October in New Orleans is nothing short of jam-packed. There’s National Fried Chicken Fest and NOLAxNOLA to kick off the month, then Halloween celebrations to close it all out. Fall brings cool weather alongside a slew of festivals, including Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest, Gentilly Fest, Tremé Fall Fest, Praise Fest, Reggae Fest, and more. Don’t miss your chance to visit New Orleans this October.
The music never stops in New Orleans, and this 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 hundreds of live performances all over town from September 28-October 8 as part of NOLAxNOLA (NOLA BY NOLA). You won’t want to miss this event—find more details here as they’re announced.
New Orleans is a wonderful place to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans September 15-October 15. Learn about Hispanic heritage and culture by sampling authentic cuisine, exploring Hispanic history in the city, and supporting local Hispanic-owned businesses.
National Fried Chicken Festival is back this September 30-October 1 at the New Orleans Lakefront. Chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, chicken and waffles, and more will be available for your choosing. There will be live music and plenty of space to spread out and relax. Tickets for the fest are $15 daily or $25 for the weekend.
The 2023/2024 Broadway in New Orleans season kicks off with a musical based on the life of New Orleans native Louis Armstrong. "A Wonderful World” is bound for Broadway but not before stopping at the Saenger Theatre this October 1-8. Told from the perspective of the women in Armstrong's life, “A Wonderful World” charts Armstrong's journey from the birth of jazz in his native New Orleans through his international stardom, featuring beloved songs recorded and made popular by him. Tickets start at $42 plus fees.
Art for Art’s Sake returns on Saturday, Oct. 7 from 6-9 p.m. along Magazine Street. Enjoy browsing the over 100 shops, stores, restaurants, and galleries participating along the six-mile stretch. Enjoy complimentary wine samples, special deals, and extended hours at a variety of participating Magazine Street businesses as well as live music throughout the evening. This event is free to attend.
Music, food, and community are all the focus of Gentilly Fest, a neighborhood festival held in Pontchartrain Park. Enjoy various vendors, plus live music, and activities for the kids on the weekend of October 6-8. This fest is free to attend.
After months of renovation, Audubon Aquarium is open to the public and back with one of its most popular events. Scales and Ales is an adults-only fundraising event featuring delectable cuisine, beer and wine, specialty cocktails, and live music at Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium. General admission tickets are $100 and the event is October 6.
Just across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans lies Gretna, and this October 6-8 a lot of folks will be headed that way. Gretna Fest returns with a lineup including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kool & The Gang, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and several others. Tickets are $30 for a single day or $60 for a weekend pass.
This October 13-15, Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest returns with three days of music, food, and art. Performers include Tab Benoit, Samantha Fish, Little Freddie King, Shemekia Copeland, and dozens of others. Let’s not forget the food—it’s equal parts music and barbecue festival! Enjoy free admission to the festival all weekend long, which takes place at Lafayette Square Park.
Every year, Bayou St. John comes alive with Gospel music. From October 13-15, enjoy three days of handclapping, foot-stomping, and soul-touching Gospel music and praise. The festival is free to attend.
Oktoberfest at Deutsches Haus returns for three weekends this October: 13-14, 20-21, and 27-28. Dust off those lederhosen and stop by for traditional German fare, including sauerkraut, bratwurst sausage, and giant Bavarian pretzels with more than 20 German beers to wash it all down. Tickets are $10 cash daily; children under 12 receive free admission.
Returning on October 21, Tremé Fall Fest is a celebration of community with food, live music, art, and performances. Tremé is the oldest African American neighborhood in the country. This free-to-attend festival serves as a fundraiser for St. Augustine Church and various community non-profits.
Get ready to groove to the beats of the funkiest musicians in New Orleans this October 20-22. NOLA Funk Fest is a celebration of Louisiana’s rich music history and marks the beginning of the public announcement of the Louisiana Music & Heritage Experience, a grand-scale museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the state’s musical heritage. Held at the Jazz Museum, performers include Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville, and several others. Tickets start at $30.
New Orleans Ballet Association presents the first performance of the 2023/2024 season: Complexions Contemporary Ballet with Chief Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott). Hailed as a “matchless American dance company” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, led by the legendary Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, has captivated audiences for nearly three decades with their singular approach of reinventing dance and contemporary ballet. See the show one night only on October 21 at Mahalia Jackson Theater. Tickets start at $35.
New Orleans’ beloved Halloween parade rolls through downtown and the French Quarter on October 21. Artists from Kern Studios design 3-D paper mâché and fiberglass props that mimic all of Halloween’s spooky creatures. Don’t miss this chance to dress up in costume and celebrate in the “Boo Carré.” The parade is free to attend.
Each year, some of New Orleans’ best restaurants, taquerias, and bars head to Top Taco to battle it out for the title of Top Taco Champion while festgoers reap the rewards of their labor. In addition to the unlimited taco and tequila tastings from some of your favorite eateries across the Crescent City, Top Taco also features live music performances, special guest appearances, interactive activities, and more. Top Taco is October 26 at Lafreniere Park in neighboring NOLA suburb Metairie and tickets start at $85 for unlimited tacos and drinks.
Enjoy three days of music, food, and vibes in Congo Square this October 27-29 at Nola Reggae Fest. Both international headliners and local musicians take the stage in this celebration of Caribbean culture. Tickets are $25 for a single day or $30 for a weekend pass and VIP options are available.
New Orleans is a Halloween destination all October long, so don’t wait to partake in your share of spooky activities. Haunted houses, including The Mortuary and New Orleans Nightmare, return this fall. Take a ghost tour, visit a spooky attraction or stay at a haunted hotel. The French Market hosts Boo Carré, a family-friendly festival, on October 21, and City Park hosts both Ghosts in the Oaks and Brews & Boos in October. Halloween New Orleans is an LGBTQ+ celebration of Halloween, with events throughout Halloween weekend. Check out our guide for more on Halloween in New Orleans.
October is the true first full month of fall in New Orleans, and the change in weather is a great reason to get outdoors. Visit a park, take a bike ride, or enjoy dining outdoors. Check out our top reasons to visit New Orleans in fall here.
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.