Staying Fit in the French Quarter While on Vacation

The French Quarter is full of temptations, from the rich dishes to decadent desserts and drinks. You can eat whatever you want and still maintain your exercise regimen when you’re in town with our tips below.

Take a Guided or Self-Guided Walking Tour

City sightseeing bus tours from Hop-On Hop-Off New Orleans come with a major bonus: the unlimited 3-day package ($49) includes two free walking tours. Guided French Quarter tours depart daily from Jackson Square every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can also hop on the bus and hop off at the Garden District, where you can take an escorted tour of the neighborhood or a self-guided tour of Lafayette Cemetery #1. You see more on foot, and burn calories, too.

 Rent a Bike and See the Sights

Many locals get around town on bikes and you can too, seeing all the sights along the way. Book a three-hour bike tour with Flambeaux Tours ($45/person) or Freewheelin’ Bike Tours ($49/person). Both companies offer a variety of routes through different neighborhoods, led by experienced guides.

 Burn Fat While Getting Funky

Shake you body while burning off some fat! Move Ya Brass offers two free weekly classes on the Mandeville Wharf: Move Ya Brass (Tuesday, 5:45) and Twerk Ya Brass (Thursday, 5:45).

Practice Yoga in Historic Surroundings

You can practice yoga anywhere. But here in the Quarter, you can breathe, stretch and strike classic poses in one of the city’s most historic buildings. Yoga at the Cabildo is held in a light-filled gallery hung with flags from all the countries that once raised their flags over New Orleans. Hour-long classes every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:30 a.m. cost $15.

Best Desserts Near the Place d’Armes Hotel

New Orleans has a sweet tooth 24/7, from the first sugar-dusted beignets at  Cafe Du Monde to the last Grasshopper at Tujague’s, which invented the frothy green nightcap in 1918. But the real stars of the show are the city’s iconic desserts, all within blocks of the Place d’Armes. Even if you think you can’t eat another bite after dinner, who can resist the divine decadence of bread pudding, Bananas Foster or a creamy praline?

 NOLA Restaurant (534 St. Louis St.)

There are infinite variations of New Orleans bread pudding, but the seasonal spins on the classic dessert at Emeril’s Quarter outpost keep dessert mavens coming throughout the year. Fresh blueberry bread pudding pops up in summer, while gingerbread pudding with cranberry chutney is a holiday staple. Pecan pie bread pudding dresses up for the late fall with a top layer of bourbon-laced pecan pie filling. Go ahead, add that scoop of sweet potato ice cream. Yum!

 Brennan’s (417 Royal St.)

All roads lead to Brennan’s when it comes to Bananas Foster, which was invented by the family-owned restaurant in 1951. An outrageously rich sauce tops bananas and vanilla ice cream, swirling dark rum and banana liqueur into a roux of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. The best part? It’s prepared tableside by your server as a spectacular flambé.

Southern Candymakers (334 Decatur St.)

Got a hankering for something sweet as you wend your way back to the Place d’Armes? Southern Candymakers has you covered. Made fresh daily in small batches, the award-winning pralines are the marquee attraction; try a piece hot off the slab for a slice of heaven. You’ll also find a bounty of tortues, toffees and other confections, gaily wrapped in gift boxes to take back home.

Nearby Nightlife

The French Quarter never closes! You can stay up all night enjoying the cocktails and delicious food, dance till dawn, listen to live music, or simply roam the 300-year-old streets.

For some free live music (most often a very decent brass band) plus street performances of every kind hit Jackson Square, only two blocks away from the hotel. From there, the hustle and the bustle of the neon-lit Bourbon Street is an easy walk away (grab a hurricane to go at Pat O’Brien’s while you’re at it).

If you want a historic setting along with your drink, walk down Bourbon toward Esplanade Avenue till you hit Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. If you’re heading the other way, toward Canal Street, don’t miss the beautifully appointed Bombay Club. It has live music and the largest selection of martinis in the city.

For some never-ending indoor fun, Harrah’s Casino New Orleans is full of late-night action, and we don’t just mean gambling but all of its restaurants, bars, and so on. To drink where the locals drink, try Molly’s at the Market on Decatur Street or Black Penny on N. Rampart Street.

A lot of restaurants are open past midnight in the French Quarter, but if you want to grab some food way later, Killer Poboys in Erin Rose doles out some of the best po-boys in the city from a tiny takeout window in the back. Then you can hit the 24/7 Cafe du Monde for some beignets, or dance till dawn at Santos.

