Though New Orleans hardly requires further illumination, the spotlight is on the Big Easy this year in anticipation of Super Bowl XLVII on February 3. Those lucky enough to attend the big game will be greeted with all the charm the Crescent City has to offer. However, football festivities combined with local attractions can get costly quick.
Happily, there are a number of ways to experience the culture and energy of this great city without spending a dime. In fact, there are 26 such ways detailed in this blog post from MrFreeStuff.com, 10 of which are highlighted below.
1. New Orleans Museum of Art
Museum admission is free on Wednesdays, making this landmark a must-see midweek. You can spend the better part of the day perusing art and artifacts ranging from modern to impressionist, to downright puzzling. Click here to learn about current exhibitions and schedules.
2. Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum
It’s a shame to miss Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but thankfully you can soak up some of the magic by visiting the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum. Filled to the brim with masks, costumes, vintage photos and more, its collection is nearly as cumbersome as its name.
3. Crescent City Farmers Market
Though you can’t score fresh produce au gratis at the Crescent City Farmers’ Market, you can watch a cooking demonstration for free. Local chefs share their secrets using local fare, making it almost impossible to avoid buying a few items for munching.
4. Jackson Square
Street performers often congregate at Jackson Square because the striking architecture of the St. Louis Cathedral provides a theatrical backdrop. Visitors can treat themselves to these impromptu performances or decide which of the three statues of Andrew Jackson is the best.
5. St. Charles Avenue
When people think of the South, visions of colonial-style mansions and porch swings inevitably arise. St. Charles Avenue is the place in New Orleans to see these 19th-century homes “in the flesh”, and you can walk the area for free.
6. Bourbon Street
Though there’s more to New Orleans than this French Quarter staple, you can’t visit the city without strolling Bourbon Street at least once. Prepare yourself for hustlers, street performances and tempting pleas from store and bar owners. Keep your wallet close since the crowds create clever cover for pick-pockets.
7. New Orleans Voodoo Shop
Skip the pricey Voodoo Museum and browse the mysterious wares of the museum’s gift shop for free. The unusual assortment of dolls, ritual candles and potions is enough to keep you occupied for hours.
8. City Park
Though paid attractions abound within this 1,300-acre park, you can enjoy the outdoors for free and ogle the 800-year-old trees, tour the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, or treat your family to a few rounds of frisbee golf.
9. St. Louis Cemetery #1 on Basin Street
“The City of the Dead” is a popular reference for St. Louis Cemetery #1, the oldest cemetery in New Orleans. While formal tours are paid affairs, you can wander the site on your own for free. Don’t miss the tomb of Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau, the 19th-century mythical figure who inspires songs and stories to this day.
10. Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve
You can’t visit the Gulf without seeing an alligator or two. Head to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve for free admission to bayous, swamps and marshes. Closures and construction are a reality for natural areas frequented by tourists, so check here for updated information before you go.