NOLA is known for it’s jazz music, Cajun style meals, and it’s festivals. There is so much to soak in when visiting this historic city. I have listed the top ten things to do in New Orleans for FREE. To check out where to go, what to eat, how to get there – visit way.com.
1.Watch a Parade
There is always some kind of parade going on in New Orleans. Some really good parades to watch is the Krewe of Boo Halloween parade and the Mardi Gras parade. Who doesn’t love dressing up for Halloween!? Dress in your best Halloween costume and enjoy the party. Krewe of Boo has the parade on multiple days/nights in October. Mardi Gras is the biggest parade that New Orleans will host. It’s “The Greatest Free Show on Earth!”. A fun fact about the Mardi Gras colors is that it stems from the King of Carnival in which he decided the colors should be purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power). You can check out their schedule on their page to find the dates and times of the parades and events.
Jackson Square has become a popular destination to visit while in New Orleans. Not only is it absolutely beautiful but you will also find many shops, restaurants, bars, and street artist all around. You may also find street performers who are really interesting to watch. These performers do tricks and others play music or dance. While you are here soaking in the site, don’t forget to go to Cafe Du Monde for a beignet! You will not be disappointed.
3.Saint Louis Cathedral Tour
While you are at Jackson Square your next stop should be The Saint Louis Cathedral. This historic building has a history that is from nearly 300 years ago making it the oldest in New Orleans. This is a self guided tour that can take between 30 to 60 minutes. The church is open to anyone between 8:30 am to 4 pm.
4.Cities of the Dead Tour
Some popular cemeteries to visit while in New Orleans includes the St. Patrick Cemetery no. 1, Lafayette Cemetery no. 1 and the St. Louis Cemetery no. 1. St. Louis no. 1 is the most visited cemetery and it is located just down the road from the French Quarter. This is the cemetery that made its fame from the 1969 movie Easy Rider. It was found in the 18th century making it the oldest active cemetery here in NOLA. Fun fact- Nicolas Cage has a tomb here! (Yes, he is alive). The Lafayette Cemetery no. 1 has been active ever since 1833. It has about 1,000 tombs and about 7,000 people buried here. This cemetery isn’t segregated in anyway with over 25 nationalities. Lastly, St. Patrick’s Cemetery no.1 is a Catholic cemetery that is known for being haunted.
5.New Orleans Museum of Art
The New Orleans Museum of Art has collected over 40,000 objects since its opening in 1911. It is known for having French and American art, glass, photography, and Japanese and African arts. Wednesdays is FREE day and visitors under age 19 are always free. Every other day it is $15 for adult, $10 for seniors and military, and $8 for University students. The Sculpture Garden is also FREE admission and it is open 7 days a week. This is a museum of art so be sure to read the policies before admission.
New Orleans has a variety of festivals to attend each year. These festivals include art, music, food & drink, film & theater, multicultural, LGBT, and festivals for a cause. In April NOLA hosts the French Quarter festival which is one of the biggest free festivals in the country. This is a four day event that over 700,000 people will attend. This festival has music, food vendors, kid play areas and free events. At the end of the night on the Mississippi River you will find the firework show that is fun for the whole family.
Festival Packing List
7.NOLA Brewery Tour/ Wine Tasting
What’s better than FREE BEER!?!? NOLA Brewing is located at 3001 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70115. Every Friday and Saturday from 2 to 3 PM you can take a free guided tour. No reservations are necessary. You can check out their website or call at the time you will be there to see if they have any other events going on.
Faubourg Wines has FREE wine tastings every Wednesday from 6-8 PM. They recommend getting there before 7:30 just in case it is busy. Every week they have about four different options of wines to taste. This place has a great selection of wines to choose from and they are located at 2805 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117.
Every Friday night at Le Bon Temps Roule on Magazine Street you can find free oysters and music. Of course they have Happy Hour Monday-Friday as well. This place should definitely be on your list of places to visit while in NOLA.
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Luna Fete which stands for Light Up NOLA Arts, holds a light show every December that lasts about 30 minutes. This festival is FREE and open to anyone. This event highlights art in NOLA though video mapping. It is located in Lafayette Square in the Central Business District.
10. Watch a Cooking Class
Chef Nino and others alike have FREE cooking classes all over New Orleans. A good way to find these classes is going to eventbrite to check on the calendar. You can find the events here.