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New Orleans’ biggest draw is its food. While I can’t find you any of that for free, I can direct you to some frugal ways to enjoy your trip to the Crescent City. With awesome architecture and a diverse culture, there’s tons to do in New Orleans for FREE!
25 FREE Things In New Orleans
1. Jackson Square – Right in the middle of the French Quarter. A great view of street performers, the St. Louis Cathedral and Andrew Jackson riding high above New Orleans. Cafe Du Monde is only a block away!
2. Street Performances – To a piano bike combo playing throughout the French Quarter to drum circles around random corners; you will find some street performers somewhere in New Orleans. Enjoy them when you find them!
3. Louis Armstrong Park – A short walk from Jackson Square. When I was there, a drumline was playing, so maybe you’ll see a free show!
4. The French Market – On the corner of the French Quarter is the French Market. A great place to grab authentic cajun souvenirs.
5. Woldenberg Park – A park near the Mississippi River and the French Quarter. A good place to recharge after a long trek through this part of town. Plus, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas or Entergy Imax Theater for entertainment.
6. Burgundy Picture House – An outdoor cinema screening cutting edge, art-house, and foreign films for FREE.
7. Algiers Walking Tour – Grab a guidebook and take yourself on a walking tour through the historic Algiers Point!
8. Barcadia Free Games – Play Jumbo Jenga or Frisbee sized Connect Four at Barcadia on Tchoupitoulas Street.
9. Visit City Park – In the middle of the city, City Park has paddle-boats, tandem-bikes and more for rent. Or set up a hammock in the trees near the lake to relax and enjoy the cajun sun.
10. Besthoff Sculpture Garden – In City Park visit this garden and enjoy the work of artist from all over the world. Contains over sixty sculptures. NOMA offers a free audio tour of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which is accessible through visitors’ cell phones and highlights all of the sculptures in the Garden.
11. Crescent City Farmers Market – See what local farmers are growing and pick up everything you need for a picnic at the local farmer’s market on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.
12. Hot Sauce Tasting at Pepper Palace – Try out their hottest sauces for free before you make a purchase. Or just see if you can survive their ghost pepper blends. Anyone who enjoys cooking or spicy food will enjoy poking around their sauces, spices and salsas!
13. The Garden District – Get out of the city bustle and wander through the Garden District to enjoy its historic architecture and old south greenery.
14. New Orleans Cemetery – A site that must be seen on a New Orleans trip is one of its famed cemeteries. One of the largest is the St. Louis Cemetery near the intersection of Canal St and I-10 but this one now requires you to go with a licensed tour guide.
15. The St. Charles Streetcar Line – Not free, but only $1.25 a ride and a great way to see the city in a comfortable, historical way!
16. Dueling Pianos – Request a song or enjoy the music at Pat O’Brien’s Dueling Piano Bar.
17. Art Appreciation – Check out the galleries on Julia St. and what street vendors are selling at Jackson Square. Check out the Art Walk that occurs on the first Saturday night of every month galleries open their doors to the public to premiere new exhibits.
18.Wednesdays at the Square – If your trip is during the Spring and on a Wednesday, there’s a free concert series at Jackson Square. It runs March 2nd through May 18th.
19. The Historic New Orleans Art Collection – Free self guided tours of the Williams Gallery any day of the week. Exhibition tours start at $5 a person.
20. Walk on the Riverfront – Take a stroll next to mighty Mississippi and listen for the Steamboat Natchez’s whistle.
21. St. Louis Cathedral – The oldest active Catholic cathedral in the United States. Pop inside and be awed by its antique architecture.
22. Free Self Guided Swamp Tour – Head to the Barataria Preserve and grab a guidebook from the visitors center.
23. Chalmette Battlefield – Visit the site of The Battle of New Orleans. About 5 miles from the French Quarter, you can see the battlefield and learn more about the War of 1812. If you’re visiting in January, you might even catch the reenactment.
24. The Arts Market of New Orleans – On the last Saturday of each month, head to Palmer Park to view the featured works and enjoy live entertainment.
25. Music – As you walk along the streets of New Orleans, enjoy the endless stream of cajun, jazz and blues music streaming out of every wide open window!
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