Tough time picking which spring festival to attend? We get it. From legendary festivals like Jazz Fest to more local ones like Bayou Boogaloo – and plenty of festival-adjacent events in between – there’s a lot to choose from. Not to mention, the amazing music lineups, delicious food vendors, and arts and culture featured at pretty much every fest can make it overwhelming to narrow down your choices.
To help you sort through your seemingly endless options, we’ve created this go-to list of spring festivals and big events for you. Come down to New Orleans to check out one (or more) and be a part of the much-anticipated return of spring festivals.
French Film Festival
March 11 - 17, 2022
Celebrate the artistry of French cinema at one of the country’s longest-running foreign film festivals. The New Orleans French Film Festival hosts screenings of classic and modern French films (all with English subtitles) at the historic Prytania Theater, one of the oldest single-screen movie theaters in Louisiana, along with live musical performances, lectures, parties, and more. If you can’t be there in person, you can also digitally attend the festival.
Danny Barker Banjo & Guitar Festival
March 16 - 20, 2022
Inspired by and in honor of its legendary local namesake, the Danny Barker Banjo and Guitar Festival is a four-day program of citywide music performances, a variety of panel discussions and exclusive workshops, special outings and events, and more – all for a great cause. Along with some incredible musical performances, you’ll be helping to fund music and music history education programs for local high school and college students that keep the tradition of jazz music alive in New Orleans.
Blue Angels Navy Air Show
March 19 - 20, 2022
The U.S. Navy’s famous Blue Angels are flying down to New Orleans! Cross the Mississippi River to see the air show at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse to see some of the nation’s top military and civilian aviators take to the skies. Back on the ground, check out the static displays of planes and other military equipment as well as a kids section for your favorite aspiring pilots.
Mardi Gras Indian Super Sunday
March 20, 2022
Super Sunday is not a festival, but its certainly a spring outing that you won’t want to miss. Make your way to Central City to check out the stunning footwork, soul, culture and customs that can only be found here in New Orleans.
Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival
March 23 - 27, 2022
Founded in 1986, the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival is best known for its “Stella” shouting contest, where aspiring Stanley Kowalski imitators compete to best recreate the iconic scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. The unique spring festival also features masterclasses for aspiring writers, panels, live theater, special meal-centric literary celebrations, and educational walking tours in a historically literary city. That same weekend, be sure to check out the Saints + Sinners Literary Festival, an internationally-recognized event that unites LGBTQ+ publishers, writers, and readers from throughout the United States and beyond. Ticket prices vary.
Buku Music + Art Project
March 25 - 26, 2022
BUKU Music + Art Project is a weekend-long music festival that highlights EDM, hip-hop, and indie rock. Every year, this event takes place at Mardi Gras World along the New Orleans Riverfront, so you can check out different stages and enjoy stunning views at the same time. The 2022 lineup includes Tyler, the Creator, Tame Impala, Glass Animals, $uicideboy$, Allison Wonderland,and more! In addition to killer lineups every year, art installations and pop-up street artist performances are always present. Tickets start at $120, and you must be 17 or older to attend.
Congo Square Rhythms/Treme Creole Gumbo Festival
March 26 - 27, 2022
Two of the Jazz and Heritage Foundation’s favorite festivals have combined to become one incredible weekend! The Congo Square Rhythms/Treme Creole Gumbo Festival is a free (yes, you heard us, free!) event that celebrates the traditions of New Orleans that stem from the African diaspora, including traditional African music and the modern styles that formed from it – jazz, funk, gospel, and more. Of course, there will be plenty of gumbo–including a gumbo cook-off–to honor one of New Orleans' most iconic (and delicious) dishes.
Hogs for the Cause
April 1 - 2, 2022
Hogs for the Cause is a pork-centric festival and contest featuring almost 100 barbecue chefs competing for various categories. The two-day festival also includes more than 20 musical acts. Watch a panel of judges taste test and tell fans which chef has the best ribs or best sauce. Proceeds from the festival benefit pediatric brain cancer, so you can eat your pork with a purpose. Ticket prices vary.
