It used to be the only way to see a city was to ride a mammoth tour bus and stare out the tinted windows, hoping the cultural vibe of the city seeped in. Not anymore and definitely not in New Orleans. From paddlewheel boats, to Segways, bicycles and beautiful double-decker tour buses, it’s easier to get out and see the Big Easy than ever before.
Bus tours have definitely evolved and City Sightseeing New Orleans is one of the easiest ways to take in all the sites. Jump on the bus and jump off at any destination that catches your interest – it’s that easy. From one end of the city to the other, City Sightseeing’s tours buses will hit all the biggest attractions in the Big Easy and allow passengers to spend as much time as they like at each stop. With an open upper deck, visitors can bask in the Southern sun should they choose to sit up top of one of the company’s sightseeing buses. Hop-off at any stop and spend as much time as you like exploring—Hop-on again to continue your tour -- buses run every 30 minutes so the next bus is never too far behind. Tours run throughout the day, all year long (and include three free walking tours).
New Orleans City Segway Tour takes you everywhere you need to see in just three hours. Glide effortlessly through the historic streets of the French Quarter as guides point out all the highlights New Orleans has to offer. Each of the company’s tours begins with a 30-minute orientation session so that guests have the chance to practice on the Segways and ensure that everyone feels comfortable and ready to go out and conquer New Orleans. The Segway is appropriate for virtually anyone 12 and older, however, minors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult on tour. Unfortunately, anyone under the age of 12 will not be permitted to participate.
From paddlewheels to Segways, it's easier to see the Big Easy than ever
For those who want to see the city up close but aren’t ready for a Segway, New Orleans has several excellent bike tours and bike groups available. Safe and sturdy equipment, knowledgeable guides and fun routes make for a special tour of the city. Hit alleyways, ride newly constructed bike paths and meet totally interesting people on a bike. Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours have several set destinations and tours available for cyclists. It was the first bike company to offer a bike tour through City Park, the Garden District, the French Quarter and a nighttime bike ride.
NOLA Social Ride is an organization for those who enjoy bike culture and want to connect with others who feel the same. Though organized and run by locals, NOLA Social Ride often picks up cyclists who are visiting the city and invites them to ride along with their group.
“We’re always picking up tourists on our rides,” says restaurant manager and member Lyn Morein. The bike enthusiast loves meeting people of varying ages, backgrounds and walks of life who all share a love of the bicycle. Morein says bike culture is growing in New Orleans and says it’s the best way to learn about the city.
“Being on a bike allows you to find special places that ordinary tours won’t get to,” adds Morein.
One of the most picturesque ways to see New Orleans is aboard a paddlewheel boat. The Steamboat Natchez is one the oldest wooden paddlewheelers still in operation and has both day and night cruises. See the skyline of the city, watch the sun set over the Mississippi River while listening to some of the best traditional jazz played by the Grammy-nominated Dukes of Dixieland. In addition to seeing a view of the city from the river, listen to a history-filled narration by one of the boat captains and learn more about the river, New Orleans, trade along the river and steamboats in general.
A bike allows you to find special places that ordinary tours won’t
Hundreds of visitors to New Orleans embark on a ride down the Mississippi aboard one of two paddlewheelers every day. For those who don’t want to do a full trip down the Mississippi, a quick ride across the Mississippi River to Algiers Point can be accomplished for a mere $2 fee on the Algiers Ferry. Boarded at the bottom of Canal Street next to the Aquarium of the Americas, the local ferry runs every 30 minutes and drops passengers off at the quaint Old Algiers neighborhood where they can explore one of the oldest settlements in the city. Bikes and scooters are welcome on the ferry as well.
Getting to know one of the most interesting cities in the world is easier with different modes of transportation that take visitors directly into neighborhoods they might not otherwise see. Consider two wheels, four wheels or paddlewheels on your next visit to New Orleans.