Your summer travel plans don’t have to break the bank. And it’s certainly easier when you have a friend to show you around to help you take it easy on your pocketbook. Now look at you: suddenly worry-free and ready to explore! And why? Because we’re that friend, and we’re here to show you a kickin’ good time with these Top 10 Free Things To Do in the Crescent City.
The ornate, iron balconies, the smell of sugary, fried beignets, mule-drawn carriages, magicians and street performers fill Jackson Square with color and life. The French Quarter is an attraction all its own, with no admission fee. Stop inside the (air-conditioned) stunning St. Louis Cathedral on the west side of the square for a complete departure into an oasis of reverent silence.
A short 17-mile drive from the city center and BAM — you’re in the bayou. You might even catch an alligator basking in the sunshine as you explore these lush Louisiana marshes and wetlands.
The Arts District is chock full of incredible art galleries in which to linger — and most don’t have an entrance fee. Take a stroll down Julia Street and find one that tickles your fancy.
4. Ghost Hunt at a Cemetery
These beautiful cemeteries offer a glimpse into New Orleans history with their iconic stone crypts and mausoleums. Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, St. Patrick’s Cemetery No. 2, St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 are all open to the public with free admission.
More like window-shopping, if we’re honest. But hey, if you have the means, one of these beauties would be a great place to call home. If you’re a regular plebeian like myself, you’ll enjoy the view from the sidewalk and admiring the architectural magnificence of these historic homes from afar. If your soles are aching and you need a sit-down, splurge and pay the $1.25 for a streetcar ride down St. Charles Ave.
6. The Riverfront & a Ferry Ride*
Okay, so the ferry isn’t exactly free*. But it is only $2 to get you to the west bank of the river where you can explore historic Algiers Point. And there’s a stellar view of the city skyline from over there as well. Otherwise, find a bench along the Riverfront and watch the barges and riverboats traverse the muddy Mississip’.
Most of the jazz clubs and music venues along this strip don’t have a cover charge, so listen for what sounds good and step inside for a foot-tappin’ good time.
8. Watch the Sunset on the Lakefront
Get your feet wet and enjoy the golden hour along the edges of Lake Ponchartrain.
Take your pick from this 1,300-acre spread of luxurious and tranquil green space, featuring bike trails, walking trails, kayaking and boating on the lake, the Botanical Gardens and even a small amusement park. If you need me, I’ll be reading under that oak tree over there.
The Fried Chicken Festival, Beignet Festival, Oak Street Po-Boy Festival and the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival all offer free admission, just to name a few. We always have a party going on somewhere, and normally you don’t have to look very far to find the fun.
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