We might be biased, but in our opinion, it’s not hard to come up with an excuse to plan a trip to New Orleans. Between world-renowned restaurants, a one-of-a-kind music scene, major events (hello, Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest) and an atmosphere that’s truly unlike anywhere else in the world, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to come? But just in case you need that extra little motivation to hit “purchase” on those plane tickets or “book” on that hotel room, here are our top 20 reasons to plan a trip to New Orleans in 2020.
The gracious host of 10 Super Bowls, three NBA All-Star games, and the home of the annual Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans knows a thing or two (or three) about major sporting events. This year, New Orleans welcomes athletes and fans alike to the Crescent City for the highly anticipated 2020 College Football National Championship. Whether you’re attending the game or catching it from one of our favorite sports bars, NOLA is a hotspot for friendly competition and fun.
Out with the old and in with the new… MSY that is! Flights aren’t the only thing that has travelers on cloud nine at newly renovated Louis Armstrong International Airport. In addition to its brand new, state-of-the-art facility, the New MSY comes complete with a host of local and national food and drink options, a live music pavilion and MSY Guest Passes, which allow non-ticket passengers post-security to experience it all.
Something to always look forward to when visiting New Orleans are the sounds of the city. The year-round music festivals, daily live music performances–both local and national–and the countless iconic musicians and venues of New Orleans all go into making it one of the most sought after places to experience music.
Get in the groove for a 2020 visit to NOLA with our specially curated Offline Playlist, available now exclusively on Spotify. The epic project features some of the best in New Orleans music including Irma Thomas, Jon Batiste, The Preservation Jazz Hall Band, Big Freedia, Amanda Shaw and many more.
New Orleans is known as the birthplace of craft cocktails, and the Sazerac House takes guests on an interactive journey to explore its rich history. Enjoy free, self-guided tours of the museum’s three-story exhibit, partake in complimentary samples of the house-made libations, and learn more about New Orleans culture through cocktails, beginning with the iconic Sazerac.
From breakfast and brunch to dinner and dessert, you’ll find some of the most mouth-watering meals of your lifetime in the Crescent City. Deciding where to eat can be overwhelming. Luckily, no matter the mood, we have the food. Traditional New Orleans cuisine, sizzling Latin eats, Asian-inspired delicacies, and more among the endless choice for dining out in New Orleans. Check out our list of 2019’s Best New Restaurants and 20 dishes to try in 2020 for a foodie bucket list sure to satisfy.
The citywide art triennial Prospect NOLA, returns October 24, 2020 - January 24, 2021, for its fifth installation. Locals and visitors can view and participate in a variety of specially curated works and programming by a host of local artists. P.5’s exhibition title is Yesterday We Said Tomorrow. Learn more here.
This annual festival honoring the life and legacy of New Orleans’ own Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong celebrates 20 years in 2020. From July 31- Aug 2, you can catch some of the city’s best brass bands, jazz musicians and more as they pay tribute to the man and genre that helped influence American music as we know it.
In New Orleans, we take Southern Hospitality seriously. So it’s only right that we have an array of hotels and bed & breakfasts fit for all travelers. A few of our standout 2019 openings include:
- Higgins Hotel - Located in the heart of the Convention Center Arts/Warehouse district, the Higgins Hotel is perfect for business and convention travelers. Also, it’s conveniently located on the campus of the National WWII Museum so you can extend your stay and bring the family along for an added NOLA experience.
- Maison de la luz - This luxurious guest house is ideal for romantic getaways and solo-travel to New Orleans. In addition to taking full advantage of their elegant amenities, a stay at La Luz isn’t complete without an evening at Bar Marilou - their in house cocktail lounge that features a secondary private speakeasy exclusively for guests.
- Hotel Peter and Paul - While it opened in 2018, Hotel Peter and Paul is still worth the buzz two years later. Voted one of the best hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure, this Marigny-based hotel is known for its stunning revitalization of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Treat yourself to dinner and drinks at the Elysian Bar (one of Bon Appetit’s Hot 10 Restaurants for 2019), located inside of the space.
The two highly-anticipated hotel openings of 2020 are the Four Seasons New Orleans, a five-star luxury hotel experience in the heart of New Orleans’ Central Business District, and Hotel Chloe - a St. Charles Avenue mansion turned hotel.
The largest free festival in the city, French Quarter Fest is an annual delight that visitors and locals alike look look forward to. The weekend-long festival celebrates the city’s most iconic neighborhood - the historic French Quarter. Enjoy live music on nearly two dozen stages, eats, drinks and treats from over 80 local restaurants and caterers, and endless activities and fun throughout down the massive.
The best part of travel isn’t always the destination, it’s the journey. New Orleans’ streetcar lines and ferry are undergoing some major changes in 2020 to make venturing around the Crescent City that much more enjoyable. Make your way to historic Algiers for a day trip in new ferry vessels and be on the lookout for ADA-compliant features on the iconic St. Charles Streetcar.
Another major sporting event to look forward to in 2020 is the Women’s NCAA Final Four. Cheer on some of the best in college basketball at the Smoothie King Center, April 3 and 5.
One of the busiest cruise ports in the U.S and still growing, New Orleans has some exciting cruise updates coming in 2020. Disney Cruise Lines is offering select sailings from the Crescent City February-March 2020 and January-February 2021, and American Cruise Lines will begin sailings aboard the American Jazz liner at the start of 2020. Double your vacation with a cruise out of the Crescent with some of our helpful cruise planning tools.
The historic French Quarter restaurant, Broussard's, is celebrating a century filled with fine French-Creole cuisine, warm Southern hospitality, and award-winning culinary craftsmanship. Throughout 2020, patrons can look forward to specialty menus, drinks through the decades, and special events both in-house and within the community.
Health-conscious living in New Orleans doesn’t have to be hard. 2020 welcomes a host of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and Eat Fit NOLA dining options throughout New Orleans. Paired with uniquely NOLA workouts like kayaking along Bayou Saint John, morning yoga overlooking Crescent Park and Twerkshops at Dancing Grounds, activating your vacation effortless and fun.
Just a year ago the ESSENCE Festival celebrated 25 years in New Orleans. In 2020, ESSENCE Magazine celebrates its 50th year in publication, so it’s only right that they have a fest to match the milestone. This year, festgoers can expect and an additional day of the music, fashion, art, eats, and black culture that brings hundreds of thousands from near and far to the Crescent City. ESSENCE Fest 2020 takes place July 1-5. Start planning your ultimate girls trip experience today with our Guide to ESSENCE.
Committed to the preservation and documentation of all cultures, New Orleans is eager to welcome the Museum of Southern Jewish Experience in 2020. The 9,000 sq. foot space will feature Judaica, household items, business records, photographs, letters, and more to help paint a picture of Southern Jewish life.
History lovers and culture seekers should also consider visits to the New Orleans African American Museum, The Cabildo, The Irish Cultural Museum of New Orleans, The Backstreet Cultural Museum and more.
It’s only right that the most magical city in the U.S. goes all out during the most wonderful time of the year. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, Holidays, New Orleans Style encompassses all that makes New Orleans the best place to visit during the holiday season. From its annual holiday festivities, highly-anticipated Reveillon Dinners, and can’t-pass-them-up hotel deals - nobody does the holidays like us.