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Why Taking a Tour Bus in Any City is a Smart Idea

I’m surprised that I’m an advocate of the tour bus, but after our first encounter in Marseille, I realized you can only learn so much about a city by walking around it on your own. So when I was offered complimentary tickets for the City Sightseeing New Orleans Hop On Hop Off Bus, I jumped at the chance.

Look, man, I know you’re all about living like a local like me. So don’t stand up on the upper level, beads piled around your neck, and scream “I’m a tourist!” You’ll be fine. Here’s why you need to hop on (and off) a tour bus on your next trip.

1. It’s Built-in Transportation


Want to get across town to see that cool museum? You can take a cab or an Uber, but you’ll come out a lot smarter if you sit on the tour bus to get there. Plus, the buses often hand out discount coupons for the places you’re going. And it beats walking 15 miles!

2. You Learn Interesting Things


In New Orleans, I learned that they leave the beads that land in trees on St. Charles Avenue to perpetuate the myth that beads grow on trees, but they take them off the streetcar lines for safety reasons. I saw the tallest skyscraper in Louisiana, which is abandoned since it’s got asbestos in it. And I discovered a cool abandoned factory that’s been the scene of several movies.

My mom, who took a tour trolley in San Diego, informed me that there were no trees in San Diego, and that they were all brought here from other places. These useless bits of trivia make you uber cool at cocktail parties!

3. You Can Map Out Your Visit Better


Taking a bus tour at the start of your trip can help you decide where you want to explore. You might drive past something you thought you wanted to spend more time at and then realize there’s something even better just down the street.

4. You Get a Bird's-Eye View


If the weather’s good, I’m sitting on top of the double-decker bus. I can spy on the people below who aren’t looking up at me, and see things from a different perspective.

I plan to incorporate a bus tour on all my trips to major cities, and you should too!

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