Originally founded back in 1718 by French colonists (before being purchased by the United States in 1803), there are few cities in the United States that compare with New Orleans. As one of the oldest cities and one of the most diverse in the country, New Orleans has changed hands many times throughout its long history. You can easily see its French, Spanish, British, and, of course, American roots lurking around every street corner.
While many people think of New Orleans as a party destination, there are actually a ton of great group activities you can do that go beyond the constraints of Bourbon Street. From tours of the Garden District to chilling ghost hunts in the French Quarter, New Orleans is full of fantastic surprises. To help you get started on your planning, we’ve put together a list of some awesome group activities regardless if you’re traveling with family, friends, coworkers, or something in between.
Explore the Big Easy with Let’s Roam.
NOLA has so many cool things to do, you may find yourself wondering how you’re going to fit it all in! Let us help! We’ve created ten different scavenger hunts, ghost tours, and bar crawls designed to help you see the best the city has to offer, even if you’re short on time. All of our hunts normally take less than an hour; however, you can go at your own pace which means you can start and stop them whenever you feel like grabbing a coffee, snack, or cocktail!
The Best Group Activities in New Orleans
Below you’ll find a list of some of the most enjoyable group activities in New Orleans. This list has been curated by our very own team of in-house travel experts who love to explore our beautiful country as much as you do! Whether you’re looking for some ideas for your next team-building events or something fun to do during a family or high school reunion, we’ve got you covered.
1. Explore the heart of NOLA on the French Quarter Adventure Scavenger Hunt.
The French Quarter is one of NOLA’s most famous neighborhoods, and it’s not hard to see why. The historic architecture and cobblestone streets look like they’re straight out of Europe, Bourbon Street is bursting with energy all hours of the day, and the magnificent St. Louis Cathedral stands proudly over Jackson Square and Magazine Street.
Our French Quarter scavenger hunt will help you see all this and more as you solve a series of interesting trivia questions and fun challenges about the history and culture of the city. During the hunt, you will discover where to find the best free live music on Bourbon Street, who exactly St. Louis was, and much more.
2. Scare yourself silly on the Let’s Roam New Orleans Ghost Tour.
In a city as old and storied as New Orleans, it probably comes as no surprise that ghost stories abound! We may be biased, but our favorite way to get our scare on is via the Let’s Roam New Orleans Ghost Tour. During this spirited scavenger hunt, visitors to New Orleans will learn the sorry tales of some of its resident ghosts while solving trivia questions and embarking on spooky challenges. This is a great option for people who want to combine ghost hunting with team building since it’s much more interactive than your standard ghost tours.
3. Have your own NOLA Bar Crawl.
Once you’ve finished your ghost tour, it’s time for a different type of spirit! Our exciting New Orleans Ballin’ Bar Crawl will take you to some of the best bars in the French Quarter as you fight for the ultimate prize—the bar crawl championship. Whether it’s strutting your stuff on the catwalk or twerking it up on the dance floor, you have no idea where the night will take you!
This is the perfect opportunity to give everyone in your group the chance to let their hair down for a bit. It also helps you avoid the awkward situation where everyone wants to go somewhere different, and you feel like you’re herding cats from one place to another!
4. Do a walking tour of the Garden District and Uptown.
While the French Quarter seems to get all the tourist love in New Orleans, the Garden District in Uptown NOLA is an area that is well worth a visit. Laid out in 1833 and annexed by New Orleans in 1852, the Garden District has its own unique personality that sets it apart from other areas of the city.
Featuring tree-lined streets, charming cottages, and enormous mansions, this district gives you a glimpse into NOLA’s more sophisticated side. It’s a lovely place to spend a few hours walking around. There are plenty of walking tours you can join where you can learn lots of interesting info about the history and culture of the area. Alternatively, you can simply open up the Let’s Roam app on your phone and get started on our fun-filled “Garden District Gumbo Grab Scavenger Hunt“!
Most tour operators offer both French Quarter and Garden District tours, so if you’re planning on joining a public tour or hiring a private guide for either neighborhood, you may want to ask if they will offer a group discount if you want a tour of both the French Quarter and the Garden District.
5. Hop on board the New Orleans Streetcars.
Although there are plenty of bus tours available that will whisk you around the city, one of the best ways to explore the city is by one of the vintage New Orleans streetcars. These trolley-like trains have been helping visitors and locals get around the city for more than 150 years. The St. Charles Streetcar was the first of these iconic cars to grace the streets, which also makes it one of the oldest continuously operating streetcars in the world!
