There’s no reason to break the bank during your summer vacation in New Orleans. From live music to museums and tours, there are plenty of free activities to take part in. No one quite does it like New Orleans. See our list of 35 free things to do this summer below and start exploring.
Catch street music, live
Take a stroll of the French Quarter and you’re bound to run into spontaneous live music on the street. The show is free, but tipping a few dollars is encouraged.
People watch along Jackson Square
Artists sell their creations and tarot card readers tell you your future throughout Jackson Square. You can usually hear live music and admire street performers as well.
Slurp free oysters
Oysters and music can be found for free every Friday night at Le Bon Temps Roule on Magazine Street.
Enjoy free Zumba in City Park
Get fit with Zumba in the park, offered every Saturday morning free of charge at 8 a.m.
Relax on the banks of Bayou St. John
Watch canoes and other non-motorized water crafts float along the bayou.
Watch the sunset from Lakeshore Drive
Benches look out over beautiful Lake Pontchartrain in the Lakeview neighborhood.
Hang out at Champions Square before a Saints game
Revel in the pre-game excitement! Watch as the faithful fans pour into the Dome.
See the Historic New Orleans Collection
The Historic New Orleans Collection offers free tours at both its Royal Street and Chartres Street campuses.
Take the kiddos to the Louisiana Children’s Museum
On the second Saturday of each month, Louisiana residents receive free admission to the Louisiana Children’s Museum courtesy of the Helis Foundation.
Visit Congo Square on Sunday afternoons
Congo Square is a historic site in New Orleans where enslaved people and free people of color would come to celebrate music, dance and culture throughout the centuries. Visit the square on Sunday afternoons for drumming, music and dance.
Visit a cemetery
Explore the above-ground cemeteries that are so famous in New Orleans, including St. Patrick Cemetery No. 2 and St. Louis No. 3. Feel thankful in the chapel in the back of St. Roch Cemetery, a shrine filled with ex-votos.
Peruse the French Market
Browse stalls of souvenirs and clever baubles at the French Market.
If you live in Louisiana, get in free to various museums
Thanks to the Helis Foundation, visit the Contemporary Arts Center on Sundays, the Botanical Gardens on Wednesdays, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art on Thursdays.
Take a free tour by foot
Choose from multiple types of tours and learn about the ghosts, architecture and history of the city.
Explore Madame John’s Legacy
As one of the few French Quarter structures that escaped the great fire of 1794, this historic house exudes 18th century Creole design.
Go skating in Crescent Park
Enjoy the afternoon sun and head to Crescent Park for rollerblading. The linear path provides plenty of room for skating, and you’re bound to meet friends while you hit your stride.
Visit the Lower 9th Ward Living Museum
Explore the history of New Orleans' historic Lower 9th Ward pre-, during, and post- Hurricane Katrina. Admission is always free.
Head to Paradigm Gardens for a plant sale
Visit Paradigm Gardens every Sunday morning for a plant sale and live music. A similar plant sale is held on the weekends at City Park’s Botanical Gardens as well.
Visit Longue Vue House & Gardens on Free Family Day
Check out the beautiful grounds of Longue Vue on the first Sunday of every month. Louisiana families can stroll the gardens free of charge.
Cool off with a trip to a NORD pool
Go for a dip in a pool within the network of the New Orleans Recreation Department, free of charge.
Enjoy free live music on the weekends at Faubourg Brewing
Head to Faubourg Brewing in New Orleans East for free outdoor live music all weekend long.
Visit a Farmer’s Market around town
Crescent City Farmers Market host weekly markets in different neighborhoods of the city. Pop into one to browse the in-season fruits and veggies and support our local farmers.