New Orleans is such a fun city with so much to see and do that it could take hours and hours to investigate the options for your free time while you’re in town for the PSP Expo. Fortunately, we’ve done some sleuthing and come up with all sorts of tours that promise to make your trip memorable. Check ‘em out.
Gray Line Tours
The Super City Tour is well named. This 2¼-hour narrated tour will immerse you in all things N’awlins. The motorcoach visits the French Quarter and Jackson Square, and winds its way through neighborhoods such as Treme, Faubourg Marigny and the Garden District. You’ll get to disembark and explore one of the city’s historic cemeteries as well as City Park, one of the nation’s 10 largest urban parks. The tour costs $43 for adults. Contact: (504) 569-1401; (800) 233-2628; graylineneworleans.com.
The City of New Orleans and Katrina Recovery Tour takes you through the historic French Quarter, including Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral, Bourbon Street and the French Market. Plus, you’ll see one of the city’s historic cemeteries, St. Charles Avenue, the Garden District and City Park.
The van also traverses some of the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, such as the 9th Ward and the 17th Street levee area. And you’ll see Harry Connick Jr.’s Musicians Village and Habitat for Humanity’s work. The tour lasts 2.5 to 3 hours; $49 per person. Contact: (504) 587-7115; (888) 587-7115; celebrationtoursllc.com.
Tours by Isabelle
The City and Estate Tour, a four-hour drive, visits a number of famous landmarks, including stops for a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 and the beautiful Longue Vue Mansion & Gardens; costs $90 for adults.
Their other tours can take you to plantations and swamps, as well as walking tours of the French Quarter and Garden District. Contact: (504) 398-0365; (877) 665-8687; toursbyisabelle.com.
It seems quaint now, but the mule- or horse-drawn carriages clopping along French Quarter streets once were one of the main ways to get around New Orleans. Nowadays, visitors can obtain a leisurely view of the city this way. Indeed, mule-drawn carriages line Decatur St. outside Jackson Square, 8 a.m.-midnight, daily.
You can take your chances and hope you pick a good guide — or check out these: Royal Carriages (504-943-8820; neworleanscarriages.com) is a 75-year-old, family-run enterprise. Mid-City Carriages offers mule-drawn carriage rides through the French Quarter, and also tours of Treme, cemeteries and the Garden District (888-639-6040; midcitycarriages.com). As you might expect, Witches Brew Tours offers Cemetery Tours, Haunted Walking Tours — and Haunted Carriage Tours. The latter is a mule-drawn carriage that takes passengers on a vampire, ghost, witch and voodoo oriented tour of the French Quarter. (504-413-3120; witchesbrewtours.com).
CUISINE & COCKTAILS
New Orleans Culinary History Tours
The company’s tours have won TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence (2013, 2014, 2015). Its French Quarter Tasting Tour mixes history and food, walking to classic eateries such as Antoine’s and Tujague’s. The New Orleans Classic Drinks Tour does the same. Advance tickets required: tasting tour, $55; drinks tour, $60. Contact: (504) 427-9595; (877) 278-8240;
Doctor Gumbo Tours
Three Doctor Gumbo Tours are conducted in the French Quarter: The three-hour Food History Tour is a leisurely walking tour visiting up to seven locations, allowing participants to learn about, and sample, classics such as gumbo, Creole brisket, muffulettas, po’ boys, pralines and more; $55 per person. The Cocktail History Tour stops at four historic venues; $65 for tour and four cocktails, or $32, tour only. The Combo Cocktail and Food History Tour is only available twice weekly and visits eight locations. Contact: (504) 473-4823; doctorgumbo.com.
This firm’s two- to three-hour walking tours won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence (2015). Three tours are offered: Taste of New Orleans Du Jour; Flavors of New Orleans; and the new Dessert Tour Du Jour to four restaurants. Buy tickets ($55) in advance. Contact: (219) 929-6648; tastebudtours.com.
Gray Line’s Original Cocktail Walking Tour
This 2.5-hour tour winds through French Quarter bars and restaurants, where you can buy Pimm’s Cup, Ramos Gin Fizz, Sazerac and more. Reservations recommended; $29 per person. Contact: (504) 569-1401; (800) 233-2628; graylineneworleans.com.
French Quarter Phantoms
Ghost & Vampire Tours are guided walks in the French Quarter, leaving at 6 and 8 p.m. There’s also a Cemetery Tour, a True Crime Tour and Saints & Sinners Tour.
