Hop On Hop Off New Orleans Bus Tours And More

This post reviews and compares the various bus tours in New Orleans, including hop-on-hop-off tours, fully guided city shuttle tours and tours that focus on Hurricane Katrina and the city’s recovery.  

 

 


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.

Some offer hotel pick-up or allow young children to ride for free. Many tours are also part of combination tickets or tourist discount 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.


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FULLY GUIDED CITY TOURS

The bus tours listed below are all general city sightseeing tours. They visit various neighborhoods, including the French Quarter, the Garden District, and the Central Business District among others. 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 (our favorite)

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, 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 3 times daily at 9:30 am, 11:30 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.

 


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.  

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

  • Super City Tour departures vary seasonally
  • Mar 1 – Oct 31, 2018 – Every day at 9am, 12pm, 2pm & 3pm
  • Nov 1 – Dec 31, 2018- Every day at 9am, 12pm, 2pm
  • Tours last 2 1/4 hours.
  • No hotel pickup.  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 discounts.

Prices as of 2018:

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

 


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: $46/Adults | $25/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 ½ out of 5 stars (read reviews here). 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.

 


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New Orleans Adventures Tour 

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 Power 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 Power 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:

  • $45 – Adults
  • $25 – Children (under 12 years old)
  • Groupon deal ($31 for 1, $57 for 2, $103 for 4)

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

 


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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 deck buses.

 

 

  • 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 18 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

3-Day Ticket

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

 


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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 Gray Line New Orleans.

Hurricane Katrina Tour 

  • Daily at 1 pm (Jan-Dec 2018)
  • Duration is 3 1/2 hours
  • Ticket prices

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.

 


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NEW ORLEANS BUS TOUR DISCOUNTS

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.  For example, Cajun Encounters discounts their combo packages by $8/person and Gray Line offers 10% off the price of the individual products.

And if you are really planning on taking in many of New Orleans most popular attractions, then the New Orleans Power Pass may make financial sense for you.  

Get our full analysis on our tourist attraction discount page.

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

 


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