Best New Orleans Bus Tours

Updated: 4 febrero 2024

As local walking tour guides, we get asked by our guests about more ways to see the city and we suggest looking into bus tours.

While walking tours are a great way to see specific neighborhoods, bus tours cover more of the city in a short amount of time. They can also serve as a mode of transportation.

In this post, we go over various options such as Hop-on-Hop-off tours, fully guided city shuttle tours, ghost tours, and tours focusing on Hurricane Katrina and the city's recovery. 

When writing this post, we relied on our knowledge and suggestions from members of our New Orleans Travel Tips Facebook group.

This popular group of over 40k members consists of locals, regular visitors, and newbies to the city.

At the bottom of this post, you can see what they had to say about bus tours of New Orleans.

After you've read this post check our Facebook group for lots more tips from locals and tourists about visiting the Big Easy!


OVERVIEW

Most tours last approximately 3 hours and most companies focus on offering basic city overviews, such as the French Quarter, the Garden District, several other neighborhoods, City Park, and one or more cemeteries. 

You can also take a tour specifically covering Hurricane Katrina and the city's revitalization or head out to the surrounding plantations and swamps.

FSome offer hotel pick-up or allow young children to ride for free. Many tours are also part of combination tickets or tourist passes, so see first if you could get a deal.

It's important to mention that many of these tours are not replacements for our pay-what-you-wish walking tours.


HOP-ON-HOP-OFF NEW ORLEANS 

CitySightseeing 

There is only one traditional hop-on-hop-off bus service in New Orleans, CitySightseeing, a global sightseeing company with the familiar red double-decker bus.

  • Buses operate daily every 30 minutes from 9:30 am until 5:30 pm (17:00).
  • Each ticket is good for 1 or 3 days of riding.
  • Live guide on each bus.
  • Hop on at any of their 19 stops (map at the bottom of this page).
  • Free walking tours of the French Quarter and Garden District + a self-guided tour of Lafayette Cemetery

Prices:

1-Day Ticket

New Orleans bus tours

2-Day Ticket

  • $49 - Adults
  • $15 - Children
  • Includes Garden District Walking Tour

Purchase tickets here 

TIP: If you use Tiqets, you can save an extra 5% off.

Recommended for: people who want to have transportation around New Orleans and want to explore on their own time or in conjunction with our neighborhood tours.

New Orleans Hop on hop off bus map
For a more expansive map and full description of each stop, please check our post covering the New Orleans Hop-on Hop-off Bus Maps and Routes.

FULLY GUIDED CITY TOURS

The bus tours listed below are all general city sightseeing tours that usually operate with shuttle buses.

They visit various neighborhoods, including the French Quarter, Jackson Square, the French Market, the Riverfront, Harrah's Casino, Louisiana Superdome, Garden District, and the Central Business District among others.

New Orleans Bus Tour

They also make stops in at least one cemetery. 

Not listed here are bus tours that cover ghosts and cemeteries as their main theme. Click on the link for information on these tours.


Cajun Encounters City and Cemetery Tour 

This tour begins on Canal Street and covers neighborhoods like the Central Business District, the French Quarter, the Treme, Frenchman Street, and Faubourg Marigny as well as the Garden District. 

The tour also visits the Lower 9th Ward, where you will see some examples of post-Katrina revitalization.

It also visits St. Louis Cemetery #3 (where you will get off the bus and guided through), City Park (where you will stop for a short refreshment), and finally to the Museum and Arts District, where you will see the National World War 2 Museum.  

This is a great intro to the city and Cajun Encounters are probably the best-reviewed bus company in New Orleans.

  • Tours depart 2 times daily at 11:15 am and 2:30 pm.
  • 4:00 pm seasonal departure sometime available.
  • Tours last 3 hours.
  • Pick up at your hotel.

Prices:

Cajun Encounters also offers swamp and plantation tours as well as combo tours that combine any 2 of 3 that save you $8/ticket.

Recommend for: people with mobility issues or those short on time. This tour is quality, but is not a replacement of our walking tours as the only guided stop is in St. Louis Cemetery #3.  The hotel pick-up is a nice touch.  

Read our post reviewing all of Cajun Encounters offerings.


Louisiana Tour Company

Much like the other companies on this list, the Louisiana Tour Company offers a bus tour around the city of New Orleans which includes a stop at a St. Louis Cemetery #3.

What sets this service apart from others is the fact that they use a minibus rather than a coach bus.

This minibus tour is also a bit longer than others with an average duration of about 3 hours, giving them enough time to do a short guided cemetery walking tour.

  • Price: $55/Adults | $35/Children
  • Availability: Daily at 9:30 am & 1:30 pm
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Purchase or learn more.

This tour has a respectable rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Guests indicate that the bus tour itself is both informative and fun, providing a lot of interesting details about the city.

Customers note that the cemetery tour takes place at St. Louis Cemetery #3 and lasts for around 15-20 minutes on average.

Most reviewers appreciated the opportunity to learn more about burial practices in New Orleans.


Grayline New Orleans 

Gray Line's Super City tour is similar to Cajun Encounters tour, where you will make only two stops (St. Louis Cemetery #3 and City Park), but the bus tour is just a bit shorter - and a bit cheaper - without hotel pickup.  

new orleans grayline bus tour

Gray Line also has good reviews (for a bus tour company), and they offer several other tours for visitors to New Orleans.

  • Super City Tour departs at 10:00 am
  • Tours last 2 1/4 hours.
  • No hotel pickup. The bus departs from Gray Line ticket office (map).

Gray Line also offers plantation tours, swamp tours, and riverboat cruises as well as combo packages that offer ways to save money.

Prices as of 2024:

Recommended for: those looking to save money on a bus tour.


