Here at Nola Tour Guy, we are experts and not only the history and culture of New Orleans but also knowing the best things to do in New Orleans, The best places to see and the best places to eat in New Orleans. We’ve put it all together in the following Free New Orleans Travel Guide.

You’ve probably seen other guides online. Most of these guides are written to promote paid links. The writers of these guides get a percentage of sales, this is called affiliate links. Our guide features no affiliate links, we are sharing our favorite things to do in New Orleans based on our actual knowledge and passion.

New Orleans is a vibrant sensory experience, full of colorful streets, soulful rhythms, and unforgettable tastes. It’s the culinary heart of Creole and Cajun cuisine, and beyond delights from gum­bo to shrimps and grits, it’s the city that invented he muffuletta, the beignet, and the char-grilled oyster.

New Orleans, is famous for it’s iconic architecture, the New Orleans Saints, and perhaps the most famous street in America—Bourbon Street. Did you know you can legally drink on the street anywhere in New Orleans? Here locals like to say, “Only in New Orleans!” After spending about a day in New Orleans, you’ll quickly see why.

From where to catch legendary New Orleans live music to the best restaurants in New Orleans, and every other must do activity, including including swamp and plantation tours. Check out our guide. Scroll down and hit any of the buttons to access more detailed articles

Free French Quarter Walking Tours
Free French Quarter Walking Tours

Best Time to Travel to New Orleans (what is the weather like there?)

New Orleans is a wonderful place to visit in any season. But summers can get hot, the average high temperature is around 90F (or 32C). In addition hurricane season runs from August until November. That said, the crowds are smaller and the prices for hotels are lower. So if you don’t mind warm (and often rainy) weather this can be a good time to visit but we’d recommended purchasing travel insurance encase there’s a hurricane.

Winter is a great time to visit New Orleans. December and January see the streets dressed in their holiday best with multiple events and concerts, yet the overall crowds are lower, and hotel rates are cheaper. February in NOLA means Mardi Gras, the city’s most crowded season, with over 4 million party-goers from around the world.

The weather is also on your side -Louisiana has mild winters, with temperatures averaging in the 50s at night and 80s during the day. All of these factors combine to make NOLA an excellent winter destination!

Spring in New Orleans starts early, like mid February. Which also happens to be around Mardi Gras time. Mardi Gras falls anywhere between early February to March. Spring is the busiest time of year hosting the biggest festivals like Jazz Fest, because it has the best weather. So restaurants, bars and hotels might be much more crowded.

It rains something like 200 days in New Orleans, find out what to do on a rainy day in New Orleans.

What is The Garden District Known For?
Best things to do in New Orleans

There’s a lot of things to do in New Orleans. From drinking on Bourbon street to strolling among the ancient live oaks in City Park check out our guides below to find out more things to do in New Orleans

An ancient Live Oak in City Park
An ancient Live Oak in City Park
Best Places to go in New Orleans

The French Quarter is probably the most famous place to go in New Orleans and we definitely think you should check it out. It has been continuely occupied for 300 years. More then likely your hotel will either be in or close to the French Quarter but there lots of other places to check out in New Orleans. From antebellum mansions of the Garden District, to the quiet serenity of St Louis Cemetery #3 check out our guides to the Best Places to go in New Orleans.

Things to Know before you come

People in New Orleans are extremely friendly. I like to say aggressively friendly. This might seem off putting if your coming form somewhere like New York City where people don’t talk to each other but this is normal and a great way to find out about things to do and places to eat and what peoples experiences are, and isn’t that what travel is all about? Get a drink at a bar and you might find yourself chatting with locals, just let it happen.
Category five Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005, flooding 80 percent of the city. It’s not polite to ask strangers about their Katrina experience many locals still have PTSD from this experience.

