New Orleans On A Budget

New Orleans On A Budget (Guide)

New Orleans is a vibrant city known for its rich history, delectable cuisine, and lively music scene. Many people assume that a trip to this iconic destination comes with a hefty price tag, but the truth is, you can enjoy New Orleans on a budget without compromising on the experience. With affordable accommodations, cheap eats, and free attractions, you can explore the best of the city while keeping your expenses in check.

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, these tips and recommendations will help you make the most of your trip to New Orleans without breaking the bank.

Key Takeaways:

  • New Orleans can be enjoyed on a budget with affordable accommodations, cheap eats, and free attractions.
  • Consider staying in budget-friendly options like hostels, bed and breakfasts, or short-term home rentals.
  • Try local favorites like po’boys, gumbo, and beignets for delicious yet affordable meals.
  • Explore the city’s free attractions, such as Jackson Square and the French Quarter’s architecture.
  • Utilize affordable transportation options like walking, streetcars, and bike rentals to get around the city.

Affordable Accommodations in New Orleans

Finding budget accommodations in New Orleans doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With some research and planning, you can discover affordable options that allow you to make the most of your trip without breaking the bank. Consider the following tips to find comfortable yet budget-friendly places to stay:

  1. Hostels: Hostels are a popular choice for budget-conscious travelers, providing affordable shared accommodations and a chance to meet fellow adventurers.
  2. Bed and Breakfasts: Experience local charm and hospitality by staying in a bed and breakfast, with cozy rooms and homemade breakfast included.
  3. Short-term Home Rentals: Platforms like Airbnb offer a range of short-term rentals that can be more affordable than traditional hotels, especially if you’re traveling with a group.

The French Quarter and Central Business District are convenient locations for exploring the city’s vibrant culture, bustling streets, and iconic landmarks. However, staying in these areas can be a bit pricier. If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, consider areas like the Garden District, which offer a charming atmosphere and easy access to public transportation.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for deals and discounts, especially during the quieter seasons, to save even more on your accommodations and allocate your budget to other memorable experiences during your stay in New Orleans.

To give you an idea of the average cost of accommodations in New Orleans, here’s a breakdown of the approximate price range per night:

Accommodation Type Average Price Range (per night)
Hostels $20 – $50
Bed and Breakfasts $80 – $150
Short-term Home Rentals $100 – $300+

Cheap Eats in New Orleans

New Orleans is known for its delicious cuisine, and there are plenty of affordable options to satisfy your taste buds. Whether you’re craving traditional Cajun and Creole dishes or want to indulge in some seafood delights, the city offers a wide range of budget-friendly eateries. From tasty po’boys to flavorful gumbo, here are some must-try cheap eats in New Orleans:

  • Po’boys: These classic Louisiana sandwiches feature a variety of fillings such as roast beef, fried seafood, or hot sausages. Head to places like Domilise’s or Parkway Bakery & Tavern for some of the best po’boys in town.
  • Gumbo: A hearty and flavorful stew made with a combination of meat or seafood, vegetables, and spices. Try the gumbo at Coop’s Place or Gumbo Shop for an authentic taste.
  • Red Beans and Rice: A traditional dish consisting of slow-cooked red beans, spices, and served with rice. Grab a plate of tasty red beans and rice at places like Camellia Grill or Mother’s Restaurant.
  • Beignets: These deep-fried pastries dusted with powdered sugar are a New Orleans staple. Café du Monde is the go-to spot for delicious beignets and a cup of café au lait.

To make your dining experience even more budget-friendly, consider these tips:

  1. Look for lunch specials: Many restaurants in New Orleans offer discounted lunch menus, allowing you to enjoy a filling meal at a lower price.
  2. Check out happy hours: Take advantage of happy hour deals at bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy discounted drinks and appetizers.
  3. Food trucks: Keep an eye out for food trucks around the city, which often offer tasty and affordable options.

Don’t limit yourself to the touristy areas like the French Quarter. Venture into the neighborhoods and explore local eateries where you can find hidden gems serving up delicious meals at pocket-friendly prices.

Experience the mouthwatering flavors of New Orleans without breaking the bank!


“I couldn’t believe how good the food was for such a reasonable price. New Orleans truly has some amazing cheap eats!” – Sarah D.

