Welcome to New Orleans


Epicurean Appetite

We hope you’re not reading this at home. We hope you’re in New Orleans, because you’re about to eat better than most others. When it comes to food, New Orleans does not fool around. Well, OK, it does: its playful attitude to ingredients and recipes mixes (for example) alligator sausage and cheesecake into a dessert fit for the gods. This sense of gastronomic play is rooted in both deep traditions – truly, this city has one of the few indigenous cuisines in the country – and, increasingly, a willingness to accommodate outside influences, both in terms of technique and ethnicity.

Celebration Seasons

We're not exaggerating when we say there is either a festival or a parade every week of the year in New Orleans. Sometimes, such as during Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest, it feels like there’s a new party for every hour of the day. At almost any celebration in town, people engage in masking – donning a new appearance via some form of costuming – while acting out the satyric side of human behavior. But the celebrations and rituals of New Orleans are as much about history as hedonism, and every dance is as much an expression of tradition and community spirit as it is of joy.

Unceasing Song

New Orleans is the hometown of jazz, but neither the city nor the genre she birthed are musical museum pieces. Jazz is the root of American popular music, the daddy of rock, brother of the blues and not too distant ancestor of hip-hop – all styles of music that have defined the beat of global pop for decades. All these varieties of music, plus a few you may never have heard of, are practiced and played here on every corner, in any bar, every night of the week. Live music isn’t an event: it’s as crucial to the city soundscape as streetcar bells.

Candid Culture

There aren’t many places in the USA that wear their history as openly on their sleeves as New Orleans. This city’s very facade is an architectural study par excellence. And while Boston and Charleston can boast beautiful buildings, New Orleans has a lived-in grittiness that either feels intimidating or easily accessible. As a result of its visible history you'll find a constant, often painful, dialogue with the past, stretching back hundreds of years. It's a history that for all its controversy has produced a street culture that can be observed and grasped in a very visceral way.


Top experiences in New Orleans

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

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New Orleans activities

$176 Day Trips & Excursions

New Orleans Swamp Boat and Plantations Tour

You'll start your day driving out to Cajun Country, where you'll go through wild cypress swamps, over the Mississippi River on an impressive suspended bridge, and along vast sugarcane fields, as the guide tells a unique story of the odyssey of the Cajun people. Next you'll take a narrated boat tour (about 1.5 hours) on winding bayous in remote cypress swamps. Your Cajun guide, also an alligator hunter and fur trapper, will share his knowledge of the swamp including reptile habits, healing plants and exotic birds. After this peaceful ride, explore his picturesque swamp zoo on Bayou Boeuf. A delicious lunch is included at Oak Alley Plantation's Cajun restaurant with a chance to experience traditional cuisine of this region. After lunch be prepared for a pilgrimage back in time. From the River Road you will see and hear all about Whitney, Josephine, and Evergreen Plantations. A guided tour of Oak Alley Plantation to admire this jewel of Greek Revival architecture. Free time to walk under a spectacular canopy of 28 giant live oaks. Next visit Laura, a Creole Plantation and her historic slave quarters surrounded by sugar cane fields. The guided tour transports you with dramatic detail into the charmed yet tragic lives of four generations of Creole owners and their slaves. Upgrade to the High-Speed Airboat option, to experience a thrilling ride as you comfortably glide over marshes and into deep, secluded bayous.

$30 Food, Wine & Nightlife

New Orleans Cooking Class

Food is considered one of the defining elements of Louisiana’s culture, and there's no better way to experience New Orleans than to taste it! During your New Orleans cooking demonstration class, embark on a sensory journey in the kitchen to discover Louisiana's rich tapestry of culinary influences -- French, Spanish, Native American, African and Indian -- as they blend into modern- day Cajun and Creole cuisine.Your cooking experts will demonstrate how to prepare classic New Orleans specialties such as gumbo, jambalaya and pralines, and will season them with history, trivia and tall tales. Learn the basics of Louisiana cooking and discover the array of spices used in this unique cuisine. Enjoy generous samplings of the demonstrated items, as well as complimentary coffee, iced tea and beer. At the end of the class, take home the recipes to show off your new skills to your friends and family!Menu items may include any of the following: gumbo, jambalaya, corn and crab bisque, shrimp or chicken creole, shrimp and artichoke soup, crawfish etoufee, bread pudding, bananas foster, pralines, and pecan pie.