Charming Coffee and Tea Shops Near Place d’Armes Hotel


Photo: “Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde” by Selena N. B. H. On flickr

New Orleans is known worldwide for its rich roasted coffee, and tourists flock in droves to Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur St.) for their signature cafe au lait and beignets. Looking for a quieter spot to sip a cup of java or share a pot of tea with a friend? You’ll find several smaller charming cafes tucked away in the Quarter near Place D’Armes.

Spitfire Coffee (627 St. Peter St.)

A tiny treasure, this shoebox-sized space holds just two tables but its java really packs a punch. One of the first local shops to bring “third wave” brews of non-chicory coffee to New Orleans, its specialty drinks include such exotic concoctions as Las Tres Flores, which laces latte with lavender milk, orange blossom syrup and rose petals. Heavenly!

French Truck Coffee (217 Chartres St.)

Known for its sustainably sourced coffee, bought directly from growers in Kenya and Peru, French Truck unveils the alchemy behind its potent java brews. Visitors can watch every delicious drop drip into glass decanters set up on the coffee bar.

Envie 308 Espresso Bar & Cafe (308 Decatur St.)

Long an institution in its original location near the French Market, Envie’s new outpost at the Canal St. end of the Quarter is a more intimate space. Brick walls lined with local art provide a romantic backdrop for potent brews and a light menu of pastries and sandwiches.

Bottom of the Cup Tea Room (327 Chartres St.)

“Step Back in History” in this fabled tea room, where sipping a cup of fine fresh-brewed tea is just the beginning of your journey. Get your future divined from the tea leaves at the titular bottom of the cup, or have your tarot cards read by some of the city’s most talented psychics. Crystal balls, wands and other tools of divination are also available for sale.

A Walking Guide to the French Quarter Fest

french-quarter-fest
Bonerama by David Fary

You could — and probably should — spend $85 or more for a one-day ticket to Jazz Fest this spring (we’re quoting the latest at-the-gate price). But you should also consider coming to New Orleans a few weeks earlier, from April 11 through 14,  for the largest free music festival in the south. During French Quarter Festival, the weather is better (read: less hot); there are plenty of restaurants where you can escape the crowds and relax over a meal — and, did we mention the festival is entirely free?

These are just a few reasons why over 750,000 music fans got their groove on at French Quarter Fest last year, and there are hundreds more reasons for you to come this year. That’s how many musicians perform on stages scattered throughout the French Quarter, playing traditional jazz, Zydeco, and every Louisiana music genre in between.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of four days of music spread across multiple stages, that’s totally understandable. Here’s your walking guide to the French Quarter Festival — so you can plan your day for minimum trekking and maximum music enjoyment.

2-minute walk from Hotel Place d’Armes: Jackson Square

Don’t be surprised if you can hear the St. Louis Cathedral bells ringing from the hotel lobby — that’s because you’re literally steps away from Jackson Square, which hosts the outdoor Smokefree NOLA Stage. Jackson Square’s palm-tree lined park offers a shady place to dance the day away, and don’t forget to swing by the juried art show in Pirates Alley Cafe on Saturday and Sunday. P.S. Pirates Alley was one of William Faulkner’s favorite hangouts — he used to live and write there.

3-minute walk: Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is bustling, it’s bawdy, and no trip to New Orleans would be complete without a visit. Fortunately, four stages in the 300-700 blocks provide ample excuses to indulge at this booze-soaked thoroughfare. The Jazz Playhouse hosts a stage and provides a luxe, 1940s-inspired vibe that feels light years away from the mayhem outside.

5-minute walk: Royal Street

On any given day, sections of Royal Street are closed to traffic. Buskers, bands and other performers fill the streets while pedestrians browse antiques shops, galleries and boutiques. But French Quarter Fest pushes Royal Street’s everyday ambience to a new level. You’ll find four music stages nestled in the 400-700 blocks of Royal Street, including the BMI Songwriter Stage at the Historic New Orleans Collection (533 Royal St.). Pop in here to cool off and soak up the best original tunes up-and-coming Louisiana musicians have to offer. Pro tip: The Rouses stage (700 Royal St.) is hosted by a grocery store, which is a great place to snag affordable bottled water, sunscreen, or other fest essentials that may not have made it into your carry-on.

