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Sunset over Lake Ponchartrain
Sunset over Lake Ponchartrain

Free Things to do this Summer

Enjoy 35 free activities in New Orleans this summer

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.

Rebecca Todd
Gallery Row
  1. Gallery hop in the Arts and Warehouse District
    Explore Gallery Row 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-take place the first Saturday of each month.

  2. 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.

  3. Dance down Frenchmen Street
    Music once again 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. 

Rebecca Todd
Music Legends Park
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Learn how to saber champagne
    Every Friday, head to the Brennan’s courtyard at 5 p.m. for champagne sabering.

  4. 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 for free live jazz.

  5. 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 hang out spots along the way.

Sorena Briley
Algiers Point
  1. Celebrate the Fourth of July
    Enjoy a picnic outdoors at one of our many parks and enjoy the long weekend.

  2. 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 book store.

  3. Support Black-owned businesses at these markets
    Both the New Orleans African American Museum and the Ashé Cultural Arts Center host monthly pop-up markets featuring Black vendors and artisans, plus music and more. Check their websites for more details.

Justen Williams
The French Quarter
  1. 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.

  2. Window shop on Royal and Magazine streets
    Wander down Royal and Chartres streets to admire art, antiques and oddities. Wander Magazine Street, famous for its eclectic shops and cozy eateries.

  3. Explore the Mardi Gras Collection at Arnaud's
    Go upstairs at Arnaud’s for a tour of Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum.

  4. Enjoy a visit to Sazerac House
    Enjoy learning about one of New Orleans' most iconic cocktails, the Sazerac, at Sazerac House. Admission is free, just make sure to reserve your spot online in advance. 

  5. Relax on the banks of Bayou St. John 
    Watch canoes and other non-motorized water crafts float along the bayou.

  6. Watch the sunset from Lakeshore Drive
    Benches look out over beautiful Lake Pontchartrain in the Lakeview neighborhood.

  7. Enjoy the Orpheum's Summer Movie Series
    The Orpheum Theater is back with its free summer movie series which includes Girls Trip (6/30), Soul (7/7), Spider Man: No Way Home (7/14), Moana (7/21), and Scream (7/28).

Zack Smith
Exploring the Garden District
  1. Wander through the Garden District
    Admire the beautiful mansions and wrought iron fences and balconies throughout the Garden District neighborhood.

  2. See the Historic New Orleans Collection
    The Historic New Orleans Collection offers free tours at both its Royal Street and Chartres Street campuses.

  3. 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. 

Paul Broussard
City Park
  1. 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.

  2. Enjoy Free Music Fridays at Tipitina's
    Every Friday from May 27-September 2, enjoy Tipitina's Free Fridays Concert Series. Local acts dominate the lineup, which includes Soul Brass Band, Water Seed, and the Funky Uncle All-Stars.

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

  4. Take a tour of Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square.
    The historic church is open to the public and is beautiful. 

  5. 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. 

  6. Take a free tour by foot
    Choose from multiple types of tours and learn about the ghosts, architecture, and history of the city. 

  7. 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. 

Rebecca Todd
Crescent Park
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Head to City Park for a plant sale
    Visit City Park’s Botanical Gardens on select weekend mornings for the Pelican Greenhouse Plant Sale.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.