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Southern Decadence Parade
Southern Decadence Parade
Southern Decadence Parade

Labor Day Weekend

Goodbye Summer. Hello NOLA.

Labor Day weekend is the final long weekend to take advantage of the summer season, and it’s a perfect time to head to New Orleans for a few days. Get one more trip in before fall (and back-to-school season, for any family travelers) and mark the end of summer with some of these one-of-a-kind Labor Day events or activities in New Orleans.

Image Courtesy of Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff

Festivals & Events

Southern Decadence

This world-famous LGBTQ festival has been a Labor Day weekend tradition in the French Quarter since 1972. Special events take place over six days, including a Gay New Orleans Walking Tour, the Annual Official Southern Decadence Grand Marshals’ Drag Show and the Southern Decadence Parade. For more information about Southern Decadence, head here.

Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff with Garth Brooks

Come see Garth Brooks’ only show outside of Las Vegas at the Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff! On September 2, 2023, the Louisiana Office of Tourism is set to present the inaugural Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff, a music and entertainment event designed to welcome another exciting season of college football. Renowned artists Lainey Wilson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band have been invited as special guests, leading up to the highly anticipated performance by headliner Garth Brooks at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. To commence the festivities, Tailgate Town at Champions Square, organized by New Orleans & Company, will offer an immersive football-themed experience, showcasing emerging artists and musicians while highlighting college football players and amateur athletes.

Paul Broussard
Cream of Ice Cream Snowball - Senior Atomic (with Vanilla Ice Cream on top instead of stuffed in middle) - Hansen's Sno-Bliz


Splash around at Cool Zoo

Cool Zoo, the Audubon Zoo’s kids’ area with water slides, a lazy river, water cannons, and more, is the perfect way to cool down with the family on Labor Day. The Cool Zoo is usually closed on Mondays, but makes a special exception for Labor Day. Explore Uptown and Audubon Zoo, and then hang at Cool Zoo for a lovely summer day.

Explore City Park

There’s tons of family fun to be had at City Park. You can play miniature golf at City Putt, or head to the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, Storyland or the Botanical Garden. Golfers can even check out the Bayou Oaks golf course!

Or visit other parks in New Orleans

As the NOLA summer heat cools down, locals and visitors head outdoors to enjoy a breeze. Spend Labor Day at The Fly in Uptown near Audubon Park; it’s the ideal spot to grill burgers and watch a sunset along the Mississippi River. If you’d like to explore a different part of town, Crescent Park in the Bywater has beautiful views of the city skyline as well. Plenty of visitors love a relaxing day at Bayou St. John, where you can picnic, rent a kayak or pop over to Bayou Beer Garden for a drink.

Grab an icy summer treat (or cocktail)

Cool down with a sno-ball, the iconic NOLA summer treat, before the stands close for the season. If sno-balls aren’t your thing, try one of these delicious and chilled treats. Or, enjoy a refreshing summer cocktail at the bars across the city - we’ve got everything from frozen Irish coffees to frosé. 

Dine outdoors

September weather is perfect for dining in a courtyard or on a balcony or patio in New Orleans. For your conveniences, we’ve created this list of places with outdoor dining by neighborhood. Don’t miss out on New Orleans’ rooftop bar scene, either: you can get views of landmarks like the Crescent City Connection and the Superdome while sipping on a cocktail.