10-minute walk: Woldenburg Park

This narrow, grassy strip overlooking the Mississippi River is where you’ll find the lion’s share of the action, with musicians on four main stages pumping out the jams. You’ll also find the family-friendly New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park Centennial Stage for Kids here.

The outlier is a stage at Spanish Plaza, which is located at the southernmost end of Woldenberg Park, by The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. It’s about a 15-minute walk to this stage, so while you’re out there, you can scoop up some bargains at retailers including Neiman Marcus Last Call and Nordstrom Rack. This recently renovated mall boasts the largest urban outlet collection in the country.

12-minute walk: Old U.S. Mint

Functioning as a branch mint of the United States Mint from 1838 to 1861, this historic building now hosts a jazz museum. During French Quarter Fest, you’ll find the Popeyes Brass Band Jam stage there, as well as the WWL Esplanade in the Shade stage on its lawn. A first-aid station, restrooms, ATM, merch shop, bike parking, and food tents round out the offerings at this oh-so-essential stop. It’s also situated near the Decatur Street stages and is right on the edge of the French Quarter, where the funky, music-club lined Frenchmen Street begins. After dark, head this way to keep the party going at legendary venues like the Spotted Cat, Blue Nile and d.b.a.

Pizza in the French Quarter — Place d’Armes Hotel

Pizza in the French Quarter and nearby the Place d’Armes Hotel

Although New Orleans isn’t a pizza mecca like Chicago or New York, it does boast a wide range of pie styles and eateries. They range from artisanal, wood-fired pies served in glossy restaurants to pizza-by-the-slice slung from a hole in the wall. You really can’t go wrong with any of these nearby pizza joints.

Vieux Carre Pizza (733 St. Louis St., French Quarter)

Sometimes you just need food at 3 a.m. For those times, there’s Vieux Carre Pizza, a late-night joint where pies are available for delivery or by the slice.

Louisiana Pizza Kitchen (95 French Quarter Place, French Quarter)

Gulf shrimp, Andouille sausage and Louisiana eggplant are just a few toppings you’ll find at this unfussy pizza spot, which serves wood-fired pies with a local twist.

Crescent City Pizza Works (407 Bourbon Street, French Quarter)

Massive New York-style pizzas loaded with toppings ranging from cheeseburger to barbecue pork are served til 6 a.m. at this casual, late-night pizza joint. A slice runs around $5.

Domenica (123 Baronne St., CBD)

Helmed by chef Alon Shaya, this sleek restaurant has fantastic Napolitano-style pizzas and the best happy hour special in town: from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily, all pizzas, along with beer, wine and well drinks, are half price.

Paladar 511 (511 Marigny St., Marigny)

Venture to the Marigny for California-style pizzas served in an industrial-chic warehouse.

Pizza Delicious (617 Piety St., Bywater)

Traditional, New York-style pizza with big, foldable slices and toppings ranging from pepperoni to vegan cheese is on the menu at this casual counter-serve.

Nearby Stores for Essentials – Place d’Armes Hotel New Orleans

Rouses Grocery
Rouses Grocery Photo by Ed Hart on flickr

Ah, the French Quarter. It’s a treasure trove of living history, a blur of 24/7 nightlife, a top-notch spot for dining out, and an amazing tourist destination that attracts more than 10 million visitors each year. But it’s also a living, breathing neighborhood. Thousands of people call the French Quarter home—and they have to do laundry, buy groceries and go to the drugstore just like everywhere else. Which means the French Quarter is stocked with not-so-glamorous (but highly essential) businesses that can make your stay a little smoother. Did you forgot your toothbrush, or do you want to stock up on fresh fruit for hotel room snacking? Here are some nearby spots where you can find these essentials.

Rouses Market (701 Royal St.)

This Lafayette-based supermarket chain has a distinctly Louisiana flavor. (Where else can you find jambalaya and boiled crawfish in the prepared foods section?) All the grocery store essentials are available in this petite market, plus a diverse wine, beer and liquor selection. Bonus: it’s open til 1 a.m.

CVS (620 Decatur St.)

What’s worse than getting sick during your vacation? Not much…unless you’re sick and you don’t have access to a drug store. Thankfully, this won’t be the case in the French Quarter. You can phone in and pick up prescriptions or grab a bottle of sunscreen (and a bottle of champagne…there are surprisingly good deals on liquor to be had at this CVS).

Suds Dem Duds (1101 Bourbon St.)

