Architectural Tour in New Orleans, New Orleans (Self Guided)

If you are looking to learn about the heritage sites of New Orleans you might want to take this tour. Widely known for its variety of unique architectural styles, the city has lots of fine examples of buildings in the Greek Revival, the American Colonial and the Victorian styles. Check out the tour suggested below for an orientation.
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Architectural Tour in New Orleans Map

Guide Name: Architectural Tour in New Orleans
Guide Location: USA » New Orleans (See other walking tours in New Orleans)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
Author: ann
Hermann-Grima House

1) Hermann-Grima House

Located in the historic French Quarter, the Hermann-Grima House, is one of the best examples of upper-class Creole living that you will ever see. The house features a courtyard, the only stable in the French Quarter, and a fully-functional outdoor 1830s kitchen. The best time to visit is from October to May, when cooking demonstrations take place in the kitchen using the tools that were in use during 19th century. The house is huge. It begins on St. Louis Street and ends on Conti Street.

Built in 1831 by architect William Brand for Samuel Herman and his family, the Gregorian-Style structure features the furnishings and mementos of the family. A unique feature of the dwelling is that the house observes historically accurate traditional dress. In October the house is dressed in mourning while in December festive decorations and food fill the house. The house eventually became a boarding house before it was turned into a museum.

The museum hosts exhibitions of Louisiana female artists. The exhibits range from artwork to pottery to jewelry. The house also offers a Creole Christmas camp for kids, Creole cooking classes, historic mixology classes, and school tours. Tours are available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, and 2 pm and on Saturday at 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm.
The Cabildo

2) The Cabildo (must see)

One cannot visit New Orleans without seeing this. The Cabildo was the original seat of the New Orleans colonial government. Located along the Jackson Square next to the Saint Louis Cathedral, this building is an important part of American and Louisiana history.

The Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies were held at this location. The original building was constructed in 1769. The current structure was raised in 1798 to replace the old building that was destroyed by fire. The local government used the building until the mid-1850s.

Currently, the Cabildo is a museum that tells the history of Louisiana from the time of the Native Americans until the Reconstruction Era. Many of the exhibit’s displays give you a glimpse into the daily lives of the locals. The museum also holds an exhibit that tells the story of music. Visitors should make sure to view the death mask of Napoleon that was donated to the museum by his doctor.

Why You Should Visit:
3 stories packed with the 300-year history of Louisiana – from its indigenous beginnings to the French/Spanish influence, Battle of New Orleans, significant people in the state's past, and more.
If you like history and facts, this is a great place to go. The upstairs also provides great outdoor views of Jackson Square.

They sell a combo ticket with the Presbytere on the other side of the cathedral (or any other Louisiana State museum) with a 20% discount.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-4:30pm
Jackson Square

3) Jackson Square (must see)

Jackson Square, originally known as the Place d’Armes or Plaza de Armas, is a major and important cultural attraction in New Orleans. Because of its proximity to the Mississippi River, Saint Louis Cathedral, and the Cabildo, it was and is a popular meeting spot. Architect and landscape architect Louis H. Pilié designed the plaza in 1721. The square received its current name in 1850.

The square was named after President Andrew Jackson. President Jackson was a hero of the War of 1812 and a statue of him on horseback is in the center of the square. The statue is one of four identical statues in the United States. The square was a hubbub of activity in colonial times and is where the militia performed drills, vendors sold their wares at the open-air market, and public hangings and beheadings occurred.

No longer the site of hangings or beheadings, today’s visitors can have their portrait or caricature drawn by an artist or be entertained by the colorful dancers, mimes, clowns, or singers. In addition, they can buy the works of the many artists who line the walkways. The site has been the location of many movies, festive events, television shows, and is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike.

Why You Should Visit:
The view of Jackson Square is fairly iconic, featuring Jackson's statue at its center and the beautifully designed St Louis Cathedral as its backdrop, but there's always more to appreciate than the view.
Art festivals, music festivals, street performers... you never know what you'll find here. Good for some great tourist photos, a quick break on the chairs, and really a great place to take it all in.
You'll see so much of New Orleans from just this little spot that it's kind of amazing. And if nothing else, it's free to go to.

Go by 2:00 pm to get the full effect: otherwise, the area dies down... until dinner.
Also, remember to walk up the steps and watch the boats go by on the Mississippi.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Louis Cathedral

4) St. Louis Cathedral (must see)

The Saint Louis Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals that is in continuous use in the United States. It was dedicated to King Louis IX of France in 1718. The place of worship is located in the French Quarter and features Spanish Colonial and Renaissance architecture. It is also a building that is most associated with the city of New Orleans.

