10 Free Things to Do in New Orleans

Don't miss these budget-friendly activities visiting New Orleans.

Sazerac House Museum

Sazerac House Museum

French Quarter Festival in New Orleans

French Quarter Festival

Blue Dog at the Besthoff Sculpture Garden New Orleans

Besthoff Sculpture Garden

New Orleans has so much to offer and these free things to do will make your New Orleans activities even sweeter!

Top 10 Free Things to Do in New Orleans

1. Let the Good Times Roll During a Free Festival in New Orleans

New Orleans hosts fests all year and many offer free admission. The French Quarter Fest, held in April, is the South's largest free music festival; Satchmo Summer Fest in August; the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival held in October, Oak Street Po-Boy Festival held in November, or Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival held in November are beloved by both locals and visitors.

2. Sazerac House

The Sazerac House pays homage to America’s First Cocktail – the Sazerac – that originated right in the Big Easy. The museum offers complimentary tours where visitors can explore thoughtful exhibits in a beautiful setting, talk with experts, enjoy complimentary samples and more.

3. Free Tours

The knowledgeable tour guides with Free Tours by Foot take visitors on free walking tours of the French Quarter, the Garden District as well as cemetery, ghost and pub crawls. Nola Tour Guy offers free walking tours, cemetery tours, and other specialty tours of New Orleans. This local company is run by local guides who are passionate about the city’s history and unique culture. While both of these tour companies offer free tours, they operate with a “pay as you feel” method, so tips are appreciated.

4. Historic New Orleans Collection

Admission to the Historic New Orleans Collection museum is free, but visitors are encouraged to book timed-entry tickets in advance. See a variety of exhibitions and galleries full of art, historic documents, and other fascinating artifacts.

5. 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. Wander the gardens, take in the art and even have a picnic while soaking in the beauty. 

6. Picnic at a Park

Walk up the levee across the street from Jackson Square and you’ll find yourself at Woldenberg Park, a lushly landscaped open space overlooking the Mississippi River. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic or an easygoing stroll along the riverside. The 1,300-acre New Orleans City Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. It’s a popular place to fish, picnic, play outdoors, get a workout in and more. Pick a spot to picnic or do some yoga on the open grassy lawn, explore the walking trails, or simply get some fresh air while people-watching.

7. New Orleans Jazz Museum's Free Concerts

The New Orleans Jazz Museum, located at the Old U.S. Mint built in 1835, sits right on the edge of the French Quarter. Grab a blanket or lawn chair and head to the museum’s courtyard to enjoy their free live concert series.

8. Art Gallery Hopping

It seems like you can find art in every corner of New Orleans—and you can! Check out the galleries on Julia and Royal Streets, Jackson Square vendors and the Mid-City and Frenchmen art markets.

9. Literary Tours of the French Quarter and Garden District

See where some of New Orleans’ most renowned authors lived on a self-guided walking tour. Among the writers who called the city home were Tennessee Williams (722 Toulouse), William Faulkner (624 Pirate’s Alley), Truman Capote (711 Royal St.), Thornton Wilder (623 Bourbon St.), Walker Percy (1820 Milan St.) and Anne Rice (1239 First St.).

10. Glassblowing Demonstrations

One of the 'hottest' free events in New Orleans is at the New Orleans Glassworks & Printmaking Studio, where free glassblowing demonstrations are offered daily. Watch as these talented artists transform molten glass into gorgeous pieces of art. We suggest you call in advance to confirm scheduling.