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Historic Site in the French Quarter

Free Things to Do in New Orleans

The city of New Orleans is a tourism paradise; from the historic attractions and bustling nightlight, to the top-notch food and musical sensibility.

However, all of those things can get rather expensive very quickly. So if you’re looking something to do in NOLA and you’re on a budget, here are a handful of free things to do in New Orleans:

Take a walk on St. Charles Ave.

Stretching from the Warehouse District to Uptown, St. Charles Avenue is a pleasant area to visit when exploring downtown NOLA. The thoroughfare is home to a variety of historic mansions, and offers easy access to the Garden District, Canal Street, and the French Quarter.

Tour the French Quarter.

Speaking of the FQ, see what makes this neighborhood so special during your NOLA furlough by embarking on a free tour of the French Quarter. The tours are provided by the French Quarter’s Visitors Center, which is operated by the National Park Service. Must-see attractions in the FQ include the National WWII Museum and the Old U.S. Mint, among others.

By Larry D. Moore

Wood Pat at Jean Lafitte National NHS & Preserve

Art on Wednesdays.

If you’re in town mid-week, check out the New Orleans Museum of Art and the dazzling sculpture garden. The NOMA, home to some of the state’s largest fine art collections, is free of admission on Wednesdays.

The FQF.

Hosted in the spring, the French Quarter Festival is a favorite among NOLA visitors and residents because of the diverse lineup of performers across a dozen stages. Oh, and it’s free. The festival is held in the historic FQ.

NOLA's National Parks.

If you’re ready to escape the hustle and bustle of greater New Orleans, check out the nearby Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, home to 20,000 acres of Mississippi River Delta protected wilderness.

Back in the city, the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is a must-visit for traveling music fans. Both parks are free of admission 365 days a year. Check out the event schedule and program details before you visit; those are free, too.

Hang at Jackson Square.

Golf in NC

St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square

While exploring the historic districts and crisscrossing streets of NOLA do make time to visit Jackson Square. The beloved park is nearly 300 years old and home to several gorgeous attractions, such as the St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytere Museum.

Moreover, JS is known to host a number of free, community-focused events throughout the year. More specifically, the square is often a haven for local musicians and free concerts of all varieties. 

Mardi Gras.

This one is a bit more obvious – although many Mardi Gras activities do cost a pretty penny, certain festivities on Bourbon Street are completely free of charge. Feel free – no pun intended – to enjoy the parades, dance in the streets, and get in some good people watching. 


Best Western Hotels Along the Way:


Best Western Plus Chalmette Hotel

3400 Paris Road, Chalmette LA 70043-2266
Phone: +1 504-309-6360  |  Fax: (504) 309-6361  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Northpark Inn

625 N Highway 190, Covington LA 70433-8961
Phone: +1 985-892-2681  |  Fax: (985) 893-0115  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Westbank

1700 Lapalco Boulevard, Harvey LA 70058-3027
Phone: +1 504-366-5369  |  Fax: (504) 262-0949  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus French Quarter Landmark Hotel

920 N Rampart Street, New Orleans LA 70116-3011
Phone: +1 504-524-3333  |  Fax: (504) 523-5431  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus St. Christopher Hotel

114 Magazine Street, New Orleans LA 70130-2421
Phone: +1 504-648-0444  |  Fax: (504) 648-0445  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus St. Charles Inn

3636 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans LA 70115-4690
Phone: +1 504-899-8888  |  Fax: (504) 899-8892  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Slidell Inn

120 Taos Street, Slidell LA 70458-3158
Phone: +1 985-781-5655  |  Fax: (985) 781-0077  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Bayou Inn

9008 Westbank Expressway, Westwego LA 70094-3734
Phone: +1 504-304-7980  |  Fax: (504) 304-7987  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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More to See in Louisiana

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  • French Quarter of New Orleans

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    From the Saints and Hornets of New Orleans to the Fightin' Tigers of LSU, Louisiana is the state for impressive athletics.

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    Visit Louisiana for the bustle of New Orleans and the French Quarter, plus plantation tours, fun festivals and creole cuisine.

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    Explore one of 22 Louisiana state parks, set in northern, central, and southern Bayou State, and surrounding New Orleans.

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  • Louisiana Universities

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