The Best Cultural Tours of New Orleans

St Louis Cathedral dominates pretty Jackson Square in New Orleans
St Louis Cathedral dominates pretty Jackson Square in New Orleans | © Susanne Pommer / Alamy Stock Photo
Chloe Thrussell

Production Assistant

The bayou-bound Big Easy is brimming with unique cultural experiences – so soak up the charm on one of these best-selling tours. From paddlewheel cruises on the mighty Mississippi to dynamic jazz in tucked-away venues, here are the best bookable offerings in New Orleans.

New Orleans is one of the many magical destinations in our new collection of expertly curated, small-group adventures called TRIPS by Culture Trip. Join us on the four-day adventure to explore the best of the city with a local insider.

Manchac kayak swamp tour with local guide

Golden light of sunset in a cypress swamp in Louisiana

The lowlands of Louisiana that surround New Orleans are known for their wildlife, cypress trees and slow currents. Swap the streets for the swamp to fully embrace the natural rhythms of this region, with a scenic kayak tour. The sleepy southern landscape of the Mississippi River Delta is a watery wonderland of sun-kissed marshes and soothing birdsong. Don’t forget your camera.

New Orleans French Market

For a true taste of NOLA, savour the distinctive flavours of the French Quarter on this walking tour. From seafood gumbo to Louisiana Creole brisket, the stomach-rumbling aromas are sure to whet your appetite. During the three-hour tour, you’ll stop at the historic French Market and various foodie venues, as your knowledgeable guide provides culinary insights into the history of the area. A word of advice: you might want to skip breakfast for this one.

Whitney Plantation tour

For a poignant understanding of the regional history, a visit to this former sugar plantation is a must. Now a museum dedicated to promoting an understanding of slavery in the US, the Whitney Plantation provides an eye-opening insight into the lives of those who worked here over the course of its 260-year history. This restored antebellum property is also one of the best examples of Spanish Creole architecture in Louisiana.

Creole Louisiana: a French Quarter walking tour

St. Louis Cathedral

On this unmissable walking tour, experience the Vieux Carré through the eyes of the Louisiana Creoles who originally called it home. This is old Louisiana – you’ll learn about antebellum life and architecture in historic surroundings: St Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, St Louis Cemetery No. 1 and Hermann-Grima House – a quintessential French Quarter residence from 1831 – are all included in the itinerary.

Private three-hour Cajun roux class

This Cajun and Creole cooking class is the perfect hands-on learning experience if you want to take New Orleans flavors home with you. Learn about the importance of the Cajun Holy Trinity – celery, bell peppers and onions – as you create traditional dishes such as gumbo, étouffée and bananas foster under the guidance of a local expert.

Steamboat Natchez evening jazz cruise

Natchez steamboat

In operation since 1975, the old-world Natchez is modelled after traditional steamboats that traversed the Mississippi in the 19th century. This scenic cruise is accompanied by live jazz courtesy of Dukes of Dixieland and a Creole-inspired dinner; just sit back and soak up the sunset views and the twinkle of the city skyline on this romantic cruise.

New Orleans jazz tour with live music

Statues in Louis Armstrong Park

If you like your history laced with a classic soundtrack, don’t miss out on this nightlife tour of the best live music venues in New Orleans. Visit jazz landmarks such as Louis Armstrong Park and Frenchman Street while passing through the historic neighborhoods of Tremé and Marigny. Your local guide will take you to their favorite haunts; be on the lookout for impromptu street performances on the way.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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