When Is The Best Time To Visit New Orleans?
The answer to this question will depend on what you’re interested in. Do you want to come for a quiet weekend and soak up the unique culture, architecture, and food that New Orleans has to offer? Or do you want to party? New Orleans’s most famous motto is: Laissez les bons temps rouler or let the good times roll. There are ample opportunities for good times in New Orleans. One of the most famous “good times” is Mardi Gras!
If you are interested in celebrating Mardi Gras, you should be looking at our guide to celebrating Mardi Gras by clicking here. It is important to know Mardi Gras isn’t just for tourists; it’s a way for locals to let loose and celebrate life. If this sounds good to you, we strongly suggest you plan ahead. Hotel rates and flight reservations tend to spike, especially around what locals call “deep gras” which is the weekend leading up to Mardi Gras day. That said, we think everyone should experience Mardi Gras day in New Orleans once in their lives! Mardi Gras really is a season stretching from the 12th night (12 nights after Christmas) to Mardi Gras day, and the day changes yearly based on the lunar calendar. We recommend checking out this website to find out when exactly Mardi Gras falls on.
If you’d like to dip your toes and experience a little bit of Mardi Gras, you could come the weekend before Mardi Gras day. You’d be able to see some parades and have a bit of the experience for less money. Here at Nola Tour Guy, one of our favorite Mardi Gras parades is Krewe du Vieu which is often one of the first parades falling two or three weekends before Mardi Gras day.
New Orleans busiest tourist season falls when the weather tends to be nicest from February to early June. During this time, there is Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, and French Quarter Fest to experience. Unless you want to attend those events, we recommend planning around them to save yourself a buck or two on flights and hotel reservations.
You can also visit in summer if you don’t mind hot weather. We are talking 85 F + (29 C) and high humidity. Do you also dislike crowds? Then comes the New Orleans off season which stretches from mid to late June to October. This is a great time to visit New Orleans and really get a deeper understanding of what it’s like to live in a subtropical city with sporadic rain storms cooling off in the middle of the day and time slowing down. What to do on Rainy Day in New Orleans? Click here an find out. If you want an excuse to sit by the pool every day sipping mojitos, this could be an excellent time to visit. Here at Nola Tour Guy, we like our summer and a reprieve for the insanity of the busy season.
Do you prefer cooler temps and don’t mind a bit of rain? Come in the other off season and experience New Orleans mini winter during December and January. Things tend to get busy around Christmas and New Years, but besides that, you can catch some excellent deals. Keep in mind that the weather varies wildly in the winter. You might have a sunny 65 F (18 C) degree day or you might have to deal with freezing rain the next. Be sure to pack layers and check the weather before you depart.
So the answer to the question “when is the best time to visit New Orleans” really depends on what you want and what you are interested in. We broke down all 12 months in the year to give you an idea of when to plan your trip to New Orleans.
New Orleans in January is wintertime with cooler temps. Yes, it does get cold in New Orleans, sometimes it even freezes! The average tempture is around 55F.
On New Year’s Eve, there are festivities on the riverwalk in the French Quarter with a fireworks show. The people of New Orleans do like to party so there will be
house parties all over town along with tourists and locals drinking in pretty much every bar. Bourbon Street and Frenchman Street will be a full on party.
On New Year Day, if football is your thing, you’d like to know about the Sugar Bowl. It is a college football playoff game that happens every Jan 1st in the Super Dome with different college teams. If you can’t be in the super dome for the game, you can head to a local sports bars and watch with the fans!
You can celebrate Joan of Arc’s birthday too! On January 6th, you can catch the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc parades which run annually downtown. The walking parade stars a medieval-themed procession through the French Quarter, ending with the first king cake of the Mardi Gras season!
Also on January 6, Epiphany or Twelfth Night, marks the official beginning of Mardi Gras season. The first king cake of the season will make its way into local bakeries and shops until Fat Tuesday. Look out for the Phunny Phorty Phellows, a Mardi Gras Krewe that parades on the St. Charles Streetcar. They mark the beginning of the Mardi Gras season every year.
Feburuary is often the end of winter in New Orleans. There is the possibility of a cold snap or two and freezing rain, but the weather is some of the nicest all year around! Mardi Gras day can fall anywhere between February 3rd and March 9th. It is based on the Lunar Calendar and it is always the day before Ash Wednesday and 47 days before Easter. We recommend checking what day Mardi Gras falls on before you book your trip in February or March to New Orleans.
