Post-Jazz Fest, you’d think that NOLA would need a little rest, but the celebratory summer festival season is just getting started. Summer in New Orleans has everything: festivals honoring food, music, art, and neighborhoods are a regular occurrence along with quirky events like NOLA’s own Running of the Bulls, inspired by Spain’s Encierro de Pamplona.
To help you plan your summer vacation whether you’re traveling for a festival, family trip, or mid-week getaway - we’ve compiled this handy list of seasonal fests. Head to NOLA this summer to experience them all.
June 9-11, 2023
Everyone’s welcome here in New Orleans, and Pride Weekend is celebrated in grandeur fashion. Expect parades in the French Quarter, special parties, brunches, family-friendly events, and more celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in New Orleans and beyond.
June 7-11, 2023
NOWFE, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, is a food and drink lover’s paradise. There’s a grand tasting, wine dinners, a tournament of the rosés, a burlesque brunch, labs + experiences, and more!
June 10-11, 2023
When this cherished regional produce comes back into season, you honor it the NOLA way: with a festival. Fest-goers can stroll through the historic French Market while enjoying live music, indulging in a variety of Creole tomato-infused recipes, watching live cooking demos, doing kids' activities, and more. Did we mention the fest features a Creole tomato Bloody Mary market? The fest is free - just bring cash for eats and drinks. And while you’re at it, check out our other favorite spots in the French Market District.
June 30-July 3, 2023
If you’ve seen the movie Girl’s Trip, then you’ve caught a glimpse of the excitement that comes with the annual ESSENCE Festival of Culture. ESSENCE is the world’s largest cultural, entertainment, and empowerment experience celebrating the Black community.
ESSENCE Fest is a four-day experience featuring an all-star lineup of performers, plus exhibitions, speaker sessions, celebrity appearances, and more. See our Ultimate Essence Guide for more trip-planning tools, as well as our list of Girls Trip Filming Locations and Ultimate Essence Itinerary for more inspiration.
July 14-16, 2023
Running of the Bulls, better known as San Fermin in its origin city of Pamplona, is a Spanish-inspired tradition that has made its way to the Crescent City. Instead of running bulls, the NOLA event includes members of the Big Easy Roller Derby.The Derby chase runners with plastic bats through the streets of downtown, and the party continues all day long. Registration isn’t necessary but includes perks like participation in the official race and after-party events. Be sure to check out the event website for a list of all the activities going on that weekend.
July 23-28, 2023
This annual conference/festival is the world’s premier cocktail event for industry professionals and enthusiasts alike. What better place to study and taste cocktails than in the city where so many were created? The Tales schedule features seminars, tastings, dinners, competitions, networking events, and more.
August 5-6, 2023
This annual end-of-summer festival honors the life and legacy of New Orleans’ own Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. Festgoers can expect live music throughout the French Quarter, local food, second lines, a jazz Mass, outdoor concerts, music history seminars, and more.
August 5, 2023
New Orleans has always been a hotspot and a haven for artists of all kinds, and the city’s thriving art gallery scene is on full display at the annual White Linen Night on Julia Street. This stretch of road in the Arts/Warehouse District is blocked off to allow art lovers of all ages to explore over 20 galleries, enjoy live music, and participate in other activities throughout the day. Best of all, the event is free!
August 12, 2023
For one Saturday every August, a sea of red takes over downtown New Orleans all in the name of beer and a great cause. Sponsored by the Hash House Harriers, a drinking club with a running problem, all are welcome to put on their best red dress and join in for a run (or walk). While not required, participants are encouraged to register, as all the money raised from this “race” is donated to local charities.
June 19-25, 2023
Foodies rejoice! Restaurant Week is a celebration of one of the most important ingredients in New Orleans’ cultural gumbo – its cuisine. The week offers specially curated multi-course menus from dozens of delicious restaurants across the city. With so many unique and mouth-watering options, you’ll find no better excuse to indulge in some of the best of NOLA cuisine. Find more information and a list of participating restaurants here.
August 1-31, 2023
While COOLinary isn’t technically a summer festival, the month-long dining event has earned its spot on our list. Every year for the full month of August, participating restaurants offer special prix-fixe menus, so you can experience the best of New Orleans’ culinary scene for bargain prices. Reservations book up fast, so be sure to check back at COOLinary’s official website to see updated lists of participating restaurants.
August 1–31, 2023
New Orleans is home to dozens of museums with exhibits that are just unique and storied as the city itself. Throughout the month of August, members of one of the participating museums can visit any others for FREE! Step back in time at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, learn and play at the Louisiana Children’s Museum, get a deeper look into the influence of Jewish people in the American south at the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, and much more. Learn how to become a museum member here.