October in New Orleans is nothing short of jam-packed. There’s National Fried Chicken Fest and NOLAxNOLA to kick off the month, and Halloween celebrations to close it all out. Fall brings cool weather alongside a wealth of festivals, including Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest, Gentilly Fest, Tremé Fall Fest, Praise Fest, Reggae Fest, Fresh Mint 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 dozens of live performances at indoor and outdoor venues all over town from September 23-October 9 as part of NOLAxNOLA (NOLA BY NOLA). You won’t want to miss this event—find more details here as they’re announced. And if you plan on visiting one or more venue, be sure to sign up for the NOLAxNOLA Check-In Challenge to unlock special prizes.
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 October 1-2 at a new location: the 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 $20 for the weekend.
Art for Art’s Sake returns on Saturday, Oct. 1 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 provided by Breaux Mart, special deals, and extended hours at a variety of participating Magazine Street businesses as well as live music throughout the evening. Find more information here.
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 8-9.
Just across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans lies Gretna, and this October 7-9 a lot of folks will be headed that way. Gretna Fest returns with a lineup including The Revivalists, John Fogerty, The Beach Boys, Tank and the Bangas, Grace Potter, Irma Thomas, and several others. The festival also has a classic car show, a margarita village, craft beer selection, kids’ corner, food court, and more. Tickets are $20 for a single day or $45 for a weekend pass.
This October 14-16, Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest returns with three days of music, food, and art. Ruthie Foster, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, and Little Freddie King are just a few of the blues artists scheduled to perform on the two stages, with food vendors to be announced later. Enjoy free admission to the festival all weekend long, which takes place at Lafayette Square Park.
Every year, the bayou comes alive with Gospel music. From October 14-16, enjoy three days of handclapping, foot-stomping, and soul-touching Gospel music and praise. The festival is free to attend and more will be posted here as it’s announced.
From October 14-16, Mélange Dance Company presents: fantômes. Spooky tales like the axe man of New Orleans will come to life on stage through dance and live music. Catch the show at the Marigny Opera House for one weekend only.
Sample beer at Oktoberfest
Dust off those lederhosen and head to Oktoberfest at Deutsches Haus on October 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22. Faubourg Brewery also has an Oktoberfest celebration the first weekend of October. At both Oktoberfests, enjoy beer, brats, and fun for the whole family.
Enjoy three days of music, food, and vibes in Congo Square this October 14-16 at Nola Reggae Fest. Each day comes with a different set of artists and DJs. More information will be posted here as it is announced.
Fresh Mint Fest is the first-of-its-kind festival in New Orleans all about web3 and the future of tech. From October 20-22, enjoy music, gaming, speakers, NFT galleries and art markets, and more.
Returning on October 22, 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. The festival serves as a fundraiser for St. Augustine Church and various community non-profits.
Marking their first performances in the U.S., Kyiv City Ballet, under the direction of former Mariinsky Theater artist Ivan Kozlov, brings “Tribute to Peace,” a program of works by Ukrainian choreographers to Mahalia Jackson Theater on October 22. This performance also serves as the season opener for the New Orleans Ballet Association. Don’t miss the chance to see this remarkable, one-night-only performance.
Fall theater is in full swing come October, and this month we have not one but two touring musicals stopping in New Orleans from Broadway. Based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved movies of all time, Pretty Woman The Musical stops at the Saenger Theater October 4-9. The Lion King makes its grand return to New Orleans October 27-November 13, a must-see for theater lovers of all ages.
Spanish New Orleans and the Caribbean is the newest exhibit from the Historic New Orleans Collection, opening October 20. Though New Orleans is known for its French heritage, this exhibit sheds light on the city during four decades of Spanish rule. Spanish New Orleans and the Caribbean brings together 125 rarely seen items of exceptional quality from the holdings of The Historic New Orleans Collection and institutions across Spain and the United States.
New Orleans’ beloved Halloween parade rolls through downtown and the French Quarter on October 22. 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.”
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 27 at Lafreniere Park and tickets start at $85 for unlimited tacos and drinks.
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 October. 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 15, 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.
Welcome the fall weather
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.