February is also Lunar New Year, Tet, in Vietnamese Tradition. A huge three day celebration happens every year at Queen Mary of Vietnam Church. All are welcome to enjoy live music, amazing Vietnamese food, games, dragon dances, and fireworks! New Orleans has been host to a Vietnamese Catholic population since the 70s. Originally refugees fleeing war-ravaged Vietnam, they are now a celebrated part of the New Orleans community.
March is when it really starts to warm up in New Orleans. Winter is over, and you can tell because the snowball shops open up their storefronts and stands again. Local patrons are extremely loyal to their favorite stands, which are often neighborhood institutions. Bring cash and check them out at places like Hansen‘s and Plum Street Snowball!
As mentioned earlier, Mardi Gras day can fall between February 3rd and March 9th. Make sure you plan ahead and figure out the dates. But if Mardi Gras isn’t your thing, you can check out the New Orleans Bourbon Festival. That is Bourbon as in the drink, not the street. This festival celebrates the history of Bourbon with tastes, workshops, and even burlesque.
Of course, you shouldn’t forget BUKU and the BUKU Music+Art Project. This festival electronic dance music (EDM) festival, hip hop, and indie rock musicians come together for one big house party. At Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, the best time to go is during Carnival season. Past performers include Tyler the Creator, Glass Animal, and Megan Thee Stallion.
We think March is one of the best times to visit New Orleans.
April is festival season here in New Orleans. It is the month for every dad to button up his Hawianan shirt, don his straw hat, and crack a cold Abita to watch some of the best music in the world. This is due to the fact April is almost always the best weather all year around with temperatures between 70 F-80 F with the occasional thunderstorm to liven things up!
In April, there is Feret Street Festival, celebrating the shops and local businesses that line the street of Feret in uptown New Orleans. There is also the French Quarter Fest, a three day FREE music celebration in the iconic and historic French Quarter. Then there’s the biggest festival of them all, the world famous Jazz Fest which features the best of local groups and international stars.
Easter is also in April. Did you know that New Orleans has three parades on Easter? A traditional Catholic Parade, Chris Owens, famous New Orleans performer, also hosted one until her death in 2021. There is also a Gay Easter Parade too! We think Easter in New Orleans is a hidden gem of a holiday and everyone should consider visiting New Orleans for Easter. All in all, we think April is a great time to visit New Orleans.
May in New Orleans usually feels like summer in most places in North America. Temperatures start going well above 80 F (26 C) but the southern humidity and heat of the summer haven’t really set in yet.
Bayou Boogaloo usually happens every May. This three-day Music festival happens in one of our favorite neighborhoods, Bayou Saint John! Enjoy fun for the entire family, local music, food, and craft vendors.
On May 10th, we celebrate National Shrimp Day, which means that the local restaurants in New Orleans do seafood the best. You can also get a frozen margarita at a local spot like Casas Borrega!
If you’re looking for a family vacation for Mother’s Day, Mom will definitely enjoy brunch at New Orleans’ Brennan’s or the Court of Two Sisters. Also every Mother’s Day, there is usually a Second Line parade. Second Lines are local parades celebrating life. Usually organized by social aid and pleasure clubs, these clubs pool their money to throw a big walking party.
June is when things start to slow down. The weather is usually not too hot so it could be a great time to catch a deal and visit!
Have you had oysters in New Orleans yet? You can try them in June at the New Orleans Oyster Festival. Enjoy them chargrilled, fried, and our personal favorite: raw!
Did you know that Southern Louisiana has its own kind of tomatoes? Creole tomatoes are grown in southern Louisiana and are harvested in June. Check out the Creole Tomato festival usually in early June and try them yourself!
July means it’s hot here in New Orleans. Things slow down, but it can still be a great time to visit if you pace yourself. Schedule outdoor activities for early morning or after sunset when it tends to be cooler in the day. Be prepared for the rain and check out our article on what to do on a rainy day in New Orleans. There’s plenty to do indoors. Spend the day at one of our great museums or just sit poolside.
There can still be plenty to do in New Orleans in July. The most famous event in New Orleans in July has to be the annual ESSENCE Fest. Celebrating black culture, this three-day festival features Black music, health, food, beauty, and culture with panel discussions and celebrity guests! Past performers have included Prince, Mary J. Blige, and Diana Ross!
