When fall arrives in New Orleans, the city comes alive with cool breezes, tons of festivals, and seasonal celebrations. Whether you’re a foodie hoping to try the best of New Orleans cuisine or a football fan hoping to experience the spirit of a Saints in the Superdome, autumn in the Crescent City is non-stop fun. Use our travel guide to figure out the best ways for you to take advantage of all this season in New Orleans has to offer.
As soon as the summer seat simmers down, New Orleanians begin the season of outdoor festing. There are food festivals like Oak Street Po-Boy Fest, the National Fried Chicken Festival, and Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest. There’s also a festival that is simply dedicated to drinking: NOLA on Tap invites you to drink local beer for a worthy cause. Carnaval Latino celebrates Latin American culture and Treme Fall Fest honors the oldest African-American neighborhood in the United States. For a full guide to NOLA’s fall festivals, head here.
If you’re coming to New Orleans and hoping to experience the city’s outdoor activities, autumn is most certainly the perfect time to visit. Spend a day kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or relaxing by Bayou St. John, or have a picnic in one of New Orleans’ lush green parks. Travelers hoping to get active outdoors may be interested in grabbing a Blue Bike (part of New Orleans’ communal bike share program) and riding around charming neighborhoods like Esplanade Ridge or the Bywater. Prefer someone else to show you the way? Try out one of the city’s many bike tours.
Maybe you’ll need a drink after riding a Blue Bike across New Orleans all day, or maybe you’ll want one just because. Either way, fall in New Orleans means outdoor drinking all over the city. New Orleans has a thriving rooftop bar scene, especially in the Downtown area. On top of that, beer and wine gardens, breweries, and outdoor patios are open in every neighborhood. Use our detailed guide here to see all that the al fresco drinking scene in NOLA has to offer.
New Orleans’ music scene thrives all year round, but there’s something special about hearing live local music in a beautiful outdoor space. Jazz in the Park is an amazing opportunity to do this; the event occurs every Thursday during the fall in Armstrong Park, and different local musicians play every week. Thursdays in the fall also mean Thursdays at Twilight in the Botanical Garden in City Park, a weekly music show under the stars featuring a rotating lineup of musicians. If that wasn’t enough, Paradigm Gardens, a magical garden space in Central City, hosts a variety of music shows featuring food and drink throughout the fall season.
Anyone who has been to a Saints game in New Orleans can attest to this: it’s not just a game, it’s a total experience. Spend a day chanting “Who dat!” with New Orleanians and other visitors who want in on the game day spirit. You’ll see a sea of black and gold take over downtown and most every sports bar in New Orleans, so even if you can’t go to the game, be sure to check out our game day itinerary so you can still experience the fun.
The city with the most vibrant costume culture, dare we say, in the world… does Halloween better than anywhere else. Costumes and decorations range from hilarious to downright scary, so be sure that you prepare a memorable costume to fit in with the crowds. During Halloween, you can attend Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, a music and arts fest in City Park, or you can partake in tons of other Halloween festivities - LGBT Halloween, the Krewe of Boo parade, and more.