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It’s easy to drop a lot of money in the Big Easy, largely due to *ahem* adult beverages. The good news is, it’s also pretty easy not to. The city’s overflowing with cheap eats and things to do, meaning you can pack your itinerary as much as you want. Here’s what to do with 24 hours in New Orleans without breaking the bank.

Start your day with an iconic New Orleans breakfast (7:15—8:15 a.m.)

Yes, 7:15 is early, but the early start—and coffee—will help you get everywhere you want to go today (and account for lines at this famous hotspot). Tuck into some beignets at Café du Monde while sipping a steaming cup of chicory coffee. The pastries’ sweet powdered-sugar blanket will give you plenty of energy for sightseeing, and this cheap breakfast will only set you back around $5–$6.


Meet some talented locals and catch up on NOLA history (8:15–10:30 a.m.)

Thanks to the St. Louis Cathedral and the beautiful Presbytere, strolling around Jackson Square is sort of like stepping into a fairy-tale world. But in true New Orleans fashion, you’re likely to run into jazz musicians, artists, human statues and other performers along the way—all of which are free to watch, but tipping is the norm. After enjoying a little artistry with your vitamin D, head to the Presbytere museum to learn about Mardi Gras and the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the city ($6 admission).


Explore the ‘cities of the dead (10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)

Next up is one of the city’s creepier attractions: its cemeteries. Stroll over to St. Louis Cemetery 1, home of the famous Madame Laveau, or hop on the bright red Canal Street trolley ($1.25 for a one-way ticket) for a quick, cheap trip uptown to St. Louis Cemetery 3. Whichever you choose, you won’t spend a dime tiptoeing around the ornate ‘cities of the dead’ and their crypts and monuments.

Eat a po’boy (12:30-1:30 p.m.)

It’s good, it’s cheap, and it’s right around the corner from St. Louis Cemetery 3. Welcome to casual local hangout Liuzza’s by the Track, which literally invented the BBQ shrimp po’boy ($15.95), making it a must-have menu item. Pair it with a cup of gumbo ($6.95) for a satisfying lunch.

Go window–shopping on Magazine Street (4:30–6:30 p.m.)

Magazine Street’s boutiques and galleries are ripe for window-shopping. Let your credit card rest (or not) and check out the bohemian jewelry at Stella Gray, the designer duds at Azby’s, and the vintage, European wares at Aux Belles Choses. If you need a snack, head to Blue Frog Chocolates and indulge in traditional New Orleans pralines and hand-dipped truffles.


Stuff yourself with jambalaya (6:30–8:00 p.m.)

Head back to the French Quarter for dinner at the 21+, no-frills Coop’s Place (if you have kids, stick around Magazine Street for the famous oyster joint Casamento’s). Coop’s serves up some of the city’s best jambalaya—here, it’s made with rabbit and sausage ($5.75–$11.95). An appetizer of crabmeat-stuffed jalapeno peppers ($8.95) makes it a feast worthy of budgeting kings.


Have a drink or three (8:00–10:30 p.m.)

It’s time for that famous New Orleans right of passage—drinking your way down the French Quarter‘s infamous Bourbon Street. We suggest diving into a sweet, rum-filled Hurricane at the bar that created it: Pat O’Brien’s. While you’re at it, request a song from the dueling pianos. And even though it’s technically not on Bourbon Street, we’d suggest splurging at the infamous Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone anyway. Jockey for a seat at the rotating carousel bar, if you can, and sip a Vieux Carre ($12), which was invented here.


End the evening on a high note (10:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m.)

…with some live jazz on Frenchman Street. You can stumble straight onto it from Bourbon Street, provided that you’re walking northeast. The city’s best jazz clubs line this famous musical avenue, which is a lot less raucous than its rowdy neighbor to the south. So grab a drink and settle in at legendary spots like The Spotted Cat and Blue Nile to hear the best New Orleans has to offer. Just know that some places charge cover, and you’ll likely have to buy a drink or two.

Go to sleep (12:30a.m.)

It’s back to the hotel with you! Whether you’re heading for the airport in the morning, or gearing up to do it all over again, you’ll need your beauty sleep.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: City, Food & drink, Music

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One thought on “24 hours in New Orleans (the cheap version)”

  1. The good news is, it’s also pretty easy not to. The city’s overflowing with cheap eats and things to do, meaning you can pack your itinerary as much as you want. Where such information?

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