$48 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

New Orleans 2-Hour Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise

Not just a boat, the Steamboat NATCHEZ is a time machine that fills its passengers with the romance and marvel of yesteryear! Cruise along the Mississippi River and let the Steamboat NATCHEZ whisk you away with its atmosphere and ambiance, with everything from a museum- quality Engine Room to the ship's orders being called over an old-time megaphone. This evening jazz cruise is a great way to experience New Orleans' beauty and culture. As you steam ahead, soak in breathtaking views of the city skyline while enjoying a New Orleans cultural experience – a live jazz performance performed by the New Orleans band Dukes of Dixieland, a Grammy nominee. Enjoy dining inside or outside on a delectable Louisiana-style buffet dinner including prime rib, chicken, pasta and salad. Two separate dining times give you the flexibility to enjoy the evening at your own pace. A sample dinner menu can be found in the Itinerary section below. Please Note: The price displayed is based on the cruise only option.  Cruise with dinner option must be selected in order to confirm that your cruise includes the meal.

$31 Food, Wine & Nightlife

New Orleans French Quarter 2.5-Hour Cocktail Walking Tour

Embark on your exploration of New Orleans’ cocktail culture from the Gray Line Lighthouse Ticket Office, right on the Mississippi River in the city’s French Quarter. Your group of like-minded 21-and-up revelers will travel the neighborhood’s historic streets, ducking in and out of watering holes and restaurants in buildings that still stand as beautiful examples of French and Spanish Colonial Architecture. While it’s easy to get lost in the history of your surroundings, the real stars of the tour are the cocktails. Listen in as your guides reveal the stories behind each inventive libation and the characters that brought them to life. Learn the origins of Southern Comfort, a liqueur invented in New Orleans in 1874, and the even older story of the Sazerac, which dates back to 1850. Sample any of your favorites by purchasing a glass. You’ll also get an inside peek into the city’s oldest restaurant and its wine cellar and private dining rooms, where some of New Orleans' most important wheelings and dealings took place. Drink in the spirit of New Orleans by enjoying this 2.5-hour tour at the beginning of your visit to the Big Easy to pinpoint the stops you must revisit, or use it as an unexpected way to bid adieu to a city that’s as rich in stories as it is in drinks to share them over. It's history—with a twist!

$115 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Small-Group Bayou Airboat Ride with Transport from New Orleans

After pickup from your downtown New Orleans or French Quarter hotel, you’ll drive to a remote swamp in Cajun Country, located less than an hour away, for an exciting high-speed airboat tour. On the way, your friendly driver will provide entertaining stories and interesting facts about the region. Board a small airboat and relax as your professional driver takes you comfortably through marshes and deep into secluded bayous. On your 1.5-hour (roughly) airboat ride, hold on tight as the airboat reaches speeds of up to 45 mph (72 kph)! See abundant cypress trees, Louisiana’s state tree, and watch for native wildlife. After your airboat tour, you’ll return to your hotel.

$39.99 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

New Orleans Airboat Ride

Drive-out approximately 30 miles (48 km) to the embarkation point of your airboat from your New Orleans hotel. Depending on the option you selected, board a large airboat holding 15 to 25 passengers or a small airboat limited to six to eight passengers for a more intimate, personalized experience. Set out on a 20,000-acre (8,095-hectare) tract of tidewater cypress swamp close to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Your flat-bottomed airboat is powered by an aircraft propeller to allow a fast, fluid trip through the shallow marshes. Feel the wind on your face as you zip into bayous lined with mossy cypress and tupelo-gum trees and your pilot points out a stunning variety of wildlife. Prepare to see plenty of alligators in the warmer months (and warmer days in winter), some of which may be out sunning themselves on rocks! Your guide may even feed the gators, affording you amazing photo opportunities. Also keep your eyes open for turtles, snakes, egrets, herons and ibis. You may even catch sight of a hawk, owl or bald eagle. In the cooler months, look for white-tailed deer, raccoons and the large rodents known as nutria. Your morning or afternoon airboat tour ends at the embarkation point. Be sure to check out the indoor exhibits of alligators — including an albino alligator — before making your way back to downtown New Orleans on your own. Note: This tour does not include hotel pick-up or drop-off unless hotel pickup and drop-off is selected at checkout. If you have selected hotel pickup and drop-off please specify your hotel details in the 'special requirements' field at the time of checkout or advise the local operator directly after booking.