Known for its wealth of historical architecture and its culinary and musical innovation, New Orleans is one of the most culturally fascinating cities in the world. Discover the best architectural, food, music, literature and history tours in Louisiana’s largest city.
Gray Line’s tour of the French Quarter brings visitors to the original settled city of New Orleans, founded in 1718 by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. Groups are led along the Mississippi river, through the French Market and Jackson square, and down a series of charming side streets named after European saints. A special focus is given to the history of the Creole people as well as the architecture, food, music and art that characterize this fascinating city. Tours come to a close at the Spanish built Cabildo, known as the site of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Gray Line Tours +1 504 569 1401
New Orleans is credited as the birthplace of jazz and is perhaps the world’s most jubilant music city. With its roots at the end of the 19th century, early New Orleans jazz music combined European harmonies and traditional African rhythms, resulting in highly energetic, syncopated sounds. Jazz music echoes perfectly the spirit of the people of New Orleans and their perpetual desire to celebrate. Local guides bring visitors to the iconic Preservation Hall, the Old French Opera House, the Tango Belt, May Bailey’s, the Treme neighbourhood and St. Louis Cemetery, where visitors can pay their respects to some of the city’s most renowned musicians.
Historic New Orleans Tours Inc. +1 504 947-2120
The Le Monde Creole walking tour of New Orleans reveals the story of the renowned Locoul clan, one of Louisiana’s most prominent 19th century Creole plantation families. Tours supplement visits to the city’s tropical courtyards and historical buildings with detailed accounts of the family’s lives, ambitions, and carefully kept secrets as recorded in remaining documentation and the memoirs of Laura Locoul. Guides recount the Locoul’s downfall as they struggled with civil war and the resulting shifts in society. Stops on the tour include the residences of Locoul family, private courtyards, original French Quarter homes and the marvelous New Orleans Pharmacy Museum among others.
Le Monde Creole +1 504 812-8226
Cajun Encounters Plantation Tours takes visitors to two of the most notable and historically significant plantations in New Orleans. Laura Plantation is the first stop on the itinerary, a classic Creole structure with light wooden colonettes, wraparound balconies, and elegant French doors. This 200-year-old sugarcane plantation boasts a complex and fascinating history from the home itself and the women who ran it. to the slaves who lived and worked there. Second on the tour is a visit to Oak Alley Plantation, a building erected in 1839 in true colonial style. The plantation gets its name from the magnificent quarter mile tunnel of oak trees leading up to the building.
Cajun Encounters +1 504 834 1770
Tours by Isabelle takes visitors on private literary walking tours of the French Quarter. The state of Louisiana is home to a total of seven historic literary landmarks, all of which are located in New Orleans, and this exclusive tour accounts for each of the seven. Available only by special request, tours are led by local historians and writers possessing expert knowledge on the featured landmarks and the figures who frequented them. The legendary Carousel Bar at the Hotel Moteleone marks the beginning and the end to the tour. Boasting a rich list of patrons including Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway, the hotel is seen as the historical center of the city’s resident literati.
Tours by Isabelle +1 504 398-0365
Racontours offers both custom and set tours for small and large groups. The all day Garden District tour, which runs from Monday to Friday, features visits to opulent Victorian Mansions, Greek Revival homes of the Antebellum South and the Mediterranean style Lafayette Cemetery. Architectural and historical visits are complemented by a trip to the famous Commander’s Palace Restaurant, where individuals are treated to Haute Creole cuisine prepared by the chefs at this significant culinary landmark. Business casual attire is required for this tour in order to dine in this James Beard Award winning restaurant.
Racontours +1 504 899 1277
Travelers wishing to combine a bit of outdoor activity with a historical New Orleans tour need look no further than Kayak-iti-Yat tours. Although the kayaking company offers a variety of sightseeing packages, the Big Easy Bayou Tour is their most community based, cultural focused tour. Tours venture around Bayou St. John, an essential natural resource that played a large part in the establishment of New Orleans. The Native Americans introduced the bayou to the settlers as a way of accessing land from the Gulf of Mexico without dealing with the strong currents of the Mississippi, inspiring the building of the city. The Easy Bayou Tour brings groups past West Indies-style architecture of the late 1700s and through a number of charming and architecturally significant neighborhoods whilst learning about the history of Bayou St. John. First time kayakers are welcome.
Kayak-iti-Yat +1 512-964-9499