New Orleans

One of the mansions in the Garden District of New Orleans. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

New Orleans has some nice options when it comes to free tours that explore the popular French Quarter but also delve into other parts of the city's history too. Visit cemeteries, the Garden District, the Mississippi River and more on foot with guides that bet you'll love the experience -- and tip accordingly.

The deal: Why would anyone offer free city tours? "We think you should decide how much you think the tour was worth when the tour is finished," says the Free Tours by Foot website. These tours, also offered in San Francisco, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and other cities, get good buzz on TripAdvisor where travelers suggest paying $5-$20 per person, depending on which tour you take.

Free Tours By Foot New Orleans: Two-hour tours cover about a mile in the Garden District, Lafayette Cemetery and of course the French Quarter. Free Tours by Foot also offers free bicycle (bring your own bike) and food (pay as you go for samples) tours too. Check the website for a calendar of tours and meeting places. Reservations for some tours required, and guides accept tips/pay-what-you-like. Info: Free Tours by Foot New Orleans

Nola Tour Guy: I first learned about historian David G. Hedges from a description of his free walking tours on Arthur Frommer Online. Hedges invites travelers to "jump into 300 years of history" on two-hour walks in the French Quarter, in cemeteries and in the Garden District. Reservations required, and Hedges accepts tips/pay-what-you-like. Info: NolaTourGuy.com; call or text (504) 300-9489

National Park Service: Free hour-long walks are offered at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in New Orleans, a parkland with six sites that showcases Cajun traditions, bayou habitat, the 1815 Battle of New Orleans and more. Rangers take visitors on history strolls along the Mississippi River and tours of the 18th-century town of Thibodaux. Check the park's Schedule of Events or call for dates, times and meeting locatons; free tickets distributed on first come, first serve basis. Info: Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, (504) 589-3882

Mary.Forgione@latimes.com
Follow us on Twitter @latimestravel, like us on Facebook @Los Angeles Times Travel.