When you think of New Orleans, several things immediately come to mind: spicy Cajun and Creole cuisine, a vibrant cocktail culture, live music pouring out of clubs every night of the week, and one-of-a-kind museums and attractions. Then there are our major events. Of course, Mardi Gras is one of the most well-known, followed closely by The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival which takes place every year over the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May.
In addition to those, there are a number of other huge signature events that you absolutely must experience. The French Quarter Festival, which takes over the entirety of the historic neighborhood midway through each April, is one of the largest showcases of Louisiana music in the world (did we mention it’s also FREE?). Or the ESSENCE Festival of Culture, which promotes, celebrates, and explores health & wellness, spirituality, beauty & style, food, community & culture, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and much more within the Black community every July 4th weekend.
New Orleans Pride and Southern Decadence bookend the summer in June and late August/early September, respectfully, and are just two of the massive celebrations of the city’s vibrant and welcoming LGBTQ community. Or you can find seasonal celebrations done here like nowhere else in the world, like Halloween in one of the most haunted cities in the country (not to mention, a city that loves any and every excuse to costume).
Sports fan? You can’t miss the Bayou Classic every November or the Allstate Sugar Bowl over New Year’s. No matter what you’re into, there’s a major event for you. Get the lowdown on what to expect, when to book, where to stay, and what to do at some of the city’s signature festivals and celebrations with our insider’s guides below.