The city of New Orleans is known for its eccentric vibes and energized attitude. From all around the world people flock to the Big Easy to get a taste of distinctive Cajun cuisine, join world-famous parties and get a look into its haunting past. The current home of Mardi Gras has so much to offer its guests, some of it absolutely free.
1. Jackson Square
It is no secret that New Orleans is home to many historic sites. Located in the heart of the French Quarter and named after the Battle of New Orleans hero, Andrew Jackson, Jackson Square is one of the most recognizable attractions in the city. Not only is this attraction historic itself, but it is surrounded with historic buildings and overlooks the Mississippi River. Get a first-class view of the St. Louis Cathedral. The Square is known for its artistic atmosphere where artists of all kinds gather to create one-of-a-kind artwork. A combination of artists, museums, shops and restaurants attracts visitors of all kinds. Enjoy one of the most famous sites in New Orleans free of charge.
2. Bourbon Street
This famous street, a New Orleans staple, attracts party-goers from all over the world. On any given day you can see bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday parties and girls nights out, but that doesn’t mean you need a specific reason to come to Bourbon Street; celebration needs no reason here. Some of the best DJs, dance clubs and music clubs can be found here. This isn’t just a party spot; it also has a lot of history. The street dates back to 1798. Street performers are abundant and will happily keep your group engaged. Enjoy some of the most unique architecture in the city, take part in some of the most interesting people-watching in the country and even enjoy live jazz on the streets. No matter what your group decides to do on Bourbon Street, they will be entertained at no cost.
3. Visit Jean Lafitte’s French Quarter Visitor Center
The French Quarter is the most recognizable part of the city and New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. This center is a part of the National Historical Park and Preserve. It sits on a crescent on the Mississippi River. The iconic area is famous for its architecture, shopping, dining and attractions such as Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral and Woldenberg Park. Admission to the center’s exhibits and film is free. On Tuesday through Saturday at 9:30 a.m., rangers lead a riverfront history walk that goes to the Mississippi River and explains how the city began and grew. Twenty-five free tickets are given out at 9 a.m. and it is first-come, first-served.
4. Dine for free
New Orleans is celebrated for its authentic Cajun cuisine. Luckily your group can find free eats around the city on multiple days during the week. On Monday check out Twelve Mile Limit on Telemachus Street, a few blocks off of Canal Street. Between 7 and 8 p.m. this place serves free dishes like curry, pizza, pasta, hot dogs and nachos. On Tuesday pay a visit to II Posto Café, which offers free appetizers during their happy hour from 5-8 p.m. Mick’s Irish Pub on Bienville Street dishes out free dishes nearly every weekday. Mondays are reserved for red beans and rice, hot dogs and chili on Tuesdays, pasta on Wednesdays and their famous “White Trash Poboys” on Thursday. On Fridays the Royal Street Inn and Bar offers one of New Orleans’ famous seasonal favorites for nothing—crawfish. Two rounds of crawfish are served up at 6 and 7 p.m. Le Bon Temps Roule is also a popular place on Friday nights, serving free oysters starting at 7 p.m. and continuing until they run out. Get a taste of New Orleans for free.
5. Free walking voodoo tour
The Big Easy is undoubtedly known for its strong roots in voodoo and folklore. Free Tours by Foot provides free walking tours that immerse visitors into the iconic history of the spooky subject. Follow the tour and learn how voodoo’s roots, which started in West Africa, ended up becoming a staple of New Orleans culture. Learn about popular superstitions and the meaning behind strange rituals. The tour even stops inside a modern voodoo temple. Your group will learn about Marie Laveau, famous New Orleans cemeteries and voodoo holidays. This company provides many other walking tours such as the New Orleans Ghost tour and St. Louis #1 Cemetery tour.
6. Walk through famous cemeteries
Cities of the dead are a crucial aspect of New Orleans’ landscape and culture. Home to some of the nation’s most famous and historic cemeteries, the city is proud to show them off to the public and even on the big screen. Many of these cemeteries have been featured in movies and television shows. Most recently Lafayette Cemetery #2 was featured in the popular television show American Horror Story: Coven. The reason New Orleans cemeteries are so different from others is because the graves are above ground, due to the city’s swampy environment. Elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums line the walkways of the cemeteries. Tour-worthy cemeteries include St. Louis Cemetery #2, St. Roch Cemetery #1 and #2, and Lafayette Cemetery #1 and #2.
By fitting these free experiences into your group’s itinerary, your trip to New Orleans can be entertaining and affordable at the same time. Visit the websites to learn more about each of the activities listed above. Have you been to any of these places before? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!