Many of the attractions at New Orleans City Park are free, from the Couturie Forest and Scout Island hiking trails to the walking and biking paths along the lakes and lagoons.
Canal/City Park streetcar: $1.25 will get you there on the Canal/City Park streetcar, which runs from the foot of Canal Street to the front entrance of City Park. The No. 91 RTA bus is the same price and runs from Jackson Avenue and Tchoupitoulas Street Uptown through the CBD, up North Rampart Street, turns on Esplanade Avenue and leaves riders at the front entrance of the park.
New Orleans Museum of Art: At the New Orleans Museum of Art, Wednesdays are free admission days for residents with a Louisiana ID. The regular price is $10 for adults, $8 seniors/students; and $6 for anyone under 18.
Besthoff Sculpture Garden: The 5-acre Besthoff Sculpture Garden is always free and open to the public. Across the road, the New Orleans Botanical Garden, with its dedicated butterfly garden, Japanese garden and palm garden, is $4. Visiting both can while away an afternoon.
City Putt: City Putt, the park's new miniature golf course, is actually two 18-hole courses in one (the New Orleans course and the Louisiana course). Admission to either one is $8, but the savings come if you stick around for a second game on the other course — for an additional $4.
Boating and biking: Boating and biking are free if you bring your own equipment, but you also can rent bicycles and boats at the City Park boat house on the Big Lake (in front of the New Orleans Museum of Art). Adult bikes start at $9 per hour; kids are $7. Kayaks, paddle boats and fishing boats are also available for rent; the bargain there is the single kayak for $12 per hour.
Food and snacks: Food can be hard to find in City Park unless you bring your own. Parker's Cafe in the Carousel Gardens amusement park, offers snack bar-style food and free Wi-Fi, but it's only open when Carousel Gardens is open. Cafe NOMA in the New Orleans Museum of Art is another alternative, but Morning Call is open 24 hours. Basics like gumbo, jambalaya and red beans are $8 a plate (as are Irish coffees), but the budget option here is what Morning Call does well. A $5 bill will get you an order of beignets and cafe au lait — with a buck left over for a tip.
More New Orleans Cheap Thrills:
• City Park on the cheap • 24 cheap eats in 24 hours • 10 restaurants where you can BYOB • Fine dining super-bargains • Happy hours • Bargains at museums • How to see movies for free • Five $10 road trips near New Orleans • Free and cheap live storytelling events • Low-cost dental care