The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take on the Big Easy with a stroll through its streets.

U.S. News & World Report

The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take your time getting to know New Orleans with an easygoing walking tour.(Getty Images)

Thanks to its melting pot of cultures, New Orleans has many sides to explore. Choose a walking tour so you'll not only burn calories from all those beignets but also discover the city's top attractions along with its history, hauntings and food. Using both traveler sentiment and expert opinion, U.S. News created a list of the 15 top walking tours. No matter which one you choose, you're bound to have a rousing good time.

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours – French Quarter & Cemetery

This two-hour tour not only includes a walk through the French Quarter but also an extensive overview of the city's centuries-old history. You'll walk past iconic New Orleans homes and see the Mississippi River, among other sights. Plus, you'll explore St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which is only accessible with a guide. Reviewers say the guides are outstanding and describe the tour as a "must-do." Tours run at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. Tickets start at $27 for adults and $16 for children 4 to 11; children 3 and younger tour free. The company also offers ghost tours and tours of the Garden District.

New Orleans Secrets – Magazine Street Foodie Tour

Eat your way through Magazine Street – described by New Orleans Secrets as a local foodie paradise – on this three-hour walking tour. During your trip, you'll sample six different items from five local restaurants. Reviewers praise their guides and say the tour provides just the right amount of food. Tours start at $75 per person, though tickets for children who are sharing portions with parents are discounted to $35. Tours run Wednesday through Monday at 11 a.m.; there's an additional 3 p.m. weekday tour. Hungry for more? New Orleans Secrets also offers a Best Chefs of New Orleans tour and a French Quarter History and Cocktail tour.

Nola Tour Guy – Garden District Tour

During this two-hour stroll, you'll meander past the Garden District's beautiful antebellum homes and gardens while learning about some interesting characters from the area's past. The tour also includes a stop at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Travelers appreciate the history guides share during the tour and especially enjoy the cemetery portion of the excursion. Though tours are free, you're asked to consider paying what you feel the tour is worth at its conclusion. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and all ages are welcome. Space is limited, so book in advance. Nola Tour Guy also runs free tours of the French Quarter.

Drink & Learn – The Cocktail Tour

This two-hour tour teaches participants about the city through its iconic cocktails, such as the hurricane, the Sazerac and St. Charles Hotel punch. There are stops at the Pharmacy Museum, St. Louis Cathedral and the Port of New Orleans, among other attractions, but no stops at bars. Reviewers say this is one of the best tours they've ever taken and several call it the best tour in New Orleans. They also say the cocktails are tasty. Tours are available most Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. Tickets, which cover the cost of cocktails and punches, cost $55 per person. Tourgoers must be 21 or older.

Stroll by the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square while hearing about the lives of the Crescent City’s most influential women on this trip from TOURS by Steven.(Courtesy of TOURS by Steven)

TOURS by Steven – Women of New Orleans Tour

This women's history tour, which lasts up to 2 1/2 hours, highlights some of New Orleans' most famous ladies like the Ursuline nuns, the "Ladies of Storyville" in the red-light district and the first women's literary group. Participants describe the tour, which strolls through the French Quarter, as engaging and educational. Ticket prices start at $25 for participants 12 and older and $15 for children 6 to 11. Tours run daily at 2 p.m. You can also join one of the company's other tours that explore the Garden District, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 or the French Quarter.

Friends of the Cabildo – French Quarter Walking Tours

This tour is run by Friends of the Cabildo, a nonprofit group that supports the Louisiana State Museum, which is partially housed in the Cabildo building. Tours focus on history, architecture and folklore of New Orleans. Reviewers say they learned so much while on the tour and describe guides as well-versed in Louisiana history. Tours run daily at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and ticket prices start at $22 for adults and $17 for students, seniors and the military. The organization offers a variety of themed tours, including tours focusing on jazz, music and dance in the 19th century, and New Orleans music history.

Two Chicks Walking Tours – St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 Tour

When you visit New Orleans, touring its historic cemeteries is definitely a must-do. This hourlong tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 discusses burial practices and explores the cemetery's many tombs, including that of Marie Laveau. Tourgoers regularly praise guides not only for their expertise but delivery of the information. They also say they learned plenty of history. Tours typically run in the late morning and in the afternoon each day with added times on weekends. Tickets cost approximately $20 per person. Two Chicks Walking Tours also provides combined tours of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and the Garden District.

Strange True Tours – Strange True Tour

Delve into stories of true crime, burlesque and Bourbon Street on the Strange True Tour. During your two-hour jaunt, local historians will regale you with stories about the French Quarter's sordid past. Tourgoers rave about their guides' storytelling capabilities and say the experience exceeded their expectations. Tours run daily at 4 p.m. Ticket prices start at $35 for adults, $30 for military, students and seniors, and $15 for kids 16 and younger. You must book at least two spots to take the tour. The company offers a variety of specialized tours, including one that explores Lee Harvey Oswald's life in New Orleans.

