New Orleans is full of rich history and culture, much of which can be experienced just by traversing the streets. There are plenty of free things to do in the city, from lounging in beautiful parks to perusing art galleries to visiting museums and more. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Devonte Williford

Relax on the banks of Bayou St. John

Watch canoes, paddleboards, and other non-motorized watercrafts float along the bayou.

Rebecca Todd

Watch the sunset from Lakeshore Drive

Take a stroll or bike ride down beautiful Lakeshore Drive.

Paul Broussard

Admire the beautiful mansions, wrought-iron fences, and balconies throughout the  Garden District neighborhood.

Rebecca Todd

Explore Gallery Row and the unique artwork, sculptures, and photographs that adorn the walls.

Justen Williams

At the lively heart of the French Quarter, you never know who you’ll see. Keep an ear out for musicians or peruse the artwork of local street vendors. 

Rebecca Todd

The Historic New Orleans Collection offers free tours exploring Black history, the history of the French Quarter, and more.

Paul Broussard

Browse stalls of souvenirs and clever baubles at the French Market.

Justen Williams

The historic church is open to the public and worth visiting for its beauty alone. 

Ashley Lorraine

If you live in Louisiana, get in free to various museums

Thanks to the Helis Foundation, visit the Contemporary Arts Center on Sundays, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the  Botanical Garden  on Wednesdays, and  Ogden Museum of Southern Art  on Thursdays for free with Louisiana ID.

Rebecca Todd

The park is the perfect place to relax outside with a picnic, game of football, or just to stop by and feed the ducks.

Paul Broussard

Choose from multiple types of tours and learn about the ghosts, architecture, and history of the city. 

Rebecca Todd

A labor of love, the Lower 9th Ward Living Museum was founded and curated by Ms. Leona Tate - one of the four little girls who desegregated public schooling in the United States. The six-room house museum tells the history of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward through the perspective and voices of those who live there. It is a true hidden gem, and completely free.

Rebecca Todd

From Canal Street to the Moon Walk along the French Quarter, stroll down the riverfront and watch ships of all kinds ply the Mighty Mississippi.  Also on the riverfront, Crescent Park  offers stellar city views, accessed just past the French Market at Elysian Fields. You can go all the way to the Bywater.

Justen Williams, NOTMC

Familiarize yourself with New Orleans history

Read the historic plaques that are scattered on noteworthy buildings and public art all over the city. Whether it’s the homes of New Orleans’ most important Jazz musicians, or learning more about the history of enslaved people throughout city with the New Orleans Slave Trade Marker App, there are a wealth of educational opportunities to explore for free.

Rebecca Todd

The Fly is a swath of green space behind Audubon Zoo on the Mississippi River. Sunsets there are lovely.

Rebecca Todd, NOTMC

Window shop

Wander down  Royal  and Chartres streets to admire art, antiques, and oddities. Or, explore Magazine Street, famous for its eclectic shops and cozy eateries.