing!!! My favorite part of our trip!! Alligators everywhere and coming up to the boat!! What a thrill!!!!

Deep and broad knowledge by the tour guide. Easy to understand explanations. Great tour to learn

Nice tour. Tour guide was nice and shared a lot of new information. Timing of tour was perfect

This tour was highly informative. The tour guide was very entertaining and knowledgeable.