City Segway Tours

If you are really just after a set of wheels to whisk you around New Orleans, then you might even consider a Segway Tour.


New Orleans Adventures Tour

Explore the major attractions of New Orleans with a last tour on an open-top bus.

With options for free cancellation, wheelchair access, and a ways to save booklet, this public transportation service offers comfort and convenience.

Tailor your travel date, frequency, and time period to catch the latest timings, the first tour of the day, or even a full tour duration experience with live English commentary.

The itinerary is essentially the same as what is listed in the last 3 tours.

The biggest thing of note is that this tour is included for free with a purchase of a New Orleans Pass.  

This company also has a good review profile, but they do not have as many reviews as the other companies.

  • Tours at 10 am and 2 pm.
  • May offer hotel pickups.
  • Bookings are taken over the phone.

Prices:

Recommended for: those considering purchasing the New Orleans Pass.


Southern Style Tours

Mini-coach, 3-hour city tours similar to what has already been mentioned.

This company often has a Groupon deal. Like the other tours, this company gets good reviews on TripAdvisor.

  • 9 am and 2 pm daily departures.
  • Hotel pick-up is available.

Prices:

Recommended for: those looking for a city tour and are on a budget. 


HAUNTED BUS TOURS

New Orleans is known for being one of the most haunted cities in the United States, and there are a few companies who currently offer bus tours covering the spooky history of NOLA.

Explore the haunted corners of New Orleans with specialized bus tours, such as the "New Orleans Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour."

Enjoy the eerie ambiance with live commentary, flexible access, and a full loop of the city's most chilling sites, including local eateries and the mysterious riverfront.

This section covers some of the most well-respected haunted bus tours in the city.


Haunted History Tours

This is another company offering a haunted bus tour in New Orleans, and their service is fairly similar to what competitors offer.

During this 2-hour bus tour, you'll cross one of the most notorious streets in America and attempt to photograph actual paranormal activity on haunted grounds.

If you've ever wondered why New Orleans is often considered one of the most haunted cities in the US, this tour will definitely help you to understand.


NOLA Ghost Riders

This company offers a lot of different tours in and around New Orleans, and this is just one of their very well-rated services.

Over the course of 2 hours, you'll see and learn about some of the most notorious sites in NOLA, including stops at multiple cemeteries and access to the Hurricane Katrina Memorial.

This bus tour will also take you to the Mid-City and City Park neighborhoods to discover some of the most haunted sites in these areas.


Tour Orleans

Like every other haunted bus tour in New Orleans, this service lasts for approximately 2 hours and covers a variety of creepy subjects and locations.

This tour includes a stop at a notable cemetery, tales of the darker history of this city, details about voodoo, and other interesting ghost stories.

You'll also visit the Coven House from American Horror Story for a quick picture before the tour ends!


HURRICANE KATRINA TOURS

Many people are interested in seeing the areas of New Orleans that were affected by the great storm of 2005, including the famous levee breaks, and to take in the rebuilding efforts.  

The city has discouraged large bus tours into these areas, and in our opinion, for good reason.  

However, you can still take a small group tour. Most of the bus companies listed above include parts of a Hurricane Katrina tour into their city tours, and for many people, this will be sufficient.  

Listed below, however, are the tours that are specifically designed to cover this topic. 

There are several tour operators offering daily Katrina themed guided tours, including the options below.


Hurricane Katrina Recovery Tour 

TIP: Many standard city bus tours will also cover Hurricane Katrina sights.  If you have a car or bike, be sure to consider our self-guided tour


NEW ORLEANS BUS TOUR WAYS TO SAVE

It's very common for companies to list combinations. The combinations are varied.

You can combine the city bus tour with a swamp tour, plantation tour or even a riverboat cruise. The savings can add up. 

We've summarized some of the companies' packages below, as well as other ways to save money on New Orleans Bus tours. 


Get a Tourist Pass

If you are really planning on taking in many of New Orleans most popular attractions like City Sightseeing New Orleans, then the New Orleans Pass may make financial sense for you.

You might also want to consider the New Orleans Sightseeing Pass, which also includes a few bus tours like hop-on hop-off city tour, accessible buses- guests.

Here are all of the bus tours included with these passes:

Get our full analysis on our tourist attraction ways to save page.


Combo Packages

Cajun Encounters provide concession on their combo packages by $8/person and Gray Line offers 10% off the price of the individual products.


Sites to save money

Lastly, you should check out Groupon and Living Social for any offers that might be available.


TIPS FROM LOCALS AND RECENT VISITORS

Here are some thoughts on New Orleans bus tours from members of our New Orleans Travel Tips group on Facebook.

You don't need to become a member to read the posts, comments, and advice. 

So when you are done reading this post why not have a look? Perhaps even ask some questions yourself!

When considering taking a bus tour, these three members have some good reasons why a bus tour might be right for you.

These members had smart advice on how best to use a hop-on, hop-off bus tour -- ride a full loop for an overview of the city, then ride it again as a hop-on, hop-off service.

As for reviews of different companies, Citysightseeing generally gets good reviews, like this one.

Cajun Encounters was very popular with group members and the numerous reviews sounded a lot like these two.

Nola Ghost Riders was highly recommended by many group members, Here are a couple of reviews.

About The Author

Sarah Hester

Sarah first moved to New Orleans in 2001 to work for the American Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana. While working in the communities of New Orleans she fell in love with the unique culture of the Big Easy; it's food, music, architecture, wildlife, and most of all history. Read More... Sarah began her career with FTBF, first as a guide, then as an owner/operator. She believes every day is a good day if she gets to impart her love of her beloved New Orleans with Free Tours By Foot guests. She especially likes to convert new Who Dat Saints Fans!
Updated: febrero 4th, 2024
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