This coin-operated laundromat features free Wi-Fi, and if you find yourself in need of a laundry service, text Suds Dem Duds at 985-789-8353 for a pickup. Laundry is washed and delivered same day–with a festive bow on the bag.

Mary’s Ace Hardware Store (732 N. Rampart St.)

There’s nothing like a handy little hardware store—because you never know when you’ll need to buy a coffee machine, bike repair tools, or a quality umbrella. Mary’s Ace Hardware features free coffee, off-street parking and friendly employees. Plus, the second floor is a surprisingly good source for a last-minute hostess gift.

Matassa’s Market (1001 Dauphine St.)

It’s easy to see why Matassa’s has been a staple for French Quarter residents for more than 85 years.This newly revamped grocer is known for its hot plates and fried chicken, and they also stock all the household essentials from toilet paper to ice. Plus, everything the store sells is available for delivery.

Walgreens (619 Decatur St.)

It’s exactly what you’d expect from a drugstore, but with more NOLA flair: New Orleans postcards, pralines and Cafe du Monde coffee are all for sale here (and they’re cheaper than what you’d pay at a tourist trap). You can also find ponchos, flip-flops, sunscreen and other essentials for the subtropical summer weather.

24 Hours in the French Quarter – Place d’Armes Hotel

24 Hours in the French Quarter - Place d'Armes Hotel
Photo by Trevor Mark

In New Orleans, bars stay open all night long, and they’re not the only 24-hour attraction the city has to offer. Here’s your itinerary for a perfect 24 hours in the Vieux Carre. (You can sleep on the plane.)

6 a.m. Sunrise on the Mississippi.

Rise and shine! Start the morning by watching the sunrise over the Mississippi River. Beams sparkle on the water, gulls soar overhead, and the entire city feels fresh and new (mostly because the streets are cleaned at night). Grab few bucks for your fare and catch the 6:15 a.m. ferry to the Westbank, enjoying the sunrise from the middle of the river.

7:30 a.m. Breakfast at Croissant d’Or (617 Ursulines Ave.)

Savor the 19th-century ambiance at this pastel jewel-box of a patisserie. French pastries, quiches, croissants and breakfast sandwiches line the glass cases. Grab an almond croissant and a cup of coffee and head to the petite courtyard to peruse the Times-Picayune or the New Orleans Advocate. (Even if you’re reading on your tablet, you’ll still feel transported to a slower time.)

9 a.m. Take a free walking tour of the French Quarter

Get some physical activity while learning the history of the Vieux Carre from a park ranger at the French Quarter Visitor Center. Tickets are handed out at 9 a.m., and the tour starts at 9:30. Don’t forget to bring water and wear comfortable shoes.

10:30 a.m. Window-shop on Royal Street

Antiques, art galleries, buskers, boutiques…you’ll find all these and more on Royal Street. Standouts on the pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare include M.S. Rau (630 Royal St.), a treasure trove of antiques and oddities, Trashy Diva (537 Royal St), a dress boutique with locally designed, vintage-inspired frocks, and Red Truck Gallery (938 Royal St.), a gallery teeming with eccentric, folk art-inspired pieces by local artists.

12 p.m. Lunch at Galatoire’s (209 Bourbon St.)

Lunch at Galatoire’s is a time-honored tradition among New Orleanians. On Friday afternoons, it seems that half the city’s workforce gathers in this tiled dining room to eat, drink and be merry over shrimp remoulade and filet mignon. It’s the rowdiest fine dining you’ll ever experience…but don’t forget to follow the dress code (business casual for lunch, jackets for men during dinner).

1:30 p.m. Stroll through Jackson Square

The French architects who designed New Orleans’ layout originally conceived of Jackson Square as the hub of the city’s activities–and so it remains. Ringed with shops, restaurants and museums, it features a shady park with a large fountain, where you can sit and relax in the shade. Beyond the park, find palm readers, fortune tellers, portrait painters, mimes, buskers and every flavor of performance artist conceivable.

3 p.m.  Explore the St. Louis Cathedral

The St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest operating cathedral in the U.S.–and many believe it is the most beautiful. The cathedral is free and open to the public. Walk the aisle, admire the stained glass stations of the cross, light a candle and have a moment of prayer or quiet reflection in the pews.

3:30 p.m. Tour the Presbytere (751 Chartres St.)

