Want to know the best free things to do in New Orleans?
There’s a huge amount to love about New Orleans. The Big Easy is the home of jazz music, poboy sandwiches, Mardi Gras and so much more.
It’s definitely worth a spot on anybody’s travel bucket list and it wouldn’t be hard at all to find weeks’ worth of fun there. But what about fun things to do that happen to be free?
Oh, it’s got those all right, and we’re here to walk you through them! This is the definitive list of the best free things to do in New Orleans, so buckle up and get ready for a good time!
1.Walk Along The River
As you probably know, the river that flows through the city is none other than the mighty Mississippi itself.
You probably won’t have any difficulty finding it wherever you are in the city and of course you can walk by whichever stretch of it you like.
However, we’d particularly like to recommend the Moon Walk (named after the former mayor Maurice ‘Moon’ Landrieu).
It’s a gorgeous promenade with amazing views of the river and the city, often lined with musicians and other street entertainers.
The route will also take you past Woldenberg Riverfront Park, where there are often various events at different times of the year.
A nighttime stroll down the Moon Walk is the perfect way to soak up the essence of New Orleans and is an essential part of any visit.
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2.Take In A Free Show At Jazz In The Park
Jazz might be New Orleans’ most famous export and the music is still a huge part of the city’s cultural life.
There are more jazz shows than you can shake a stick at, but if you want to see great jazz music for free, look no further than Jazz in the Park.
If you head on down to Louis Armstrong Park on a Thursday from 4 pm – 8 pm, you’ll find a free concert showcasing sensational jazz in the open air.
These sometimes include well-known performers whose shows might otherwise set you back a penny or two.
The only thing you’ll need to remember here is that they don’t run all year and the dates can vary from one year to the next, so be sure to check before you arrive.
3.Visit The Lower 9th Ward Living Museum
Admission is always free at this incredible museum. The Lower Ninth Ward is an old, working class neighborhood that was hit very hard by Hurricane Katrina. However, that’s not half of the story.
The museum’s purpose is to bear witness to the incredible community spirit of resilience that’s sustained it over the years and to preserve the vibrant local culture that’s under threat from the modern world.
You might even get to meet some living witnesses to the history of the desegregation struggle, post-Hurricane reconstruction, and more.
If you’ve only heard about the Lower Ninth Ward in the post-Katrina news cycle, come and find out how much more there is to see.
4.Visit The Bayou
There are various swamps all around New Orleans, but some are actually located within the city limits.
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Reserve is 23,000 acres of marshes, which makes it the largest urban wildlife refuge in the United States.
Here you can go fishing and hunting (subject to certain restrictions, of course), or, for something a little more relaxed, just look at the wildlife.
The reserve is home to a wide range of wildlife: pelicans, alligators, marsh rabbits, and (seasonally), bald eagles.
You can sit and watch by the water’s edge if you like, or take the self-guided trail (a ¾ mile loop leading to a marsh overlook).
To see this beautiful slice of nature right in a big city like New Orleans is such a joy and you can’t afford to miss it.
5.Check Out The Local Markets
New Orleans is home to a huge number of markets and even if you’re not planning to buy anything, it’s great to take in the weird and wonderful wares on offer.
There are far too many to mention here, but the French Market in (you guessed it) the French Quarter is worth a visit. Some might say it’s a tourist trap, and okay, maybe they’re right.
The important thing is it’s a fun tourist trap, and it has a history going back for more than two centuries.
The market is packed with restaurants, food stalls, and vendors selling all kinds of souvenirs, clothes, and knick-knacks.
You can also give Crescent City Farmers Market a try – it’s open in different locations on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
There are other markets too, from the hidden gem that is the Frenchmen Art Market (just across the street from the Cafe Negril) to the Algiers Mini Mart Flea Market
6.Visit St. Louis Cathedral
This is the oldest continuously active cathedral in the United States. A gorgeous building in its own right, the interior is also home to the largest collection of mosaics in the world outside of Russia.
Collectively, they contain 41.5 million individual pieces of glass! During the winter there are free concerts at which you can hear the cathedral’s mighty organ in full flow.
That organ’s been upgraded several times over the years but the original 1915 organ is now available for visitors to see in the basement museum.
The cathedral is also open for regular masses on most days – check out their website for specific times.
Best Free Things To Do In New Orleans: Final Thoughts
As you can see from this list, New Orleans isn’t somewhere where you have to have money to have fun.
If you wanted, you could probably go your whole trip without spending anything since the history and culture of the city is just everywhere you look.
Now you’ve got the lowdown on the best free attractions in the city, you can visit knowing that however your wallet’s doing, you’re going to have a great time!
Well, there you have it, all the best free things to do in New Orleans! Hopefully that helped, but if you want more info, we found you a video below.
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