There are four different lines starting from downtown NOLA that can take you through the French Quarter, Uptown and the Garden District, the Central Business District, Audubon, and beyond. One of the best parts about riding the streetcar is that it’s actually really reasonably priced (yes, we are looking at you, San Francisco!). Tickets start at just $1.25 per ride, and you can get unlimited ride passes for specific periods of time. Keep in mind that getting a big group on and off of a crowded streetcar can get tricky, so you may want to try this during non-peak hours or until you’re with just a few friends!
6. Hone your culinary skills with some cooking classes.
New Orleans is famous for its culinary scene. From the ubiquitous Po’Boys sandwiches to shrimp gumbo, to the French fusion that you find in fine dining restaurants, there’s nothing quite like Louisiana cuisine. So it probably comes as no surprise that cooking classes, wine tastings, mixology classes, and private chef experiences are great group activities in New Orleans.
If slaving away in a kitchen isn’t exactly what you thought of when you were thinking of your New Orleans vacation, don’t worry. You have many different options when it comes to culinary experiences which can be as hands-off or as hands-on as you want. You can join an organized cooking class where you learn skills from master chefs, go to an upscale bar to learn your way around craft cocktails, or simply hire a private chef who can come to your accommodation and show you the ropes on either New Orleans dishes or more international fare.
7. Consume some calories on a food tour.
If cooking isn’t your passion, but eating is, you can always skip the culinary class and join one of NOLA’s famous food tours There are many different food tour options that will take you to some of the best eateries in the French Quarter where you can try New Orleans specialties and Cajun cuisine including jambalaya, gumbo, alligator bites, muffuletta, beignets, pralines, and oysters.
The prices can range wildly based on how many different food tastings and whether or not there’s alcohol included, so make sure to shop around for the one that’s best for you and your group. Throughout the tour, you will likely learn about the best restaurants and off-the-beaten-path attractions, so we highly recommend going early on in your visit so that you still have time to explore more or revisit some of your favorite places!
8. Go to a live jazz show at Preservation Hall.
New Orleans is considered to be the birthplace of jazz music. The toe-tapping beats get into your soul in a way that many other music genres can’t. One of the best ways to experience jazz in its hometown is by going to a New Orleans jazz show. From large music venues to tiny hole-in-the-wall joints, jazz emanates from all corners of the city.
If you’re interested in going to a more established venue, you can’t go wrong with Preservation Hall. Opened in 1961 at a time when jazz was losing its popularity to rock and roll and bebop, the hall was designed as a place to give out-of-work jazz musicians a venue to play live music in the city. Over 60 years after it first opened its doors, Preservation Hall is still dedicated to preserving the art of jazz.
With more than 360 performances per year, there’s a fairly good chance there will be something great on the lineup while you’re there. To get general admission tickets, you normally just need to show up at the venue around 40 minutes early. However, if you’re traveling with a large group, it may be a good idea to book them in advance. Best of all, with tickets starting at just $25 a pop, this may just be the best value in NOLA!
The first show of the evening starts at a surprisingly early 5:00 p.m. while the last show begins at 8:45 p.m. Preservation Hall is located in the heart of the French Quarter which makes this a great place to start or finish the night.
If you prefer to be a bit more spontaneous but still want to listen to some of NOLA’s best live music, you can also wander down Frenchmen Street. Tucked between the French Quarter and Marigny, this is where you’ll find some of the city’s best music clubs including Snug Harbor, Blue Nile, Cafe Negril, and The Spotted Cat.
9. Learn more about voodoo.
Although it is originally from the area that is now Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, voodoo has become synonymous with New Orleans. Combining aspects of Roman Catholicism with African religious rites, voodoo is often characterized by sorcery and mysticism. It was eventually brought to Louisiana by West African slaves where it has remained an important part of daily life for many people.
You can learn more about the history of voodoo and the lives of the enslaved people who brought it to New Orleans by visiting the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum or by joining one of the many voodoo tours. Open since 1972, the museum is fairly small but packs a lot of history for its size. As you view the exhibits, you’ll learn more about the different voodoo rituals, dolls, doctors, and voodoo queens.
