15 Free Things To Do In New Orleans
PHOTO: Music – free music – will always find you somewhere in New Orleans (Courtesy New Orleans CVB)
New Orleans is known for its vibrant music scene and legendary Mardi Gras parade, but what you may not know is that visiting the “Big Easy” doesn’t have to put a dent in your bank account. There are numerous free things you can do in this city that give you a sampling of just what New Orleans is all about.
In fact, here are 15 free things you can try during your visit (and be sure to check the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau for even more ideas).
1. Free Music: You don’t always have to pay a cover charge to hear some great New Orleans music. Simply walk along Bourbon or Frenchmen streets and listen to the jazz that comes out onto the street or head into the clubs for a free listen.
2. Free Parks: The New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park can teach you about the history of the jazz music you are listening to or you can walk among the centuries-old oaks of City Park, picnic in picturesque Audubon Park or enjoy views of the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Park. Jean LaFitte National Park is less than a half-hour away and you can immerse yourself in Louisiana’s rich ecological treasures—swamps, forests and marshland.
3. Free Art: It seems like you can find art in every corner of New Orleans – the galleries on Julia and Royal Streets, the Mid-City and Bywater art markets, Jackson Square vendors and so much more.
4. Free Festivals: Vieux-To-Do is a free trio of summer festivals – Creole Tomato Festival, Cajun-Zydeco Music Festival, and the Louisiana Seafood Festival that helps you to understand the culture of New Orleans. Satchmo Summerfest is a festival that honors Louis Armstrong.
SEE MORE: A ‘New’ New Orleans
5. Free Oysters: On Fridays, you can score some free oysters at Le Bon Temps Route and listen to the sounds of Joe Krown.
6. Free Summer Show: Every Friday you can also catch a summer show at Tipitina’s, which pays homage to the jazz legend Professor Longhair.
7. Free Oohs and Ahhs: Check out the $145 million historic restoration at The Roosevelt New Orleans as they added 504 rooms to New Orleans’ hotel inventory, along with 60,000 square feet of event and meeting space.
8. Free Promotion: Get the word out about who you are by hanging out your business card at the Old Absinthe House, the copper-topped wooden bar.
9. Free Cooking Demos: Spend Saturday mornings at the Crescent City Farmer’s Market and learn how to saute and flambe with free cooking demos.
READ MORE: New Orleans Always Has a Festival Going On
10. Free Cemetery Tour: A little on the ghoulish, but fun side, take a haunt of the “Cities of the Dead,” and visit the famous above-ground tombs at Lafayette Cemetery. It’s believed to be the final resting place of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.
11. Free Literary Tour: Put pen to paper and see where Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Thornton Wilder, Walker Percy and Anne Rice lived.
12. Free Jam: Get down at the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans during the spring and summer months and enjoy free concerts in Lafayette Square, featuring some of the hottest local acts.
13. Free Rides: Take a free ride on the Canal Street ferry, which offers some of the best views of the New Orleans skyline.
14. Free Prayer: Find some quiet time at any one of the beautiful Catholic churches in New Orleans – St. Louis Cathedral, St. Augustine and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
15. Free Good Feeling: After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans can always use the help, so feel free to volunteer and help some much-needed areas.
More by Lisa Iannucci
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