NOLA Sightseeing at Your Leisure: Self-Guided Tours

Is it your first time to New Orleans?  Have you been here before, but haven’t been able to explore much of the city?  Want to take a great NOLA tour, but don’t want to bother with reservations, finding the muster site, dealing with strangers, or being on a schedule?  Just want to save a little money during your Crescent City vacation, but still see the sights?  During your bed and breakfast stay at our Garden District inn, there are many options for self-guided tours throughout the city!

Creators of the widely-known guidebook series and American travel guides, Frommer’s is a great resource for information.  You can find three great tours from their website offers three tours through the city.  You can either print out the guides, or access them via a mobile device during your visit.

  • Tour 1 lets you explore the French Quarter.  They recommend making this a daytime walking tour so that you can see all the architecture, and any attractions you visit have a better chance of being open.  Quiet Hours are 8am to 10am.  Bring it up on your phone and follow the loose loop around the sights of the French Quarter, visiting locations such as The Court of Two Sisters, Pat O’Brien’s, Preservation Hall, Le Pretre Mansion, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop,  the Old US Mint, The French Market, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Tennessee Williams House, to name just a few.  You will end up at Cafe du Monde where you can reward yourself with great coffee and fabulous beignets!  Just take the streetcar from the inn up St. Charles Street to the French Quarter to take this tour!
  • Tour 2 takes you around the Garden District.  Again, it is recommended that this be a daytime walking tour, as the houses here are gorgeous!  Avenue Inn is conveniently located just a mile from the starting point of this tour.  Hop on the streetcar and go east a few stops to Washington Street, just north of where this tour begins at the Garden District Book Shop.  See the Seven Sisters, wave to Archie Manning as you pass by his home, see the varied architecture of some of the most beautiful homes in the city, and end at the City of The Dead: Lafayette Cemetery Number 1.  If you aren’t yet tired of walking at the end, pop down to Magazine Street for some shopping and refreshments and food!
  • Tour 3 takes you around Esplande Ridge to City Park.  If you like to shop or look at areas in-depth, then this tour could easily last most of a day!  Take this tour during daytime hours, Monday through Saturday – we recommend starting in the morning so you have plenty of time to sight-see and shop.  Esplande Ridge is very “Old NOLA:”  the Creole considered this THE place to live, socialize, and play toward the end of the 19th century.  Featuring many examples of  interesting architectural detail, you’ll see the home of the first Mayor of the city, the Degas House (brother of the famous painter), and St. Louis Cemetery No. 3.  Hit some of the shops and eateries at Mystery Street and Espalande Avenue, and enjoy the many features of the Park after your tour!  This tour is a little trickier to get to.  In fact, it may be more enjoyable to do this tour via automobile due to the starting point being so far from a streetcar line, plus you know you will be safe getting back to the inn if you stay in the Park until after dark.

Love to find your own way, but would still like some narration?  Download the GO NOLA app and take advantage of the “celebrity narrated” walking tours there.  As of the writing of this blog post, the following tours are available through this app:

  • A Walk Along the River – John Goodman leads you along the Mississippi River where you will see everything from notable sites in American History, to old haunts of the greats.
  • Down in the Treme – Walk with Wendell Pierce through this 200-year-old African American Neighborhood is alive with history, tradition, and legend.
  • Canal Streetcar Ride – Patricia Clarkson narrates your trip up Canal Street on the Canal Streetcar.
  • NOLA Gay History Tour – Our city has seen the rise of many gay artists, writers, and entertainers.  Bryan Batt shows you the places where Ellen DeGeneris go her start, where Southern Decadence began, and learn about the likes of Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and photographer Frances Banjamin Johnston.

To make your self-guided tours more enjoyable, we offer the following advice.  Make sure to check the weather, as you don’t want to get caught without an umbrella.  Also, mind your step on some of the older walkways as those made of flagstone might try to trip you up as you look at the sights.  Don’t forget the sunscreen if you are fair-skinned!

These self-guided tours let you learn more about the history, architecture, and sights of our city on your own time and your own terms.  Make your vacation getaway plans to our Uptown inn, and enjoy A Better Way to Stay.

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