Restaurant Cuisine Location
Domilise’s Po’boys 5240 Annunciation St
Parkway Bakery & Tavern Po’boys 538 Hagan Ave
Coop’s Place Cajun/Creole 1109 Decatur St
Gumbo Shop Cajun/Creole 630 St Peter St
Camellia Grill American/Southern 626 S Carrollton Ave
Mother’s Restaurant Cajun/Creole 401 Poydras St

Free Attractions in New Orleans

New Orleans is a treasure trove of free attractions that allow you to immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture and history without spending a dime. From vibrant street performances to captivating architecture, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the top free attractions in New Orleans:

Jackson Square

Jackson Square is a bustling public square located in the heart of the French Quarter. It’s the perfect place to start your exploration of the city. Marvel at the historic St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States. Enjoy the lively street performers, browse the local artists’ stalls, and take in the vibrant atmosphere.

Royal Street

A stroll down Royal Street is a must for art enthusiasts. This charming street is renowned for its art galleries, antique shops, and boutiques. Admire the stunning works of local artists and soak in the artistic ambiance as you explore the various galleries and shops. Don’t forget to peek into the hidden courtyards and balconies that line this picturesque street.

Lafayette Cemetery #1

New Orleans is known for its unique above-ground cemeteries, and Lafayette Cemetery #1 is a fascinating place to visit. Take a self-guided tour and wander among the ornate and historic tombs. The cemetery’s eerie beauty and architectural details provide a glimpse into the city’s past. It’s a serene and captivating experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Frenchmen Street

No visit to New Orleans is complete without immersing yourself in the vibrant music scene. Frenchmen Street is renowned for its live music venues and energetic atmosphere. Enjoy incredible performances by talented local musicians, from jazz and blues to funk and soul. The lively street is lined with bars and clubs, offering free or low-cost entry for a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Free Museum Days

New Orleans is home to numerous museums that offer free admission on specific days. Take advantage of these opportunities to delve into the city’s history and culture. Some of the museums that participate in free admission days include the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Check their websites for schedules and plan your visit accordingly.

With these free attractions, exploring New Orleans on a budget is both enjoyable and enriching. Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant culture, architecture, and music without spending a dime. Discover the hidden gems that make New Orleans truly unique.

Getting Around on a Budget

When exploring New Orleans on a budget, getting around the city doesn’t have to be expensive. There are several transportation options that can help you save money while still allowing you to experience all that the city has to offer.

One of the best ways to explore the French Quarter and the surrounding neighborhoods is by walking. Not only is it a budget-friendly option, but it also allows you to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city streets.

If you need to travel longer distances or want to visit different parts of the city, consider using the affordable streetcar system. The St. Charles Streetcar, in particular, is a popular choice for both locals and tourists, offering a charming ride through historic neighborhoods.

For a fun and budget-friendly way to get around, you can also rent a bike. New Orleans has a bike share program that allows you to rent bikes for a specified period, making it easy to explore the city at your own pace.

If you’re looking for public transit options, the Regional Transit Authority operates buses and streetcars throughout the city. You can purchase a Jazzy Pass for unlimited rides, which is a cost-effective option for frequent travelers.

Lastly, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in New Orleans, offering convenient transportation options at competitive prices.

Whatever mode of transportation you choose, be sure to plan your routes in advance and consider travel deals or discounts that may be available. By being strategic with your transportation choices, you can make the most of your budget while exploring the beautiful city of New Orleans.

Budget-Friendly Activities and Tours

When visiting New Orleans on a budget, there are plenty of activities and tours you can enjoy without breaking the bank. Whether you prefer exploring at your own pace or joining a guided tour, there is something for everyone to experience in this vibrant city. Here are some budget-friendly options to consider:

Self-Guided Walking Tours

Embark on a self-guided walking tour to discover the charming streets and neighborhoods of New Orleans. With a map in hand, you can explore the historic French Quarter, stroll along Magazine Street in the Garden District, or visit the vibrant Marigny neighborhood. Take in the unique architecture, immerse yourself in the local culture, and snap photos of iconic landmarks along the way.

Free and Low-Cost Guided Tours

If you prefer a guided tour but want to save money, look for free or low-cost options available in New Orleans. Many local organizations and tour companies offer affordable guided tours that provide insights into the city’s history, culture, and traditions. Join a walking tour led by knowledgeable guides who can share fascinating stories and hidden gems of the city.

