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NOLA on $30: The Romantic Edition

A $30, all-day date? It’s possible when you mix free things to do with happy hour prices — and a priceless view of the Mighty Mississippi.

A stunning view of the Mississippi River is ideal for a budget-minded date. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

New Orleans is full of romantic strolls, candle-lit restaurants, and secluded cocktail bars. It’s also a great city for couples on a budget who still want to celebrate their love in style. My husband and I are attempting date night on a $30 budget. Here’s what we’re planning:

Select beer, wine, and cocktails are all part of the happy hour at Tableau in the French Quarter -- complete with a picturesque balcony. (Photo via Tableau on Facebook)
Select beer, wine, and cocktails are all part of the happy hour at Tableau in the French Quarter — complete with a picturesque balcony. (Photo via Tableau on Facebook)

Romance on $30

Romantic Stroll: Our date begins with an early afternoon stroll in Crescent Park, walking toward the French Quarter. Though it may be cold elsewhere in the country, winter in New Orleans is a perfect time to get outside and enjoy the cool air. We’ll take our time and maybe even pack a blanket to relax and watch the ships on the Mississippi.

Crescent Park. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

French Quarter Window Shopping: Once we get to the Quarter, we’ll walk down Royal Street toward Jackson Square, stopping in some of our favorite galleries and antique stores like Elliot Gallery and M.S. Rau to fantasize about our dream home.

Just a few of the marvelous antiques at M.S. Rau. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)
Just a few of the marvelous antiques at M.S. Rau. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Tableau Happy Hour and Early Dinner: We’ll end up at Tableau for happy hour, which lasts from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily. If it’s nice outside, we’ll request seats on the balcony that overlooks Jackson Square. We should be able to hear some of the street musicians and enjoy some people-watching. We’ll split an order of sliders and truffle fries and order two half-off Holy Roller IPAs from Urban South. This should run us about $23.00 with a tip.

Running total: $23.00 ($7.00 remaining)

beignets cafe au lait
Budget-friendly beignets from Cafe du Monde. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Dessert: When happy hour ends, we’ll head to Cafe du Monde, grab an order of beignets to go, and enjoy them on a bench by the Mississippi River. The beignets will run us only $2.65, and the view of the barges on the river is priceless.

Running total: $25.65 ($4.35 remaining)

Spotted_Cat_exterior
The exterior of the Spotted Cat. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Live Music at The Spotted Cat: We’ll end our evening at The Spotted Cat for some live music and dancing. The easiest (and cheapest) way to get there is to walk down Decatur Street and turn right onto Frenchmen Street.  We love to dance to live music so we’ll make sure save plenty of energy for this part of the night. Maybe we’ll go a tad over budget to spring for one more drink and use some of our remaining $4.35 to tip the band.

Running total: $30.00 ($0 remaining)

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