New Orleans boasts beautiful, historic neighborhoods with numerous free and low cost attractions to satisfy your travel budget. From museums and live music to touring cemeteries, everyone in your group can look forward to an interesting itinerary. We have compiled some of the best neighborhood destinations below.
1. French Quarter
The historic French Quarter is New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood, rife with gorgeous 18th and 19th-century architecture. Cast-iron buildings line the “Crown Jewel of New Orleans”, melding the old with the new as crowds make their way to vibrant Bourbon Street and Royal Street. Guests can enjoy plenty of live jazz, cajun food, and local brews on the cheap, or wander into a reimagined French Market where one can shop for antiques and then head to brunch. Further, visitors can stroll to iconic St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North America, in Jackson Square.
2. Faubourg Marigny & Bywater
Looking for greener spaces? Check out Crescent Park and Washington Square Park for respite from the urban streets. Stroll, run, or bike along the Mississippi River’s edge for lovely views. On the other hand, these neighborhoods are also popular for their theater performances. For instance, you can check out the Marigny Opera House, which showcases quality theatrical talent in an intimate 1853 church. Additionally, guests can view and participate in creating artwork at The Art Garage on St. Claude Avenue.
3. Garden District/Uptown
The picturesque Garden District (or Uptown) displays all of those scenic mansions on St. Charles Street we associate with New Orleans from TV shows and films (American Horror Story: Coven, anyone?). These stunning mansions exhibit huge oak trees, perfect lawns, and peak Southern charm with Greek Revival architecture, great for sightseeing and photo opportunities. Moreover, visitors can head to the Audubon Zoo and Audubon Park to experience family fun and outdoor adventures. Moreso into the macabre? Take a self-guided or expert-led tour in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, one of the city’s oldest resting places.
4. Lower Garden District
Not to be confused with the Upper Garden District, the Lower Garden District contains classic flare complete with street names like Melpomene, Dryades, and Terpsichore. Positioned around Coliseum Square, the historic houses here predate those of the Garden District. Architecture buffs will enjoy the hidden gems and rich culture lurking around each street.
Mid-City encompasses several beautiful green spaces as well as museums, theaters, and cemeteries. For scenic oak trees and tumbling Spanish moss, visit New Orleans City Park. Dating back to 1854, this green space brings millions of guests each year with walk and bike paths, trails, and an amusement park. Further, the New Orleans Botanical Garden within City Park presents 2,000 species of plants, a historic replica of the city, and a simulated tropical rainforest. Moreover, the NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art) nearby hosts nearly 40,000 global art objects in various mediums, including a five-acre sculpture garden. For spookier visits, head to the Masonic Cemetery and St. Patrick’s Cemetery No. 3.
6. Central Business District/Downtown
The CBD is known for its dining and shopping options as well as its incredible display of theater venues and, of course, Saints games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Close to both the French Quarter and the Garden District, visitors can catch stunning Broadway shows and top acts at theaters such as the Orpheum, the Saenger, and the Joy Theater. Further, Lafayette Square and the Spanish Plaza are central locations for dining, shopping, concerts, and more.
7. Algiers Point
To get to Algiers Point, take a $2 ferry ride from Canal Street in the French Quarter. Founded in 1719, this coastal area has a complex history and diverse population due to the slave trade and 19th century immigration. When you visit, there are multiple historic theaters, churches, and government buildings with varying architecture styles.