NOLA for Under $60

New Orleans is always a favorite tourist destination. Most people flock to the city for the infamous Bourbon Street. Something about the aroma of ammonia and garbage captivates thousands of people every year. Don’t ask me why, it’s an experience only truly understood in person. While certain parts of New Orleans are very smelly and dirty, there is plenty to see and do without experiencing that. I’ve had my fair share of day trips to NOLA. All of which allotted very little time to the famed party street.

First, wear your walking shoes. The best (and cheapest) way to see the sights are by foot. Never fear, there are some stents of sitting to give your legs a rest. Secondly, I pride myself on seeing the wonders of the world on a budget. So, I’m going to tell you how to see NOLA for under $60. 
Keep in mind there are 2 of us, so I cut some of the totals in half to get a ‘per person’ price.

My suggestion is to park near the French Quarter. There are parking lots all around and this provides a safe spot for your vehicle, close to the main attractions. This will be one of your biggest expenses. Parking for 12 hours will cost you $27 during the week, or closer to $40 on the weekend. Give yourself more hours than you need because adding hours costs $7 per hour.  I like to park in lot P402 on N Peter Street. They have several parking lots on this street and Decatur Street, so you can usually take your pick. It’s a really good location. 

It’s just a short walk from the parking lot to Café Du Monde and Jackson Square. Skip McDonalds on the way and grab a breakfast beignet and some coffee at one of the most well-known spots in NOLA. I’m sure it was already on the To-Do list, so hit it before the crowds and fuel up for the day. An order of beignets (3 per order) and two drinks cost $9 + a tip. I think we left $3 (or something close) so, that’s $12 total. They give you water, so you could come out even cheaper if you didn’t order a special drink. It is a CASH ONLY establishment, so either bring some with you or stop at the ATM across the street. 
PRO TIP: Stop by Washington Artillery Park (across from Jackson Square) before grabbing a beignet for views of the cathedral and access to the river (pictured above).
Trip Total: $19.50

Once you’ve had your fill of powdered sugar, walk across the street to Jackson Square. Piddle and take some Instagram pictures while you make your way to St. Louis Cathedral. I highly recommend going inside! Upon exiting the cathedral, take Peter St or Ann St up to Royal St. Hang a left and walk down Royal admiring the art galleries and antique shops. Take special note of Hotel Monteleone. (It houses a special surprise that will help us later!)
Once you cross over Canal Street, Royal Street becomes St Charles Ave. Home of the famed St Charles streetcar. It is the oldest running streetcar route in the nation. The street car stops at the corner of St. Charles Ave and Common St. It’s about a half a mile, roughly a 15-minute walk from the cathedral. The streetcar makes the round every 10 minutes or so. My suggestion would be to wait until you find one that isn’t so crowded. Also, purchase a 1-Day Jazzy Pass for $3 instead of paying per ride. The pass is valid for the streetcars and buses if you decide to ride more than once. 
Trip Total: $22.50

There are tons of mansions along the route, so make sure you have a window seat! Ride the street car until you reach Napoleon. Hop off and walk a few blocks to Magazine Street. Here you will find shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s not very touristy, so you won’t find hordes of people here like you will in the French Quarter. When you’re ready for lunch, check out Del Fuego. We shared a taco plate. It has 2 tacos (you can choose different meats) and 2 sides. It was plenty! I also recommend getting a margarita. You’ll only need one as they are relatively stout. Our total for 2 margaritas and the shared plate was $40 tip included.
PRO TIP: You can take your alcoholic beverages TO GO! So, don’t worry about finishing that margarita with your meal.
Trip Total: $42.50

After you’ve seen all Magazine Street has to offer, head back to Napoleon to catch the streetcar back to the French Quarter. Note that the stops have different names on the return ride. This time you’ll want to hop off at Canal at Carondelet. This puts you almost exactly where you started. From here you have a few options….
Walk down Bourbon Street 
Head back to Royal Street for an afternoon beverage 
We opted for the beverage since Bourbon Street really doesn’t pick up until after dark. Remember the special surprise? Hotel Monteleone houses the Carousel Bar. The main bar is designed like a carousel and the seats actually MOVE! It was a really neat experience even if you aren’t much of a drinker. It has a vintage vibe to it, so you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Just a warning, the drinks here can get expensive, so be careful what you pick. We had the Pimm’s Cup which runs $12. It was delicious though! My first experience with Pimm’s, but it was refreshing after a morning of exploring. With a tip, you’re looking at about $15 dollars per drink.
Trip Total: $57.50

With the afternoon Pimm’s Pick-me-up, we kept walking around the French Quarter and visiting the shops. We walked down to the LaLaurie Mansion even though you aren’t allowed inside. Not too impressive, but the area isn’t very crowded. So, if you want to take some street pictures this is a good place. There is also the French Market if you have an interest in going. It is on Decatur Street, just down from Café Du Monde.  
PRO TIP: If you’re shopping around, head to Krewe (it’s a sunglasses store, I had no idea!) off Royal Street and look around. They have FREE Frosé and a cute little courtyard to snag an Instagram shot. 

Day Total: $57.50
While this itinerary gives a good overview of the city, NOLA has so much to offer. Another favorite of mine is the WWII Museum. It will take a large part of the day (if not all day), so plan accordingly. Depending on what you have on your “Must See” list, adjust accordingly. 
If you want to start your day later, then you can follow the same itinerary ending at Bourbon St to see all the party action.