New Orleans tours are a fun way to experience the culture, music, and cuisine of NOLA – one of America’s most eccentric cities.
Explore New Orleans music, historical sites, local delicacies, and haunted locations while learning about the city’s captivating history.
If you prefer something outdoorsy, various tour companies take groups to plantations or swamplands only a half-hour to two hours away from downtown New Orleans.
Whatever your dream trip to New Orleans looks like, this list has a tour for you! From classic experiences like walking tours and swamp trips to more spooky options like ghost hunting, cemetery tours, and voodoo rituals, you won’t be disappointed.
Ready to explore “the Big Easy”? Let’s dive into the best New Orleans tours.
1. New Orleans Sightseeing City Tour
Maximize your trip to New Orleans with this comprehensive sightseeing bus tour.
You can tour NOLA’s most beautiful historic neighborhoods, such as the famous French Quarter, Garden District, Treme, and Marigny.
The tour also includes an admission ticket to St. Louis Cemetery No. 3, with elaborate and decorative above-ground tombs and interesting sculptures scattered throughout the cemetery.
If you love doughnuts, I recommend booking the Beignet and Coffee package.
“Great tour! Our tour guide was knowledgeable and funny as hell. I learned so much more about New Orleans than I ever expected. I loved the stop at the city park for beignets and at the St. Louis Cemetery. I would go again and recommend it to any future travelers!” – Kari (Read more reviews)
2. Swamp Boat Ride and Oak Alley Plantation Tour
The highlight of this tour is visiting the grounds of the plantation with its majestic oak tree-lined alley. You will spend 1.5 hours at the Oak Alley Plantation learning about Antebellum life. After the plantation, you’ll enjoy a boat ride on Louisiana swamps.
The wild wetlands of Louisiana are a distinct piece of nature unique to this state, with captivating plants and wildlife. Get up close to alligators, egrets, raccoons, snakes, and native birds as you cruise the swamps on the airboat.
It’s a full-day educational tour, so plan accordingly.
“We learned a lot about the history of New Orleans. Factual but never boring. The Plantation was beautiful. Had a blast on the New Orleans swamp tour, seeing many Alligators of many sizes. Highly recommend this tour as a delightful way to spend your day.” – Marsha (Read more reviews)
If you only want to see the swamps, check out this small group tour with transport from New Orleans.
3. New Orleans Food Tour of the French Quarter
Explore New Orleans’ food culture with a local guide. This French Quarter tour for foodies allows you to sample some of the area’s classic dishes, such as Creole brisket, beignets, seafood gumbo, and more.
Your guide will also tell you interesting stories about locals’ favorite dishes and fun facts. You can choose the tour with a small group of max 12 participants to have a more special personalized experience.
With 3000+ reviews, it’s one of the most popular New Orleans tours for food lovers.
“We had a great time on this tour! We did the small-group option and had Susan as our guide. She was lovely- very knowledgeable and helpful. I was very impressed with the large portions of food! Come hungry! It was all delicious, and we discovered foods we hadn’t eaten before and learned quite a bit about the history of New Orleans. My husband’s favorite was the muffuletta, my daughter’s favorite was the gumbo, and I loved the calas pastry.” – Sarah (Read more reviews)
4. New Orleans Ghost, True Crime, Voodoo, and Vampire Tour
You don’t have to believe in ghosts to have fun walking through the city’s spookiest spots on this ghost tour.
This adults-only tour starts in the evening at 5 pm or 8 pm to add to the spooky atmosphere of the most haunted locations in New Orleans.
Get ready for true-crime tales, voodoo legends, and paranormal activities. Your guide will fill you in on New Orleans’ dark history of Voodoo, vampires, witches, and ghosts.
There is also an option to upgrade for a private tour to add HELLVISION digital projection of real images if you wish.
“Our guide held us captive with his compelling real-life stories of horror. He clearly delineated what has evidence to have happened and where the legend begins, which I really appreciated. Gruesome thrilling and a morbid slice of New Orleans history.” – Timothy (Read more reviews)
- Only 17+
5. Steamboat Natchez VIP Jazz Dinner Cruise
Admire the beauty and romance of the New Orleans skyline on board the last authentic paddlewheel steamboat on the Mississippi River.
Your cruise starts with a glass of champagne and a photo shoot. Afterward, you get a private boat tour with the captain and will be escorted to your reserved seat. It’s the only tour in New Orleans that includes a VIP look around the boat.
