There are seemingly never-ending reasons to visit New Orleans, but in keeping with the year, we went with our top 24. Festivals each weekend, Mardi Gras season, traditional food, cultural celebrations…the list goes on. Here are 24 reasons to visit New Orleans in 2024.
January 6 - February 13
While the rest of the world dreads January as the end of the holiday season, New Orleans rolls from one holiday to the next with the start of Mardi Gras on January 6. From that day until Fat Tuesday (February 13), parades roll down city streets and festivities abound. Consider visiting early in the season and check our Guide to Early Mardi Gras here. Reason #1 to visit New Orleans: it’s Mardi Gras season, baby.
January 6 - February 13
A highlight of Mardi Gras season is tasting king cake, a cinnamon roll-meets-coffee cake-baked treat. Restaurants, bakeries, and local businesses make everything from traditional to creative and savory king cakes. We’re talking boudin king cake, crawfish king cake, tres leches king cake, and more. See our Ultimate Guide to King Cake here.
New Orleans is home to a substantial Vietnamese population, and Tết Fest celebrations are a highlight on our calendar every year. Held at Mary Queen of Vietnam Church, Tết Fest celebrations typically include authentic food, music, children’s activities, and fun for the whole family. Tết is February 10, so mark your calendars for the festival around that time.
January - June, October - December
No need to travel to New York for the best of Broadway; we’ve got it right here as Broadway in New Orleans graces the Saenger Theater with shows throughout the year. The current season continues into winter and spring, with performances of “My Fair Lady,” “Les Misérables,” “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” “Annie,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “CLUE” all on tap. Come October, we’ll see the start of the 2024/2025 season with shows to be announced. Experience a little magic this year at the Saenger.
February - May
Whether you’re a New Orleans native or a first-time visitor, spring in NOLA means one thing: boiled crawfish. Get ready to boil, peel, and devour this delicious Louisiana favorite, and check out our guide to get the best of the best.
March - May
Spring in New Orleans is a busy, busy time with multiple festivals each weekend, plus parades for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. This spring, we look forward to New Orleans Book Festival (March 14-16), Overlook Film Festival (April 4-7), Hogs for the Cause (April 5-6), and many, many more. Check out our spring festival page here and come on down.
A New Orleans tradition, the Crescent City Classic 10K is typically held over Easter weekend. With the warm spring air and runners dressed in costume, it’s fun for the whole family–and even includes a festival at the finish line with live music, food, and more.
Known as the largest showcase of Louisiana music in the world, French Quarter Festival is a beloved springtime tradition. The festival is free to attend and held in the heart of the city. Browse hundreds of food and art vendors, and kick back near one of the many stages in the area. For more information, see here.
April 25 - May 5, 2024
With an extra day added to the festival in 2024 and the news that the Rolling Stones are headlining, attending Jazz Fest is perhaps the second biggest reason to visit New Orleans this year only behind Mardi Gras. Jazz Fest is an annual festival celebrating the music, art, culture, and heritage of New Orleans. Since its origins in 1970, the fest has worked its way into the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Jazz Fest's lineup is typically announced in mid-January each year, with artists such as Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks, and The Who as past headliners. See here for the latest.
June 7-9, Labor Day Weekend
Recognized as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in the U.S., June is a special month in New Orleans for celebrating Pride. Events go on throughout the month of June, but the Pride parade on the weekend of June 7-9 is something you won’t want to miss. Southern Decadence is essentially Pride round two, with a parade, parties, and general celebration of the LGBTQ+ community over Labor Day Weekend.
The Americas selections of the Pastry World Cup and the Bocuse d’Or will be held for the first time in the United States right here in New Orleans! The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will host the two continental selections of the most prestigious international culinary and pastry competitions on June 11, 12, and 13, 2024, showcasing the best pastry chefs and cooks from all over the American continent. Bocuse d’Or tickets will be available to the public at a later date—stay tuned here.
