Eating yourself sick on po’ boys and downing gallons of daiquiris can get expensive. Luckily, New Orleans is home to plenty of parks, beautiful architecture, quirky shops and interesting characters for people watching–all for little to no cost. We put together a list of a few of our favorite things to do in the city on the cheap!
1. Besthoff Sculpture Garden – Located within City Park, this five acre sculpture garden boasts more than 60 pieces of art, beautiful landscaping, and of course live oaks. Not only is it a beautiful, serene place to spend an hour or two, it’s also completely free.
2. Catch some street music – Between the buskers in the quarter and the free live music pumping out of clubs on Frenchman, there is no shortage of free music to enjoy in New Orleans. If you like what you hear, be sure to carry around a few dollars to drop into tip buckets and open guitar cases to help support local musicians. Bonus: Depending on when you’re visiting, there are often free music festivals, jam sessions in Arnold Park, and more so make sure to see what’s happening in the city before you arrive.
3. The Fly – Grab a blanket and some friends and head on uptown to The Fly. Just off Audubon Park and right on the Mississippi River, you’ll find a grassy little hangout. Locals tend to hang out here, toss a frisbee, read a book or just watch the boats. We decided to grab our po’ boys from nearby Domilise to go and drive on up here for a little picnic in the sun.
4. Audubon Park – Audubon Park is home to hundreds of huge, beautiful live oak trees. You can climb a tree, take a stroll down by the water and feed the ducks, check out the lagoon, or take advantage of the 1.8 mile jogging path.
5. A Ride on the Street Car – Okay so it’s not “free,” but for only $2.50, you can ride the Streetcar from the Quarter to Uptown on the St. Charles Street line. Grab a wooden seat near one of the open windows and soak up the view of the beautiful homes, businesses and shops that line St Charles. The glacial pace and frequent stops make getting from point A to B a slow go, so take the opportunity to take it all in.
6. Tour the Garden District – The Garden District is home to some of the most gorgeous homes in New Orleans. You can sign up for a guided tour, check out online for one of the self-guided tours, or like us you can just get lost amongst the architecture as you wander from street to street. Don’t forget to check out some of the cemeteries like Lafayette on Washington between Prytania and Colosseum.
7. Crescent City Farmer’s Market – Every Saturday you can come check out the Crescent City Farmer’s Market in the historic Warehouse District from 8 am – 12 pm. You can peruse all of the fresh, locally grown produce, seafood, jams and jellies, and more. Sometimes there are local musicians playing and cooking demonstrations. Free if you’re there to look, but you’ll likely be tempted to buy something to eat!
8. Frenchman Art Market – Check out authentic New Orleans art, handmade jewelry and more at this art market down on Frenchman. Open weeknights (7 pm – 1 am Thursday through Saturday & Mondays; Sundays 6 pm – midnight). You can take in the ambiance of twinkle lights and live music backdrop as you sift through the various artisanal wares. But don’t be surprised if you wind up opening your wallet for that special something to take home!