The best thing about cruising out of New Orleans is that there is something for everyone. The Big Easy is an amazing destination with a fantastic port and there are plenty of things to do. Even if your travel party arrives only one day before your cruise, you are in for a treat with all of the museums, attractions, and restaurants the Crescent City has to offer.
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Cruising out of the Port of New Orleans?
If you have never been to New Orleans and you are cruising out of the Port of New Orleans, we recommend arriving a full 1-3 days before your departure date. This allows you to get accustomed to not only the weather but allows you to sightsee before embarking on your cruise.
We recommend getting a hotel in the French Quarter so you are walking distance from all the action and not too far away from the cruise terminal.
The complete guide of what to do in NOLA before your cruise.
Sunset Chasers are made up of two Local New Orleans sisters and this guide will present you with 30 of the best things to do in New Orleans, including museums, famous streets, and amazing tours.
Don’t forget to explore the N’awins.
If you have only one day and want to squeeze in as much as possible Check out the Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans. This tour takes you through the French Quarter, Treme, Esplanade, the Garden District, and the Metairie Cemetery. This 3-hour air-condition bus tour is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to explore New Orleans by foot.
If you want to explore the French Quarter in style, a Private Carriage Tour of the French Quarter is perfect! This one-hour carriage ride gives you a different perspective of the French Quarter by giving you different information about historic landmarks from Jackson Square to Bourbon Street.
Do: Discover the Food Craze
You will not go hungry on a trip to New Orleans. Known for its iconic dishes, this melting pot knows how to fill your belly. New Orleans truly has a rich cultural cuisine, thanks to its Cajun and Creole people who bring Caribbean and French touches, blended with Vietnamese and Thai immigrants.
One might think how is it possible to sample all these dishes in a short amount of time? Well as any good foodie knows, a food tour by Destination Kitchen or Tastebud Tours is the best way to eat your way through the French Quarter.
If you want a more hands-on approach to New Orleans Cuisine, then a cooking class from the New Orleans School of Cooking might be up to your liking. This three-hour cooking lesson by an authentic New Orleans chef, helps you prepare classic New Orleans dishes.
If eating and drinking is truly your thing, then go all out and splurge on the 9-hour Food, Cocktail, and Jazz walking tour. This small-group tour gives you a full day to truly immerse yourself in everything that makes New Orleans fabulous.
Do: Explore via Steamboat
All aboard! Even though you are going to spend the next few days on the water, why not get in the cruise spirit by taking a Steamboat down the Mississippi River, the second-longest river in the United States!
This magnificent river flows through 10 states and is home to where water-skiing was invented. Besides these fun facts, the Mississippi River is a vital source of hydroelectric energy and provides drinking water to millions of people. So why not spend some time on this magnificent river in New Orleans.
If you just want to have a feel of how it felt to boat on the Mississippi River, jump on the New Orleans Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise where you can take a 2-hour paddlewheel cruise with live New Orleans Jazz Music. Step it up a notch and take the Steamboat Natchez Evening Cruise with dinner option.
Calling all History Buffs: If you want to know how Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans, jump on the Creole Queen Historic Mississippi River Cruise tour to learn more about the Battle of New Orleans.
Don’t: Miss a New Orleans’ Haunted Locations
If you like hanging out with spirits from the other side, a Haunted tour will be right up your alley. Take a guided walking tour through the French Quarter where you will learn about the city’s voodoo, witch, ghost, and vampire history. The most important thing about these tours is don’t tempt the spirits to come home with you.
Do: Explore the Bayous and Backwaters
If you’ve visited the Big Easy a couple of times and seen it all, then why not try a New Orleans Airboat Ride. This fast, thrilling airboat ride, will make you feel like a 19th-century pirate on steroids. Whip through the swampland where you can find wildlife from alligators to swamp birds. This will be a 75-minute tour you will not forget. Oh and don’t forget to pack your bug spray because you are going to mosquito land.
Do: Check out the Famous Streets
If you don’t want to take a guided tour, you can take a free self walking tour by just opening your maps and walking down these main streets located in different areas of New Orleans. In the French Quarter, the famous streets are Bourbon Street and Royal Street.
Bourbon Street is easier to walk down during the day because it is more of a nightlife street. You can find live music, local street performers, and of course Cat Meow Karaoke Bar. Royal Street is home to antique stores, fine art galleries, and luxury hotels.
Wanting to get away from the tourists? Hop on down to Frenchman Street to hear live music. Frenchman is home to the Spotted Cat, a live music venue.
If you want to check out more art, head on over to the Warehouse District and explore Julia street and all of the art galleries the city has to offer. Many of these art galleries are within walking distance of local restaurants.
If you are bored with the Quarter and Downtown, jump on a streetcar and take it down to the Garden District where you can walk around and admire the ornate neighborhood. Only a couple of blocks down is Magazine Street filled with cute restaurants and shops. Magazine Street will make you feel like a local.
Don’t Forget to take a ride out to the Plantations
Europeans began settling in New Orleans in the 1690s, when they realized that a great way to make a living is to have a farm. These plots of land grew and so did their houses, which we now call Plantations. Even though there were some horrible things that happened on the Plantations, these beautiful homes and farm lands are still standing centuries later.
This part of history is saved in time and you can learn about it while visiting these beautiful plantations. Some of our favorites are:
Oak Alley Plantation – a beautiful plantation with a Slavery at Oak Alley Exhibit, Civil War Exhibit, Sugar Cane Theater, and Big house.
Whitney Plantation – Offers the first-person experience of slave narratives and visitors will gain a unique perspective of the lives of Louisiana enslaved people.
Houmas House Plantation -A 1840 Greek Revival Mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Laura Plantation – A sugar cane plantation built-in 1805 with 12 buildings on the national register.
Each Plantation has a different history and makes it fun to step back in time.
Other attractions, museums, and shore excursions near the Port of New Orleans
If none of the tours above interest you, don’t worry we have a list of other exciting places to visit. there is so much history located just steps away from the cruise terminal that there is something for the whole family in the crescent city.
- Mardi Gras World– If you have never been to Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras World might be the next best thing. Take some time to
- The National WWII Museum – If you can spare at least a whole day, no trip to New Orleans is complete without exploring the National WWII Museum in the Warehouse District.
- Louisiana State Museum
- Jazz Museum
- New Orleans Museum of Art
- Preservation Hall
- Audubon Aquarium of Americas -Located right by the Mississippi river this famous Aquarium
- Ogden Museum of Southern Art – the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is located in the Warehouse District and is a local favorite.
- Backstreet Cultural Museum
- Grab a beignet at Cafe du monde! – there are a million places to get great beignets in the city but if it is your first trip make sure you walk over to Cafe Du Monde and grab an order of beignets.
- Explore Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral
- Take a cemetery tour – Some of the cemeteries do have a small price and require a tour guide, but St Louis No 1 Cemetery is worth it to see the grave of the voodoo queen herself.
- Ride up and down on the Streetcar – there are two different color streetcars – make sure you ride both the Red and the Green Streetcar for a cheap way to get around town.
- Enjoy free live music