New Orleans Visitor Guide 2023: Everything you need to know
With its vibrant nightlife, unique culture, and Creole cooking, New Orleans is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the American South. Located along the famed Mississippi River in Louisiana, The Big Easy was founded at the start of the 18th century, when French colonists established the city as the capital of French Louisiana. It remained in French hands until 1803, when it was given to the U.S. during the Louisiana Purchase.
New Orleans has retained its French heritage, which contributes to its Cajun and Creole culture. Whether you're visiting to experience Mardi Gras or fancy catching some live music in the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans is an exciting city for tourists to explore.
A weekend in New Orleans
10 Best Ways to Experience New Orleans in 2023
With a fascinating history and a truly unique culture, New Orleans isn’t a city where you’re likely to run out of things to do. But there’s much more to this legendary party town than the French Quarter and Mardi Gras. Drop off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage in New Orleans, and you’ll be all set to get a deeper understanding of the city by taking one of these tours. Once you’ve seen the Big Easy through the eyes of a local, you may never want to leave again.
Best bus tour - New Orleans Native tours
If you want to take things easy while still seeing what the city has to offer, a bus tour is hard to beat. This company offers bus tours that are suitable for both children and adults, and have five different tours you can choose from. You can learn about the city’s top attractions or visit the atmospheric cemeteries to get a glimpse into the past with this family-owned business. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 855-968-8687.
Best carriage tour — Royal Carriages
This one-of-a-kind tour may be the closest you’ll get to traveling by time machine. Relax to the steady clip-clop of the horse’s hooves as you roll through this old city in a horse and carriage just as generations of travelers did in years gone by. The tours travel through the famous French Quarter where many of the city’s oldest and most interesting buildings are. They also offer night tours for a very atmospheric experience. You can book tours online or reach out to them at email@example.com or 1 504-943-8820.
Best birdseye view — New Orleans Aerial tours
If you want to see Nola like you never imagined, this is the company to call. They offer tours by both airplane and helicopter, with 10 different tours to choose from. Tours are available with a minimum of two passengers, and a flight over the city, especially at sunset, may be the most romantic thing you can do in this already romantic city. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 504-241-9131.
Best kayak tour — Kayak Swamp Tours
The urban attractions of New Orleans often get most of the attention, but if you have the time, you shouldn’t neglect the opportunity to see a more natural side of the city. The bayous and swamps of the city are home to some fascinating creatures, and there’s no better way to explore than in a kayak. This company offers tours that range from two to eight hours in length, and they will provide all equipment and safety instruction you need to paddle your way through and beyond the city. It’s a truly unique way to see New Orleans, and a wonderful experience that’s ideal for boat lovers. Contact them to book at email@example.com or 1 504-571-9975.
Best ghost tour — Unique NOLA
The city of New Orleans is both haunting and haunted. With centuries of history behind it, you probably won’t be surprised to hear the city is regarded as one of the most haunted in North America. You can explore this supernatural legacy with a tour by Unique NOLA. This quirky company offers five different ghost tours, including one that is only suitable for adults where you will get to hear the scariest stories of the city. They take up to 15 guests on each tour, but if you want a more private experience, they can also book you on a private tour that is guaranteed to be a hair-raising delight. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 504-777-7769.
Best bike tour — Flambeaux Bicycle Tours
With its flat topography and charming narrow streets, New Orleans is a perfect city to explore by bike. If you want to have the best experience, take a bike tour with this locally owned company that can help you travel in safety and see all the best spots the city has to offer. They offer tours that take place both day and night, so you can see every different aspect of the city. Tours can take place with as little as two people, and they never take more than 10 people on a tour, so you won’t be crowded while you explore. Book a tour at email@example.com or 1 504-321-1505.
Best history tour — The Savvy Native
The history of New Orleans is rich and complex, and you’ll need a guide to help you navigate even part of it. This company has an impressive range of tours based around such specialist areas as jazz music and the city’s Jewish history. There are also food and bike tours so you can enjoy more of the city’s modern culture. Best of all, they offer combo tours so you can get a little taste of everything on your Louisiana trip. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 504-377-4698.
Best architecture tour — New Orleans Architecture Tour
This company may not have the most creative name, but what they do have is knowledgeable guides that can take you to see some of the most beautiful buildings in the entire country. New Orleans is blessed with many different architectural styles from various periods of its history, and these tours will help you understand the significance behind the way the city is today. They will also help you understand the different districts of the city and how they all combine to make New Orleans the place it is. Contact them at email@example.com or 1 504-355-1213.
