October is typically one of the busiest months in New Orleans, full of food, festivals and seasonal activities. Even if covid-19 has slowed our roll a little bit, the calendar remains packed with special events and plenty of things to do in New Orleans. Haunted houses are open (with restrictions), festivals are back in a new, virtual way and there are plenty of special menus to try – and that’s just scratching the surface. Here’s our top 10 things to do this October in New Orleans.
New Orleans is a Halloween destination all October long, so don’t wait to partake in your share of spooky activities. The Mortuary and New Orleans Nightmare, two haunted houses, are now open for the season. Families will enjoy Peek-a-Boo at the Zoo, a children’s Halloween festival spanning two weekends in October. Take a ghost tour, visit a spooky attraction and stay at a haunted hotel. Check out our guide for more on Halloween in New Orleans.
From October 2-11, participate in New Orleans Black Restaurant Week by visiting or ordering from the restaurants listed here. The list includes Queen Trini Lisa, Vegan Wit’ a Twist and La Vie En Rose Café, among others. Participate by filling out the Black Restaurant Week Bingo Card and submitting receipts for a chance to win prizes.
Celebrate Sazerac House’s 1st birthday with Savor the Date, a virtual event celebrating the preservation of cocktail traditions in New Orleans. Reserve your spot online and tune in Friday, October 2 at 11 a.m. for what’s now an annual event. Sazerac House Experience Ambassadors, House Distiller David Bock and musical guest Sweet Crude are a few of the special guests.
This October, enjoy classical music two ways. The Crescent City Chamber Music Festival will be holding virtual concerts in a new location for each of their dates: October 2, 4, 9 and 11. Check out the lineup here. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra returns for the 2020/2021 season this October with a variety of in-person and virtual events, including Music at the Museum, Suite Sundays and The Orpheum Sessions. Learn more about the season here.
Restaurant Week New Orleans returns this year from October 5-11, with over 60 participating restaurants offering special prix-fixe menus for both dine in and take out. Enjoy fried alligator and jambalaya from Acme Oyster House, chilled pumpkin bisque and duck from Justine or baked eggplant bread, pizza and mini pies from Homegrown Pizza. The options are endless – and they’re here for one week only
Overlook is a four-day celebration of all things horror in America’s most haunted city, which naturally is New Orleans. This year, the festival is 100% virtual and spans the dates October 8-11. The 2020 event is a collaborative digital festival called NIGHTSTREAM, where you can stream films online and participate in other aspects of the festival virtually.
This year, Praise Fest has gone virtual, bringing the best of Gospel music into your home from October 16-18. The festival will feature performances as well as speakers with different themes each day: Friday is a tribute to seniors, Saturday is a tribute to healthcare workers and Sunday is the finale. You won’t want to miss one of the best fall festivals in New Orleans.
Grab your radio, put on your festival shirt (but not the nice one) and have a roll of paper towels ready – it’s time for blues and barbecue. From October 16-18, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is bringing you three days of incredible music, food and crafts in a virtual edition of Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest. The festival is commemorating 15 years by streaming popular performances from years past and providing a list of vendors to order all your favorite festival eats from. Funds raised from the weekend will benefit the Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund, which supports members of the Louisiana music community.