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NOLA Romance: 25 Budget-Friendly New Orleans Date Ideas

There’s no doubt about it: New Orleans is a city of romance. There are some exceptional choices in the Big Easy for the fine wining and dining experience; however, what about those of us who find ourselves a little strapped for cash? If you want to maximize your fun per dollar, check out these suggestions for budget-friendly date ideas, just in time for Valentine’s Day planning!

New Orleans Romance on a Budget

Jean Lafitte National Park
Jean Lafitte National Park: it’s hard to see in a picture, but downtown New Orleans is visible from this vantage point (Photo byNikki Carter)

1. Take a hike through City Park’s Couturie Forest and try to spot some wildlife. Then go to the Sculpture Garden and pick out your favorite pieces.

2. Visit the new daMata community acupuncture clinic in the Bywater, where you can pay between $15-35 for a one hour treatment and relax together.

3. Walk or skate around the path at scenic Audubon Park.

4. Pack a picnic (try some cheese from St. James Cheese Company and a bottle of wine from Martin Wine Cellar) and relax at the Fly (the riverside portion of Audubon Park).

5. Visit Jean Lafitte National Park and hope to see a gator.

6. Take a ferry to the West Bank and explore all that Algiers Point has to offer.

7. Ride the streetcar around town and enjoy a passenger’s view of the city.

8. Stroll through Jackson Square and admire the artists’ work on display and the view of the St. Louis Cathedral from Decatur St.

9. Have beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde. Bonus points if you can somehow avoid getting powdered sugar everywhere! Afterward, walk up to the levee and admire the Mississippi River.

10. Feast on a $10 pizza Thursday nights at Katie’s Restaurant in Mid-City.

Aunt Sally's Pralines (Photo Credit: Claire Stewart of Aunt Sally's)
Aunt Sally’s Pralines (Photo courtesy of Claire Stewart of Aunt Sally’s)

11. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a free sample of a praline from Aunt Sally’s Pralines.

12. There is sure to be a happy hour close to you! One I will recommend for those of you that can’t make it to typical happy hours is the late-night happy hour at Hoshun on St. Charles, which runs from 10 p.m. Tuesday nights until 2 a.m. Wednesday morning.

13. Have your fill of 25-cent martinis at Commander’s Palace or SoBou during lunchtime.

14. Get you some free red beans and rice on Mondays at Pal’s Lounge.

new orleans muffaletta
Central Grocery Muffaletta (Photo by Haven Hightower, @dangerhaven Instagram)

15. Stop by Central Grocery, home of the original muffaletta.  Split one – it will be more than enough, I promise.

16. Catch a matinee at Prytania Theatre.

17. Mosey down Frenchmen Street — many of the clubs and bars there offer live music without cover charges.

18. Swing dance to live jazz with your lover.

19. Paddle down Bayou St. John and enjoy a quieter side of the city in a beautiful neighborhood.

20. Participate in one of the regular art walks on Julia or St. Claude (first and second Saturdays, respectively) or browse the many galleries in the French Quarter.

21. Volunteer together!  Search for a cause you’re interested in or find some ideas.

22. Ride bikes to Lake Pontchartrain and sit by the water; Lakeshore Drive is one of my favorite places to run and clear my head.

French Quarter Festival takes place April 10-13 this year (Photo by Jessica Buckley, @jruthieful Instagram)

23. Plan to attend one of the free festivals in the city – French Quarter Fest is a great one and will be coming up in the spring.

24. Fill up on $2 tacos Tuesdays at Rum House on Magazine.

25. Find your zen: take a community yoga class together, many of which are donation-based and offered at practically every studio in town.

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