During the 2-hour cruise, you can indulge in a Louisiana buffet-style dinner accompanied by live jazz band Dukes of Dixieland.
The dinner is hearty, including everything from seafood pasta and chicken to sausage gumbo and signature bread pudding.
You’ll take home special memories and a VIP gift bag, including a boarding photo and Jazz CD.
“Absolutely wonderful experience!! The dinner was 5 stars! They offer sweet tea and have a bar on two decks. The music was great and fun. Amazing views of the New Orleans skyline. They do share the history and information about the Mississippi River and New Orleans.” – Chasity (Read more reviews)
6. New Orleans Cocktail and Food History Tour
Check out six different eateries, from Creole restaurants and cocktail lounges to sandwich shops and pre-Civil War bars.
You’ll get to sample some of Louisiana’s most authentic meals, plus four full-sized drinks that will give you an insider look into the best of New Orleans’ culinary and cocktail scene.
The tour menu includes alligator sausage, seafood gumbo, bacon pecan brittle, muffuletta sandwich, jambalaya, and many more local specialties.
It’s a small group size, so you can be sure to get lots of personalized attention.
“This was easily the highlight of my vacation, and I can’t say enough good things about the fantastic service and amazing guide we had the pleasure of encountering. First, the food we sampled during the tour was absolutely out of this world. We were blown away by the variety and quality of the dishes that we sampled.” – Misti (Read more reviews)
- The minimum age is 21+
- The tour doesn’t accommodate dietary restrictions
7. New Orleans Zipline Swamp Tour
Looking for some New Orleans tours that will boost your adrenaline?
Zip NOLA provides a fun way to experience the swamps and its unique ecosystem. Fly over Maurepas Swamp on five zip lines while taking in unbeatable scenery and views of Lake Pontchartrain.
The tour also includes two suspension bridges and an iconic spiral cypress tree staircase.
“Had an amazing time with my family at Zip NOLA. Our guides, Cheyenne and Megan, were awesome. This is a MUST-DO attraction if you’re in New Orleans!” – Carman (Read more reviews)
8. New Orleans Hands-on Cooking Class and Meal
Learn how to prepare classic Louisana dishes, such as gumbo and remoulade, with a professional chef so that you can recreate authentic New Orleans cuisine at home.
After your cooking lesson, you can sample all the meals. To top it off, you’ll receive complimentary wine, a local Abita amber beer, an apron, and a collection of recipes.
The group is limited to 10 people to ensure you’ll get personalized attention.
“My favorite part of our vacation in New Orleans was the cooking demo class. The food was tasty, and the storytelling left us wanting more. I definitely recommend going with an empty belly. They prepared so much food we left stuffed. Just make sure to keep some space for the dessert. Glad we had a walking tour right after our class to walk some of it off.” – Denise (Read more reviews.)
- Min age is 18
9. Garden District Tour, Including Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Take a stroll and marvel at centuries-old oaks and historic mansions in the famous Garden District.
The experienced guide will share interesting stories and facts about people who used to live in this part of New Orleans and people who live here today.
Part of this two-hour walking tour is a sneak peek into Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, with some of the city’s oldest and most ornate tombs and crypts.
“Lovely walk through a lovely part of town. Lee, our tour guide, was exuberant, engaging and his dramatic style made the walk quite entertaining and educational.” – Wiliam (Read more reviews)
10. French Quarter & Marigny Neighborhood Carriage Ride
Discover the history and beautiful architecture of the French Quarter in an unconventional way.
Riding in a mule-drawn carriage will make you feel like royalty.
You’ll explore famous New Orleans landmarks like the St. Louis Cathedral, French Market, Spanish Cabildo, Pontalba Buildings, Place D’Armes, and Napoleon House.
“What a perfect way to see the French Quarter! My wife, our friend, and I decided to take the tour, and we were so glad that we did. It was nice to just slowly ride around the historic neighborhood and take in the sights and history.” – Stuart (Read more reviews)
11. New Orleans City Lights Night Helicopter Tour
Witness the city from a different perspective with this night sightseeing flight by helicopter. You’ll see the lit-up Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It’s a great way to explore the city’s best possible views.
Noise-canceling headsets will be provided to make your experience comfier.