Tour Company Price Description
Free Tours by Foot Pay-what-you-wish Offers a variety of walking tours where you can pay what you can afford at the end of the tour.
The Historic New Orleans Collection Free Provides free guided tours of their museum collection, showcasing the rich history of New Orleans.
New Orleans Architecture Tours $10-20 Offers guided tours focusing on the unique architecture and design of the city’s neighborhoods.

Affordable Attractions

Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of New Orleans by visiting affordable attractions that showcase the city’s history, art, and culture. The Louisiana State Museum offers a compelling glimpse into the state’s past through exhibits and artifacts. The Historic New Orleans Collection, located in the French Quarter, provides free access to its museum and library, where you can learn about the city’s diverse cultural heritage. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the New Orleans Jazz Museum, where you can explore the roots of jazz music and its impact on the city.

Discounted Swamp and Plantation Tours

No visit to New Orleans is complete without experiencing its unique natural surroundings and historic plantations. Consider taking a swamp tour to navigate the captivating marshes and encounter fascinating wildlife. Look for discounted tickets and packages to save money on these popular excursions. If you’re interested in the city’s plantation history, compare prices and consider booking a tour to immerse yourself in the stories and grandeur of these magnificent estates.

By engaging in budget-friendly activities and tours, you can fully experience the vibrant culture of New Orleans without overspending. Whether you choose to explore the city on foot, join affordable guided tours, or visit enticing attractions, there are plenty of options available to suit your budget and interests. Make the most of your time in New Orleans while saving money with these budget-friendly recommendations.


New Orleans is a vibrant city that offers an incredible experience for travelers on a budget. With a variety of budget-friendly accommodations, affordable dining options, and free attractions, you can explore the charm of the city without breaking the bank. By carefully planning your trip and making smart choices, you can enjoy the best of New Orleans without sacrificing the quality of your experience.

One of the keys to exploring New Orleans on a budget is to be mindful of your expenses. Take advantage of affordable accommodations such as hostels or bed and breakfasts, and consider staying in neighborhoods outside the popular tourist areas. This not only helps you save money but also allows you to discover hidden gems and experience the local culture.

When it comes to dining, New Orleans is renowned for its delicious cuisine. From po’boys to gumbo, there are plenty of affordable eats to satisfy your cravings. Look out for lunch specials, happy hours, and food trucks to get the most bang for your buck. Additionally, don’t forget to explore the city’s free attractions, such as Jackson Square and the French Quarter, to immerse yourself in the unique culture and history of New Orleans.

So, pack your bags and get ready for a frugal adventure in the captivating city of New Orleans. With careful planning and a sense of adventure, you can create lasting memories without emptying your wallet. Whether it’s dancing to live music, savoring mouthwatering dishes, or simply strolling through the colorful streets, New Orleans has something for every frugal traveler.


How can I find affordable accommodations in New Orleans?

Consider staying in budget-friendly options like hostels, bed and breakfasts, or short-term home rentals. Look for deals and discounts, especially during the quieter seasons, to save on your accommodations.

What are some cheap eats in New Orleans?

Try local favorites like po’boys, gumbo, red beans and rice, and beignets. Look for lunch specials, happy hours, and food trucks for budget-friendly dining experiences. Explore the neighborhoods outside of the French Quarter to find hidden gems and local eateries.

What free attractions can I visit in New Orleans?

Visit Jackson Square, explore the French Quarter’s architecture, and take a stroll along Royal Street to admire the art galleries. Don’t miss the opportunity to wander through the city’s cemeteries or enjoy live music on Frenchmen Street. Take advantage of free museum days and self-guided walking tours to discover more about the city’s heritage.

How can I get around New Orleans on a budget?

Walking is a great way to explore the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods. Use the affordable streetcar system, such as the St. Charles Streetcar, to navigate to different parts of the city. Consider renting a bike for a fun and budget-friendly way to get around. Public transit and rideshare services are also available for convenient transportation.

What are some budget-friendly activities and tours in New Orleans?

Take a self-guided walking tour to explore the city at your own pace, or join a free or low-cost guided tour to learn about the history and culture of New Orleans. Visit the Louisiana State Museum, the Historic New Orleans Collection, and other affordable attractions. Consider taking a swamp tour or plantation tour, comparing prices and looking for discounts to save on these popular excursions.

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