Exploring Uptown New Orleans on a Budget
You don’t have to drop serious cash anywhere in New Orleans to have a great time, and Uptown is no exception. You can still eat really well and get around for a little over a dollar to see some astonishingly beautiful sights. Here are our budget-friendly recommendations near the hotel.
Free parking and working out from Alder
First of all, Alder offers complimentary self-parking in the parking lot directly across the street from the hotel — take full advantage as street parking in the area is limited, and commercial parking lots could be pricey.
How about working out for free? Our guests have the opportunity to use the 24/7 Anytime Fitness center (4600 Freret St.) free of charge (it’s a five-minute walk from the hotel). Please stop by the front desk to check out a key.
For just $1.25 per ride, hop on the historic streetcar that runs along St. Charles Avenue. It can take you all the way to Canal Street (the French Quarter is just across the street), and to the Riverbend in the opposite direction. Many visitors use this opportunity to soak up some incredible views of the stately mansions and live oak trees the Garden District and Uptown are famous for. If you plan to hop on and off the streetcar, you can buy one-, three-, or five-day Jazzy passes online. We also highly recommend taking the streetcar to Lafayette Cemetery #1 (1427 Washington Ave.) for a (free) self-guided walking tour.
Next, enjoy the urban oasis of the historic Audubon Park. This 350-acre public park, where New Orleanians have come to relax since 1898, has a 1.8-mile jogging path, tennis courts, riding stables, soccer fields, plus an area behind the Audubon Zoo and along the Mississippi River called The Fly that is great for walking.
For under $20, you can also hit the historic Audubon Zoo located at the rear of the park (save $3 if you buy tickets online). The elephants, tigers, white alligator, monkeys, and other animals make a visit to this beautifully landscaped zoo a must.
While you’re in the area, why not walk through the grounds of two historic universities, located next to each other? You’ll spot the campuses of Tulane and Loyola universities right across Audubon Park. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, Tulane University’s campus occupies more than 110 acres and extends north to S. Claiborne Avenue through Freret and Willow streets. From Italian Renaissance to Mid-Century Modern, the campus boasts many styles and is known for its large live oak trees.
Loyola’s sprawling main campus also faces St. Charles Avenue and the Audubon Park. Marquette Hall is the oldest campus building and is the iconic image of the university you’ll probably recognize the most. Both campuses absolutely deserve a walkthrough thanks to their architectural significance and lush grounds.
Also, take note: The Newcomb Art Museum on Tulane University’s campus is free and open to the public. Past and present exhibitions have focused on works by contemporary women abstractionists and other contributions by women artists in the multi-disciplinary fields spanning art and design.
Eating and drinking
For a well-priced breakfast, head to the Riverbend area, and hop off at the Camellia Grill (626 S. Carrollton Ave.), a classic diner where white-jacketed staff members serve up cheeseburgers, grilled pecan pie, and cherry-chocolate slushies. Get in line and find out why Camellia Grill has been an institution since 1946.
Need a caffeine fix? Mojo Coffee House (4700 Freret St.) is a cozy, welcoming hangout where you can grab small-batch roasted coffee, a vegan muffin, and connect to wi-fi.
For lunch, grab a cheese plate or a sandwich from St. James Cheese Company, and sit outside for some people-watching. Dat Dog’s both Uptown locations (3336 Magazine Street near Louisiana Avenue and 5030 Freret Street near Soniat Street) have dog-friendly outdoor seating, great for people-watching too. The very affordable Dat Dog dishes out a wide variety of meat, fish, vegan and veggie hot dogs, sausages, and other comfort food like burgers and chicken. The dogs and the sausages come with a choice of more than 30 toppings.
We also recommend The Company Burger on Freret and Cadiz streets (4600 Freret St.) for its affordable menu of delicious burgers, fries and milkshakes. The menu keeps it simple with the award-winning lamb, turkey, and beef burgers, plus sides, shakes, and cocktails. The “not burger” options are also kept simple: hot dogs, and grilled cheese and fried chicken sandwiches.
The family-owned and wallet-friendly Sarita’s Grill (4520 Freret St.) is a good option for both dinner and lunch. This Mexican and Cuban popular eatery has a loyal local following, and you’ll understand why once you try Sarita’s fish tacos or housemade guacamole.
Piccola Gelateria, a classic Italian gelateria with crepes and Italian flatbread sandwiches, can satisfy a craving for something sweet with over a dozen flavors of its small-batch, housemade gelato and sorbetto (and the crepes come in both savory and sweet options). Piccola Gelateria also sells its own, custom-blended, micro-roasted espresso.
For sipping on the budget, hit a happy hour at the James Beard Award winner Cure (4905 Freret St.) or Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar (4338 St. Charles Ave.). Sidle up to Superior’s 32-foot French zinc bar and enjoy the 50-cent raw oysters and Superior’s signature frozen pomegranate mojito (two for one during the happy hour).
Want to see some local music for free? The early shows (7-9 p.m.) at the iconic Circle Bar (1032 St Charles Ave. at the Lee Circle) are usually free, a nightly eclectic mix of live music ranging from country to metal to hip-hop.