Free Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana

20 Free (or Nearly Free!) Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a destination where life is lived to the fullest! If you have never been to New Orleans, you will be shocked when you arrive. Don’t worry, it will be in a good way! Everyone is so friendly and welcoming, and we guarantee you will not eat more food in one sitting anywhere else in the world. There are plenty of things to do in New Orleans, LA, so you will be busier than ever on your vacation. With so many activities in New Orleans, LA, it can be difficult to decide which New Orleans, LA points of interest to choose. No worries there either, because whatever you decide, your visit to New Orleans, Louisiana will be beyond perfect.


Where is New Orleans, Louisiana?

New Orleans, Louisiana is a city that is located in the southeastern section of the state. It is basically right alongside the Mississippi River. It is not too far from the Gulf of Mexico either, so you can spend your time by the water almost anywhere you are during your visit.


Best Time to Visit New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The best time to visit New Orleans, Louisiana is when Carnival and Mardi Gras are taking place. All those events occur during the months of January through March. It is quite festive at that time of the year and it does get extremely crowded.
If you don’t want to deal with as many people, you should consider the months of November and December. The weather is still nice and there are many holiday festivities to enjoy. In fact, there are so many top things to do in New Orleans in December that you may not have time to check everything off your list before it is time to return home.


Weather in New Orleans, Louisiana

The winters in New Orleans, Louisiana might be cool, but they are short too. It warms up during the spring and the summer is hot. It can rain quite a bit during the summer months, especially if hurricanes are hitting the area. It does cool down during the fall and it dries up at the same time.


20 Free (or Nearly Free!) Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana

1. Visit the Barataria Preserve

Barataria Preserve - Free Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The Barataria Preserve is one of the must-see things near New Orleans, LA. As you are considering things to do around New Orleans, LA, this nature preserve should be at the top of your list. The twenty-three thousand acres are filled with alligators, birds, and lots of trees, swamps, and bayous. If you don’t want to walk completely through the wilderness, you will be happy to know there are many boardwalk trails too.

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2. Check Out the Many Cemeteries

There are quite a few cemeteries in New Orleans and each one offers insight into the history of the city. Walking through the cemeteries is considered one of the top things to do in New Orleans. We recommend only spending time in the cemeteries during the daytime, unless you are participating in one of the local tours. Out of all the cemeteries, Lafayette Cemetery is a favorite of many. So, if you must choose one out of them all, that would be the one we recommend.

3. Walk Around the Garden District

Garden District in New Orleans
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There are so many things to do in the Garden District in New Orleans. However, we feel like walking around is one of the best options. As you are walking around, you will have the chance to see everything this area offers, including cemeteries, stores, and restaurants.

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4. Wander Around the French Market

One of the best historical places to visit in New Orleans is the French Market. You can’t absorb all the history in one day, but you can still wander around to learn some of it. It is easy to wander around and not buy anything, but you may want to be careful if you have a hard time passing by bargains.

5. Ride the Algiers Ferry

Algiers Ferry - Free Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Riding the Algiers Ferry is not one of the free things to do in New Orleans this weekend. But at two dollars or less per person, it is a bargain when you realize the views you can see during your trip. This ferry will take you from the New Orleans side of the river over to Algiers Point. You can wander around over there before taking the ferry back.

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6. Check Out the Street Art in New Orleans

There are quite a few murals on the streets of New Orleans. One of the best New Orleans, Louisiana things to do with family is trying to find them all. To get you started, we will tell you that you will find some amazing works of art on St. Claude Avenue and North Claiborne Street.

7. Stroll Through the French Quarter

french quarter new orleans
Credits: Ken Lund, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Most people will agree that the French Quarter must be on everyone’s list of things to see while vacationing in New Orleans. There are so many things to do in New Orleans French Quarter. That means it is easy to spend more time there than you should. Walking around this neighborhood is an easy way to see what is there, while checking items off your list at the same time.

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8. Check Out the Television and Film Locations

It shouldn’t be surprising that many television shows and films have been shot in New Orleans. One of the unique things to do in New Orleans is checking out all the different locations used for movies and television shows. There are so many of them though, so you may need to narrow down your list a little to make sure you have time to fit all the other things to do in New Orleans, Louisiana into your visit.

9. Spend Time in Jackson Square

Jackson Square - Free Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana

Jackson Square is directly in front of the St. Louis Cathedral. Time in this square will be spent walking around, taking pictures, and even making a detour to Café du Monde for a few beignets. Yes, those beignets will cost you, but the money will be worth every delicious bite.

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10. Visit New Orleans City Park

One of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids is hanging out at New Orleans City Park. You can check out Storyland, the Train Garden, and the New Orleans Botanical Garden. You will also find the largest oak tree grove inside this park. Two of those oak trees are Anseman Oak and McDonogh Oak. They are thought to be between 600 and 900 years old.

