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.
Gallery hop in the Arts and Warehouse District
Explore Gallery Row (Julia Street) and the unique artwork, sculptures and photographs that adorn the walls. On the first Saturday of the month, you can enjoy a mini block party as well. You can also check out new gallery openings during First Saturdays, which-as you can guess-takes place the first Saturday of each month.
Enjoy live music at Musical Legends Park
Take a selfie with Fats Domino, Pete Fountain, or Al Hirt at Musical Legends Park on Bourbon Street while enjoying some of the daily free concerts. Music starts at 10 a.m. and the park is open Thursday-Monday.
Dance down Frenchmen Street
Music fills the air from the many clubs and street-corner brass bands along this strip. While many bars have covers, you can also find plenty without, or enjoy the music in the streets.
Catch street music, live
On that note, if you take a stroll in the French Quarter, you’re bound to run into spontaneous live music on the street. The show is free, but always remember to tip the musicians.
Watch the sunrise from Algiers Point
Just across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter is historic Old Algiers. Wake up extra early to catch the sunrise from the levees of Algiers Point.
Learn how to saber champagne
Every Friday, head to the Brennan’s courtyard at 5 p.m. for champagne sabering.
Check out the Jazz Museum’s free courtyard concert series
The New Orleans Jazz Museum chronicles the history of jazz in the city and is located right on the edge of the French Quarter. Grab a blanket and head to the museum’s courtyard on Tuesday evenings at 5 p.m. for free live jazz.
Take a bike ride down Lafitte Greenway
Enjoy a scenic bike ride on the greenway, which spans multiple neighborhoods and has several cafes, breweries, and hangout spots along the way.
Celebrate the Fourth of July
Enjoy a picnic outdoors at one of our many parks and enjoy the long weekend.
Browse the shops on Oak Street
Stop into the eclectic mix of shops on quiet Oak Street, including a comic book shop, a guitar repair shop, and a used bookstore.
Support Black-owned businesses at a Monthly Market
The New Orleans African American Museum hosts monthly pop-up markets featuring Black vendors and artisans, plus music and more. Check their website for more details.
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.
Window shop on Royal and Magazine streets
Wander down Royal and Chartres streets to admire art, antiques, and oddities. Wander Magazine Street, which is famous for its eclectic shops and cozy eateries.
Explore the Mardi Gras Collection at Arnaud's
Go upstairs at Arnaud’s for a tour of Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum.
Enjoy a visit to Sazerac House
Enjoy learning about one of New Orleans' most iconic cocktails, the Sazerac, at Sazerac House. Admission is free, but advanced reservations are recommended to ensure your spot on a tour.
Relax on the banks of Bayou St. John
Watch canoes and other non-motorized watercraft floats along the bayou.
Watch the sunset from Lakeshore Drive
Benches look out over beautiful Lake Pontchartrain in the Lakeview neighborhood.
Enjoy a Free Summer Movie Series
Enjoy the family-friendly Movies in the Park series this summer courtesy of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD). Check here for the latest on the summer schedule.
Wander through the Garden District
Admire the beautiful mansions and wrought-iron fences and balconies throughout the Garden District neighborhood.
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
Once a month, Louisiana residents receive free admission to the Louisiana Children’s Museum courtesy of the Helis Foundation. Check the museum website for more details.
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.
Enjoy Free Music Fridays at Tipitina's
Every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, enjoy local acts at Tipitina's Free Fridays Concert Series.
Peruse the French Market
Browse stalls of souvenirs and clever baubles at the French Market.
Take a tour of Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square.
The historic church is open to the public and is beautiful.
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 Botanical Gardens on Wednesdays, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art on Thursdays. Bring your Louisiana ID for free entry.
Take a free tour by foot
Choose from multiple types of tours and learn about the ghosts, architecture, and history of the city.
Stroll the Besthoff Sculpture Garden
The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is a beautiful, relaxing space to unwind located in City Park. Admission is free every day.
Go Skating or Strolling in Crescent Park
Enjoy the afternoon sun and head to Crescent Park. The linear path provides plenty of room for skating, jogging, or walking, 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 City Park for a plant sale
Visit City Park’s Botanical Gardens on select weekend mornings for the Pelican Greenhouse Plant Sale.
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 New Orleans Recreation Development network, free of charge.
Visit Milton H. Latter Memorial Library
The New Orleans Public Library is in a stately mansion on St. Charles Avenue that once belonged to silent film star Marguerite Clark.
Visit a Farmers Market around town
Crescent City Farmers Market hosts weekly markets in different neighborhoods of the city. Pop into one to browse the in-season fruits and veggies and support our local farmers.