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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 Music Legends Park
    Take a selfie with Fats Domino, Pete Fountain, or Al Hirt at Music Legends Park on Bourbon Street while enjoying some of the daily free concerts. Music starts at 10 a.m.
  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. Slurp free oysters 
    Oysters and music can be found for free every Friday night at Le Bon Temps Roule on Magazine Street.

  3. Explore Mardi Gras Collections at restaurants
    Go upstairs at Arnaud’s for a tour of Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum, or check out the collections at Antoine’s and Brennan’s.

  4. Enjoy free Zumba in City Park
    Get fit with Zumba in the park, offered every Saturday morning free of charge at 8 a.m.

  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. Hang out at Champions Square before a Saints game
    Revel in the pre-game excitement! Watch as the faithful fans pour into the Dome. 

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
    On the second Saturday of each month, Louisiana residents receive free admission to the Louisiana Children’s Museum courtesy of the Helis Foundation.

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. 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.

  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 Botanical Gardens on Wednesdays, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art on Thursdays.

  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. 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. 

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 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.

  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. 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.

  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.