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One of the questions we probably get asked the most is when is the best time to visit New Orleans? Of course, Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest immediately spring to mind, and with good reason–both are bucket list experiences. But the great thing about New Orleans is that there really isn’t a bad time to visit. And when you have a city that loves to celebrate life as much as we do, you can find something enticing during every single month of the year.
We've rounded up our very favorite things to do, see, eat, and experience each month in New Orleans. Click a month for an even more in-depth list, including average weather, what to pack, what to eat, and more.
January in New Orleans calls for King Cakes and Krewes - a telltale sign that Mardi Gras is just around the corner. You won’t want to miss out as bakeries, cafes, and shops around the city begin breaking out their special king cake menus and treats to provide New Orleanians with the delicacy they crave year-round. Favorite spots to snag one in season include Dong Phuong, Manny Randazzo's, and Haydel's - to name a few. In addition to sweets, the streets are also filled with festive fun. From Uptown to Downtown and everywhere in between, the city kicks off Carnival season with several smaller parades led by local krewes. Joan of Arc , Phunny Phorty Phellows , and The Société Des Champs Elysée are all rolling out this January, as is the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus. Check out our Mardi Gras parade schedule here and remember that the season lasts 6-8 weeks long every year—plenty of time to come down and celebrate.
February is jam-packed with so much to celebrate in the Crescent City. Of course, the city’s staple, Mardi Gras, is celebrated with parties and parades galore. You’ll see beads, Mardi Gras Indians, and the iconic purple, green, and gold trio every which way you turn. Catch parades like Zulu , Rex , Bacchus , and Endymion this February. See the full parade schedule here. The rich heritage and culture of the city are also celebrated during the month of February. The Vietnamese New Year celebration, Tet Fest, takes place each February as well as a number of Black History Month celebrations and programming. Don't forget Valentine's Day! Enjoy a romantic dinner at one of these restaurants. Also, it’s worth noting that the weather in New Orleans is absolutely glorious in the winter (we’re talking 50°F and sunny), so don’t hesitate to come on down in January, February, and March.
After the excitement of Mardi Gras has died down, the city begins to blossom into springtime New Orleans and the festivals begin. In March alone you can attend New Orleans Book Festival, NOLA Zydeco Fest, New Orleans Entrepreneur Week , and the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival . Don’t forget to wear your best green and head Uptown for the Irish Channel Parades to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or make your way to a local seafood shop and grab a pound to celebrate the start of Crawfish Season. Fans of horror will want to mark their calendars for Overlook Film Fest, which takes place during the last weekend of March this year.
You know the old saying - April showers bring May flowers. In New Orleans, the showers bring more fests and April has some of the best! A local favorite, French Quarter Fest celebrates the beauty and charm of New Orleans’ French Quarter and all that it has to offer. Venture Uptown for Freret Street Festival for more local fun. Hogs for the Cause is a barbecue cookoff that raises money for families of children who have brain cancer. The annual Crescent City Classic and a number of awesome Easter Parades are a great way to celebrate the holiday weekend. Zurich Classic is New Orleans’ PGA golf tournament and an annual tradition. End April with the iconic New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival featuring more delicious food and an all-star music lineup.
As we move closer to the summer months in NOLA, May is the perfect time to wind down and discover the hidden and under-the-radar sides of New Orleans. Explore the extensive list of Asian-Owned establishments in support of Asian Pacific Heritage Month. You can also head to Bayou St. John for the annual Bayou Boogaloo to uncover a fun and funky neighborhood festival experience. Greek Fest is a favorite for Memorial Day Weekend, complete with lots of baklava and authentic live Greek music.
June is for upbeat celebrations of culture and cuisine! June marks Pride Month nationwide and voted one of the most welcoming cities, New Orleans celebrates Pride in a huge way. Enjoy parades, parties, and more in New Orleans’ French Quarter in honor of the LGBTQ+ community. Check out the handful of local festivals that showcase New Orleans’ diversity and heritage such as Creole Tomato Fest, Curry With a Flavor, and the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience . As the temperature rises, be sure to try a sno-ball to cool you down.
The city heats up both literally and figuratively in July. From Uptown to Algiers, Fourth of July fireworks can be viewed all across the city. Pick your favorite neck of the woods and enjoy the show. The festivities don’t stop there: Essence Festival of Culture is a celebration of Black joy over Fourth of July weekend. Make your way to the Convention Center for free, daily access to vendors, panels, exclusive sneak peeks, and giveaways! Purchase your ticket for concerts in advance and check out live music at the super lounges and mainstage of the Caesars Superdome. After the Essence Fest fun, July is still jamming with Bastille Day , and the signature summertime events Running of the Bulls and Tales of the Cocktail .
Enjoy special deals and events throughout the month of August. COOLinary and Museum Month make exploring New Orleans’ culinary scene and museum collections a breeze. For Museum Month, buy one museum membership and get access to over a dozen participating museums free of charge all month long. Everyone can partake in COOLinary’s specially curated menus and deals, which typically feature lunch, brunch, and dinner options at over 50 participating restaurants. Look forward to the Satchmo Summerfest , honoring New Orleans native and jazz legend Louis Armstrong as well as the beloved Red Dress Run . Break out your linen for White Linen Night on Julia Street. Celebrate Labor Day Weekend in New Orleans with Southern Decadence a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community akin to Pride.
On the ninth month in NOLA the city gave to us: a whole lot of WHO DAT pride! We welcome back the regular football season, tailgating outside the Dome and of course, the New Orleans Saints. September also kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month in the Crescent City. Be on the lookout for a number of fun and unique ways to celebrate. As we transition from summer to fall, don’t miss out on the number of fall fests in September including Burlesque Fest, NOLAxNOLA, and Beignet Festival .
As the weather cools down and Halloween approaches, fall fests are at their peak in October. Celebrate German presence and heritage in New Orleans at Deutsches Haus and Faubourg Brewery Oktoberfest celebrations. October also features a number of local fests and celebrations including Art for Art’s Sake , Gentilly Fest , Treme Fall Fest , Praise Fest , Fried Chicken Fest , and more! As the month closes out, celebrate Halloween with both family-friendly and adults-only celebrations in City Park, plus plenty of parties around town. October is also a prime time to slurp some oysters.
New Orleanians get in the holiday spirit with sports and special fests. By November, Pelicans basketball is in full swing at the Smoothie King Center. Oak Street Po-Boy Fest is a block party for the foodies, with hundreds of different po-boys for the tasting. If you plan on celebrating Thanksgiving Day in New Orleans then you’ll probably want to do it with an award-winning meal or at the Bayou Classic . Enjoy the coveted Battle of the Bands and the annual rivalry between Southern and Grambling State universities.
December in New Orleans is a sight to see. Between The Algiers Bonfire & Concert, Children’s Hospital New Orleans Holiday Parade, LUNA Fête , Celebration in the Oaks , the Hanukkah parade, and NOLA ChristmasFest, there are limitless light shows, displays, and activities to explore. The city is glowing with holiday spirit and cheer all month long. Make sure to check out the Réveillon Dinner menus and enjoy festive fare throughout the city. Close out the year by watching the Fleur de Lis drop on New Year’s Eve in Jackson Square.