What to do in New Orleans with a group

By Sarah Gillespie, Jun 2020

Downtown New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and it's where many of the genre's most noteworthy players, such as Louis Armstrong and Ellis Marsalis, were born. It's also thought to be America's most haunted city; presumably, the ghosts can't stay away from the smells of gumbo and jambalaya emanating from the city's restaurants. With so many rich cultural opportunities in the city, it's hard to know what to do in New Orleans, especially with a group of friends in tow. Fortunately, savvy New Orleans tour boats and guides will do the hard work for you.

Here are our picks for the five best things to do with a group in the Big Easy.

1. Sail back in time on a Mississippi jazz cruise

Relive the Jazz Age on a Dinner Jazz Cruise aboard the Natchez, an authentic steamboat powered by a 25-ton wheel made from white oak. Though the ship launched in 1975, it was modeled after the 19th-century Hudson and Virginia steamboats and was outfitted with a copper bell, a copper and steel whistle and a 32-note steam-powered calliope. As you cruise down the Mississippi River, tuck into casual buffet-style dining or swing to the Dukes of Dixieland, a Grammy-nominated sextet playing traditional New Orleans jazz. The Dinner Jazz Cruise boards from the Toulouse Street Wharf at 6 p.m.; ticket packages are available with or without dinner.

Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter, New Orleans USA

See if you can spot the spirits of the French Quarter on a NOLA Ghosts Tour.

2. Uncover New Orleans' haunted past

New Orleans' haunted history harks back to its 18th-century Voodoo traditions and the yellow fever epidemic that swept through the city between 1817 and 1905. Learn the stories of New Orleans' ghosts on a 5-in-1 Ghost and Mystery Tour, which illuminates the eerie history behind several sites in the French Quarter, including famous crime scenes and haunted areas. Your guide will share stories of local legends and supernatural happenings on this two-hour walking tour that departs from 723 St. Peter Street at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. daily.

Traditional Creole cajun court bouillon with fish and seafood gumbo chowder stew as top view in a pot with copy space right

Try traditional dishes such as Creole seafood gumbo on a New Orleans food tour.

3. Chow down on authentic New Orleans cuisine

New Orleans expresses its multicultural heritage through its Cajun and Creole cuisines. Head to Mister Gregory's Famous Shrimp Boil and Show for a taste of a New Orleans staple. You'll sample Cajun shrimp and corn on the cob straight from the pot, along with all of the authentic fixings, while lounging on a balcony overlooking Armstrong Park. Take in the vibrant sights of the French Quarter while dining on delicious wild-caught, spicy gulf shrimp, deviled blue crab, cafe au lait and a tasting of alligator sausage. The Shrimp Boil is a 90-minute experience of downtown New Orleans that starts at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

4. Spot alligators on a Louisiana swamp cruise

Louisiana's swamplands teem with wildlife, such as alligators, snakes, turtles and countless species of mammals and birds. See them in style on a Small Boat Swamp Tour with Airboat Adventures. The fan-powered, semiamphibious airboats navigate difficult terrain while charismatic guides point out wildlife. Your tour guide will pick you up from downtown New Orleans and take you 30 minutes outside the city to the swamp, where you'll get up close and personal with Lousiana wildlife. Small boats hold six to eight people, and tours are available multiple times a day, seven days a week. Bring sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind.

5. Hop into a brewery tour van

Still wondering what to do in New Orleans? There's no need to worry about a designated driver when you jump in a New Orleans Brewery Tours van. This three-hour excursion takes you to the Courtyard nanobrewery, the European-influenced Urban South Brewery and the legendary NOLA Brewing Company, the favorite haunt of New Orleans Brewery Tour founders Peter Van Dusen and Patrick Healey. In addition to putting away some excellent beers, you'll learn about the process and history of brewing in the city. Standard tour rates apply; custom private tour packages are available on request.

Whatever inspires you, whether it's authentic NOLA eats or alligator-spotting on the bayou, you'll never be bored in New Orleans, especially with a group.

Ready to get your adventure started? Browse our New Orleans vacation packages today!

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