Visiting after Carnival season has ended? No worries. You can get your fix of Mardi Gras at the Louisiana State Museum’s Mardi Gras exhibit. Float sketches, ornately beaded costumes and videos capture the excitement of a parade.

6 p.m. Dinner at Irene’s Cuisine (539 St. Philip St.)

Creole fare meets Italian cuisine at this intimate eatery. Its softshell crabs are some of the best you’ll ever taste.

8 p.m. Catch live jazz at The Bombay Club (830 Conti St.)

Settle into a deep leather chair at this handsome restaurant/bar and enjoy the sounds of trad jazz, cocktail in hand. You’ll feel like you’re in a 1940s-era nightclub (and the martini glasses actually are vintage). Check the nightly offerings here.

10 p.m. Hit Bourbon Street

It’s cheesy, it’s tacky, it’s neon-lit, and it’s an absolute must if you’re visiting New Orleans. Order a hurricane to go from Pat O’Briens (718 St. Peter St.) and make your way down the corridor of decadence. Stop in any club that catches your eye, hit the dance floor, make a friend or make a fool of yourself–that’s what Bourbon Street is here for.

1 a.m. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (941 Bourbon St.)

Wind up your Bourbon Street expedition with a visit to this ancient, weathered, candlelit bar, where privateer Jean Lafitte once held court, and where it’s easy to feel like a modern-day pirate. After all, it’s the longest operating bar in the U.S.

2 a.m. Beignets at Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur St.)

At this point, you could probably use some food. Deep-fried and topped with mounds of fluffy confectioner’s sugar, beignets hit the spot. Paired with a steaming hot cafe au lait, they just might give you a second wind. Which is good, because you’re going to need it.

3 a.m. Hit the dance floor at Santos (1135 Decatur St.)

Lots of different nightclubs have called this address home over the years. Its current incarnation is Santos Bar, a spinoff from the hip Garden District hotspot called The Saint. Every night has a different theme and a different late-night dance party.

5 a.m. Unwind on your private balcony

Place d’Armes features a number of rooms with balconies overlooking the French Quarter. Sit back, relax and congratulate yourself on a truly epic day (and night) before hitting the pillow. Then enjoy your rest…you’ve earned it.

Kid-friendly Activities Near the Place D’armes French Quarter Hotel

Kid-friendly Activities Near the Place D'armes French Quarter Hotel
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas by Gary J. Wood on Flickr

Don’t be fooled by New Orleans’ hard-partying reputation. Beyond the 24/7 bars and Bourbon Street debauchery, there’s a culturally rich, historic, and yes, kid-friendly city to explore. That goes double for the French Quarter, which is a tourist destination as well as a living, breathing neighborhood with residents of all ages. It might not be the whitewashed version you’ll find in Disneyland—which is all the better for travelers in search of authenticity. Round up the kids and head to the following destinations. The little ones will have so much fun, they won’t realize how much they’re learning.

Ride the streetcar

Newly expanded streetcar routes mean you have options when contemplating this historic and affordable (a day pass, or Jazzy Pass, is $3) mode of transportation. Want to check out mansions on St. Charles Avenue and end at the Audubon Zoo? Hop on the St. Charles streetcar at the foot of Bourbon and Canal Streets. If you prefer to cruise up Canal Street to Mid-City, where City Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the sculpture garden await, pay the $1.25 fare and climb aboard the Canal Street line. For those who prefer to stay closer to home, the Riverfront streetcar glides from end to end of the French Quarter. (Tip: red streetcars are air-conditioned and handicapped-accessible, while the older green streetcars are not.)

Shop at the French Market (2 French Market Place)

New Orleans’ oldest outdoor market (a fixture since 1791) offers everything under the sun: tie-dyed sarongs, local produce, Zippo lighters, sterling silver jewelry, sunglasses, alligator heads, body jewelry and more. You’ll find souvenirs and travel essentials you may have forgotten at home in this five-block stretch of vendors. It’s hard not to be entertained by this open-air market, but a scavenger hunt or souvenir allowance can make it even more exciting for kids.

Go to the Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium (423 Canal St.) and Aquarium of the Americas (1 Canal St.)

Kids can hold stingrays, parakeets and butterflies at these two offshoots of the Audubon Institute. The Aquarium of the Americas offers a mini version of an Amazon rainforest, while the Insectarium’s Butterfly Garden is a peaceful escape that’s aflutter with beautiful winged insects. You can even dare your kids to eat chocolate-covered ants (for sale at the Insectarium).