That last one is a walking tour that is said to cover voodoo, thieves and “all the dirty little secrets.” Must be 17 or older; reservations required. Tickets are $20 for adults. Contact: (504) 666-8300; frenchquarterphantoms.com.
Haunted History Tours
The company bills itself as New Orleans’ oldest and largest walking tour; it received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence (2014). The Ghost Tour includes a stop at a haunted French Quarter bar. The Vampire Tour also visits a “vampire” tavern. The New Orleans Cemetery History Tour focuses on St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Tours are $25 for adults. Contact: (504) 861-2727; hauntedhistorytours.com.
Bloody Mary’s Tours
Bloody Mary is an ordained voodoo priestess who offers city and cemetary van tours in addition to walking tours. Some examples include Tour of the Undead; Haunted Pub Crawl Tour; Moonlight Graveyard Tour (visit two graveyards, see 12 more at twilight on Fridays and Saturdays); and more. By reservation only. Contact: (504) 915-7774; bloodymarystours.com.
Spirit Tours New Orleans
The company’s walking tours include the Cemetery & Voodoo Tour, which visits St. Louis No. 1 Cemetery; actual voodoo ritual sites; and more. The Ghost Tour delves into the haunted side of the French Quarter. Tours are $24 for adults. Contact: (504) 314-0806; spirittoursneworleans.com
Free Tours By Foot
Yes, a free, tip-supported walking tour company does exist. Its two-hour Ghost Tour runs daily, 7:30 p.m. There’s also the New Orleans Voodoo Tour and the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 Tour, the site where famous voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is buried.
It should be noted that due to vandalism, the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans has closed the cemetery to visitors, except for guided tours. There is a $2 per person fee for this tour, which goes toward cemetery upkeep. Reservations are required. Contact: (504) 222-2967; freetoursbyfoot.com.
MUSIC & MOVIES
Historic New Orleans Walking Tours Inc.
Jazz lovers are in for a treat: The Preservation Hall/New Orleans Music Tour starts at the legendary hall. Other notable stops on this two-hour walking tour include the site of the Old French Opera House, Basin Street Station, Louis Armstrong Park and more. Adult tickets are $20. The company offers other tours as well, including the Scandalous Cocktail Hour Tour for adults only at $25 per person. Contact: (504) 947-2120; tourneworleans.com.
New Orleans Steamboat Co.
If jazz cruises on the Mississippi sound like fun, make a beeline for the steamboat Natchez. You can sign up for a two-hour daytime cruise, with or without lunch ($37-$26, adults) or the nighttime cruise, with or without dinner ($70-$42). Contact: (504) 586-8777; (800) 233-2628; steamboatnatchez.com.
The Original New Orleans Movie Tours
Many films and TV shows have been shot in New Orleans — everything from “Jurassic World” to “James Bond: Live & Let Die” and the “NCIS: New Orleans” CBS-TV series. The company offers two tours to filming locations: Tour #1 in the French Quarter covers primarily pre-2002 movies; Tour #2 is uptown and focuses mainly on post-2002 films. Tours are 60 to 75 minutes long and cost $29 for adults. Contact: (504) 520-9747; (800) 979-3370; nolamovies.com.
PLANTATIONS & SWAMPS
The Old River Road Plantation Adventure
This award-winning tour firm’s guides are experts in antebellum life. Each van tour visits two plantations — the iconic Oak Alley Plantation and another of your choice; tickets are $75 for adults.
Or take the Myrtles Plantation Evening Excursion, a new tour that offers the chance to see ghosts at this haunted location; basic tour ticket/transportation, $95; dinner is extra. Contact: (866) 671-8687; plantationadventure.com.
Cajun Encounters Tour Co.
Besides the Plantation Tour to the Laura and Oak Alley mansions ($92 for adults), there are combination tours that pair plantations with either a swamp, city and/or cemetery ($136 adults). Contact: (504) 834-1770; (866) 928-6877; cajunencounters.com.
Jean Lafitte Swamp and Airboat Tours
Cajun guides explore the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve daily by boat. Ticket price for the 1.5-hour tours depends on whether you drive or require transportation to and from the park. Swamp boat, $29-$52 adults; airboats, $65-$85. Contact: (504) 689-4186; jeanlafitteswamptour.com.
Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tour
Winner of a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence (2014), this company offers two-hour boat tours in the pristine Honey Island Swamp, led by Louisiana native guides daily; $23 adults; reservations required. Transportation for an extra fee is available to and from New Orleans hotels. Contact: (985) 641-1769; honeyislandswamp.com.