New Orleans Culture & history

Our most recommended New Orleans Culture & history

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

1. 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.

New Orleans: Creole Queen History Cruise with Optional Lunch

2. New Orleans: Creole Queen History Cruise with Optional Lunch

Sit back and enjoy the views or a drink at the bar while journeying down the Mississippi river. Learn about New Orleans' complex, but interesting story, focusing on the critical Battle of New Orleans. Join a cruise narrated by a local guide and embark on a journey into the past as you head downriver to the Chalmette Battlefield at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. As you travel to the battlefield, learn about the settlement of New Orleans, its river, and the historical landmarks that line the banks of the Mississippi River. As you cruise, treat yourself to a traditional lunch on board. (If relevant option selected.) Stop at the battlefield and hear about the legacy of the area on a 1-hour guided tour along the shore with a talk by National Park Rangers. After, return to the starting point where your tour will end. SAMPLE MENU LUNCH: • New Orleans Style Shrimp Pasta • 10” Roast Beef Po-Boy • Creole Jambalaya • Crawfish Bread • Caesar Salad • Red Beans & Rice • Fresh Baked Cookies • Zapps Potato Chips (Menu items are subject to change by season and availability)

New Orleans: The National WWII Museum Ticket

3. New Orleans: The National WWII Museum Ticket

Designated by Congress as the official WWII museum of the United States, the National WWII Museum is located in downtown New Orleans, where 5 soaring pavilions house historical exhibits, on-site restoration work, a period dinner theater, and restaurants. Purchase your timed tickets in advance to secure your desired entry or movie time. Housed in 5 buildings, the museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. The Louisiana Memorial Pavilion features the “D-Day Invasion of Normandy” exhibit and an exhibit telling the story of the war experienced on the Home Front.  The "Campaigns of Courage" area features the “Road to Tokyo” exhibit, which retraces the grueling trail from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo. It also houses the “Road to Berlin” exhibit, recreating actual battle settings and villages as America campaigned to defeat the Axis powers. A two-hour guided tour of these two exhibits, led by an expert docent, is also available to book as an option. The U.S. Freedom Pavilion features actual WW2 airplanes restored to their wartime glory, including the B-17E Flying Fortress, as well as wartime tanks and trucks. Liberation Pavilion, which opens in 2022, will explore the closing months of the war and immediate postwar years, concluding with an explanation of links to our lives today.  In the Solomon Victory Theatre, you will be able to see, hear and feel the epic story of World War II in the exclusive 4D experience “Beyond All Boundaries”, narrated by Tom Hanks. This movie experience requires the purchase of the option which includes the 4-D film.

New Orleans: Walking Tour Inside St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

4. New Orleans: Walking Tour Inside St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

Uncover the history of one of America's oldest and most famous cemeteries that is not open to the general public on this walking tour of the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 cemetery. View interesting burial customs and stroll past facinating above ground tombs.  Check in and meet your guide at the Basin St. Station Visitor Center where you can find an array of exhibits about New Orleans, an interactive map of the Hurricane Katrina floodwaters, a café, restrooms, and a gift shop. Get your tour stickers and depart on time for your adventure into the macabre. Head to the the front gates of the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and listen as you guide takes you back in time with the story of the cemetery. Make your way through New Orleans' most famous tombs and hear about the city's unique burial customs. Get up close to the elaborate above-ground crypts and below-ground sites. Meander among the and find out about the storied pasts of those residing here, including Voodoo Queen Mariel Laveau, the former mayor Homer Plessy and other notable figures from the city's history.

New Orleans: Cemetery Bus Tour At Dark with Exclusive Access

5. New Orleans: Cemetery Bus Tour At Dark with Exclusive Access

Experience the spooky side of New Orleans on a tour of the city and one of its most haunted cemeteries. Listen to chilling tales from your local guide and learn about the darker parts of the city's history. See how an EMF reader is used in real life. First, grab a cocktail or beer at your meeting location before the tour. Then your tour guide will lead the way with an EMF Reader and explain how to use them to search for paranormal activity. Then, travel to two different locations and explore haunted New Orleans cemeteries at night. Our guides will have EMF readers to help locate any spirits or paranormal phenomena.  Finally, see the videos of documented ghosts and spirits that haunt several locations from your tour. Conclude your tour by following your guide to a burial ground of spirits who met their unfortunate fate in a tragic pandemic event.