In homage to our Spanish influence, New Orleans hosts its own running of the bulls in July! We put our own spin on it though, instead of actual bulls we get the New Orleans roller Derby girls!
August is also hot but there is still plenty to do. You can catch Satchmo Summerfest which honors the life of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. During the first weekend of August, the three-day celebration hosts many live performances, local food, and seminars about the New Orleans-born musician.
There is also Southern Decadence, the largest LGBTQ event in New Orleans. The celebration lasts six days through the French Quarter and beyond. This festival is usually held on Labor Day weekend. It features wild dance parties, fabulous costumes, and more!
Also in August is the Red Dress Run. A beloved New Orleans tradition held the second Saturday of the month. Runners and walkers don red dresses to participate and support local charities throughout the area.
However, a word of caution. Hurricane season starts in June and extends to November but August and September are the height of the season. The last two major hurricanes to hit New Orleans landed on August 28th.
September might be the beginning of fall in most places in North America, but here, in New Orleans, it is still summertime with hot temperatures and the threat of hurricanes. Pack summer clothes and consider investing in travel insurance if you plan to visit New Orleans in September.
Southern Decadence, held Labor Day weekend, is the largest LGBTQ event in New Orleans. The celebration lasts six days through the French Quarter and beyond. It features wild dance parties, fabulous costumes and more! It’s been often compared to Mardi Gras in its scope and decadence.
Would you like to learn what made Bourbon Street world famous? Then check out the annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival. This international burlesque festival assembles the most glamorous and eye-popping burlesque dancers in the world to perform over three nights in sultry New Orleans.
Another popular festival is Beignet Fest. This festival was created in 2016 and quickly became one of the most popular events in the fall festival lineup in Louisiana. It attracted more than 10,000 people in one day to sample dozens of different beignets. There are also local bands, an artist market, an inclusive kids village for children with autism and other special needs, and an interactive art experience.
October is when the weather finally starts to cool off here in New Orleans and the fall festival season starts. October is a great time to visit New Orleans.
In early October in New Orleans, you can check out Oktoberfest! Paying homage to German culture in the Crescent City, enjoy classics like sauerbraten, cabbage, Bavarian pretzels, and of course, BEER!
Check out the annual Crescent City Blues + BBQ Festival. Established in 2006, it continues New Orleans’ historic role in making the blues and R&B among the most influential sounds in the world. The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival presents many of the top performers from southern Louisiana and Mississippi, plus delicious BBQ and art.
Held in mid-October with over 200 films from almost 120 countries, the New Orleans Film Festival is a spectacular way to celebrate what has become known as the Hollywood of the South. Attend exclusive screenings during the weeklong event in addition to panels, and parties!
You can’t mention October in New Orleans without mentioning Halloween. Be sure to pack a costume. There are plenty of parties and fun for all ages when you celebrate Halloween in New Orleans. We recommend strolling down Frenchman street in the evening to spy all the costumes. We New Orleanians love costuming!
November is a great time to visit New Orleans. With average temperatures between 71 F -51 F (10-15 C),the weather has cooled off and you can attend the Bayou Bacchanal! Celebrating Caribbean culture in the Crescent City since it formed in 2001, you can enjoy food and music from the Caribbean nations while the parade struts down Canal Street!
Don’t forget the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival! Each year, Oak Street in Uptown is transformed into a po-boy haven with 35 different vendors! Decide for yourself who makes the best po-boy in all of New Orleans!Thanksgiving in New Orleans is honestly one of my favorite times all year round. Dress in your finest hat and attend opening day at the New Orleans fairgrounds. Bet on the horse with the best name. Then go out to dinner. Many New Orleans restaurants offer deals and dinners both to dine and to go. Click here and check out restaurants and deals that are open in for Thanksgiving.
We hope you learned when the best time to visit New Orleans is. Remember there’s plenty to do here even when it’s raining. Want to jump into 300 years of history? Would you like to learn why New Orleans is so special? Join us for a free walking tour.
We offer Walking tours of The French Quarter, The Garden District and Cemeteries. How can we offer these tours for free? We are so sure you’ll love our tours you’ll gladly pay what you think the tour is worth. it’s the best money back deal in the business.