January 23, 2012

New Orleans is a town that offers great restaurants, hotels, and music. Sometimes you can find free music, like the incredible talents of Tanya & Dorise on Royal Street, but you will likely pay for music if you listen in at restaurants, bars and hotels.

But there are a lot of free things you can do in this wonderful tourist town too. Here is my list of my top ten favorite free things to do. Remember to be careful in where you go, when you go and what you do in the city.
  1. The French Quarter. The French Quarter alone can take up ten or more free things to do and could take up your whole three day weekend doing it. Take in the sights and sounds of Jackson Square. Watch the street performers, look at the artists' works (like super talented Ricco Rideaux, a Jackson Square artist), admire the Pontalba buildings or enjoy the French Quarter Festival in April. Watch beignets being made at Cafe du Monde. Browse the shops through the French Market. Take a tour of St. Louis Cathedral. Take the free National Park Service walking tour. People watch on Bourbon Street.
  2. The Arts District. Gallery hop on the first Saturday night of each month along Julia Street. 
  3. Carnival and Mardi Gras. Enjoy the free show along the parade routes during Carnival Season.
  4. The Mississippi River. Watch the ships pass along the river from Woldenburg Riverfront Park or the Riverwalk.
  5. National WWII Museum. Swing dance every Sunday during the summer.
  6. Lafayette Square. Take in free summer concerts every Wednesday.
  7. The Cities of the Dead. Tour one of the numerous above ground cemeteries in the city. Be careful that you are safe so pick a time when there are a lot of people about.
  8. The Garden District. Plan a self-guided tour from a book on this wonderful old residential neighborhood.  Notice all the beads in the trees throughout the District and bask in the loveliness of the historical homes.
  9. Audubon Park and City Park. Marvel at the 100 year old oak trees throughout these two urban gems. Enjoy the lovely WPA built monuments and facilities in City Park.
  10. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park Preserve's Barataria Unit. Walk the nature trail.
Of course, if you take any of these suggestions you'll also find lots of opportunities to spend money if you wish:)