Cultural Walking Tour in New Orleans, New Orleans

New Orleans possesses a rich cultural and historical heritage and has a long and captivating story to tell. Whether you are interested in history and art or are intrigued by the mystical side of the world, the museums and the art galleries of New Orleans will never cease to impress you. Check out the Cultural Walking Tour below and discover the best museums the city.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Cultural Walking Tour in New Orleans Map

Guide Name: Cultural Walking 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: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Author: ann
1
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

1) New Orleans Pharmacy Museum (must see)

One might find it odd that a pharmacy is a national landmark. But, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is no ordinary museum. It holds the distinction of being the site of the first pharmacy in the United States. Opened in 1823 by J. Dufilho, the first licensed pharmacist in the United States, the museum allows one to take a step back into the days of the past.

There are many items you will see when you visit, such as live leeches, apothecary jars, medical instruments, eyeglasses, wooden blenders, bloodletting devices, and prescription files. There is even a pharmacist’s work area that displays the microscope, mortal, and pestle that the doctor used to make his medicines. The nearby garden shows the herbs that were a part of the many prescriptions that the doctor wrote. There are literally hundreds of items to look at and discover. In addition, the display of New Orleans epidemics is fascinating.

In 1950, the pharmacy became a museum. In 1987, budget cuts almost caused the museum to close its doors. Luckily, a non-profit group known as the “Friends of Historical Pharmacy” took over the financial responsibility of the museum and saved the day.

Why You Should Visit:
To learn about the history of NOLA via medical history, health habits and beliefs of NOLA people; soda origin, old medical quackery, and much more.

Tip:
Get there just before 1 PM to take the one-hour 'tour' in the style of an entertaining lecture/presentation (Tuesday through Friday, for the same price as the self-guided tour but so much better).

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 10am-4pm
2
Historic New Orleans Collection

2) Historic New Orleans Collection

Located in the French Quarter on Royal Street, the Historic New Orleans Collection focuses on the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. The collection was established in 1966 by General and Mrs. L. Kemper Williams.

The museum includes the Merieult House, William Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, a museum shop, and the Williams Residence. Other buildings on the site include the Counting House, Maisonette, Townhouse, Louis Adams House, and Creole Cottage.

In addition, the Williams Research Center on Charles Street allows researchers to view the documents, library items, manuscripts, photographs, prints, drawings, paintings, and other artifacts. The museum shop sells books, prints, jewelry, stationery, gift cards, and other items.

Displayed collections include the William Russell Jazz Collection, the William C. Cook War of 1812 in the South Collection, the Tennessee Williams Collection, and the Clarence John Laughlin Collection.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and on Sunday from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.
3
The Cabildo

3) 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.

Tip:
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
4
The Presbytère

4) The Presbytère (must see)

The Presbytere, originally named the Casa Curial, is located on the site of the former Capuchin monk’s residence. Although the building was supposed to house the clergy, it never did. Currently, it houses exhibits from the Louisiana State Museum. It is located in the French Quarter near the Saint Louis Cathedral along Jackson Square.

Construction began in 1791 and was completed in 1813. The building was originally used for commerce until 1834. In 1834, the building was used by the Louisiana Supreme Court. In 1853, the cathedral was sold to the city. In 1908, the city sold the building to the state. In 1911, the museum became part of the Louisiana State Museum. In 1970, the structure was declared a National Historic Landmark.

One of the most interesting displays is the Hurricane Katrina exhibit. Hurricane Katrina was a major hurricane whose effects are still seen and felt in New Orleans today. There is also a Mardi Gras exhibit that tells the story of Fat Tuesday and its many traditions from beginning to end. Two of the highlights of the Mardi Gras exhibit are the realistic costumes and the float recreations.

Why You Should Visit:
Lots of beautiful artifacts such as crowns, scepters, costumes, and party accessories related to the Mardi Gras tradition on the second floor. Of course, the first floor had powerful and compelling images, documentaries, news, interviews, and artifacts related to Hurricane Katrina and its effect on Louisiana.

Tip:
Go upstairs and visit the Mardi Gras exhibits first, and then go through the Katrina exhibit last, as doing it the other way around might prevent you from enjoying the MG exhibits fully.
The whole exhibition space is much larger than expected – be ready to take about 90+min to get through both floors (especially if you read each poster/artifact).

