Any trip takes budgeting because the trips themselves can get expensive. There is travel, and a hotel. There is the cost of food while there. Then there is the cost of doing things while you are visiting the destination. Whenever we travel anywhere, I have the typical places we want to see. The places that everyone wants to see. But I always make sure we have several free things to do. New Orleans is a great place to visit, and not just during Mardi Gras. That is why I have included free things to do in New Orleans.
Free Things to Do in New Orleans
Besides visiting New Orleans, while in Louisiana, check out this epic road trip idea. Some of the old plantations are still in existence. While plantations do have a lot of negative association to the past, there is a lot of history surrounding these properties.
Visit the Arts District. The Arts District is along Julia Street. On the first Saturday of each month, enjoy the Gallery Hop.
Spend a night going to the clubs and bars down Frechman Street. Many of the clubs do not have a cover charge.
Every Friday night, Le Bon Temps Roule music club features free oysters.
During the Spring and Fall, enjoy the free live Jazz concerts that take place in Armstrong Park. There are also a free concert of opera arias and musical show tunes by Bon Operatit! on the second Wednesday of each month at the Four Points by Sheraton at the site of the Old French Opera House.
Also in the Spring, in April, visit the South’s largest free music festival, the French Quarter Festival.
There are also free concerts on Wednesday afternoons in Layfayette Square in the Spring.
During the summer, see a concert on Wednesdays. Go to the Point in the Old Historic Algiers. It is a ferry ride away to the French Quarter.
There are many other festivals brought to NOLA from the Jazz and Heritage Foundation, like the BBQ and Blues Festival and the New World Rhythms Festival.
Take a stroll down Royal and Chartres streets to window shop. There are a lot stores for the arts, antiques, and boutiques.
Visit the French Market to browse and shop.
Try a cooking demonstration at Crescent City Farmers Market.
During Carnival Season and Mardi Gras, watch the parades or even more fun, join in.
Jackson Square is a nice place to take the scenery.
Explore the “City of the Dead” through a self-guided day tour of a cemetery. Most of the tours are free. St. Patrick Cemetery #2, Lafefayette Cemetery and St. Louis #3 to start.
Enjoy a picnic uptown along the river at The Fly.
Take a tour of Antoine’s, the 160 year old restaurant.
Woldenberg Riverfront Park is a great place to watch ships pass while traveling down the Mississippi.
Many of the Brewing companies offer free tours and you will learn about the behind the scenes of brewing.
Take a tour of Saint Louis Cathedral, located in Jackson Square or pay homage at the National Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos.
Tour the Global Green house in the Lower Ninth Ward.
Head to Dutch Alley to watch how they make beignets through the kitchen window at Café du Monde.
Love Dancing? The NOLA Jitterbugs Dance School offers swing dance every Sunday.
Check out the Sydney and Walda Bestoff Sculpture Garden in City park. It is a fun place to let the kids run off some steam too.
The Burgundy Picture House in Bywater offers free outdoor movie showings.
Watch a glass blowing demonstrations from the artists from Rosetree Glass Studio or Glassworks.
Or watch a looming demonstration at the Louisiana Loom Works on Chartres Street.
Visit the legends, Fats Domino, Pete Fountain, and Al Hirt at Music Legends Park on Bourbon street to take pictures.
Relax under the 100 year old Oak trees in Audubon Park and City Park. Be sure to see the swans from the Peristyle while you are there.
Sample some classic pralines at the different sweet shops.
Tailgating doesn’t require a ticket. Tailgate outside of the Superdome at the Saints game or the before party at a Pelicans basketball game.
Make a wish in the fountain at the Spanish Plaza in front of the Riverwalk Shopping Center.
Sight see on St. Charles Avenue to see the historic mansions.
Last but not Least, head to Bourbon Street and people watch.