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Editor Pick

Free Things to Do in New Orleans

Updated: April 19, 2023

Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Laurie Sterbens

Audubon Park

6500 Magazine St.

Ancient live oaks shade this uptown oasis, where you'll find gardens, a labyrinth, peaceful lagoons, picnic shelters and a playground if you need things to do with kids. Along the riverfront is the Butterfly Riverview Park—“the Fly” as locals call it—the perfect spot to relax and watch the sun set over the Mississippi River.

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Couterie Forest and Scout Island

1009 Harrison Ave.

Take a walk along the trails through this 60-acre forest in City Park and you'll forget you're in the city. Eight different ecosystems flourish here, and you'll see many species of birds and fish amid the trees and waterways. Look for Laborde Mountain, New Orleans' highest point at 43 feet above sea level. The “mountain” was created using leftover riprap from the construction of Interstate 610, and features an observation deck and benches at the top.

Crescent City Farmers Market

1235 N. Peters St. and 50 Carondelet St.

Foodies will enjoy the Crescent City Farmers' Market, which takes place at four locations throughout the city. On Wednesdays at the French Market and Saturdays downtown, you can listen to live music and see cooking demonstrations by local chefs as you browse the locally sourced meat, produce, seafood and tempting baked goods.

Free Concerts

Jackson Square

Jackson Square is a year-round hub for all kinds of street performers, including solo musicians and bands, so you're likely to find live music no matter when you visit. Beginning in March, don't miss Wednesdays in the Square, a free, 12-week evening concert series featuring a variety of great local bands. June through August, the concert series becomes Wednesdays on the Point in Algiers, just a short, $2 ride across the river on the Canal Street-Algiers ferry. On Thursday evenings in the spring and fall, you can enjoy Jazz in the Park at Louis Armstrong Park, featuring local bands along with a DJ and art displays with live painting.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

533 Royal St.

If you're a history or architecture buff or simply interested in learning more about the city's past, a visit to the Historic New Orleans Collection won't disappoint. Established in 1966 by Gen. and Mrs. L. Kemper Williams, the museum includes several historic buildings with galleries introducing visitors to city history and regional culture. The Williams Research Center on Chartres Street features art and memorabilia, including around 350,000 drawings, paintings, photos, prints and artifacts.

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Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

1 Collins Diboll Cir.

View more than 60 sculptures along paths that wind through five acres of lush gardens at this AAA GEM® attraction in City Park. A lagoon divides the sculpture garden into two halves—a magnolia and pine grove, and an area featuring 200-year-old live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. A free audio tour that you can access on your cell phone is available; inquire at the front gate.

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Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Laurie Sterbens

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