New Orleans: High Speed 6-9 Passenger Airboat Tour

6. New Orleans: High Speed 6-9 Passenger Airboat Tour

Experience the best of both a swamp tour and an airboat ride. Travel at high speeds in the airboat then slow down and stop for pictures. Along the way, enjoy a personal tour by your local captain. The airboats have stadium seating so every airboat seat is great for experiencing the tour and viewing wildlife. Yes, gators will get close, real close. So close that you will be able to look into those reptilian eyes. Alligators do hibernate in the colder months, but your experienced captains know where to look for them. On average, during the winter, you have better than a 50/50 chance of seeing a gator. In the warmer months, you will see a gator. Every New Orleans Airboat Tour is unique and you never know what could be around the next corner. Tour an area that is a combination of swamp, marsh, and lake, spotting anything from a Bald Eagle to a Pelican, from an Osprey to an Owl. The airboats are driven by a 454 Chevy engine that will produce speeds of up to 35 miles an hour. They are propelled by a huge fan that will blow air from the back of the boat in excess of 200 miles an hour. These tours are truly a blast. They ride in inches of water and go where traditional boats can't. The boats were designed to take you to inaccessible areas of the swamp, places that you cannot reach by foot or car, ensuring a unique experience.

New Orleans: Laura Creole Plantation Guided Tour

7. New Orleans: Laura Creole Plantation Guided Tour

Experience the disappearing world of Creole Louisiana on a 75-minute guided tour of the Laura Plantation main house, gardens and slave quarters. Located on the West bank of the Mississippi in the heart of Plantation Country – the main house dates from 1805 and has been restored to the time when it functioned as both a family home and the office for the sugar plantation. Visit the raised basement and galleries, men's and women's parlors, service rooms and common rooms. Walk through the 200-year-old sugar plantation homestead, including 3 gardens: Jardin Français, the kitchen potager & BananaLand grove. Continue the tour on the grounds with 12 buildings on the National Register, including animal barns, overseers' cottages and the 1829 Maison de Reprise. Hear intimate stories about four generations of free and enslaved members of the Creole families who lived here. Gleaned from handwritten memoirs and archival documents from the United States and France, each story told in the 1805 Maison Principale, on the grounds, and in the original 1840s slave cabins is a true, personal account of the women, children and men who spent their lives on this sugar farm. Spend time touring the onsite museum exhibit on your own after your tour ends. When Laura Plantation opened to the public in 1994, it became the first historic attraction in Louisiana to include stories of enslaved Africans as part of the tour. Today the permanent exhibit "From the Big House to the Quarters: Slavery on Laura Plantation" is dedicated to telling the authentic story of the enslaved community of this Créole farm.

New Orleans: Night Cemetery and Ghost BYOB Bus Tour

8. New Orleans: Night Cemetery and Ghost BYOB Bus Tour

Visit haunted New Orleans — famous for its spooky sightings, as well as its beautiful and elaborately ornate cemeteries. Learn from your guide the stories of ghosts, past and present, which will chill you to the core, as you wander the grounds with EMF readers and dowsing rods. This cemetery tour is offered under the cover of night. You'll leave the French Quarter behind as your bus creeps along Esplanade Avenue to what used to be the edge of town, but is now the bustling neighborhoods of Mid-City and City Park. There are 42 cemeteries in the New Orleans area, and throughout this experience you will visit several of them. Your guides will discuss the unique burial rituals and practices during the stroll, as you are offered an up-close and personal look at some of the most popular cemeteries.

From New Orleans: Whitney Plantation Ticket & Transportation

9. 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: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

10. 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.

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What people are saying about New Orleans

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,644 reviews

Great tour, it was rainy the day we went but that made the experience a little extra spooky! This tour is more about history of cemeteries than the people in them, not that it’s a bad thing, the guide was very knowledgeable about the cemeteries and history of New Orleans, I learned a TON of cool stuff. I’ll never look at pizza the same.

Definitely so worth it, captain Matt was amazing and educated us on the bayou along with the canals, got us super close to the gators which was such a cool experience! The tour was definitely better than we expected!

Lots of walking but you need it to walk off all the wonderful food you eat! History of New Orleans and food history as well

Jeff was awesome!!! Very knowledgeable! Very funny and gave a great tour! I would 100% do this again

Michelle was an awesome guide. A local plus she owns the business.