March - September
The summertime may be hot, but sno-balls are here to cool us off. A delicacy of sorts, a sno-ball is shaved ice drowned in deliciously flavored syrup—and no, it’s NOT a sno-cone. Find our guide to sno-ball season here, and make sure to try many flavors before settling on your favorite.
ESSENCE Festival of Culture is a celebration of Black culture, with thousands of visitors converging on the city for main stage performances, iconic speakers, and programming tailored to the Black community. Past performers have included Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, and many more, while past speakers have included Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama. It’s a celebration you truly can’t miss. Learn more here.
When the heat kicks up, the deals kick in. During COOLinary, indulge in two-course lunch, or three-course dinner and brunch deals from August 1-31. Past participants have included GW Fins, Café Degas, and over 70 other restaurants. Don’t miss your chance to try some of the best food in New Orleans for a steal all month long.
September 26 - October 6
The music never stops in New Orleans, and this September and October, mark your calendars for a citywide celebration of local musicians, music venues, and New Orleans culture. Catch your favorite artists and discover new ones at dozens of live performances at indoor and outdoor venues all over town as part of NOLAxNOLA (NOLA BY NOLA). You won’t want to miss this event—find more details here.
September - December
Just like spring and summer, fall in New Orleans is busy, busy, busy with festivals. We’re looking forward to the return of National Fried Chicken Fest, Beignet Fest, Praise Fest, Oak Street Po-Boy Fest, and more! Check out our festival calendar here and plan to visit during fall of 2024.
New Orleans has sports teams from the collegiate to the professional level. There’s our NFL team, the New Orleans Saints, and our NBA team, the Pelicans. Then there’s the NOLA Gold, our major league rugby team, and the Jesters, our National Premier Soccer League team. We even have a roller derby team, the Big Easy Roller Derby. On the college level we have winning teams ranging from football to women’s basketball and everything in between. Check out our sports page here and plan to come to a game.
Taylor Swift is no stranger to New Orleans, and she’s scheduled to bring The Eras Tour to Caesars Superdome on October 25-27, 2024. This epic concert is a journey spanning 17 years and 10 albums, with 44 songs divided into 10 distinct acts. You won’t want to miss it, but in the meantime, check out our Taylor Swift-Inspired Guide to New Orleans here.
Halloween may fall on a Thursday this year, but the entire month is a celebration of the spookiest city in the U.S. From haunted houses to ghost tours and the Krewe of BOO! parade, New Orleans is a Halloween destination all October long. Click here to see how New Orleans typically celebrates spooky season.
Year-round; seasonality applies
Classic New Orleans food is reason enough to spawn a visit to the city. Think: decadent gumbo, red beans & rice, crawfish étouffée, soft-shell crab, overstuffed po-boys, oysters on the half shell…is your mouth watering yet? Learn about famous New Orleans foods here and make plans to come on a food tour.
Bayou Classic is an annual tradition each and every Thanksgiving weekend, with four decades of football games held mostly in New Orleans. The rivalry between Southern University and Grambling State couldn’t be closer, with their records matching each other almost evenly. The weekend is about more than just football, we’re celebrating HBCU culture at large, with a Battle of the Bands, parade, and fanfare throughout the weekend. Learn more about the historic meeting here.
November 29 - December 31
The day after Thanksgiving kicks off Holidays New Orleans style, a monthlong celebration that brings the holiday season to life. During the holiday season, enjoy Celebration in the Oaks, NOLA Christmas Fest, the Children’s Hospital New Orleans Holiday Parade, Algiers Bonfire Festival, plus shopping, dining, music, and more. Learn more here and experience the magic of New Orleans.
New Orleans is the perfect place to ring in the new year, with parties, restaurant reservations, concerts, and children’s celebrations all on the calendar. Take a look at 7 Reasons to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in New Orleans and expect many of the same offerings to be available on December 31, 2024.