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New Orleans

For first-time visitors

Our most recommended New Orleans For first-time visitors

New Orleans: Evening Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

1. 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. Departing 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 Mississippi 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 SaladChicken and Sausage GumboBaked Chicken with a mushroom ragoutBayou Seafood PastaHerb-Garlic Fingerling PotatoesPasta Primavera (Vegetarian)Green Beans AlmondWhite Chocolate Bread PuddingBananas Foster: A New Orleans originalGarlic Rolls Menu items are subject to change by season and availability.

New Orleans: Day Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

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

Savor the beauty and romance of New Orleans on a cruise aboard the Sternwheeler Steamboat Natchez, the only authentic steamboat in New Orleans. Cruise along the Mississippi River, listen to live jazz music, and enjoy an optional lunch of local fare. Your cruise from the heart of the French Quarter and takes you back to a time when life was as slow and graceful as the current on the Mississippi. Set out to see New Orleans from the Mississippi River, one of the world's most active ports. While on board, visit the museum-quality engine room to learn how steam powers this magnificent boat through the "Mighty Mississippi." Add an optional Creole lunch to your cruise, prepared fresh on board and served with your choice of coffee and iced tea. Savor the tastes of New Orleans before docking back where you started the tour. Sample Menu Lunch (subject to season and availability) • Southern fried fish• Red beans and rice• Jambalaya• Salad du jour

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

3. 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.

New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Swamp Cruise Day Trip

4. New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Swamp Cruise Day Trip

Experience 2 typical Louisiana features—plantation homes and bayous—on a guided day trip from New Orleans with hotel pickup. Tour Oak Alley Plantation, with entry tickets, included, and look out for wildlife on a boat trip through the swamplands. Start with a pickup from your French Quarter hotel. Head out of New Orleans and travel to Oak Alley Plantation, one of the best-known in the area. Built in 1837-39, the plantation is famous for its alley of 28 evenly spaced live oak trees. Take a guided tour of the historical plantation and gain an educational insight into the times of slavery. Afterward, enjoy a fully narrated boat tour of the swamps. Keep a lookout for alligators, turtles, water birds, and other local wildlife. Listen as your captain tells stories of local Cajun and Creole history, and the people who live in the Bayou area. Finish your tour with the return journey to New Orleans, where you’ll be dropped off at your French Quarter hotel.

New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

5. New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

Embark on a high-speed adventure through the swamps and marshes just 35 minutes from New Orleans and experience the amazing scenery by airboat. Slow down or stop to take pictures and get a personal tour from your local captain. Avail of airboats with stadium-style seating so that the person in front does not obstruct your view. Be amazed as alligators come so close to the boat that you can stare into their reptilian eyes! Encounter magnificent birdlife, including bald eagles, pelicans, ospreys and owls. Every tour is unique and you never know what will be around the next corner! Reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, propelled by a huge fan that blows air from the back of the boat in excess of 200 miles per hour. Ride in shallow water and access areas where traditional boats cannot go.

New Orleans: Mardi Gras World Behind-the-Scenes Tour

6. New Orleans: Mardi Gras World Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Discover Mardi Gras magic on a self-guided tour of Mardi Gras World, where artists and craftsmen have designed and built the oldest and biggest parade floats and attractions for each Mardi Gras season in New Orleans since 1947. Begin your tour by receiving your ticket in form of a bead necklace and watch a film which gives an overview of the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the role Mardi Gras World plays in it to this day. Then, enjoy a slice of the traditional Mardi Gras cake, King Cake, before your self-guided tour leads you through the float den. Explore where Mardi Gras World artists work year-round to build spectacular, one-of-a-kind floats and props, with over 500 floats built and decorated each year. See how the various themed elements are created from scratch or are adapted from elements created for previous themes — from sculpting the elements, to finishing and painting them. There is even an electronic robot that can carve 3-D sculptures. Take photos with some of the finished pieces from various themes over the years, then tour the floats themselves. Get up closer to the floats than is possible during Mardi Gras parades, and find out how these amazing pieces come to life each year. See floats in various stages of completion as they prepare for the upcoming Mardi Gras as much as a whole year before. At the end of the tour, stay and take more pictures with any of the floats if you like. For your convenience, a complimentary shuttle service is provided from stops in Downtown; just call the number provided on your voucher for your nearest stop and to arrange pickup.

