New Orleans is known for being full of hidden gems and one of the best ways to see them is on a guided tour of the city. Here’s our list of some of the best.
Things that Go Bump in the Night (And Day)
At 300 years old, the Crescent City is renowned for paranormal experiences that can make your hair stand on end, day or night. For the nexus of voodoo, vampire, and ghost stories, choose a tour that highlights the cities paranormal activity. Your guide will take you to storied locations where spirits are said to tap, nudge, or whisper from beyond the grave. The tales are macabre, so leave the wee ones with a babysitter.
New Orleans’ historic mausoleums are built above ground due to its position below sea level. Tour a City of the Dead at Cemetery No. 1 in the Treme neighborhood, where Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is said to be buried. No matter how many times the Archdiocese whitewashes the tomb, locals still leave a slash mark on her grave to make
a wish and an X when it’s granted.
You can also learn about the original walking dead with a combo cemetery and voodoo tour. Haitian religious ceremonies were brought to New Orleans with the slave trade, and, to this day, you may spot a gris-gris bag at the foot of a tombstone.
Experience Cajun Country from Airboats to Plantations
Take a coach bus straight from the doorstep of hotels including the conveniently located Hilton New Orleans Riverside to a full-day swamp boat and plantation excursion. Hungry alligators pop up from the marsh, but your tour guide will keep them full with hot dogs and marshmallows. On the second leg of your tour, at antebellum Oak Alley Plantation, stroll beneath 300-year-old live oaks on the manicured grounds. Or get a pirate’s eye view with the Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour. Lafitte is said to have buried his gold in the swamps, but the natural treasure you’ll see includes everything from white cranes flying overhead to massive wild boars peering out of the forest. You can also indulge your need for speed with an airboat ride through Jean Lafitte Swamp. The boats feature 450-horsepower engines, so attach all valuables very securely before jetting across the water.
Get the Lay of the Land with City Tours
There’s no better way to get acclimated to New Orleans than with a city tour. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view with a short-term commitment by riding a Hop-On/Hop-Off Double Decker Sightseeing Bus past lush French Quarter balconies and the massive mansions of the Garden District. For a deeper dive, take a three-hour tour through the Big Easy. The tour includes complimentary pick-up from Hilton hotels including Homewood Suites
by Hilton French Quarter Hotel, and takes you past Creole mansions to the Spanishmoss- covered live oak trees of locals’ favorite relaxation spot, City Park. Or for a leisurely evening, hop aboard a Super Saver City Tour and Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise. The historic Natchez steamboat ride includes a jazz dinner and gives you one of the most Instagram-worthy views of the skyline as it circles back into port.
Interactive Fun from Cooking to Drunk History
From quintessentially Creole gumbo to the irresistible dessert Bananas Foster, stir up hands-on fun with a New Orleans cooking class. Afterward, you can work off your gumbo with a guided walking tour from Jackson Square to Pirate’s Alley. Fall and spring offer the best weather for strolling, and in summer stick to the cooler afternoons when you’re more likely to hear jazz bands in the streets. New Orleans is one of the few cities where open liquor laws allow walking with a cocktail, so keep your go-cup rolling with a two-hour Drunk History Tour, stopping at bars and historic sites throughout the French Quarter. Take our taste buds on a trip with Doctor Gumbo Tours, where you can take your taste buds on a trip and enjoy top cocktails and cuisine in the city! For a nightcap, you can sip a cocktail from your own cabana at the rooftop Monkey Board bar at The Troubadour, a Tapestry by Hilton boutique hotel.