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-4:30pm
5
New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

5) New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Strange, unique, spooky, fun and scary, the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum provides the curious an introductory look into the world of Voodoo. Established in 1972 by artist Charles Massicot Gandolfo, the museum is located in the French Quarter between Bourbon Street and Royal Street. The museum’s focus is Louisiana Voodoo which is also known as New Orleans Voodoo.

Voodoo is an ancient religion, of spirits, whose roots are based in Western Africa. When the slaves landed on the shores of Louisiana, they brought this mysterious and often misunderstood practice with them. The Voodoo religion eventually merged with native French and Spanish culture to create its own distinct branch of the faith.

Although the museum only consists of two rooms, it is jam packed with items. There are skulls, altars, and masks everywhere. The local priestess will even give you a psychic reading in person or by phone. For those who wish to take the experience further, ritual services with local practitioners can be arranged. These services range from blessings and curse removals to weddings.

The gift shop sells love potions, books, chicken feet, gris-gris (amulet) bags, snake oils, books, dolls, candles, and other mementos. There is also a Voodoo Cemetery Walking Tour that takes you to the tomb of the great Marie. They are open seven days a week from 10 am to 6 pm.
6
Old US Mint / Jazz Museum

6) Old US Mint / Jazz Museum (must see)

The Old US Mint is the only building in the United States that was used to manufacture money for the US and Confederate government. Architect William Strickland designed the Greek Revival building which opened in 1835.

During the Civil War, the mint was captured by Confederate troops and used to make their money. Once Federal troops arrived in New Orleans, the mint was returned to the US government and production of American currency resumed.

In 1966, the building became property of the state of Louisiana and was opened to the public as part of the Louisiana State Museum. Today, the museum holds several exhibits such as the Jazz Exhibit, the Newcombe Pottery and Crafts Exhibit, and the Mississippi and the Making of a Nation Exhibit. In addition, the first floor of the museum has a series of displays that honor the building's monetary beginnings.

The Jazz Exhibit tells the story of Jazz from its inception until modern times. Visitors will be able to view the instruments, sheet music, and other memorabilia of many artists. The Newcomb Pottery and Crafts Exhibit presents the pottery, paintings, metalwork, and book bindings of students from the H. Sophie Newcomb College at Tulane University. The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation Exhibit features displays based on the National Geographic book of the same name.

The Louisiana Historical Museum, which is also a part of the building, is open to researchers Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 10 am 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm. The Old US Mint is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 4:30 pm. They are closed Monday and state holidays.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the rare things in the French Quarter that is suitable for children; also one of the few buildings not likely to be overwhelmed by tremendous crowds – if you need a break from the noise.
Displaying a small collection of coins, scales and coin presses, the 1st floor is a compelling way to view a tidbit of southern heritage.
2nd floor has a lot of very cool stuff from 'The Gift', New Orleans' favorite son, Louis Armstrong, and a separate room that celebrates women in Jazz.
The 3rd floor is an intimate performance space where you can attend free Jazz concerts with lots of audience interaction (2pm on Tuesdays!).

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-4:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
New Orleans African American Museum

7) New Orleans African American Museum

Located in the Tremé community in Tremé Villa, the New Orleans African American Museum presents the life, culture, music, and history of the New Orleans African American community. Tremé is one of the oldest surviving black communities in the United States and it is only fitting that the exhibition hall be located there. The building design reflects West Indies and French-colonial architecture.

The museum was built between 1828 and 1829 by Simon Meilleur and is located on the site of a former plantation. The artwork of established and up-and-coming artists is beautifully displayed throughout the building. The site features three courtyards and a gazebo in the center of the yard that everyone will enjoy when they visit.

Variety is the theme at the museum with the exhibits changing frequently. One of the best exhibits is the Louisiana-Congo: The Betrand Collection that displays an assortment of jewelry, clothing, masks, artifacts, and musical instruments from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The exhibit allows visitors to see some of the parallels between African and African American culture. They are open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm and by special appointment on days they are closed. It is strongly recommended to take the bus tour offered by the museum.

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.
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 to see the best this happening district has to offer guests to its fair city after the sun goes down.

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

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
New Orleans' Nightlife

New Orleans' 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 to see the best this happening district has to offer guests to its fair city after the sun goes down.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
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 history of African-Americans in Louisiana and explore their traditions and culture.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 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.