Beignets by Matt Forcey
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!
800 Decatur St.
Cost: $6.79 (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 $7 (be sure to bring cash and don’t forget to leave a few bucks on the table for a tip).
923 Decatur St.
Cost: $13.95 (half of the muffuletta)
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. 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.
622 Royal St.
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 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.
2 Canal St.
Cost: $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.
419 Decatur St.
Want to soak up some Crescent City history? Visit the Historic New Orleans Collection’s free exhibits for an up-close, visual history of the city.
Planning a trip to New Orleans? Check availability for your travel dates and book your stay online. Also, make sure to take advantage of our low weekday rates and special offers. If you find lower rates on your Place d’Armes room at the time of booking, we will match the rate! And you can get exclusive deals and discounts at our New Orleans hotel by signing up for our email list.