New Orleans is home to so many attractions and historic sites, and it’s easy to see the city without breaking the bank.
From historic and picturesque transportation options to educational spots perfect for families, check out these inexpensive spots in the Big Easy on a budget.
St Louis Cathedral & Jackson Square
If you’ve seen New Orleans photos, chances are, you’ve seen Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral. The famous NOLA landmarks are easy to find, and St. Louis Cathedral is free to visit. Visit on the right days and times, and you’ll catch live music and festive jazz vibes. For a great panoramic shot of the square and cathedral, cross the street to Washington Artillery Park- bonus points if you go at sunset.
While St. Louis Cemetery is the most famous of the New Orleans cemeteries, a visit to Lafayette Cemetery is equally spooky and provides a historical look as well. In fact, a number of films and television shows have actually filmed in Lafayette Cemetery as a substitute for St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Unlike its more famous counterpart, Lafayette Cemetery is also free to visit and does not require a guided tour (just remember to be respectful since this is the resting place of many). Currently, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is under construction, but Lafayette Cemetery No. 2 is open.
Ferry to Algiers
New Orleans is beautiful from every angle, but there’s just something extra special about the view from the water. If you’re hoping not to spend much but still want the experience, take the ferry from Canal Street Ferry Terminal to Algiers Point (the ride is only $2). While not quite free (but close), it’s a great way to get that waterfront view on a tight budget. Algiers Point is also home to a number of historic spots, great views of downtown, and plenty of shopping and dining.
Street Cars Pass
Since you’ll want to explore New Orleans, why not do it in style? If you aren’t short on time, the historic streetcars are an excellent way to get around- especially if you’re on a budget. A $3 Jazzy Pass gets you 24 hours of transit on all streetcars and buses- way cheaper than rideshare. It’s an inexpensive way to get around, a super cute photo op, and the perfect way to see New Orleans all rolled in one. There are lines to get you to most spots around town like the Garden District, Riverfront and Canal Street.
Musical Legends Park
Are you looking for some live music? Musical Legends Park on Bourbon Street is a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of the tourist spots. The courtyard park plays live jazz music from 10 a.m.-close daily, and it’s a great spot to grab some beignets (or hurricanes if you’re feeling extra festive) at Cafe Beignet, which is right on the park.
The massive City Park is the perfect outdoor oasis in New Orleans and is one of the oldest urban parks in America. Stroll the park at your leisure on miles of walking and biking trails (bikes of all sizes are available for rent). The Couturie Forest is also onsite, and it’s a perfect place to spot local wildlife in a natural habitat. The park is also home to numerous family-friendly activities and attractions. The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Sydney & Wanda Besthoff Sculpture Park are both on the premises and are free for visitors under 19 years of age.
You can’t visit New Orleans without stopping in the historic French Quarter. Pull up a map of New Orleans, and you’ll find dozens of landmarks, mansions, and historical sites throughout the quarter that are easy to stroll by. If you’re looking for something more in-depth, visit the Historic New Orleans Collection. The preservation institute restores historic buildings and offers a number of exhibits (including virtual exhibits). While they are not currently offering guided tours, tickets are free (advanced purchase online is recommended), and self-guided tours can be viewed through the company’s app on mobile devices.
The Sazerac House
Discover the history behind this classic cocktail at The Sazerac House. Tours are complimentary, and the museum offers a great look at the creation of the sazerac with interactive exhibits. Tickets are free but make sure to book in advance as reservations are required. Complimentary samples are also available to guests 21 and over, and The Sazerac House is easily accessible by public transportation (including the historic streetcars on Canal Street). Check their site for events such as their virtual tastings and purchase a cocktail kit at The Sazerac House for your tasting at home.
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge
If you’re looking to get out of the city and explore the bayou, Bayou Sauvage is the perfect place to go. There is no cost to enter, and the elevated walkways allow you to explore and view the wetlands and wildlife safely. Here, you’ll find a variety of birds and, of course, alligators. Maps can be downloaded on their website, where you can also virtually visit the bayou and know what to expect before you go. The website also lists out the birds that can be found at the refuge in case birdwatching is on your list.
Free Tours By Foot
Did you know you can actually get a guided tour in New Orleans for any price you can afford? Free Tours By Foot operates tours on a “pay what you like” concept, which allows you to enjoy the tour before paying a fee that you think is appropriate (and what you can afford). The company offers a selection of daily tours (the Garden District Tour, Ghost Tour, and Garden District Food Tour, to name a few) and a few special weekly tours (like the Voodoo Tour or the Cocktail Tour). Reservations are required, and there is a small booking fee of $2.50. You can also find GPS-Led Audio Tours and Anytime Video Tours on their site so that you can explore at your leisure without a schedule for free (some GPS tours may have a small fee). You can also book affordable private tours for groups.
Southern Food and Beverage Museum & Museum of the American Cocktail
Everyone loves food, right? In New Orleans, you can visit the Southern Food and Beverage Museum that is wholly dedicated to the history of Southern foods and drinks. Visit the Museum of the American Cocktail for a history lesson on some of your favorite beverages. Tickets are only $10.50 for adults and free for children under 12. Students, seniors, and military personnel can get their tickets for half off, making this duo of museums extremely affordable. Be sure to check their website- the museums host all kinds of events, virtual classes, and kid’s camps as well. Tickets must be purchased online in advance to accommodate capacity restrictions.