New Orleanians love wearing costumes, for pretty much any reason. If you are coming for a holiday like Halloween or Mardi gras you should consider packing a costume or buying one when you arrive. If you want to experience Mardi Gras, be sure to book well ahead of time and be ready for hotel rates to be higher than at other times of the year. Also, many popular sightseeing attractions are closed during Mardi Gras, so it’s if your coming for Mardi Gras don’t expect to do much besides celebrating Mardi Gras.

New Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz. So seeing live music should be on your to do list. Be sure to try Gulf seafood. Whether it’s raw, boiled, fried, stuffed in a po’ boy, served in an étouffée or prepared any other way, a plate full of should be on everyone’s to do lists. New Orleans is one of the top ten cities in the United States for the number of annual visitors. and it’s very popular for conventions Louisiana is divided into parishes rather than counties like the other states, and greater New Orleans spans eight parishes. The motto of New Orleans is “Laissez les bon temps rouler,” or “Let the good times roll.” and we think it really sums it all up

How to Get Around

The New Orleans Transit Authority operates four streetcar lines: the St. Charles line, the Canal Street line, the Riverfront line, and the Rampart line. Have your exact fare ready as they do not give change. ($1.25 one way) They also offer a Jazzy Pass which can be purchased online. Taking a streetcar is part of the fun as well as convenient transportation. The historic vehicles are part of New Orleans history.The green St Charles line street cars were built around 1948, they are truly antiques. Streetcars are the most iconic way to travel in New Orleans and are definitionally recommend but be aware they are a leisurely form of travel.

Buses: There are 40 different RTA bus routes that run across the city of New Orleans. A one-way ticket costs $1.25, and a $3 all-day Jazzy Pass gets you unlimited rides for 24 hours. Important bus lines are the 91 Esplande bus that runs from the French Quarter to City Park and the 11 Magazine bus that goes from the CBD (near the French Quarter) to shops on Magazine and the Garden District.

RTA Ferries transport travelers to Algiers from Canal street for $2 per ride. You can catch the ferry from the foot of Canal and it’s great way to check out the Mississippi river.

We strongly recommend checking out their App to buy tickets and find our more info on routes and schedules. You can also use Google Maps enter in the address you want to go and hit the bus icon and Google will give you directions on how to get where your going on public transportation.

Bicycles New Orleans is a relatively small city. We at Nola Tour Guy usually ride our bicycles to work to our walking tours and it usually only takes about 20 minutes. The city has been added bicycle lanes but we still strongly recommend wearing a helmet as New Orleans drivers are some of the worse in the country. Another thing to be aware of is the potholes. Our streets aren’t the smoothest. If this hasn’t deswaded you from riding a bicycle around New Orleans check out our Blue Bike program there are also several local business that rent bicycles.

Renting a car: Should you rent a car in New Orleans? Depends what your planning on. Just hanging out in the French Quarter? Probably unnecessary. Interesting in a Day Trip outside of New Orleans? Then consider renting one.

Find out more in our article about Should I rent a car in New Orleans?

the Garden District

The Green St Charles street cars have been operating since 1948!

Best Restaurants in New Orleans (where to eat from a local)

New Orleans is famous for food. Muffuletta sandwiches, po’boys , oysters Rockefeller, and bananas foster all originated here, after all. Before we talk about where to eat lets talk a little about the food. You will see places advertising “Creole” and “Cajun”. Both Cajun and Creole dishes are native to Louisiana and found all over New Orleans. However, Cajun and Creole are unique ethnic groups with their traditions, culture, and cuisine. Cajun food was brought to Louisiana by the French Acadians, who migrated from Nova Scotia 250 years ago after the Seven Years War. Today, Cajun food is found all along the bayous of Louisiana, combining French and Southern dishes. They used to say a 7 course Cajun meal is a six pack of Bud and some boudin sausage.

More challenging to define, the term Creole holds no official definition but is generally said to have elements of French, European, African, Caribbean, or Hispanic descent mixed with a flair that is distinctly New Orleans. The impact of Creole culture is an inseparable part of the city. So the way to think about it is Urban vs Rural. Creole culture was historically centered around New Orleans and the French Quarter while Cajun culture is centered around the Bayous that surround the city.