Originally constructed in 1718, the church has over 6,000 members. The current cathedral was built in 1789. A renovation in 1850 completely changed the look of the house of worship to the design we see today.

The church was visited by Pope John Paul in 1987 and the plaza was renamed in the pope’s honor to celebrate his visit. The cathedral is a popular building and has been frequently photographed and featured in many movies, television shows, and other presentations. Mass is celebrated on Saturdays at 5 pm, on Sundays from 9 am to 11 am, and weekdays at noon.

Visitors will admire the Rococo-style, gilded altar and stained glass windows. Two gifts shops sell religious items and gifts with the proceeds going towards the upkeep and maintenance of the church.

Why You Should Visit:
The church is awesome to see, but all the happenings that take place in front of the church is also a treat. This area is treated like the town square because it basically is.
The stained glass windows are most representative of the best found in Catholic churches, but you don't have to be Catholic to come here to take photos and look around.

Tours are offered during the week, so be sure to check the schedule.
Getting breakfast across the street at Café du Monde before or after church would be a good idea, too, of course.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-4:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Madame John's Legacy

5) Madame John's Legacy

Located in the French Quarter, Madame John’s Legacy is the second oldest building in Mississippi Valley. The house, which features West Indian architecture and Creole-Colonial design, was built in 1789. In fact, it is the only building in the quarter featuring this type of design. This building has stood the test of time and has successfully survived flooding, several fires and hurricanes.

The residence contains a main house, kitchen with cook’s quarters, gentlemen’s guest quarters, and lace-wrought iron bars on the exterior of the house. It is one of the few buildings that survived the fire of 1794, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970. The house is named after the protagonist in the George Washington Cable short story, Tite Poulette. In the story, Madame John’s lover wills the house to her upon his death.

The museum features an exhibit that tells the history of the house. There is also the Goin’ Cross My Mind: Contemporary Self-Taught Artists of Louisiana exhibit that displays the artwork of self-taught artists. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. The Louisiana State Museum conducts tours of the main house. All other areas of the house are off limits.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Gallier House

6) Gallier House (must see)

The Gallier House is one of New Orleans finest examples of great architecture. The Gallier family built many important structures in New Orleans, including the French Opera House, the Gallier Hall, the Pontalba Apartments, the Leeds Building, and the St. Charles Hotel.

Built in 1857 by architect James Gallier, the house features an indoor kitchen and hot and cold running water in the bathroom, a rare luxury at the time of construction. The house is located in the French Quarter on Royal Street and was made a National Historic Landmark in 1974.

Beautiful design is what you will see when you visit the Gallier House. The exterior of the house features a carriage-way and a balcony decorated with ornate millwork, while the interior of the house is decorated with elaborate cornices and detailed millwork. There are also several portraits of the family throughout the structure.

The house also observes a custom known as Summer Dress. During the summer months, furniture, rugs, and linens are covered or replaced with lighter weight fabrics to help cool the house during hot summer months.

In addition to tours of the house, the museum offers camps for children and a special exhibit regarding the African American experience in New Orleans. The Taste of History Camp allows children to participate in the Creole cooking process and includes a trip to the local farmer’s market. The Dig-It Archaeology Camp allows students to study the lives of New Orleans residents.

The Urban Black Experience: 19th Century New Orleans is a tour that illustrates the struggles, accomplishments, and contributions the African American Community have made to the city of New Orleans.

Why You Should Visit:
A richly appointed house that feels very authentic: you can easily picture the family and slaves going about their daily routines.
The guides are passionate and knowledgeable and keep you engaged with an inductive teaching approach, so you will really learn a lot.

This house is run by the Women's Exchange which also runs the Hermann-Grima House. If you do one you'll get a discount at the other – just save your receipt.
You cannot enter yourself so check the times for the tours.

Opening Hours:
Thu-Tue: 9:45am-4pm
Group tours occur from Thursday to Tuesday at 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm (and by appointment)
Old Ursuline Convent

7) Old Ursuline Convent

The Old Ursuline Convent is one of the oldest buildings in the Mississippi River Valley. The building is also known as the Archbishop Antoine Blance Memorial Complex and is considered the treasure of the archdiocese. The convent is located on Charles Street.

The convent is named after the Sisters of the Ursula Order, who came to Louisiana in 1727 to start a school and orphanage for girls. Construction started on the building in 1733 and was completed in 1734. Ignace Francois Broutin designed the original structure and Michael Seringue built it.

In 1745, another building was constructed and completed in 1751. When the nuns moved into a larger building in 1824, the convent became a residence for the archdiocese. A portico and gatehouse were added in 1825. In addition to being a school, convent, and a home, the building also served as a make-shift hospital and orphanage.