Lucky Bean Tours works to engage kids of all ages on its walking tour of the French Quarter.(Courtesy of Lucky Bean Tours)

Lucky Bean Tours – French Quarter Kids & Family Tour

Created specifically for families with kids, this tour includes snacks, crafts and stories designed to engage children ages 5 to 12. The two-hour walking tour teaches youngsters about Mardi Gras, pirates and jazz, as well as how kids lived and played in the city throughout its history. Tourgoers say the guides keep kids engaged and that they enjoy fun surprises along the way. Tours take place at 10 a.m., and specific days vary by season. Tickets cost approximately $30 for participants ages 5 and older and are free for kids 4 and younger. Lucky Bean Tours also offers tours of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and the Garden District, among other neighborhoods.

Ghost City Tours – Killers and Thrillers Tour

Get a look at New Orleans' haunted past, voodoo practices and infamous crimes on this nighttime tour for adults. You'll stroll through the French Quarter for 90 minutes as guides tell you the real crime story behind ghostly tales. The excursion is pet-friendly, and participants are invited to bring alcohol. Reviewers say the guides are great storytellers, and that the tour is an unforgettable experience. The tour runs nightly at 8 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $30 per person, and participants must be 16 or older. Ghost City Tours has a variety of ghoulish options, including a haunted pub crawl and a ghosts of New Orleans tour.

Doctor Gumbo – Cocktail History Walking Tour

This Doctor Gumbo tour takes visitors through a history of the city's cocktails with stops at restaurants and bars like SoBou, the Bourbon O Bar and Tujague's. Along the way, travelers will sample the Sazerac, the grasshopper and more. Participants enjoy the tour and say they learn a lot about mixology and cocktail history. Tickets cost approximately $70 per person or $35 for nondrinkers. Tourgoers must be 21 years or older. Tours run daily at 5 p.m. and last about three hours. More interested in eating than drinking? Doctor Gumbo also offers a food history tour.

Free Tours by Foot – Voodoo Tour

Voodoo is famous for its role in New Orleans legends and culture, and this tour highlights that aspect of the city. Free Tours by Foot's 1 1/2-hour Voodoo Tour unveils the religion's origins in West Africa and includes stops at Congo Square and city cemeteries. You'll conclude the tour with a visit to a modern Voodoo temple. Reviewers describe guides as entertaining and knowledgeable. Join the tour Wednesday through Sunday at 10 a.m. or Thursday through Sunday at 11 a.m. Though you name the price of the tickets, reservations are required. The tour is suitable for all ages. The company also offers free food and ghost tours, among others.

View some of New Orleans' most unique buildings with a tour from New Orleans Architecture Tours.(Courtesy of New Orleans Architecture Tours)

New Orleans Architecture Tours – Garden District Tour

This two-hour trip offers a close look at the Garden District and its Greek Revival, Victorian and Italianate mansions. As you view these 19th-century homes, you'll learn which ones have historic and celebrity ties. Tourgoers say they are wowed by the guides' architecture savvy and say the experience is well worth the cost. Tours run weekdays, except Tuesday, at 10 a.m. and Saturday at 10:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $30 per person, and all ages are welcome. The company also offers tours of Marigny and the French Quarter.

Gray Line – New Orleans Original Cocktail Walking Tour

Discover famous bars and restaurants within the French Quarter on this 2 1/2-hour cocktail walking tour that shares the history of the city's drinks from absinthe to Pimm's cup. The adventure starts with a complimentary Natchez jazz punch, and you can buy additional drinks at stops along the way. Reviewers say guides are well-educated and the tour is fun. They advise taking the tour early in your New Orleans trip as it helps you familiarize yourself with the French Quarter. Tours depart at 3 and 4 p.m. each day, and tickets cost approximately $30 for adults. You must be at least 21 years old to participate. Gray Line also offers swamp tours and plantation tours, among others.

French Quarter Phantoms – Cemetery Tour

Master storytellers take tourgoers through New Orleans' famous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 on this two-hour tour. Guides tell visitors about the history and inhabitants of the cemetery as they stroll by famous graves, including actor Nicolas Cage's future tomb. Tourgoers praise their guides for their expertise and the amount of history shared and seen. Tickets start at $20 for adults and $1 for children 7 and younger. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. French Quarter Phantoms offers many tours, including a tour of Tremé and a music-themed outing.

Lyn Mettler, Contributor

Lyn Mettler has written for U.S. News since 2014 covering a range of travel topics, including ...  Read more

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