For those visiting New Orleans, your trip doesn’t have to
cost a lot of money. In fact, NOLA is home to a number of free activities and
attractions, perfect for the traveler on a budget. To help you plan your trip,
here is RoamRight’s guide to free things to do in New Orleans.
Pepper Palace is pure heaven for spice lovers, as its
shelves showcase over 1,000 hot sauces, jams, spreads, dips, rubs, salsas and
other condiments. One of the best reasons to visit is the wide range of free
samples, including the opportunity to try The Hottest Sauce in the Universe:
The 2nd Dimension. Tasters of the pain-inducing hot sauce must be over 18 years
old, and need to sign a waiver beforehand. If heat isn’t your thing, you can
taste the various pepper-free jellies and dips.
Open since 1791, the French Market has been a symbol of New
Orleans culture for over 200 years. Featuring a flea market and farmers market,
visitors can browse a wide variety of wares: handicrafts, clothing,
accessories, artwork, local delicacies, produce, hot sauces, sustainable meats,
housewares, masks, prepared foods and much more.
New Orleans offers the opportunity to see live jazz without
having to pay a cover (although sometimes there is a one-drink minimum). From
around 8pm, walk down the nightlife-filled Frenchmen Street to hear the sounds of
brass and woodwinds spilling from different venues. Some top picks for free
live music include the Spotted Cat Music Club, the Three Muses and Blue Nile. On
iconic Bourbon Street there’s also the refined Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse
in the Sonesta Hotel which hosts live jazz every night at 8pm.
Not only is the scenic Louis Armstrong Park dedicated to one
of jazz’s most talented musicians, it’s also the birthplace of jazz music,
specifically Congo Square. Slaves would gather here on Sundays (their official
day off in New Orleans) to beat drums and celebrate their culture. It was from
these sounds that early jazz musicians were inspired to create the genre. The
park features 31 acres (13 hectares) of lakes, woodland, jazz-inspired statues
and institutions like the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium and the Mahalia
Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts. Have a picnic, listen to a live drum
circle, photograph artwork, take a leisurely stroll or take part in Jazz in the
Park, a complimentary music series on Thursdays from 5 to 7pm in spring and
The free-to-enter Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garde –
located at the New Orleans Museum of Art – home to over 60 public works from
artists from all over the world. Enjoy the intertwining of Mother Nature and
human creativity, enhanced by a free audio tour that can give you background
information on what you’re looking at. As the museum resides within the
1,300-acre (526-hectare) City Park, you can also continue your free tour of
NOLA by viewing inspiring ancient oaks, seeing a beautiful wooden carousel,
walking nature trails, cycling, having a waterside picnic or partaking in
One of the greatest facets of New Orleans is its interesting
architecture. Begin by wandering the Garden District, known for its
well-preserved historic mansion buildings, some dating back to the 1830s.
Afterward, bring your camera along to some of New Orleans beautiful churches, including
Christ Church Cathedral, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Academy of the
Sacred Heart Chapel and the former 19th-century church-turned-entertainment
space, Marigny Opera House, to name a few. Although it may sound unusual, it’s
also common for tourists to visit the local cemeteries, the most famous and
oldest being St. Louis Cemetery No. #1, open since 1789. Known for its
above-ground tombs and mausoleum that are unusual in the United States, this is
also the resting place of Marie Laveau, NOLA’s most famous voodoo queen, as
well as many prominent locals.
What are your tips for a budget friendly trip to New
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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