How to Visit New Orleans on a Budget

new orleans

NOLA, The Big Easy, N’awlins, Crescent City, Paris of the South – this incredible city goes by many names, but there truly is only one New Orleans.

It’s a city that’s on virtually everyone’s bucket list: Whether you’re a music lover dying to visit the birthplace of Jazz, a history buff eager to walk back in time through the French Quarter, or a foodie looking to sample some mouthwatering cajun and creole delights. There’s truly something for everyone.

With all the everything the Crescent City has to offer, you might expect it to come with a hefty price tag – but it’s more than possible to visit New Orleans on a budget. Keep reading for our top money-saving tips, so you can plan an affordable and unforgettable trip to this one of a kind city.


New Orleans on a budget: Know before you go


Don’t spend all of your time in the French Quarter

Yes, it’s beautiful and an absolute must-visit, but you’ll find plenty to love in the city’s other incredible neighborhoods (more on this below!).


Public transportation isn’t New Orleans’ strong suit

You’ll be doing a lot of walking here. Check out these comfortable travel sneakers that feel amazing and reduce your carbon footprint.


You can take your drink with you (as long as it’s not glass)

New Orleans has some of the most relaxed open container laws in the country and bars will be more than happy to fix you a ‘go-cup’.


You don’t need to pay a cover or 2-drink-minimum to see live music

Simply walk the streets of the French Quarter or down Frenchmen Street and catch a curbside show.




Free and cheap things to do in New Orleans


Explore the French Quarter

No trip to New Orleans would be complete without spending time in one of America’s most iconic neighborhoods. Spend some time exploring the French Quarter and admiring the colorful 18th-century French homes and their wrought-iron balconies. Then, duck into a bar for some live jazz music, grab some delicious cajun food, or pay a visit to St. Louis Cathedral, America’s oldest cathedral.


Pro tip: to learn about the history of the french quarter, head to the visitor’s center, and attend one of the free New Orleans culture and history talks given by NPS park rangers.


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Garden District

The Garden District is certainly a change of scenery from the French Quarter. In what many call New Orleans’ most beautiful neighborhood, you’ll find massive, stately mansions in an equally historic yet much quieter and more relaxed area. Be sure to pay a visit to the famous Lafayette Cemetery or go on your own self-guided tour of the Garden District.


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New Orleans City Park

If you’re looking for a place to take a load off, New Orleans’ City Park provides a lovely and welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. This massive 11,300-acre park, 50% larger than New York’s Central Park, is filled with towering oak trees, trails, picnic spots, and attractions that range from the sculpture and botanical gardens to a 36-hole mini-golf complex!


new orleans park


Take Algiers Ferry across the river

Operating since 1827, the Algiers Ferry lets you see New Orleans from a different perspective – literally. As the ferry crosses the Mississippi River, you’ll get an unmatched view of the New Orleans skyline, as well as of the bend in the river that gives New Orleans its ‘Crescent City’ nickname. The ferry costs just $2 to ride and afterward you can stroll through charming Algiers Point.


Explore the Bayou

Just 25 minutes from the French Quarter, Bayou Savage feels a world away from the city. This wetland wildlife reserve covers over 23,000 acres and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon fishing, relaxing, or hiking. You might even spot an alligator!


new orleans gator


Visit the Voodoo shops

Explore New Orlean’s spiritual side with a trip to one of the city’s many voodoo shops. New Orleans or ‘Louisiana Voodoo’ is a unique blend of West African and Roman Catholic religious practices, which developed in the city in the 1700s. Voodoo practice reached its peak during the 1830s, under famed priestess Marie Laveau. Locals still leave offerings on her grave in St Louis No. 1 Cemetery today.

Browse some of the authentic voodoo shops filled with incense, candles and herbs. There’s even a Historic Voodoo Museum if you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating religion.


Where to stay in New Orleans on a budget


Madame Isabelle’s House In New Orleans

It’s easy to see what makes Madame Isabelle’s House one of the best places to stay if you’re visiting New Orleans on a budget. Situated in a historic building and located within walking distance of the French Quarter, Madame Isabelle’s provides a delightful taste of New Orleans hospitality. The hostel is eclectic and colorful, yet cozy and welcoming. After a long day of exploring the city, unwind either out back in the garden or on the communal balcony porch.


The Quisby

Close enough to the French Quarter to be convenient but not close enough to cost a fortune, The Quisby is one of the most popular budget stays in New Orleans. This elegant hostel perfectly marries historic New Orleans charm and modern conveniences. The rooms are clean and comfortable, the hospitality is second to none, and the downstairs bar is frequently buzzing with friendly travelers enjoying affordable cocktails.


HI New Orleans Hostel

Conveniently located near the French Quarter, HI New Orleans Hostel takes the high-quality service travelers already expect from Hosteling International and brings it to a new level. In fact, HI New Orleans was named the 2020 ‘Best New Hostel in the World’ by HostelWorld. From the impressive, colorful lobby to the thoughtfully designed rooms, and on to the expansive communal kitchen, hostel stays don’t get more comfortable than this.


new orleans home


Cheap flights to New Orleans

Recently, Dollar Flight Club members have saved between 70-90% on cheap flights to New Orleans. On average, our members spent $$$ on their tickets and saved over $$$ per ticket. Here are a few samples of cheap flight deals that Dollar Flight Club members have received recently.

New York City (JFK) to New Orleans (MSY)

Price with Dollar Flight Club: $$$

Average Price: $$$

Boston (BOS) to New Orleans (MSY)

Price with Dollar Flight Club: $$$

Average Price: $$$

Los Angeles (LAX) to New Orleans (MSY)

Price with Dollar Flight Club: $$$

Average Price: $$$


new orleans food


Where to find cheap eats in New Orleans

McHardy’s Chicken & Fixin’

If you’re looking for affordable and authentic, it doesn’t get better than McHardy’s Chicken. Awarded ‘best fried chicken in New Orleans’ (no small feat in a city that loves its fried chicken), it remains one of the best places to eat in New Orleans on a budget. It’s tough to beat their $5 price tag for 5 pieces! Stop by the quick serve location on North Broad Street for a generous helping of soul food.



This hole-in-the-wall place in the French Quarter serves up some of the best West African food in town. Their Gambia and Cameroon inspired menu has long been a favorite with locals, and is starting to draw tourists in as well. With affordable prices and great vegetarian options, Bennachin won’t stay a secret gem for long.


Cafe Maspero

Looking to try classic cajun dishes on a budget? Cafe Maspero in the French Quarter serves up a wide variety of seafood, muffulettas, and traditional New Orleans fare, all for a reasonable price. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner, and located in the heart of Jackson Square, it’s the perfect spot to refuel while you wander the French Quarter.


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Start planning your trip to New Orleans


Did this guide to visiting New Orleans on a budget whet your appetite for some southern soul food? There’s plenty to see and do in this iconic city without breaking the bank, from nature reserves to free live music.

Save this budget travel guide and sign up to receive cheap flight deals so you can start planning your trip to the Big Easy today!

  • Zach Anderson

    Zach was a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helped 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.

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