11. Visit the Chalmette Battlefield

Chalmette Battlefield - Free Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana
Credits: Ken Lund, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

This area is one of the best things to do near New Orleans, Louisiana. History is everywhere at the battlefield, including within the national cemetery.

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12. Watch a Parade

There are many parades held in New Orleans every year, so there is a good chance you can see one during your visit. This is one of the best things to do with family in New Orleans. Each parade is different, but they all have floats and music. The biggest parades are held during Carnival and Mardi Gras.

13. Taste a Praline

Praline - Free Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Many shops sell pralines in New Orleans and most of them will allow you to taste one for free. This is one of the kid friendly things to do in New Orleans, because what child is going to turn down a sweet treat?! Of course, the downside is once everyone has tasted one, you will spend a little money purchasing a few to eat later.

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14. Check Out the Tattoo Museum

If you have a love of tattoos, or at least a slight interest, you must visit the Tattoo Museum. This is one of the cool things to do in New Orleans, because it allows you to learn the history of tattoos in the city. Of course, this might not be the best thing to add to your list of things to do in New Orleans if being in a real tattoo parlor will have you wanting one.

15. Listen to Music and Grab Selfies at Musical Legends Park

Musical Legends Park - Free Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana
Credits: pointnshoot, Flickr CC BY 2.0

Music-lovers will feel that the best things to do in New Orleans, Louisiana involve time at Musical Legends Park. There are statues of eight different jazz musicians located at this park and you can take a selfie with any of them. Free concerts are also held at this park quite frequently, so you may get to listen to some live music during your visit too.

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16. Check Out the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum

The Germaine Cazanave Wells Mardi Gras Museum is one of the top places to see in New Orleans. This Mardi Gras museum is located above Arnaud’s Restaurant and is free to explore. Inside, you will see masks and elaborate gowns, as well as other memorabilia from past Mardi Gras.

17. Walk Along the Mississippi River

New Orleans - Mississippi River
Credits: Jared, Flickr CC BY 2.0

You cannot spend time in New Orleans and not walk alongside the Mississippi River. This is one of the best things to do in New Orleans without money because it offers free entertainment via people watching and riverboats passing by. While this is one of the fun things to do with kids in New Orleans, most people agree it is one of the fun things to do in New Orleans for couples too. We recommend adding this to your list of things to do in New Orleans at night, so you can watch the sun setting over the water.

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18. Take a Literary Walking Tour

So many authors have either written about New Orleans or lived in the city. That means there are so many different literary destinations to visit when you are there. The Literary Walking Tour will take you to ten different literary landmarks. A few of them include Canal Street, Hotel Monteleone, Antoine’s Restaurant, the Homes of Tennessee Williams, and Faulkner House Books.

19. Attend a Festival

festival - Free Things to Do in New Orleans, Louisiana

Most of the festivals held in New Orleans each year are free to attend. These festivals are the best things to do in New Orleans, LA at the time they are held. If you are not aware of any festivals during your visit, you may be surprised to stumble upon one as you are sightseeing in New Orleans, LA. If that happens, you will want to rearrange your schedule a little, so you can enjoy the incredible festival stuff to do in New Orleans.

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20. Take a Voodoo Walking Tour

Has voodoo always been intriguing to you?? If you answered yes, then taking a voodoo walking tour is a must-do in New Orleans, Louisiana. During the tour, you will learn about the history of voodoo and all the temples within the French Quarter.


Expert Tips for Traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana

There are so many things to know prior to your visit to New Orleans, Louisiana. Here are a couple expert tips for traveling to New Orleans.

Plan Your Trip Carefully – There are so many different areas to see in New Orleans. As you are planning your list of things to do in New Orleans, you must make sure you are seeing New Orleans attractions that are in the same area on the same day. This will ensure you are not running all over the city for your entire stay.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Try All the Signature Drinks – You may be tempted to stick with your usual drinks when you are vacationing in New Orleans, but what is the fun of that when you have so many new ones to try! There are at least ten different signature drinks in New Orleans, and we recommend that you try them all!

Purchase the Go New Orleans Pass – If you are looking to stick with a budget on your New Orleans vacation, then the Go New Orleans Pass is a must. It is valid for up to five days and allows you to choose free entry from twenty-five different New Orleans attractions.

These are the twenty free, or nearly free, things to do in New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as a couple of our expert tips. There are so many ways to save money on fun things to do in New Orleans, LA. You will never need to wonder what to do in New Orleans, Louisiana either, because there will always be something exciting to do right in front of you. If you are ready to see as many New Orleans, LA tourist attractions as possible, start planning your New Orleans vacation today!

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