You may want to combine your visit to the museum with a voodoo walking tour where you will visit many of the city’s most important voodoo attractions including Congo Square and Marie Laveau’s house. Tours start at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., but if you’re traveling with a big enough group, you may be able to schedule your own private tour by contacting the museum directly.
10. Do a self-guided tour of the bayou.
New Orleans is surrounded by a breathtaking bayou. This swampy region of the Mississippi River is home to an incredible array of flora and fauna. Since the bayou can be visited as a day trip from New Orleans, it probably comes as no surprise that a swamp tour is one of the best group activities for nature lovers in the Crescent City.
Depending on your schedule and budget, you can get there by car or by boat. If you choose to take the land route, one of the best places to start your self-guided adventure is at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Named after a French American pirate, this national park encompasses more than 9,000 hectares of wetlands. You can explore the park via a series of wooden boardwalks that give you the opportunity to wander by live oaks, bald cypress trees, and maybe even a lazy alligator sunning himself on the water’s surface or on the bank of the river.
While you’re in the area, you may also want to check out the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette. The town is home to the descendants of French-Canadian refugees who settled here in the late 18th century, eventually becoming known as Cajuns. The cultural center features permanent and special exhibits, ranger talks, and special programs to educate visitors on the customs, language, and contemporary culture of this fascinating group of people.
11. Or join a swamp boat tour.
If you would prefer to let someone else handle all the logistics for you and love the idea of being out on a boat, you may want to swap the self-guided tour for one of the swamp tours by airboat. Airboats are able to hover above the water, giving you access to more areas of the bayou than you could ever possibly see by car. Plus, it’s really fun to zoom in and out of the trees as you get a close-up look at this enchanting environment. While you’re there, make sure to keep an eye out for alligators lurking in the water and birds flitting through the trees or soaring through the open sky.
Tours last around two hours and include pick-up from the French Quarter. The airboats normally hold between six and ten people which makes this perfect for a fun (and unique) group activity! If your group is larger than that, you can also look into hiring your own pontoon boat for a few hours.
12. Visit a nearby plantation.
Much of the American South was built off the back of enslaved labor on the area’s many plantations. These plantations served as the economic powerhouses of the south during the antebellum era and much like the Gilded Era buildings in the northern part of the U.S., these plantation homes served as the poster child of a weird mix of wealth and prosperity, greed, and cruelty.
A visit to one of the plantations surrounding New Orleans will give you an in-depth and multifaceted look at this dark chapter in American history. The easiest plantations to visit from New Orleans are the Whitney Plantation, the Laura Plantation, and the Oak Alley Plantation. Oak Alley and Laura are close to one another which means that you can easily visit both on a day trip or as part of a 7–8 hour guided tour.
Oak Alley is usually considered the most famous of the plantations as it has been used as a backdrop for a slew of different Hollywood shows and movies. You may even recognize the 28 oak trees lining the driveway up to the house from the movie Interview with a Vampire.
The house was built in 1839 in a Greek Revival style while the surrounding land was used to produce sugar cane. It’s now a National Historic Landmark and visitors are free to wander around the grounds or join one of the guided tours which will shed some light on the family and the enslaved people that lived there. If you want to extend your time there, Oak Alley Plantation offers overnight accommodation in charming little cottages located right on the plantation grounds.
Another National Historic Landmark, the nearby Laura Plantation was built in 1805 and has 12 standing buildings on the National Register. The house was built in a Louisiana Creole style featuring bright colors and a U-shape design. Interestingly, the plantation was run by four generations of women which was no certainly no easy feat in the 19th century!
13. Or do a combo bayou and plantation tour.
Life is full of tough choices, but luckily, you don’t have to choose between the bayou or the plantations! There are a handful of different combo tours available that allow you to visit both destinations on one very long day trip. One of our favorites is offered by the creatively named Plantation and Kayak Swamp Tours New Orleans. This tour operator offers eco-friendly tours that allow you to explore the bayou by kayak before visiting a nearby plantation.
14. Go for a ride on the Creole Queen.
The Creole Queen is an iconic paddle wheeler that takes visitors along the Mississippi River. From the boat, you can view the French Quarter, the Port of New Orleans, and the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. During the sightseeing tour, you’ll be entertained by your tour guide who will give a quick over of the different landmarks that you see and the history of the city.