Best food tour — Taste Of Nawlin
New Orleans is one of America’s top food cities. Combining Spanish, French, African, and American influences, this is the home of Creole and Cajun cooking as well as some of the best barbecue in the world. With so many different levels to its culinary history, you’ll never get to grips with it all on a single tour. Luckily, this company offers multiple tours, including a breakfast tour where you can sample delicious beignets or a walking tour of the French Quarter where you can try both traditional and cutting-edge Louisiana cuisine. These tours are understandably popular, so make sure you book one by reaching out to Taste Of Nawlins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 504-298-6877.
Best car tour — New Orleans Private Tours
Deciding on the best things to do during a weekend in Crescent City isn't easy, with dozens of varied attractions, ranging from cathedrals to jazz clubs. Once you've dropped off your bags at a New Orleans storage locker, consider swinging by some of The Big Easy's best attractions.
- Wander down Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. This terraced street is the party capital of The Big Easy and boasts bright lights and loud music. While in the area, stop off at the 18th century Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop for a libation.
- Pay a visit to the historic Jackson Square. This 2.5-acre plaza is known for its statue of Andrew Jackson and is home to a collective of open-air artists.
- Discover St. Louis Cathedral. Overlooking Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral on the continent and features incredible Spanish colonial architecture.
- Get in the carnival spirit with a tour of Mardi Gras World. This vast museum contains hundreds of floats and costumes from past Mardi Gras festivals.
- Catch a show at Preservation Hall. A jazz institution, Preservation Hall has live shows almost every night of the year, performed by more than 50 local musicians.
New Orleans lockers
New Orleans is a fast-paced city with a high crime rate, meaning you'll want to find somewhere to store your bags while exploring. Bounce has several conveniently located storage lockers in New Orleans, where you can securely stow your suitcases and belongings before taking in the sights. Just download the app to make a booking, and locate a facility close to you. This way, you won't have to worry about your belongings while discovering what The Big Easy has to offer.
Off the beaten path in New Orleans
Fancy getting out and discovering the best of the bayou? If you want to escape the city and get in touch with nature, you'll find several state parks and wildlife areas surrounding New Orleans. There's also plenty of lesser-known attractions which are well worth visiting but tend to be less popular with tourists.
- Relax along the Mississippi River at Bayou Segnette State Park. Situated about ten miles south of New Orleans, Bayou Segnette State Park is ideal for a range of outdoor activities, including fishing, boating, and bird watching.
- Hunt for ghosts at the Saint Louis Cemeteries. New Orleans' three historic Roman Catholic graveyards are the final resting place of many famous New Orleanians, including voodoo priestess Marie Laveau and former governor Jacques Villeré.
- Learn about local wartime history at Fort Pike State Historic Site. Constructed in the wake of the War of 1812, the ruinous Fort Pike was in use during the Seminole Wars, the Mexican War, and the Civil War.
What to do alone in New Orleans
If you're traveling alone in Crescent City, you might be wondering what the best activities are for solo sightseers. Whether you're road-tripping across the South or you're just looking for something to do after a business meeting, there's plenty of attractions that are ideal for traveling on your own in The Big Easy.
- Take a tour of the New Orleans Museum of Art. The city's oldest museum has an impressive collection of over 40,000 objects and boasts works by world-famous artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, and Claude Monet.
- Spend the day shopping at the French Market. The Shops on the Colonnade are home to everything from art galleries to sportswear stores.
- Find out what lurks in the bayou at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. This aquarium is home to thousands of aquatic critters, including piranhas, penguins, and sharks.
The best souvenirs in New Orleans
New Orleans is an enchanting city, and any traveler will want to pick up a souvenir from their visit. There are several shopping areas in New Orleans, like Royal Street, Magazine Street, and the French Market, where you'll find an array of souvenir and antique stores, which are perfect for picking up a memento. Get a beignet mix, so you recreate one of New Orleans’ most famous snacks at home or buy some beads to remember Mardi Gras. Another great place to visit for a souvenir is Marie Laveau's House Of Voodoo on Bourbon Street, where you can purchase a uniquely New Orleans nicknack for your family and friends.