Mardi Gras is right around the corner and it got me thinking about Fat Tuesday celebrations. It’s all in good fun, but what to do when you aren’t partying it up and watching parades? There are actually a lot of things to do in New Orleans when there aren't drunken crowds showing their goods for beads. If you're wondering how to fill the rest of your trip around the hoopla of Mardi Gras.
Did you know that New Orleans is a great budget destination? I didn't either! Why not take a little detour from the revelers in the street and explore these options after a big plate of beignets:
Save on your trip to New Orleans with the Power Pass. Starting as low as $28 per day, gain entry to the must-see attractions of the city. Choose from places like the Musee Conti Wax Museum, Audubon Zoo, Cajun Pride Swamp Tour and much more! Available in 1, 2, 3 and 5 day durations. Add a 1-3 day MealTicket to eat at awesome restaurants for one low price. If you know you’ll be stuffing your face with étouffée, jambalaya and other Cajun deliciousness, this is definitely the way to go!
You can also take advantage of OpenTable’s deals for dining. With special menus at some restaurants, you can save money, or just reserve a table that will get you points towards a free meal in the future and ensure you don’t have to wait around if the restaurant is busy.
Here’s another fantastic way to save on meals. Fodor’s lists 10 places to eat under $10. You can’t beat that. Almost. Here’s the short list, but if you want to know more, check out the Fodor’s website for all the wheres and whys.
· Angeli on Decatur
· Balcony Bar & Café
· Café du Monde
· Clover Grill
· The Joint
· Juan’s Flying Burrito
· La Peniche
· Mimi’s in the Marigny
· Parkway Bakery & Tavern
· Trolley Stop Café
Like to be scared? New Orleans has always claimed to have a rich history in the occult and creepy myths. For an hour and a half walk among the darkened streets on the New Orleans Vampire Tour for only $20 per person. Many other walks are available, but who wouldn't want to believe in the undead and the horrible things that happen in the shadows of the city? Of course, if you’re heading to Louisiana for a little romantic getaway, you might want to pick a different tour…although, this will probably give you a fantastic reason to snuggle close to your significant other, even after the walk is over.
Bringing the kids with you? Take a trip to the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Admission is $8 for everyone ($10 if you wait to purchase tickets at the door) and children 1 and under are free. They have more than 30,000 square feet of interactive exhibits to keep you and your little ones entertained for hours and hours. Learn a whole bunch of stuff while you’re having fun, so you don’t even know it’s educational!
Hop on the Canal-Algiers Ferry for free (if on foot) and get some of the best views of New Orleans from the Mississippi. (Also, how many other times are you gonna get to travel the Mississippi?!) Before returning on the ferry, grab a bite at one of the many cafes and take a walk along the Jazz Walk of Fame.
The streetcar is a very affordable way to get from point A to point B while also giving you a city tour. It stops at a variety of attractions along the way and it only costs $1.25. Super cheap sightseeing!
Love your booze? Then take a tour of the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. This is probably a much safer way to sample some cocktails than getting wasted on the streets with everyone else. For a whopping $10, you can tour the distillery, get free transportation there, a free rum cocktail and a tasting of all four of their rum products at the end.
If that was just too much fun for words, make you way to the Museum of the American Cocktail. Explore their collection of books, rare spirits, glasses, shakers, photos, gadgets and so much more to see how cocktails have evolved over the years. This, too, is just $10 per person. Unfortunately, all you get at the end is a trip to the gift shop, but then you can buy some fun books on vintage cocktails and go home and recreate them for friends in a funky retro party.
These are just some of the ways you can fill your time on your visit to the Big Easy that doesn’t involve crowds of people or emptying out your wallet. Check out my Facebook page for airfare deals that are popping up all over the place in order to make your trip “cheaper” and Laissez les bons temps rouler.
Have you been to New Orleans? What are your budget tips for the city?