Vacationing, especially when you plan the right way, doesn't have to be expensive. New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the finest cities in the U.S. to enjoy on the cheap. Walking down the street in the Crescent City is a show. Art, music, architecture, food and culture are everywhere and not expensive if you know where to look.
|Image by Luvadish via Trover.com|
The summer is the best time to stay in New Orleans economy style. Sure, it's hot and humid, but you're on vacation. Bring your skimpy clothes and stop hurrying. You'll come to understand why Southerners take it so slow.
Hotels in New Orleans cut their rates in half during the sticky months. If you're travelling alone or with some buddies, hostels are a great choice. The Atlas House, walking distance from the French Quarter, has a courtyard hot tub, an outdoor kitchen, free breakfast and W-Fi.
If you're bringing the family, check out Airbnb for thousands of apartments in town, many of which are under $100 a night. You'll have a private bathroom, internet and a kitchen.
Being able to cook for yourself is key. Paying someone else to cook is not the Po-Boy way.
Eat Your Way Through Town
With an unlimited streetcar pass, you can go from Riverbend to the French Quarter with style and ease. Investigate the Crescent City Farmers Market. On Tuesday and Saturday, local chefs offer free cooking demonstrations. Live music plays every other Saturday.
Le Bon Temps Roule on Magazine St. offers free oysters Fridays at 7 followed by live music. You can't be a true Po-Boy without eating one. Johnny's Po-Boys in the French Quarter makes some of the best and has been doing it since 1950. When you start feeling the heat, cool off with a Snowball. You can get this shaved ice and syrup classic all over town for about a buck and a half.
Then Dance Off the Calories
Now that you're fuelled, get down to Frenchmen Street. This is where the locals go to avoid the noise and tourists of Bourbon Street. And the cost. Many of the clubs have no cover charge. You'll hear jazz, blues, Latin, reggae and things you've never imagined.
The Satchmo Summerfest takes place at the end of August. The three-day event celebrates the life and music of Louis Armstrong. It was meant to be a one-time event in 2001 to celebrate Louis' 100th birthday, but it was so much fun they do it every year. And it's free.
A half-year after Mardi Gras, New Orleans does it again. Mid-Summer Mardi Gras takes place at the end of August. The Krewe of OAK leads a pub crawl/parade through the city. Last year it involved 200,000 people. OAK stands for "Outrageous and Kinky," so use your imagination to conjure up how wild this even can get. And, of course, street musicians of every flavor abound.
Even the cemeteries in New Orleans are fascinating, and the dead don't charge. So plan ahead, and you can have a fat time on a skinny budget.
See my disclaimer.