11 Free Things To Do In New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the most energetic and spirited cities in America. Millions of visitors a year come to NOLA to experience the vibrant neighborhoods filled with live music, over the top celebrations, and spicy Cajun delicacies.
With so much to do in this animated city, it’s easy to forget about the possibility of free festivities. Thankfully, NOLA offers tons of engaging activities for no cost. Here is a roundup of 11 captivating diversions in New Orleans.
1. Woldenberg Park
Walk, bike, or relax at Woldenberg Park, alongside the Mississippi River waterfront. The Mighty Mississippi provides a peaceful backdrop to the park and is the perfect opportunity to watch the boats pass on the river. There are lots of grassy areas perfect for picnicking and benches for relaxing.
Visit in the morning for a quiet stroll or jog because the park tends to get more lively as the day goes on. Visitors might see wedding photos being taken, groups of children, and local street performers serenading the crowd. Live music comes to the park during the annual French Quarter Festival in April. This festival and several other events throughout the year are free to attend.
Relish the beautiful Woldenberg Park as early as 6:00 a.m. at 1 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70130.
2. Jackson Square
Jackson Square in the French Quarter is a scenic park for recreation or relaxing. The park is named after Andrew Jackson, and a large bronze statue of him stands as a tribute. Many local artists draw and paint in the park and showcase their works for each passerby to view. Walking around the area is highly desired because Jackson Square is centralized to many must-see sights.
First, the oldest-running Catholic cathedral sits in Jackson Square. The Saint Louis Cathedral overlooks the park with its three stately steeples. Visitors are welcome to go into the landmark cathedral for a self-guided tour.
Nearby is the French Market, a historic center for shops that spans six blocks of the French Quarter. The original Cafe Du Monde is within a few minutes walking distance of Jackson Square. Beignets, the Louisiana state doughnut, can be seen being made in the kitchen window.
Can you smell the beignets already? Explore Jackson Square at 700 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116.
3. Window Shopping on Royal Street
Between Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue, the 13-block sweep of Royal Street is a scenic place to wander and enjoy the courtyards, bubbling fountains, and bright gardens. The historic architecture of the buildings with iron lace balconies dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries, making this location of the city charming and picturesque.
Just one block over from Bourbon Street, Royal Street is a point of attraction for art-loving tourists. Wander around the streets and peer into the windows at the many art galleries and jewelry shops. Prospect for antiques in several shops on the street or just people watch in this bustling area. Walking around the city is the best way to experience its essence.
4. Jazz in the Park
It’s not unusual for live music to flood the air in New Orleans, and in Louis Armstrong Park, there are free concerts every Thursday. Each week, a different live band riffs jazz music throughout the park for all to enjoy at no cost.
Adding to the enjoyment of jazz and dancing, there are local vendors in the park. Stroll around and view works from local artists and see handmade jewelry, crafts, and more. If spending a few bucks is within the budget, there are food and drink vendors serving seafood, Cajun and Creole dishes, and desserts. Metered parking is available all day, but parking is free on Rampart Street after 7:00 p.m.
Let your ears be delighted with Jazz in the Park at 701 N Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70116.
5. New Orleans City Park
City Park is one of the oldest parks in the country and the largest outdoor attraction in New Orleans. City Park is a total of 1,300 scenic acres complete with miles of trails for biking and walking, themed gardens, and giant oaks.
Millions of visitors a year come to see the live concerts, endless food and drink vendors, all in the beautiful backdrop of the park. Kids will love Storyland, a fairy tale-themed playground with over two dozen storybook character sculptures. City Park also offers an 18-hole golf course, a mini-golf course, and disc golf.
A year-round botanical garden is home to 12 acres of breathtaking flower beds, greenery, and artwork. In addition to all of this, there are 11 lagoons within the park where visitors can boat and fish. The lagoons are filled with catfish and bass for fishing.
The New Orleans Museum of Art is also within the borders of the park. A part of the museum is the outdoor Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Gardens. The gardens hold over 60 sculptures for viewing in a 5-acre park, all for free admission.
