New Orleans is a city rich in culture and flavor, but you don't have to go broke when visiting. These 10 New Orleans experiences don't cost you a thing.
- Hear the
Famous Music of New Orleans
There are countless ways to enjoy the blues, jazz, zydeco, R&B and other genres that have earned New Orleans a reputation as a music mecca. Take in a free fall or spring concert in Lafayette Square, visit one of the no-cover-charge clubs on Frenchmen Street or hear the street musicians on Decatur Street.
- Treat Your
Pralines — sugar-rich, pecan-laden confections — are one of our signature snacks. Stop by a sweet shop, like Aunt Sally's to watch them being made, and then indulge in a free sample.
- Explore The
Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden
Follow the footpaths through the Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Romantics can pause for a kiss in front of "LOVE, Red Blue" by Robert Indiana, and fans of Mardi Gras will recognize the meaning of "Tree of Necklaces" by Jean-Michel Othoniel. More than 60 sculptures are found in the garden. Admission to the sculpture garden is free each day.
- Go for a
New Orleans' diversity and culture has spawned an arts community that is world-renowned. Its epicenter is in the Arts District, specifically Julia Street, which is home to more than a dozen galleries. Spend an afternoon gazing at everything from contemporary photography to Newcomb pottery. Or join in a first-Saturday Art Walk and meet and mingle with featured artists.
- Marvel at
Mardi Gras Costumes
Whether or not you visit during our parade-filled Carnival season, you can always enjoy a part of the spectacle by visiting the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum at Arnaud's Restaurant. Its collection consists of elaborate king and queen costumes, Mardi Gras masks and vintage photos.
- Rub Elbows
with Local Chefs
Our restaurants aren't the only places to find incredible local fare. Plan a Saturday morning trip to the Crescent City Farmers Market, located Downtown. There, you can sample locally grown fruits and veggies, hear live music, mingle with chefs while they shop and enjoy live cooking demonstrations.
- Let the Good
Times Roll During a Free Festival
There's no doubt that New Orleans can host one memorable party. Some of the best shindigs present amazing entertainment lineups without an admission charge. A few favorites are the French Quarter Festival, held each April; and Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival, held in October.
- Browse the French Market
America's oldest public market, the French Market, is a treat for your senses. Breathe in the desserts and gumbos of the eateries, dance to a jazz band and delight in the variety of treasures in the flea market.
- Time Travel Through 300 Years of History
For a comprehensive introduction to Louisiana's past, make your way to The Louisiana History Galleries at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Digital upgrades to the galleries allow for audiovisual content to complement the artifacts.
- See the
Sights of Jackson Square
This is the place to soak in the culture of New Orleans. As you explore the picture-perfect square in the heart of the French Quarter, you may find yourself enjoying an impromptu concert, eyeballing colorful paintings by the local artist community or snapping photos of the surrounding historic buildings, including the towering triple steeples of St. Louis Cathedral.
Read about more free activities around New Orleans that will get you out to experience the best of the city in the Free Activities Guide Part 1 and Free Activities Guide Part 2.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Prayitno