Best Tours in New Orleans

We think that walking tours are the best way to see the city of New Orleans. Walking tours can go into so much more detail then bus tours. Nola Tour Guy offers FREE Historical Walking Tours, French Quarter tours, cemetery tours, Garden District Tours and Private Tours of New Orleans. How can our expert guides lead you through; the most interesting and historic neighborhoods in New Orleans for free? We are so sure you will love our tours you will gladly pay what you feel the tour is worth ($15-25 per person is suggested). Unlike other free walking tours in New Orleans, Nola Tour Guy is not a corporate chain but is run by local guides who are passionate about our history and excited to share with you the unique culture of the city they love. Our goal is to demystify the city so you’ll walk away understanding what makes New Orleans unique and important to us and to the world.

New Orleans Cemeteries

It might seem strange to you to want to tour a New Orleans Cemetery but New Orleans Cemeteries are extremely unique. However, by exploring a “city of the dead”, we can actually learn a lot about how people in the past lived, and perhaps even gain clues on how we should live today.

The first thing I think we all learned when either a grandparent or a beloved pet died is that life is impermanent, and that death is sudden and often random. This was especially true in New Orleans in the 19th century, when premature death was quite common. I don’t think it’s much of a leap to connect New Orleanians’ propensity for wild celebration to this proximity to death.

New Orleans has lots and lots of cemeteries and two very famous ones. Learn more about what Cemeteries to visit in New Orleans and why. Which ones are worth visiting and why? check out our guides.

Free French Quarter Walking Tours
Free French Quarter Walking Tours

What we are about:

Nola Tour Guy is a collective of passionate guides, both men and women, who are experts in the history of New Orleans. Our goals are to give tours that are intellectually stimulating, historically accurate and FUN. We only offer walking tours because we believe that walking is the best way to see a city and learn about it and at a price everyone can afford. Nola Tour Guy offers no novelty tours only the real history brought to life by our passionate guides. Join us, you won’t be disappointed..

What is the Garden District Know For?
Lucy Guilfoyle
Lucy Guilfoyle
22 November 2022
Very interesting tour
Aline Noizet
Aline Noizet
22 November 2022
I highly recommend taking this tour. Eric was great! Knowledgable, friendly and genuine, which is something I appreciated a lot, telling you things as they are. Not a commercial tour but a truly local one. And being part of a small group of 7 people is really enjoyable too. The tour took about 1h30 and it was full of insights. I took it towards the end of my trip so it helped me to fill the rest of my days with interesting activities, I wouldn't have known of otherwise.
Fred Marks
Fred Marks
19 November 2022
So thorough, excellent, educational, and, at appropriate times, quite humorous.
Anusha Chatterjee
Anusha Chatterjee
13 November 2022
We went on an excellent tour of the Garden District with David. David was knowledgeable, passionate, and very engaging. Loved learning about the interesting history of the district, architecture of the buildings, the veritable cast of rich eccentrics and how this all ties to New Orleans’ own unique history. I was hoping for a tour that was as entertaining as it was educational and this absolutely hit the mark! Would 100% recommend!
Ann Kastelen
Ann Kastelen
10 November 2022
Great tour! Very interesting and knowledgeable1
Anna Bordon
Anna Bordon
6 November 2022
We had a super time with David. Very knowledgeable and nice! He has an academic background in history and I liked how he told us the history, but also helped you think about different aspects of the same facts from diverse points of view. He also shared good tips for food and other places to visit. I would really recommend him for the French Quarter tour and also other ones.
Minna Wang
Minna Wang
5 November 2022
David was great! Very enthusiastic about New Orleans history and full of interesting facts. He also answered all of our questions and gave great recommendations on where to eat and other places to explore. Also love that you can pay him at the end based on how much you liked the tour. Highly recommend! New Orleans has so much interesting history.