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Cafe du Monde
Cafe du Monde
Beignets from Cafe du Monde

Budget-Friendly Itinerary

Ideas for Inexpensive Ways to Enjoy New Orleans

New Orleans on a Budget

You don’t have to be a big spender to jump into a million-dollar New Orleans experience. The Crescent City can be easy on the wallet, if you know where to look. From happy hour specials to hidden gems, there are affordable options all over town, no matter what the season. Pro tip: consider booking a midweek trip to New Orleans to save on hotel rooms, and fill your itinerary with these 50 free things to do around NOLA. Check out our neighborhood itinerary below and explore our inexpensive dining options here

Paul Broussard, New Orleans Tourism
Royal Street

The French Quarter

This most historic part of New Orleans is famous for its white tablecloth restaurants, artsy boutiques, and craft cocktail bars. But you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the French Quarter.


Start your day with some chicory-laced coffee and pastry from Croissant D’Or Patisserie. Or treat yourself to a plate of hot beignets and café au lait from Café du Monde.

Follow your feet

Take a stroll through the picturesque French Quarter to see some of the most historic architecture in the country, including the St. Louis Cathedral, Presbytère, and Cabildo. Visit the Visitor Center of Jean Lafitte National Park, and get free information and maps.

Ogle art

Window shop along Royal Street, famous for art galleries galore and soak up New Orleans’ local art culture.

Rebecca Todd
Walking Down Royal Street

Explore Jackson Square

Take a peek into the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in the United States, then claim a bench on the square and people watch.

Picnic Lunch

Order a traditional Italian muffuletta from the place where it was invented, Central Grocery*, and take your sandwich to the river for lunch with a view.

*Editori's Note: Central Grocery remains temporarily closed following damage from Hurricane Ida, but you can still find their muffalettas packaged to-go next door at Sidney's Wine Cellar (917 Decatur St.)

Dine on the cheap

Port of Call is a great choice for a burger and potent Monsoon cocktail, or swing by Killer Po-Boys for some creative takes on the traditional New Orleans sandwich.

Rebecca Todd
Killer Po-Boys


Stroll along world-famous Bourbon Street and right into Pat O’Brien’s courtyard for a hurricane. Head to the “quieter” end of Bourbon and belly up to the bar at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar for inexpensive libations. Located on Bourbon and St. Phillip St., Lafitte’s is lit mostly by candles and is supposedly haunted. In the mood for artisanal cocktails? Swing over to Bar Tonique across from Armstrong Park on Rampart chose from a menu of reasonably priced classic New Orleans cocktails.

Arts/Warehouse District

Enjoy a day of gallery hopping, exploring, and eating in the Warehouse District.

Ashley Lorraine
Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Ogden Museum of Art

This museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world and offers free and discounted admission for students, seniors, and more.

Picnic in the park

Lafayette Square is the second oldest park in New Orleans. Pick up a sandwich from Cafe at the Square or Cochon Butcher and picnic in the square.

The Contemporary Arts Center

Known for its experimental and multidisciplinary exhibitions, performances and programs, the CAC is the perfect place to take in thought provoking work by local and internationally known artists at a reasonable price.

Happy Hour

Happy hour dishes the best bargains and small plates and drinks in the Warehouse Arts District. Check out Meril for happy hour deals with half-off flat breads and wine by the glass.

Uptown/ Garden District

Known for stately oaks and historic mansions, shopping on Magazine Street and eclectic restaurants, Uptown delivers a surprising array of well-priced options.

Paul Broussard
Streetcar - Uptown Spring Color - Azaleas - St. Charles Avenue

Take a ride

Hop on the streetcar down St. Charles Avenue. Riding the oldest continuously operated streetcar in the country is your best way to soak up views of live oaks and one-of-a-kind mansions and costs just $1.25, exact change please, or buy a one-day, three-day or five-day pass.


Camellia Grill is a landmark diner Uptown known for its rib-sticking breakfasts and entertaining servers. Grab a seat at the counter and enjoy the show.