Visit Jackson Square

From mimes and musicians to palm readers and portrait artists, there’s so much to see and do in Jackson Square. Take a slow stroll around the block and patronize any street artist who strikes your fancy. If the sun gets overbearing, cool off under the trees or by the fountain in the center garden, or wander through the St. Louis Cathedral. It’s a beautiful, serene and sacred place to stop and reflect for a moment.

Nosh on beignets at Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur St.)

You may spur a major sugar high when you bring children to Cafe du Monde, but the rewards are worth the risk. Order beignets and hot cocoa—the price is under $10, and the adorable shots of kids covered with spilled powdered sugar will be treasured for years to come.

Take a ghost tour

Let’s face it: ghost stories are spookiest when you’re a child. That means the under-18 set is the best audience for a ghost tour. Check out Gray Line’s ghost tour, which caters to children and has the added bonus of a cemetery trip. Stroll through these ornate, historic “cities of the dead,” view the tomb of Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau and let your imagination run wild. (Warning: Not all ghost tours are kid-friendly. If you don’t go with our suggestion, be sure to inquire before you book your tour).

 

The French Quarter on $20

French Quarter Under $20 Beignets by Matt Forcey
Beignets by Matt Forcey

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the greatest free party on earth—and the fun doesn’t stop when Lent begins. The Crescent City is surprisingly affordable all year round, and the bulk of its fun, free activities are concentrated in the French Quarter near Place d’Armes Hotel. In fact, it’s entirely possible to spend a day exploring, eating and sightseeing in the Vieux Carre without spending more than $20. Here’s your itinerary–laissez le bon temps roulez!

Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur St.)

$5.46 for beignets and cafe au lait
Cafe du Monde is an institution and for good reason: the Vieux Carre coffee stand has been slinging beignets since 1862. There are no reservations at the 24/7 joint–just find a table and take a seat. Order a cup of hot cafe au lait and a steaming plate of beignets (fried French donuts topped with a small mountain of confectioner’s sugar). Dig in while listening to jazz music drifting over from Jackson Square and feeling the breeze off the nearby Mississippi River. It’s a priceless experience, but it will only set you back about $6 (be sure to bring cash and don’t forget to leave a few bucks on the table for a tip).

The Algiers Ferry

$2.00 ($4.00 round trip)
Admiring the passing riverboats on the Mississippi, but short on cash? There’s a way you can cruise the Mississippi for a fraction of the cost of admission to a paddlewheeler. It’s called the Algiers Ferry, and it’s your portal to the West Bank. Pay $2.00 cash to board the double-decker ferry, which docks at the foot of Canal Street, near the Aquarium of the Americas. Lean against the railing as the ferry pulls away, and enjoy sweeping views of downtown. The St. Louis Cathedral’s spires never look as beautiful as when viewed from the river. After the five-minute ride to the West Bank concludes, you can walk around Algiers Point, New Orleans’ second-oldest neighborhood, and stroll the Jazz Walk of Fame on the Mississippi River levee.

M.S. Rau Antiques

Free
Every item at the auction house looks like it costs at least a quarter of a million dollars, but a visit is free. If you walk through into the spacious back area, you’ll find a room filled with priceless antiques and oddities, including 18th-century French mantels, statuary and elaborate player pianos.

Central Grocery (923 Decatur St.)

$9.50
Layered with Italian deli meats, provolone cheese and olive salad and served on a seeded bun, a muffuletta sandwich is an original New Orleans creation, and Central Grocery invented it. Line up at the historic grocer and deli to try one. Word to the wise: a whole muffuletta is enough to feed two people, so opt for a half-sandwich at $9.50. Bring it to the Moonwalk for a riverside picnic that won’t set you back much cash and that will keep you happily full for hours.

Tour of the French Quarter (419 Decatur St.) and a trip to the Historic New Orleans Collection

Free
Want to soak up some Crescent City history? The National Park Service offers free tours from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. A park ranger guides groups of 25 along the Mississippi River and tells them about New Orleans’ history. Tickets are first come, first served, and they are available starting at 9 a.m. Afterwards, visit the Historic New Orleans Collection’s free exhibits, which include Storyville: Madams and Music and Giants of Jazz: Art Posters and Lithographs by Waldemar Świerzy from the Daguillard Collection, for an up-close, visual history of the city.