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. Soak in the best of a New Orleans summer with sno-balls, trips to a hotel pool, and lots of fun in the sun. Here are our top picks for July in New Orleans.

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Welcome the return of ESSENCE Festival    

This July 4-7, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture returns to New Orleans. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the fest features performances each night and daytime activations with guest speakers throughout the festival dates. Oh, and don’t forget to show some love to or Black-owned businesses while you’re in town. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Essence Fest here.

Celebrate Fourth of July in New Orleans   

New Orleans is a great place to spend Fourth of July weekend.  Go Fourth on the River returns with a spectacular fireworks show from the historic Riverfront. The show is at 9 p.m. You won’t want to miss it.

Participate in Running of the Bulls   

Every year in 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 wheels equipped with plastic bats. Watch from a balcony or, if you’re brave, join in on the fun this July 12-14. The running itself is on Saturday, July 13, with events throughout the weekend. Proceeds benefit Beth’s Friends Forever, a non-profit that helps fund resources for New Orleans-area women fighting cancer.

Enjoy Bastille Day Fête in New Orleans 

Louisiana’s French roots call for Bastille Day celebrations in July. Alliance Française de La Nouvelle-Orléans will host Bastille Day Fête with food, live music, kids' activities, a costume contest, and fun for all on July 12.

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 summer, see three musicals via Tulane Summer Lyric Theater. Anything Goes will be performed from July 11-14. See what else is on this summer in our summer theater guide here

Experience Tales of the Cocktail   

The world’s largest cocktail conference returns this July 21-26. The multi-day event is filled with seminars, workshops, tastings, competitions, networking, and much more all in the cocktail capital of the world. 

Aleks Danielle Butman, Courtesy of Four Seasons New Orleans

Stay cool at a hotel pool 

Relax and unwind at a hotel pool in New Orleans. We’ve got hotel pools by type of traveler here. So whether you’re coming with the whole family or riding solo, a cool escape is not far away.

Enjoy an indoor attraction 

The weather in July can be warm, humid, and sometimes rainy in the afternoons, giving you the perfect excuse to visit an indoor attraction. Check out our rainy day itinerary here and enjoy a trip to the Audubon Aquarium, the New Orleans African American Museum, and more. 

Do a thing or two for free 

Summer in New Orleans is the season of long hours and deep discounts. Watch the sunset and sailboats on the Lakefront, check out the city’s free outdoor movie series, or enjoy Tipitina’s free music Fridays throughout the summer. See here for 35 free things to do this summer in NOLA