“Great experience! I had an overall excellent time. The staff is super friendly and professional. The helicopter was in great shape with an amazing view of the city from big windows.” – Justin (Read more reviews)
12. Underground Donut and Beignet Tour
Satisfy your sweet tooth and discover unusual donut toppings and sauces at some of the best donut shops in New Orleans vetted by locals.
Escape the typical tourist traps and discover NOLA’s new side and flavors on this two-hour tour.
“Sweet delicious beignets and donuts I didn’t even know they made in New Orleans, and our guides were SO knowledgeable on the history and culture of New Orleans neighborhoods we walked through!” – Emily (Read more reviews)
13. Manchac Swamp Kayak Small-Group Tour
Venture into the wild of Louisiana swamps and kayak through cypress forests buzzing with local wildlife. It might be a better way to explore the wetlands than traditional noisy airboat swamp excursions.
This tour is appropriate for kayakers of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. The downtown pickup is super convenient, making this tour accessible even without a car.
“Really enjoyed this tour. We took the late afternoon tour. It was so quiet and peaceful. We saw alligators, owls and heard several other animals. We learned about the ecology of the swamps. Since we went later in the day, we got to see a beautiful sunset.” – Stacey (Read more reviews)
14. Voodoo History Guided Walking Tour
Voodoo has deep roots in New Orleans and still plays a major part in the local culture. From voodoo temples to tarot card readings, New Orleans is the perfect place if you’re curious about the occult.
On this guided walking tour, you’ll explore Voodoo’s rich history and influence on the city and its people.
Follow your knowledgeable guide and learn about different types of voodoo rituals and ceremonies while strolling landmarks associated with Voodoo. Along the way, you’ll hear exciting stories about how Voodoo shaped the city and its people.
“I liked that our group size was intimate enough so we could always hear the info and ask lots of questions if needed. Our tour guide was knowledgeable, hilarious, and extremely engaging. He kept our attention the whole time. We learned about the truth behind Voodoo, which made us appreciate this spiritual practice that much more!” – Vanessa (Read more reviews)
- Adults only
15. Create Your Own Signature Perfume
Create your customized perfume by handpicking the scents from over 300 oils, and take home a bottle of the one you like best!
At Tijon, you will learn to mix different fragrances while creating your perfume.
You’ll also receive a gift bag of Tijon products and a certificate as a souvenir to remember your experience.
Your special formula will be kept on file for reorders if you ever choose to reorder it.
“It was fantastic! I didn’t know that making perfume could be so much fun. Highly recommend it to anyone. The only drawback: I had the residual smell in my nose for hours after the workshop, although not entirely unpleasant.” – Summer (Read more reviews)
16. Private Distillery Tour & Rum Tasting
If you love rum, then this rum-tasting tour is an excellent choice. And even if you don’t, you might become a fan once you’ve tasted everything.
Experience a behind-the-scenes look at the distillery and learn about the unique rum-making process straight from the owners.
The best part is sampling one of their finest rums with distinct flavors from the barrels.
“The experience was educational and entertaining. There wasn’t much walking from room to room, which was good. The rum is full of flavor. My friend and I really enjoyed the interaction with the owners. This is a wonderful small business that is worth supporting.” – LP (Read more reviews)
17. The National WWII Museum
This museum honors the veterans of World War II and the role played by the US military in the conflict. There’s also a local connection in the form of New Orleans shipbuilder Andrew Higgins, whose company built many US landing craft used in World War II.
The Home Front, European and Pacific Theaters, and the D-Day Invasion are the museum’s main exhibits, combining everything from news reports to interactive personal stories to some of the era’s vehicles and weapons.
Exhibits include the immersive, hands-on submarine exhibit – Final Mission: USS Tang Submarine Experience and a 4D movie: Beyond All Boundaries.
This was a truly awesome experience, and it is one of the best historical museums I have visited in my travels all over the United States. There are amazing and well-organized displays with videos, music, radio broadcasts, and artifacts such as soldiers’ uniforms in each area.” – Sue (Read more reviews)
The Best New Orleans Tours
I hope you enjoyed reading about these popular New Orleans tours and found helpful info for planning your next adventure.
With so much history, culture, and cuisine, there is no shortage of tours to explore this vibrant city.
Book a New Orleans tour today and experience for yourself the magic of this unique destination. It might sound like a tourist brochure cliché, but it’s true that nowhere in the United States is quite like New Orleans.
Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, FOX, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more. When she’s not traveling, she can be found at hockey arenas all over BC cheering on her two young sons.