New Orleans, La.
With amazing restaurants, an ideal geography for bar-hopping and lots of shopping opportunities, it is easy to spend a lot of money in New Orleans without trying too hard. Of course, you can enjoy the over-the-top revelry and colorful parades of Mardi Gras, but other festivities, such as the jazz-themed Satchmo Summerfest and the large French Quarter Festival, are interesting and free to attend.
Historic Jackson Square, the classic mansions of the Garden District and the unrivaled atmosphere of the French Quarter offer some of the best sightseeing in the South, while the Algiers Ferry (free for pedestrians) provides a view of the most interesting parts of the city from the water. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation offers a number of free events throughout the year, though some of its most popular, including the New Orleans Jazz Festival, do charge admission.