Audubon Park

Go for a ramble under the leafy canopies of gorgeous oaks in Audubon Park, then relax in one of the covered gazebos and watch the ducks.

NOLA on $50 - Streetcar
Stick to your budget with these curated, themed itineraries featuring a day's worth of fun for $50 or less.


Grab a sandwich or salad from St. James Cheese Company, a local cheese shop with a seriously loyal following. Or swing by Pizza Domenica, the casual off-shoot of the James Beard Award-winning Italian restaurant downtown. 

Happy Hour

Sip on delicious cocktails at Cure, a pioneering craft cocktail lounge on happening Freret Street uptown with terrific happy hour deals (4-6 p.m. every day).

Dinner and Drinks

Freret Street is also up-and-coming for the restaurant and bar scene with eateries like The Company Burger and High Hat Cafe sure to satisfy the hungry on a budget. 

Mid-City and Esplanade Ridge

If you really want to experience New Orleans like a local, spend a day in Mid-City and Esplanade Ridge for some off-the-beaten-path bargains.

Zack Smith
Roast Beef Po-Boy at Parkway Tavern


Sink your teeth into a famous Po-Boy sandwich from Parkway Bakery in Mid-City – be sure to order it dressed. Or take a sandwich to go for a picnic along nearby Bayou St. John.

City Park

A 1,300-acre outdoor oasis that has enchanted New Orleanians since 1854, City Park is the spot for outdoor family friendly activities. Go for a jog around the lake, or take a stroll and bird watch.

New Orleans Museum of Art

Located in the heart of City Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art delivers a world of art for its $15 admission price, with discounts offered to seniors, students and children 12 and under (Louisiana residents get free admission on Wednesdays courtesy of the Helis Foundation). If you prefer your art outdoors, admission to the stunning Sculpture Garden is free, 

Kelsey Campion, NOTMC
New Orleans Museum of Art

Bayou St. John

See the Louisiana Bayou St. John up close and personal along the 1.7 mile jogging and bike path in Mid-City.


Split a heaping portion of paella at Lola’s or nosh on some modern Vietnamese cuisine at Mopho. In the mood for Mexican? Try the Creole-infused fare at Juan’s Flying Burrito.

Sweet Treat

Top off the day with something sweet from Angelo Brocato’s Italian Gelateria, a favorite local dessert spot for over 100 years.

Marigny/ Bywater

Just downriver of the French Quarter, the Marigny and Bywater are two neighborhoods to visit for great live music, art markets, and tasty food that won’t break the bank.

Paul Broussard
Bywater Fall Color


Bywater Bakery serves up a hot breakfast with choices like pastries, yogurt and a variety of breakfast go-cups including bacon and egg, and shrimp and grits. Or you can enjoy sweet and savory pastries from Ayu Bakehouse, including favorites like the muffaletta breadstick or boudin boy.

Art Markets

Enjoy the art galleries and markets in the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. Check out Dr. Bob’s quirky art gallery or the Piety Street Market, both in the Bywater.


Grab lunch at Dat Dog’s Frenchmen Street outpost, or a slice of pizza at the seriously addictive Pizza Delicious further down river in Bywater. Or for breakfast or lunch, head to Frady’s One Stop, where cheap eats and plate lunches attract throngs of regulars.

Crescent Park

Take a bike ride or walk along the Mississippi through Crescent Park, a 20-acre linear park on the riverfront.


Can’t decide what type of cuisine you want? Browse the options at the St. Roch Market or try or try Rosalita’s for tacos on the cheap.

Live Music

Many of the music clubs along Frenchmen Street offer low-or-no cover shows–just check the live music calendar to see who is playing and what to expect as far as an entry fee. Just remember that even on a budget, tipping musicians is always a must!

Check out our deals & coupons page for discounts on hotel rooms, tours, restaurants, and attractions. And check out our blog on the best happy hours in New Orleans here.