How will you pick which free activity to do? Enjoy City Park at 1 Palm Dr., New Orleans, LA 70124.
6. Crescent City Farmers Market
Walk through the Crescent City Farmers Market for a look into the best produce in New Orleans. Farmers and vendors set up shop here to showcase their freshest locally grown goods. Many chefs from well-known restaurants in the city get their fresh ingredients from this farmers market and residents visit weekly to shop for fresh food.
The market offers free cooking demonstrations among the various vendors selling their seasonal crops. The farmers market carries fruits and vegetables from local farms, fresh seafood from the Gulf, and gorgeous arrangements of fresh flowers. Bakers present sweet treats like pastries, bread, and cakes.
7. Visit the Arts District
The Arts District, also as known as the Warehouse District, is a historic neighborhood in New Orleans that has been getting revamped in recent years. The evolution of the Arts District can be credited to local artists who have turned old warehouses into 25 art galleries. The neighborhood is filled with galleries, museums, and restaurants that attract many visitors.
On the first Saturday night of every month, art galleries on Julia Street are free. Julia Street is called “Gallery Row” because it houses over a dozen art galleries.
8. Window Shopping on Magazine Street
One of the best streets in the city for casual strolling is Magazine Street. The six-mile stretch from the Garden District to uptown is one of the most exciting places in the city. Wandering the street offers a look into the interesting architecture of the historical buildings and old warehouses.
For art and antique lovers, Magazine Street provides boutiques filled with unique finds like used books, ornate jewelry, and art pieces. Strolling through the street peering into windows and people watching is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many coffee shops on the street to grab some joe and people watch, if the budget permits spending a few dollars.
9. St. Charles Avenue In the Garden District
St. Charles Avenue is a gorgeous stretch of a picturesque landscape from uptown to downtown. Strolling this avenue takes visitors back in time to 19th-century New Orleans with its historic mansions and charming architecture. Giant oak trees line the streets and provide generous amounts of shade from the hot Southern sun.
The mansions here are some of the most beautiful historic houses in the country with a colorful past. The mansions were once owned by the New Orleans elite, the famous founders and business people that once shaped the city. The preserved mansions are a point of interest for many visitors. Along the avenue is Audubon Park, a scenic spot with lagoons and large 100-year-old oak trees.
10. NOLA Cemeteries
Some of the history of New Orleans has lingered, according to some. New Orleans caters to tourists looking for haunts and the spooky legends of the city. Many spots in the city are known by locals as haunted and have attracted fame as ghost hunters flock to these spooky locations.
One of the reasons why the cemeteries draw in curious visitors is because NOLA is below sea level, meaning the graves aren’t dug underground but are built as grand above-ground tombs. The unique cemetery culture of the city includes the tombs of voodoo queens and the shockingly eerie memorials of unknown victims of Hurricane Katrina.
11. Live Music on Frenchmen Street
Frenchmen Street is located in the funky Faubourg Marigny neighborhood and is just walking distance from Bourbon Street. The draw of this area of the neighborhood is apparent the moment visitors hear the riffs of reggae, blues, and jazz in the air. Separated from the blazing neon lights of the French Quarter, Frenchmen Street is far more reserved but has the best music in the city and a presence from locals.
Many of the clubs do not charge a cover and instead ask for a donation for the band. The bands typically only make money from the generosity of the club’s guests, so as long as a tip for the band is within the budget, enjoying clubs on Frenchmen Street is a fun and inexpensive way to spend a night.
Stay In Downtown NOLA Close to the Best Free Attractions
Domio offers vacation rentals in New Orleans for travelers who are looking to experience all that the city offers.
Stay in a romantic one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment for two, close to all of the action of the Lower Garden District, the French Quarter, and more. The apartment is decked out with industrial touches like exposed brick, a stunning balcony for relaxing into the evening, and household amenities for a perfectly comfortable stay.
For an average of $59 per night, this charming, centrally located accommodation fits right into any budget.
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Our largest unit, this one with a terrace. Perfect for big groups who like a view.
- 8 guests
- 4 bedroom
- 4 beds
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