New Orleans
Credit: Courtesy of Hadi Ktiri

This city does not discriminate against the thrifty. In a town with so many mixed income levels, it’s no wonder that fun can be had for next to nothing. Let’s take the people watching, for example. New Orleans doesn’t have the scenery some cities have. Denver has mountains, California has great beaches, and New York has staggeringly tall buildings and endless movement on the streets. New Orleans has interesting people. People watching in this city has long been a favorite pastime. If you’re skeptical, just try walking Bourbon Street stone sober and you’ll understand immediately. Save your money for dinner at Arnaud’s and spend the day doing a couple of these and you’ll be glad you did when it comes time to get that second bottle of wine.

Watch the Street Musicians

Gliding through the air like a breeze, New Orleans jazz is part of the city in the most intimate of ways. Royal Street in the French Quarter is one such hotspot. Buskers routinely play on the corners to strolling masses. One performer told me, “If my music makes you stop and listen, leave a tip. If you don’t stop, I don’t deserve one.”

Relax in the Park

New Orleans boasts one of the largest parks in the country, City Park. Only a streetcar ride away, City Park is home to the New Orleans Museum of Art, a beautiful sculpture garden, and the New Orleans Botanical Gardens. After a stroll through the trees, stop at Morning Call, a famous local coffeeshop that’s been open for over 140 years.

St. Charles Streetcar

For only $2.50 you can ride roundtrip from Canal Street to Carrolton Avenue. Along the way are some of the most beautiful 19th century homes in New Orleans. Get off at Riverbend (Carrolton and St. Charles) and walk up to the river for great views of the Mississippi speckled with boats passing on their way to port.

Go People Watching

The most interesting sights in New Orleans are often the people. Because of the city’s laissez-faire policies regarding public drinking, the people are quite the entertaining bunch. Jackson Square is always a favorite spot and routinely has tarot card readers, buskers, and local art on display.

Stroll down Frenchman Street

Most jazz clubs on Frenchman don’t charge a cover, making Frenchman St. perfect for those looking to watch their dime. To pick the best club, start on Decatur St. and walk up listening to the music from outside of the clubs. That way when you get to the end it’s easier to know you’ve gone to the best club for your taste.