Cultural Tour in Business District, New Orleans, New Orleans (Self Guided)

For most of the people living in New Orleans, the Central Business District is just a crowded area home to skyscrapers, malls and casinos. However the district is also home to a large number of heritage sites, including some well-known museums. The tour below takes in the cultural side of the Business District.
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Cultural Tour in Business District, New Orleans Map

Guide Name: Cultural Tour in Business District, New Orleans
Guide Location: USA » New Orleans (See other walking tours in New Orleans)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Author: ann
Confederate Museum

1) Confederate Museum

The Confederate Museum is an exhibition facility dedicated to displaying artifacts from the American Civil War. Built in 1891, the museum feature an impressive collection of artifacts, such as clothing, ammunition, currency, battle flags, weapons, and medical equipment. In addition, the silver camp service of Robert E. Lee, and the personal effects of P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, Braxton Bragg, and Franklin Gardner are also featured. The museum was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

The museum’s collection came from the donations of the local people. In fact, most of the items came from the bequest of Jefferson Davis’ wife. Jefferson Davis was the first, last, and only President of the Confederate States of America. The personal effects of the soldiers, many of whom lost their lives, will leave a lasting impression on all who view them.

Another impressive element is the Lee Circle, a 16-foot statue outside of the museum that pays honor to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The statue sits atop a 60-foot white marble column and faces north, the location of his enemies. Civil War enthusiasts will enjoy the detailed display of times past and children will get a firsthand lesson in history. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art

2) Ogden Museum of Southern Art (must see)

The collection is the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world and embodies the visual heritage and history of the American South from 1733 to the present. The collection consists of work by artists from or associated with fifteen southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia. It is based upon the founding donation of more than 1,100 works from New Orleans businessman Roger H. Ogden's private collection. Since this original donation the museum’s collection of paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, wood and crafts has grown to include more than 4,000 works donated from individuals and collectors from across the US.

In addition, the museum includes Center for Southern Craft and Design (featuring unique craft/art using a variety of media created by southern artists), as well as the Stephen Goldring Hall (named after Stephen Goldring), which opened in 2003.

Since 2003, the Ogden Museum has hosted Ogden After Hours on Thursday nights, 6pm-8 pm. It is a place for Southern musicians who want to showcase new work or break into the New Orleans market. Visitors can enjoy music in such genres as blues, jazz (contemporary and traditional), R&B, country, folk, rockabilly, Cajun, bluegrass, Swamp pop, and rock 'n' roll.

Other programming includes: Southern Storytellers: A literary showcase (that includes a reading, Q&A and book signing) for Southern writers.
Artists and Sense of Place puts artists into New Orleans area schools; Summer camps focusing on art and fashion; and Films at the O screens movies that explore the culture of the American South.

Check out the gift store stocked with lots of original work.
No cafe on-site, but there is one at the Contemporary Art Center across the street.

Opening Hours:
Fri-Wed: 10am-5pm; Thu: 10am-8pm
On Thursdays, patrons are treated to a jazz/funk/folk concert from 6 to 8pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
National WWII Museum

3) National WWII Museum (must see)

The National WWII Museum, formerly known as The National D-Day Museum, focuses on the contribution made by the United States to Allied victory in World War II. Founded in 2000, it was later designated by the U.S. Congress as America's official National WWII Museum in 2003. The museum maintains an affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution. The mission statement of the museum emphasizes the American experience in World War II.

Over two million people visit the museum each year. They are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and are closed New Year’s Day, Mardi Gras, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. The museum can be scheduled for group visits, large parties, and corporate events. Reservations are required for large groups.

Why You Should Visit:
It's a very good place to swallow war propaganda.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Contemporary Arts Center

4) Contemporary Arts Center

Promoting the visual and performing arts and educating the masses is the foundation of the Contemporary Arts Center. Founded in 1976 by a group of visual artists, the multi-disciplinary structure offers an ever-changing lineup of workshops, seminars, and events.

Artists from the United States and from countries around the world have performed at or had their worked showcased at the center. The 30,000 square foot facility features a blend of modern architecture and classic New Orleans design. It is on the cutting edge of technology and features award winning galleries, atriums, theaters and studios. Whether your passion is art, theater, music, dance, photography, video, or sculpture, the center has something to fit your needs.

Two of the most important events are the NOADA's White Linen Night on the first Saturday in August and Art for Art' Sake on the first Saturday in October. The center can also be reserved for public and private events for as few as 10 or as many as 3,500 guests.

The Education Department features programs that reach out to adults, schoolchildren, and special needs individuals from all walks of life through a series of outreach programs. The gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm.
Audubon Insectarium

5) Audubon Insectarium (must see)

The Audubon Insectarium is an entomology museum that features 50 live exhibits. The 23,000 square foot facility is part of the Audubon Nature Institute complex and is located on the first floor of the US Custom House Federal Building on Canal Street. It opened in 2008.

If you love all things insects, you will enjoy this museum. Interactive exhibits, fossils, and insects are everywhere. One interesting interactive element is the den that shrinks people down to the size of an insect. The exhibits and attractions include the Underground Gallery, the Louisiana Swamp Gallery, the Termite Gallery, the Butterfly Garden, the Metamorphous Gallery, the Hall of Fame Gallery, the Ward Night, and the Bug Appétit.

Two of the attractions you should make a definite effort to see are Awards Night and Bug Appétit. Awards Night is an animated film that features the voices of Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, and Brad Garrett. The film allows viewers to visit a red carpet event for bugs. The Bug Appétit allows patrons to watch chefs prepare meals that contain insects and to sample those dishes once they are complete.

Why You Should Visit:
A wonderful interpretive experience and "museum" including both live and mock insects.
By the end of the tour, you'll have had the chance to see how bugs live underground, taste bugs in a couple of ways, touch a millipede and see tarantulas up close, and walk through a butterfly sanctuary.
For children especially, this would be an outstanding place to visit.

Buying tickets only for the Insectarium is a bit pricey. The best deal is to get a bundle pack that also includes the zoo and aquarium (you don't have to visit all in the same day).
Make sure to check out the gift shop at the end of the Insectarium tour, however, as prices are very reasonable.

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

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.
African American Heritage Trail in New Orleans

African American Heritage Trail in New Orleans

The Louisiana African American Trail includes 26 sights located along the Mississippi River. Our tour will take you to the places on this trail that are located within the boundary of New Orleans, the starting point of this cultural heritage trail. Though this is a car tour, most of the attractions are located within walking distance. So don't hesitate to take the tour below and learn the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 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
Big Shopping Adventure in New Orleans

Big Shopping Adventure in New Orleans

Among all the other activities that New Orleans has to offer, shopping is probably one of the most popular. Antiques, art, one of a kind jewelry, New Orleans has it all. This tour will take you to the biggest and most prominent shopping spots in New Orleans.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Marigny Nightlife

Marigny 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: 1.5 km
Uptown Walking Tour in New Orleans

Uptown Walking Tour in New Orleans

Dating back to the 19th century, Uptown represents a big area of New Orleans situated on the East bank of the Mississippi River. Major attractions are located in the Uptown New Orleans Historic District. Take the tour below and discover by yourself the best that Uptown has to offer.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 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.