Recent Searches
Clear
See all New Orleans tours
580 tours & tickets
Things to do in New Orleans
See all things to do in New Orleans
Where to Find the Best Views in New Orleans
Where to Find the Best Views in New Orleans

Visiting New Orleans for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do


Visiting New Orleans for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
Hi, I'm Madigan!

Madigan Talmage-Bowers is a writer based in Denver, Colorado. She has also lived in Italy, San Francisco, and New York City, where she studied media theory at the New School. She loves introducing her kids to ancient history, local art, hiking trails, and new foods on adventures around the globe.

see more
Hi, I'm Madigan!

Madigan Talmage-Bowers is a writer based in Denver, Colorado. She has also lived in Italy, San Francisco, and New York City, where she studied media theory at the New School. She loves introducing her kids to ancient history, local art, hiking trails, and new foods on adventures around the globe.

see more

From Creole mansions to crumbling cemeteries, Mardi Gras parades to jazz clubs, swamps to steamboats, New Orleans oozes a Southern charm all of its own. Here’s how to make the most of a first visit to the Big Easy.

Stroll the Garden District

It's one of NOLA's most popular neighborhoods for a reason.

A short streetcar ride away from the bustle of the French Quarter, the leafy Garden District is a calm refuge of antebellum mansions and tree-lined avenues. Explore the history and architecture of this upscale neighborhood on a walking tour, including a stop at legendary Lafayette Cemetery No. 1—one of the oldest graveyards in New Orleans.

Related: 10 Bey-Approved Destinations Where You Can Travel Like Beyoncé

More Garden District tours

Explore the swamps

Escape to nature in NOLA.

Trade the sounds of clanging streetcars and jazz clubs for frogs and crickets with a day trip to the Louisiana swamps. It doesn't take long to reach the heart of Cajun country, where you can glide through the bayous on an airboat while spotting alligators, snakes, turtles, and other swamp critters.

More swamp tours
Exploring the waters of New Orleans is a must. Photo: Alex Washburn / Viator

Cruise the mighty Mississippi

For new views of NOLA.

New Orleans has deep roots as a port city, so join river traffic with a ride aboard the vintage Steamboat Natchez paddle wheeler—one of the last of its kind. Upgrade your experience by booking a brunch or dinner jazz cruise for a taste of Creole cuisine on the water.

Explore New Orleans cruises

Indulge in Creole cuisine

There's no better place for it.

Eating is a favorite New Orleans pastime, so taste local flavor with a food tour of the French Quarter. Savor authentic Creole specialties such as seafood gumbo, muffulettas, beignets, and pralines, or learn recipes you can try at home with a hands-on cooking class.

More New Orleans food tours
Food tours are among the best ways to get to know New Orleans. Photo: Alex Washburn / Viator

Go ghost-hunting

New Orleans is a spooky favorite.

A past scarred by wars, plagues, shocking crimes, and natural disasters has earned New Orleans a reputation as one of the most haunted cities in the US. Visit sites known for paranormal activity and hear legends of voodoo, vampires, and witches on a haunted history tour. Book one that begins after dark for the eeriest effect.

More haunted history tours

Step back in time at a plantation

Get a glimpse into the region's dark past.

A handful of historic plantations are within easy reach of New Orleans, with the best-preserved along the River Road that runs parallel to the Mississippi. Learn about life in antebellum Louisiana and the impact of the slave trade during a tour of sugar cane plantations such as Oak Alley, Laura, Destrehan, and Whitney.

More plantation tours
The Laura Plantation is one of the region's most popular. Photo: Alex Washburn / Viator

More things to do in New Orleans

Keep reading

Keep exploring
See all New Orleans tours
580 tours & tickets
Things to do in New Orleans
See all things to do in New Orleans
Where to Find the Best Views in New Orleans
Where to Find the Best Views in New Orleans