July in New Orleans means Fourth of July celebrations, Running of the Bulls, Tales of the Cocktail, and the return of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture. Enjoy both local and national productions of Broadway musicals, the closing days of Black Pride, the final days of Queen Nefertari’s Egypt, and so much more. Here are our top picks for July in New Orleans. 

Welcome the return of ESSENCE Festival  

This June 30-July 3, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture returns to New Orleans with the theme: It’s the Black Joy for Me! The festival kicks off on June 30 with a performance from Kevin Hart. Then, catch Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, New Edition, Jazmine Sullivan, Summer Walker, and countless others in concert, as well as guest speakers throughout the festival dates. Oh, and don’t forget to show some love to our Black-owned businesses while you’re in town. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Essence Fest here.   

Catch the final days of Queen Nefertari’s Egypt  

On view through July 17 at the New Orleans Museum of Art, journey into ancient Egypt by way of Queen Nefertari. Queen Nefertari, the royal wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II (reigned 1279–13 BCE), is linked to some of the most magnificent monuments of ancient Egypt. Now, artifacts found within her tomb are on display here in New Orleans for a limited time only, March 18-July 17. Learn more and purchase your tickets in advance here.  

Party at Black Pride NOLA 

Enjoy events specifically for the Black LGBTQ+ community throughout the weekend of June 30-July 3, which coincides with the ESSENCE Festival of Culture. There's a white party, a shades of pink party, a LGBTQ+ awards show, and much more - find more information here.  

Celebrate Fourth of July in New Orleans 

New Orleans is a great place to spend Fourth of July weekend. Aside from the festivities that come along with ESSENCE Fest, there are a few Fourth of July events around town that you can’t miss. 4th Fest in Crescent Park features live music and food and beverage sales leading up to the big fireworks show at 9 p.m. Go Fourth on the River returns with a spectacular fireworks show from the historic Riverfront. You won’t want to miss it. 

Participate in Running of the Bulls 

Every year in the heat of July, runners and “bulls” take to the streets of downtown New Orleans in the city’s version of Spain’s Encierro de Pamplona. Our Running of the Bulls happens to feature “roller-bulls” on skates equipped with bats. Watch from a balcony or, if you’re brave, join in on the fun this July 8-10. The running is on Saturday, July 9, with events throughout the weekend; Beth’s Friends Forever and Big Easy Animal Rescue are this year’s charities. 

Cool off with a sno-ball  

It’s officially sno-ball season, and we’ve got plenty to go around. Enjoy this classic New Orleans treat of shaved ice with sweet syrup at Imperial Woodpecker, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, and these sno-ball shops around town. Having trouble deciding what flavor to get? Check out our “What Sno-Ball Are You?” quiz here.   

Catch a Tulane Summer Lyric Theater performance 

This July, see Into the Woods with Tulane Summer Lyric Theater. The musical from Stephen Sondheim is a dark yet whimsical tale where storybook characters like Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk intertwine. Catch the local production at Dixon Hall from July 14-17. 

Experience Tales of the Cocktail 

The world’s largest cocktail conference returns for its 20th year this July 25-29. The five-day event is filled with seminars, workshops, tastings, competitions, networking, and much more. For its 20th anniversary, TOTC will feature both live and virtual events and seminars all celebrating the history of the global drinks industry in tandem with the special, storied relationship between the cocktail and the city of New Orleans.  

See Hamilton with Broadway in New Orleans 

The smash hit Hamilton stops at the Saenger Theater June 21-July 10, telling the story of Alexander Hamilton and America’s founding fathers through hip hop and rap. Get tickets to the show here

Check out Vegan 2 the Soul Festival 

Vegan 2 the Soul Festival returns on Sunday, July 24. The food and lifestyle festival kicks off with free yoga at 10 a.m. From there, enjoy food, art, and music all day at Lemann Park. 

LAGNIAPPE

Bastille Day Fête

Enjoy Bastille Day celebrations from Alliance Française of New Orleans on July 14. The event from 6-10 p.m. will feature live music, a French DJ, crêpes, a champagne bar, and more. Tickets are $8 if you're a member of the organization and $13 if not.