From New Orleans: Whitney Plantation Ticket & Transportation

7. From New Orleans: Whitney Plantation Ticket & Transportation

Step back in time as you visit the Whitney Plantation on this bus day trip from New Orleans. Gain a unique perspective on the enslaved people who lived and worked here through museum exhibits, memorial artwork, restored buildings, and hundreds of first-person slave narratives. In 2014, Whitney Plantation opened its doors to the public for the first time in its 262-year history, as the only plantation museum in Louisiana with a focus on slavery.  The early owners of Habitation Haydel, later known as the Whitney Plantation, became wealthy producing indigo before the plantation transitioned to sugar in the early 1800s.  Whitney is also significant because of the number of historic outbuildings which were added to the site over the years, thus providing a unique perspective on the evolution of the Louisiana working plantation. The Big House is one of the finest surviving examples of Spanish Creole architecture and one of the earliest raised Creole cottages in Louisiana.  The Whitney Plantation Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. As a site of memory and consciousness, this site pays homage to the slaves on the plantation itself and to all of those who lived elsewhere in the United States.

New Orleans Swamp Tour by Tour Boat

8. New Orleans Swamp Tour by Tour Boat

Drift slowly past 2,000 years of Louisiana history on this boat tour. Encounter the beautiful nature and wildlife of the swamp in the company of your expert captain guide. Set sail with your captain, a native of the Barataria Swamps with a background in alligator hunting, fishing and trapping. He will tell you all about the ecology of the swampland. You'll also learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Cajuns of the Bayou and see plenty of wildlife, including birds, snakes, turtles and alligators.  The boat passes calmly through beautiful, moss-draped trees and soft waterways for ample opportunities to take pictures. Enjoy an entertaining, educational and exciting tour with a relaxing view of this unique landscape. Note that in the winter, gators mostly hibernate, except to soak up some sun on warmer days, but your local tour can sometimes spot a sunbathing gator for you on the tour. 

New Orleans: Haunted Pub Crawl

9. New Orleans: Haunted Pub Crawl

Make your way to the Jax Brewery building to meet your local licensed guide who will be waiting for you at the entrance to Bon's New Orleans Street Food to check you in with your confirmation email. This tour visits the most fascinating and haunted places throughout the city, including the infamous Lalaurie Mansion (as seen on "American Horror Story: Coven"), and many other sites such as the Sultan's Palace or Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. This is a 2-hour leisurely stroll just under a mile long with frequent bar stops and restroom breaks. Enjoy an alcohol-friendly tour, with opportunities to purchase cocktails at the start of trip.

New Orleans: Bayou Tour in Jean Lafitte National Park

10. New Orleans: Bayou Tour in Jean Lafitte National Park

Bring your cameras and adventurous spirits as you explore the Barataria Preserve of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Meet your guide at the meeting point or at one of the 8 pickup locations in New Orleans (if transportation option is selected), and travel to the swamp. Tours pick up daily from convenient hotels at 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 12:30 PM. You’ll be taken on a 1.5-hour pontoon boat ride around the waters of the area. Get the chance to spot alligators, local wildlife, and two other friendly creatures, Sunshine the Pig and Patrick the Possum.  Listen to stories and legends told by your informative local guide. Following the tour, enjoy a delicious Cajun lunch at a local eatery down the street, the perfect way to refuel. After lunch, you’ll be driven back to New Orleans and dropped off at the original meeting point or pickup location you have selected.

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Frequently asked questions about New Orleans For first-time visitors

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What people are saying about New Orleans

My husband and I did the evening cruise and it was a very romantic beautiful experience. The pictures of the sunset and the beautiful city we got from the view of the deck were breathtaking! Definitely recommend!

Josh, our guide was very informative. We asked him many questions and what he could, he replied some he googled very patient and pleasant.

Christy was a wonderful! Not only did we learn about the ghost stories but we also learned wonderful cultural and historical information!

Christy my guide was super funny and had a great way of telling the stories.

Trevor did a great job and the tour was informative and entertaining!