NCAA Men’s Final Four
April 1 - 4, 2022
Watch the best of collegiate basketball as the NCAA Men’s Final Four returns to New Orleans this April. The weekend is full of fun events outside of the actual tournament, including the Final Four Fan Fest in the Convention Center, the Tip-off Tailgate outside of the Superdome, and the March Madness Music Festival at Woldenberg Park. Even if your team doesn’t win the title, you’re sure to still have an incredible weekend.
Freret Street Festival
April 2, 2022
In recent years, Freret Street has become one of the most vibrant streets in the city, with tons of restaurants and businesses that have popped up on the strip. Freret Street Fest celebrates that, and the vibrant small businesses and artisans who have made it that way. Now, with over 200 local vendors, live music stages, and food and drink options, the Freret Street Festival is one of the premier neighborhood festivals in the city, and it’s free!
NOLA Navy Week
April 18 - 22, 2022
Take a peek inside the day-to-day lives of maritime officers when Navy Week returns to New Orleans! This year, four ships – two from the U.S. Navy, one from the U.S. Coast Guard, and one from the French Navy – will be docking for a week of events (including a cook-off between ship chefs), ship tours and dockside displays, and some well-deserved R&R for the sailors.
April 18 - 24, 2022
The PGA’s star golfers head to the bayou for the annual Zurich Classic Tournament. Enjoy a week of food, drinks, and of course, some world-class golfing at TPC Louisiana in nearby Avondale, all in support of the tournament’s host organization, the Fore!Kids Foundation. Tickets start at $40 for a single day and packages range in price for groups and special amenities.
French Quarter Festival
April 21 - 24, 2022
French Quarter Festival is an annual celebration of the vibrant French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans. With dozens of stages featuring local musicians and over 60 food and drink vendors - not to mention the gorgeous riverfront scenery and charming French Quarter streets to stroll - there’s no reason to miss this four-day-long event. The festival is free.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
April 28 - May 1 and May 5 - 8, 2022
Jazz Fest is famous for a reason – every year, the Fairgrounds transform into a music lover’s paradise. With incredible food, drink, and craft vendors along with a variety of stages featuring everything from world-famous headliners to local musicians, Jazz Fest truly appeals to everyone. Whether you spend the day enjoying the melodies in the Gospel Tent or head outside to check out the larger stages, you won’t want to miss this fest. Tickets start at $80 when purchased in advance (up until April 28) and then go up to $90 at the gate. Children ages 2-10 get in for $5 with an accompanying adult. Weekend packages and VIP experiences are also available–see the full ticketing breakdown here.
Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo
May 20 - 22, 2022
Spending time by the bayou is a classic New Orleans experience, and there’s no better way to do it than at Bayou Boogaloo. Delicious food, arts and crafts tents, boat races, and live music will make your day hanging by the water one to remember. Hop on a kayak with a pal and a local brew to make the experience unforgettable. The three day festival is free.
New Orleans Food Fight
May 26, 2022
Hosted by the team behind Top Taco and presented by Stella Artois, the inaugural New Orleans Food Fight is an all-inclusive food and cocktail competition benefitting the PLEASE Foundation, which provides mentorship, leadership, and scholarships to at-risk youth in New Orleans. This one-night-only event will feature a food and cocktail tasting along with the competition all at the Mandeville Shed at Crescent Park. Treat yourself to a night of food, drinks, and fun!
May 27 - 28, 2022
Handmade Greek cuisine like gyros and baklava accompanied by Greek wine? Count us in for a taste test. At Greek Fest, try tons of authentic food and drink and purchase some from the Greek grocery to take home with you, too. Events include Holy Trinity Cathedral tours (the oldest Greek Orthodox church in the Americas!), an Athenian kids playground next to the bayou that includes a climbing wall, canoes, and more, cooking demos, races, and Toga Sunday. Live Greek music is featured all weekend. Insider’s tip for families: travel to town for this fest - it has the best of both words for kids and parents! Admission is $7 - opa!