The nuns also trained Indian and African American girls and the daughters of wealthy Creoles. In addition, they trained French girls, who were imported into the country, for marriage. The statues of praying saints in the courtyard are absolutely beautiful and should not be missed. There are also statues of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and Father Francis Xavier Seelos. Another beautiful element is the cypress hand-carved staircase. Tours are available from Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in New Orleans, Louisiana

Create Your Own Walk in New Orleans

Create Your Own Walk in New Orleans

Creating your own self-guided walk in New Orleans is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
The Voodoo Tour

The Voodoo Tour

Being a multicultural city, New Orleans provided an ideal setting for the practice of Voodoo. Some people get scared to death by the mystical rituals, others get easily tempted by the idea of achieving anything they want by the means of spells and incantations, but most are just curious to know what Voodoo is. If you'd like to find out by yourself, don't miss the chance to go on the tour...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Unusual Shopping Tour in New Orleans

Unusual Shopping Tour in New Orleans

Sick and tired of big malls that are pretty much the same everywhere? New Orleans has a few shops to surprise you with. Whether you are looking for some interesting or weird souvenir to bring home to your friends or whether you would like to have a piece of New Orleans for yourself, the following tour will take you to the right places to find it.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
French Quarter: The museums

French Quarter: The museums

French Quarter is well known as a historic area. Little wonder then that you can find a lot of good museums here that reflect the history and culture of the district. Also brought to your attention are several house museums, often overlooked by most of the tourists. So do not hesitate, take this tour and discover by yourself the museums of the French Quarter.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 km
French Quarter Orientation Walk

French Quarter Orientation Walk

The French Quarter, one of the oldest and most popular neighborhoods of New Orleans, otherwise known as Vieux Carre, was founded in 1718. It perfectly combines the tempting, noisy and nutty nightlife of Bourbon street with important historic landmarks, art galleries, sophisticated cafes and some of the city's oldest churches. Make sure not to miss a chance to explore this area and take this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Garden District Tour

Garden District Tour

Dating back to the 19th century, Garden District in New Orleans is famous for its heritage mansions and cottages. Along with the heritage sites you will discover several great specialty shops. Take the tour below and discover the beauty and unique atmosphere of the Garden District.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
French Quarter Nightlife

French Quarter Nightlife

A city well-reputed for its never-ending party and carefree attitude, visitors to the French Quarter in New Orleans may not be surprised by the amount of great nightlife establishments found through the district but will certainly be impressed by the lively night of hot live music and ever-flowing drinks they experience once they are here. Take New Orleans’ Nightlife Tour in the French Quarter...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.3 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in New Orleans for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best New Orleans has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting New Orleans's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the New Orleans Pass, New Orleans Sightseeing Pass, or the New Orleans Pass (by Musement).

A city pass combines all or multiple New Orleans's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving your precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of New Orleans hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Hyatt Regency New Orleans, Terrell House Bed and Breakfast, The Quisby.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as New Orleans, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of New Orleans typically costs somewhere between US$16 and US$65 per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of New Orleans in comfort listening to a live on-board commentary (English only) from a local expert, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route as often as you like. The tickets are valid for one (24 hours) or three days (72 hours).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of New Orleans – this usually lasts about 2 hours (upgrade to 3 hours is possible upon request) and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

- Taste your way through New Orleans' neighborhoods - the French Quarter and River area - on a gourmet tour of the city and find out if the fuss about its food scene is well justified. Check out some of the famous restaurants and hotspots under the guidance of a passionate and knowledgeable local.

- Summon your bravery and curiosity to explore the ghastly side of New Orleans on a ghost walk in the French Quarter set to reveal the stories of voodoo, vampires and witchcraft, bring light to the darkest corners of the city, and prepare you to hear the tales of its supernatural past and present.

- If you have a penchant for posh architecture and celebrity dwellings, make sure to take this morning walk in New Orleans' Garden District replete with impressive examples of Greek Revival and Italianate styles including the homes of Hollywood stars and other art celebrities. There are also quite a few historic locations waiting to be discovered on this tour as well.

- Whisk yourself away to the yesteryear New Orleans aboard the authentic paddle-wheel steamboat cruising along the Mississippi River. Feel the beauty and romance of the days long gone amid the sound of a live jazz band, lavish buffet dinner, and gorgeous sights along the way.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in New Orleans, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Cajun Country or Louisiana Plantations. For as little as circa US$170-180 per person you will get a chance to discover the Cajun and Creole cultures, visit some of the oldest and finest plantations on the Mississippi River, learn about the pre-Civil War history of American South, feel the taste of antebellum Louisiana, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in New Orleans and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle (or even boat, whenever applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.