Explore off the beaten path with New Orleans's best hidden gems

Want to know what makes New Orleans tick? Check out these 10 best hidden gems to discover this beloved city's secret side.

Want to spice up your New Orleans experience? If you've done the French Quarter of New Orleans and indulged in some of the delicious local dishes, what other attractions await you in the Big Easy? We have found the best hidden gems in New Orleans so you can discover lesser-known places that are far from the usual tourist crowds.

New Orleans is home to some amazing points of interest like the Garden District and Lafayette Cemetary. There's another side of the city that many visitors miss out on. Themed walking tours, fascinating historic sites, and unique nightlife experiences are there to be discovered, and below are some great suggestions for things to do in New Orleans.

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1. Get a spooktacular feel for the French Quarter

The French Quarter is the most iconic district in New Orleans and is home to many of its best-known landmarks. This part of town also has a spooky side to it. Take a unique walking tour that focuses on legends of ghosts, vampires, and voodoo. Explore the neighborhood's haunted history while visiting some of its most unique locations. They include Muriel's Jackson Square, the Old Ursuline Convent, and the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum.

Highlights:

The ghosts, vampires, and voodoo tour is available as a group of 15 or 28. Your meeting point will depend on the option that you select.

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2. Taste your way through the city's culinary history

New Orleans is renowned for its unique culinary traditions with iconic dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, po-boys, muffulettas, and red beans and rice. Join a foodie's dream tour through the French Quarter, sampling dishes at local eateries. Along the way, discover local culture and food history as you taste the dishes associated with the region at Creole restaurants and hole-in-the-wall spots.

Highlights:

Your food history tour is 3 hours long, includes up to 9 dishes, and is run by local guides.

Address and opening hours:

316 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA. The meeting point is the 3rd Block Depot.

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3. Get a rush of adrenaline on a swamp zipline

The hidden places of the swamps around the New Orleans area are full of mysteries waiting to be discovered. Enjoy the thrill of flying over these wetlands on a zipline experience, perfect for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. View swamp critters as you learn about the area's delicate ecosystem. Your guide is there to assist you throughout the course as you experience five separate ziplines.

Highlights:

Your swamp zipline tour last for 1.5 hours with lockers, helmets, harnesses, and hotel pickup/dropoff included.

Address and opening hours:

301 Peavine Rd, Laplace, LA 70068, United States. If you are coming from downtown, make sure you allow up to 45 minutes to travel to the meeting point.

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4. Hop on a helicopter for a fresh perspective of the city

You have experienced the area from an on-the-ground perspective, but now you will see New Orleans in a completely different way when you head to the skies above the city. It is a unique way to see iconic landmarks like the New Orleans City Park and the French Quarter. Your experienced pilot will tell you interesting facts about the area as you enjoy views of Bourbon Street, the Mississippi River, and the Superdome.

Highlights:

The daytime city helicopter tour last for up to 20 minutes with private and small group bookings available. Choose the 30-mile option to add a spin over the surrounding swamps.

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5. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tour of the city's street stalls

New Orleans has a fascinating history that is worth learning about. Why not satisfy your sweet tooth while doing so? This unique donut and beignet tour is the only one of its kind in the city. Discover the food culture and history of New Orleans from your local guide as you sample unique flavors. Stops along the way include some of the city's best donut shops along Magazine Street.

Highlights:

Your donut and beignet walking tour last for 2 hours and includes stops at 4 donut shops.

Address and opening hours:

2138 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA. Starting times may vary.

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6. Go on a pub crawl that celebrates the city's haunted past

New Orleans is home to many unique, historic pubs and a vibrant nightlife scene. Embark on a pub crawl where you explore the city's haunted side while stopping at some of its best watering holes. Your local guide will tell you more about the spooky side of New Orleans while you visit iconic spots that include the Sultan's Palace, the Lalaurie Mansion, and one of America's oldest bars. Sipping on adult beverages along the way adds to the fun, and there is a free shot included.

Highlights:

The haunted pub crawl involves a leisurely, 2-hour walk from one location to the next and participants walk for just under a mile.

Address and opening hours:

620 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA. Things kick off at the Jax Brewery meeting point.

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7. Get to know New Orleans hidden secrets with a cemetery tour

A private cemetery tour is a unique way to explore New Orleans at night. Visit two cemeteries for an extraordinary experience. Your professional guide will show you how to use an EMF reader to detect the presence of spirits. Chilling stories of the city's darker side and history add to the spooky atmosphere.

Highlights:

This fun-filled cemetery bus tour is 2 hours in duration and includes exclusive entry into a graveyard that no other tour guests are allowed to visit.

Address and opening hours:

620 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA. The flagship vehicle will be parked outside of the red-door tour booth.

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8. Enjoy a delicious lunch to the gentle sound of local jazz

New Orleans is synonymous with jazz music, and this brunch buffet is the perfect complement to a live set performed by local musicians. Try an array of dishes while sipping cocktails and letting the soulful sounds take you away. Finish things up by satisfying your sweet tooth with a decadent dessert.

Highlights:

Your brunch buffet is served at the Court of Two Sisters restaurant with guaranteed seating as part of your booking.

Address and opening hours:

613 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA. Let the hostess know that you have a GetYourGuide voucher.

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9. Travel through the French Quarter the old-fashioned way

Moving through the streets and hidden places of New Orleans the way people did more than 100 years ago is an unforgettable experience. Explore the French Quarter in style by embarking on a mule-drawn carriage tour. This unique experience includes a journey past Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral. Your guide will point out the key points of interest along the route.

Highlights:

Your carriage ride tour lasts for 1 hour. There is also an option to add a guided tour of Faubourg Marigny for an additional fee.

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10. Learn the infamous history of New Orleans' criminal minds

Enjoy an adults-only, off-the-beaten-path experience while on this pub crawl that focuses on the most famous criminal minds of New Orleans. Visit local watering holes and an old brothel for drinks and a crime history lesson.

Highlights:

Your true crime pub crawl lasts for 2 hours and includes a free cocktail.

Address and opening hours:

620 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA. Meet up with your tour guide outside of Bon's in the French Quarter.

FAQs

What are some lesser-known attractions in New Orleans that are worth visiting?

Among the hidden gems in New Orleans are the Hermann-Grima House, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, and the Longue Vue House and Gardens. The Backstreet Cultural Museum allows visitors to find out more about the history of the Mardi Gras festival.

Are there any hidden or secret gardens in New Orleans that I can explore?

Try Audubon Park and visit its oldest live oak called the Tree of Life. It is a great place for a picnic and is a popular spot for weddings. Armstrong Park's antique rose garden is home to one of the world's largest collections of rose varieties.

Can you recommend any hidden or secret viewpoints in New Orleans with great views of the city?

Head to Jackson Square for a stunning view of the St. Louis Cathedral. Grab a bite to eat at the Central Grocery before finding a spot on a bench to enjoy the unique surroundings.

What are some lesser-known neighborhoods in New Orleans that are worth exploring?

Try the Irish Channel neighborhood located opposite the French Quarter. The area features an architectural style that is distinct from other parts of the city, with 19th-century cottages and mansions that loom over the side streets.

Can you recommend any hidden architectural gems in New Orleans that are not as crowded as the famous landmarks?

The General Laundry Building is an abandoned Art Deco structure that was built in the 1930s. This off-the-beaten-path landmark is known for its intricate designs and bright colors. The building is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.