The Creole Queen also offers a dinner cruise where you can dine accompanied by live jazz music as well as a weekend jazz brunch. There are also a few themed cruises held throughout the year so if you plan on visiting New Orleans over a long holiday weekend, make sure to check their website to see if there are any extra-special cruises departing while you are there!
If the Creole Queen isn’t your style, Steamboat Natchez offers similar cruises including daytime, dinner, and Sunday brunch jazz cruises. They offer special group discounts if there are more than ten people and can even host private parties. They are part of Gray Line Tours, so you may also want to check with them for package discounts if you plan on doing a lot of different sightseeing tours as they offer everything from plantation tours to cocktail tours.
15. Hit up some of NOLA’s best museums.
For many people, the first thing they think of when they imagine New Orleans is probably food and nightlife. However, the city is home to a variety of interesting museums that provide the perfect way to escape the oppressive New Orleans heat and humidity! Below are just a few of the many museums on offer.
The National World War II Museum
As America’s official World War II Museum, this sprawling building offers a slew of different exhibits showcasing photos and artifacts from pivotal moments in the war, including the harrowing D-Day landing. The exhibits in the National World War II Museum focus on the men and women who helped lead the U.S. through this horrific war, both at home and on the battlefront.
The exhibits are divided between the European and Pacific fronts and offer state-of-the-art touches that propel this museum firmly into the 21st century such as an immersive sound and light show and a 4D movie. The National WWII Museum is definitely a must-see for any history lovers out there, and they offer special group rates for parties of ten or more.
Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras is by far one of the biggest events of the year in New Orleans. However, if you aren’t able (or willing) to visit during this Mardi Gras itself, don’t despair! You can still get a taste of the festivities at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World Museum!
In the 1930s, Blaine Kern was one of NOLA’s most famous float designers and builders. The warehouse he used to create his epic floats is still used to build 75% of the floats that you see in the Mardi Gras parades today. During your visit to the museum, you can learn more about the building techniques and costumes featured in the parade and take lots of photos to remember them!
The museum offers group discounts for 20 people or more. However, if you want to test out your building skills, you can always take part in one of the mini-float building or mask-making team-building activities!
New Orleans Museum of Art
If you have a few culture vultures in your group, you definitely don’t want to miss the New Orleans Museum of Art. Home to artworks by Degas, Picasso, Monet, and many more, the museum’s art galleries are a treasure trove of classic and contemporary art. If this name-dropping isn’t enough to make you want to go, the museum also boasts a gorgeous outdoor sculpture garden where you can take Instagram-worthy photos and enjoy a breath of fresh air (or just warm up a bit from the oh-so-cold air conditioning inside).
16. Chill out in New Orleans City Park.
There’s so much awesome stuff to do in the Crescent City that you may find yourself needing a bit of a breather and a chance to rest your feet at some point during your stay. We highly recommend heading over to the sprawling New Orleans City Park when you are in need of some R&R. Created in 1854, this impressive park has been welcoming visitors for more than 170 years and has the largest collection of mature live oaks in the world. Some of these trees are more than 800 years old!
Stretching more than a mile wide and three miles long, New Orleans City Park boasts a tranquil botanical garden, a family-friendly amusement park, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and a 36-hole miniature golf course just a short drive northwest of the French Quarter. You can also rent bikes to zip around on the multiuse trails or a boat to take a spin out on the Big Lake. Surrounding the lake, you’ll find 25 acres of sprawling land filled with jogging paths, art installations, wildlife, and wetlands.
Ready to roam?
We hope this list of enjoyable group activities in New Orleans has left you inspired to plan an awesome group trip to the Big Easy. If you want to read more about all of the great things to do in NOLA, make sure to head over to the Let’s Roam Explorer blog. From the best museums in New Orleans to the top excursions out of the city, we have blog articles to help you in every step of your planning process.
Frequently Asked Questions
New Orleans is famous for parties, so it probably comes as no surprise that there are tons of great group activities there. From bar crawls to dinner cruises to walking tours, there’s something for everyone!
New Orleans is a great place to visit with a group of friends, family, or colleagues. There are a ton of great group activities to do for people of all ages!
New Orlean is a fun destination for groups because it has such a wide variety of group activities there. You can spend your evenings listening to live jazz and your days indulging on fine cuisine during a food tour!
If you want an adventurous group activity in NOLA, you may want to consider an airboat tour of the bayou! These tours are a great way to get close to the unique flora and fauna as you zip through the water.