Thomas Jefferson paid $15 million for the entire Louisiana Territory, or about four cents an acre. That means New Orleans went for about seven bucks. More than 200 years later, New Orleans is still a great deal.
1. Get jazzed.
Stroll along Bourbon, Frenchmen and Fulton, where jazz pours out onto the street, or duck into a club for the full experience. Many clubs don’t even charge a cover.
2. Dive deeper into our musical heritage.
Explore New Orleans neighborhoods and their connection to jazz with six self-guided Jazz HistoryWalking Tours provided by the National Park Service.
3. Browse art throughout the city.
It seems like you can find art in every corner of New Orleans – and you can. Check out the galleries on Julia and Royal, Jackson Square vendors and the Mid-City and Bywater art markets.
5. Attend a free festival.
There’s almost always a festival going on in New Orleans, and many of them are free – French Quarter Fest, Satchmo SummerFest, Po-Boy Preservation Festival, Wednesdays at the Square and, of course, Mardi Gras.
6. Immerse yourself in New Orleans history.
Stop by the Historic New Orleans Collection at 533 Royal Street for a crash course on the city’s history, which spans almost 300 years.
7. Spend a day at the track.
Experience the thrill of live thoroughbred racing at the New Orleans Fair Grounds from early November to late March. Grand stand admission is free.
8. Bike along the levee.
Bring your bike (or rent one) and go for a ride along the levee while taking in the sights and sounds of the mighty Mississippi River.
9. Eat for free.
Oysters, gumbo, crawfish boils – many of these feasts are free at local music clubs for those who are there buying a few drinks.
10. Shop for mansions on St. Charles Avenue.
Come on! You don’t have to be in the market to appreciate these jewels on the Avenue.
11. View the architecture of the French Quarter.
I spy wrought-iron balconies, a cornstalk fence, a hidden courtyard…
12. Tour the oldest restaurant in the French Quarter.
Ask for a tour of the historic Antoine’s that has hosted dignitaries, presidents and notable historic figures in its 160 years. Make sure to peek into the endless wine cellar.
13. Catch a free summer show at Tipitina’s.
This uptown venue pays homage to the jazz legend Professor Longhair with free shows on Fridays during the summer months.
14. Eat some pralines.
This gooey, nutty treat is a New Orleans snack staple. Candy shops throughout the city offer enough free samples to fill you up – and tempt you to bring some home.
15. See haute art.
The fashionable Warehouse District also doubles as the art district. The first Saturday of every month, walk down Julia Street and peruse local artwork in the diverse galleries.
16. Look for ghosts.
Experience paranormal activity and visit haunted sites such as the Bourbon Orleans, one of the most spirited locations in the French Quarter.
17. Spend Saturday morning at the farmers’ market.
Learn a bit about the famous New Orleans cuisine with free cooking demonstrations at the Crescent City Farmers Market.
18. Watch a Cigar Rolling Demonstration.
The New Orleans Cigar Factory is one of just a handful of U.S.-based cigar rolling outfits. Located right in the French Quarter, the store is a walk-in factory with a half-dozen experts rolling tobacco at any given time.
19. Haunt our “Cities of the Dead.”
Take a guided tour of our famous aboveground tombs at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District or St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 on Basin Street, believed to be the final resting place of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Knock three times on her crypt and make a wish. Please note that tours of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 are only available with a guide.
20. Take a self-guided literary tour.
See where Tennessee Williams (722 Toulouse), William Faulkner (624 Pirate’s Alley), Truman Capote (711 Royal), Thornton Wilder (623 Bourbon), Walker Percy (1820 Milan) and Anne Rice (1239 First) lived.
21. Jam at the Square.
During the spring, the Young Leadership Council sponsors free concerts Wednesdays in Lafayette Square.
22. Stroll the French Market
Nearly three centuries of history and six blocks of uniquearts and crafts, souvenirs, and local food stalls to discover. Whatever it isyou’re looking for, you’ll find it at the French Market!www.frenchmarket.org
24. Discover the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
Located amid the beauty of City Park, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden features one of the most impressive collections of contemporary sculpture in America.
25. Go window shopping on Magazine Street.
While this might start out a free activity, you may find yourself with the uncontrollable urge to throw your money at any one of the unique shops that line Magazine Street so that you can bring a little bit of New Orleans home with you.
Source: New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau http://www.neworleanscvb.com/