November in New Orleans is the best of both worlds: the weather is cool, but the sun is out, and holiday festivities are just getting started. This month, attend the New Orleans Film Festival, dance to Caribbean beats at Bayou Bacchanal, celebrate Thanksgiving, head to the Dome for a football game, and mark your calendars for the beginning of Holidays New Orleans Style. Here are our top 15 things to do this November in New Orleans.

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Celebrate Caribbean culture at Bayou Bacchanal 

Bayou Bacchanal, the original Caribbean Carnival of New Orleans, returns on November 4. On festival day in Congo Square, witness an incredible celebration of Caribbean culture with live music, dance, a parade, food, drinks, and an after-party at the Carver Theater, featuring the Trinidadian Soca boss Farmer Nappy in his first-ever performance in New Orleans. The concert begins at 11 p.m. and goes until 3 a.m., and tickets may be purchased here.

Enjoy world premieres at New Orleans Film Festival 

The 34th annual New Orleans Film Festival returns in person this November 2-7. This Oscar®-qualifying event will showcase 130+ films in-person at The Broad Theater, Contemporary Art Center, and The Prytania Theatres over the festival dates. There’s everything from documentaries and shorts to feature films with 22 world premieres, six U.S. premieres, and 38 Southern premieres. Individual tickets go on sale to the general public on October 16 at 12 p.m. here; all access passes are on sale now.

Attend Sober Fest 

Music has always been at the heart of New Orleans, but for people in recovery, music-oriented events can often be places where they feel challenged or excluded. Just in time for the holiday season, Sober Fest by Bridge House / Grace House is an alcohol-free music festival where everyone can come together to enjoy amazing artists and have a really great time in a sober-supportive environment. Head down to the Sugar Mill on Saturday, Nov. 18 for live music, food trucks, kids’ activities, and more. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the gate.

Catch a show or two with Broadway in New Orleans   

Fall theater is in full swing this November, and this month we have not one but two touring musicals stopping in New Orleans from Broadway. The unparalleled artistry of one of the greatest entertainers of all time comes to New Orleans on November 1-12 as “MJ,” the multi-Tony Award®-winning musical centered around the making of the 1992 Dangerous World Tour. Later that month on November 29, “WICKED” returns to the Saenger for three weeks of performances. Tickets for both shows start at $39 plus fees.

Participate in Pass the Peas Month 

The Made in New Orleans Foundation (MiNO) presents Pass the Peas, a month-long dining series with the goal of creating an equitable future and investing in BIPOC Hospitality for New Orleans. From November 1-30, restaurants throughout New Orleans will unite, channeling proceeds from special “MiNO on the Menu” items towards the MiNO Foundation. This support fuels the MiNO Hospitality Network, providing valuable resources and assistance for hospitality workers striving for growth in their businesses. More information, including participating restaurants and special dinners, can be found here.

Cheer on the Saints and Pelicans in person  

Fall sports are in full swing with Saints and Pelicans home games this November. Watch the Saints take on the Chicago Bears on November 5 in Caesars Superdome. Meanwhile, cheer on the Pels as they play multiple teams in nine home games throughout the month.

Experience The National WWII Museum’s Liberation Pavilion

The National WWII Museum will open the highly anticipated Liberation Pavilion, its final permanent exhibit hall, on November 3. Liberation Pavilion explores the end of World War II, the Holocaust, the postwar years, and how the war continues to impact our lives today. The three-story pavilion houses two floors of exhibit space featuring first-person accounts, iconic imagery, powerful artifacts, and immersive environments, as well as a third-floor theater offering audiences a brand-new cinematic experience. Plan to visit The National WWII Museum to experience Liberation Pavilion this November.

Stuff your face at Oak Street Po-boy Fest 

On Sunday, November 19, several blocks of Uptown New Orleans will transform into a foodie’s paradise. Enjoy fresh seafood, roast beef, and vegetarian versions of the classic sandwich, plus live music and more. Get your tickets in advance here.

Head to the opera 

Fall theater is in full swing this November, with several performances from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. See classical performances like Mozart & Prokofiev (Nov. 2) or "Porgy & Bess: A Symphonic Picture" (Nov. 16) or classics reimagined such as "Jurassic Park™" in Concert (Nov. 18-19). In part with the LPO, New Orleans Opera presents “Blue,” a story of racial injustice in the U.S. today with a libretto by Tazewell Thompson and music by Jeanine Tesori, on Nov. 10 & 12. See our fall theater guide here for more.

Photo courtesy of Ingrid Anderson

Spend Thanksgiving in New Orleans  

Thanksgiving Day in New Orleans means food, food, and more food. Skip the cooking at home and dine at a local restaurant or order a Thanksgiving meal to-go. Feast on gumbo, seafood, and the traditional turkey and stuffing, plus bread pudding and more New Orleans classics.

If you're interested in getting active or just having a good time, check out the 5-mile Turkey Day Race in City Park. Later in the afternoon, head out to Easton Park in Mid-City for the Human Horse Races, a family-friendly fundraiser where people dress as horses and race each other, all while raising money for a horse sanctuary. Only in New Orleans!

Shop local on Black Friday  

New Orleans is a shopper’s paradise, and local stores open their doors for extended shopping hours come Black Friday and the holiday season. From quaint bookshops like Blue Cypress to home goods at Hazelnut, bring the gift of New Orleans home for the season. Not quite sure where to start? Browse our local gift guide here.

See the rivalry in action at Bayou Classic 

Bayou Classic is more than a football game – it’s a celebration of HBCU culture complete with a Battle of the Bands, a race, a parade, and more. The annual football matchup between rivals Grambling State and Southern University returns to New Orleans this Thanksgiving weekend. Get your tickets here and experience one or all the many events that Bayou Classic has to offer.

Enjoy gumbo, pumpkin spice, and pecan pie   

Fall brings out some of the best foods in New Orleans, with gumbo taking the top spot. Whether or not there’s a chill in the air, find your cup of gumbo at these spots. Keep an eye out at restaurants for seasonal menu changes, some of which may or may not include pumpkin. Indulge in a slice of pie for a sweet treat.

Enjoy the fall weather 

November in New Orleans is full of mild temperatures, cool breezes, and sunny days. Get outdoors and visit a park, take a bike ride, or enjoy al fresco dining. Check out our top reasons to visit New Orleans in fall here.

Kick off Holidays New Orleans Style

The day after Thanksgiving kicks off Holidays New Orleans style, an over-monthlong celebration that brings the holiday season to life. This holiday season, enjoy Celebration in the Oaks, Réveillon dinners, NOLA Christmas Fest, Hanukkah celebrations, plus shopping, dining, and more. Learn more here and experience the magic of New Orleans.