Saturday, July 20, 2024

10 Greatest New Orleans Festivals (2023 Replace)


With over 130 New Orleans festivals all year long, that’s about one each three days!

I completely love festivals. In reality, I skipped my senior promenade to go to my first music competition. Oh yeah, and I met my spouse at one as nicely!

I’ve been to New Orleans 4 occasions now and have had a good time at their festivals. Of all of the cities I’ve traveled to for an excellent social gathering, I’d say New Orleans is without doubt one of the greatest locations in the US for festivals.

10 Greatest New Orleans Festivals

Best new orleans festivals

New Orleans is a metropolis with many names, together with the Crescent Metropolis, NOLA, and the Massive Straightforward. One other nickname that deserves to be on the listing is Pageant Capital of the World.

Whereas New Orleans is most well-known for its raucous Mardi Gras celebration, there are tons of different superior festivals to expertise right here. Whether or not you’re into music, meals, literature, artwork, or booze, there’s a competition for you within the Massive Straightforward.

With so many wonderful New Orleans occasions to select from, there’s more likely to be one thing cool occurring within the metropolis if you go to — even when it’s only for a weekend.

On this information, we’ll check out a number of the greatest New Orleans festivals that can assist you plan the right journey.

1. Mardi Gras: New Orleans Carnival Celebration

Floats in the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans

Mardi Gras is the granddaddy of all of them. That is positively essentially the most well-known of all of the New Orleans festivals, bringing in over 10 million individuals to town every year.

The title Mardi Gras is French for “Fats Tuesday”, which is the widespread title for the ultimate day earlier than the beginning of Lent.

On at the present time, many individuals eat wealthy and fatty meals earlier than the fasting of Lent begins. Mardi Gras in New Orleans lasts for a lot longer than in the future, although.

As soon as the 12 days of Christmas are completed, the Mardi Gras celebrations start.

The primary parades kick off on January sixth, which is often known as Twelfth Evening. A couple of month laster, the largest and wildest parade of all takes place, Endymion. Seeing this parade was simply my favourite a part of Mardi Gras.

The social gathering lasts for a month, so you may have numerous choices for together with Mardi Gras in your listing of issues to do in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras got here to the area manner again in 1699 when a French Canadian explorer landed about 60 miles downriver from New Orleans and named it “Ponte du Mardi Gras” (Fats Tuesday Level) when he realized it was the day of the vacation.

The parades began within the 1830s, and Mardi Gras has been an integral a part of the tradition right here ever since.

Mardi Gras season in New Orleans principally means a ton of parades, attention-grabbing costumes, colourful beads, and King Muffins.

There’s a variety of consuming, ingesting, dancing, and simply common merriment. Be certain you put on the official colours of Mardi Gras – purple (justice), inexperienced (religion), and gold (energy).

Ensure you plan forward and guide lodging nicely upfront, as that is the most well-liked time to go to the Massive Straightforward.

If you happen to don’t need to cope with the crowds, contemplate touring to New Orleans just a few weeks earlier than Mardi Gras. There’s nonetheless a lot occurring, but it surely’s far much less chaotic and also you’ll get a greater deal on lodging.

You’ll be able to examine the precise dates for future Mardi Gras right here.

2. French Quarter Pageant

Musicians marching on the street during the French Quarter Festival, one of the best New Orleans music festivals

The French Quarter Pageant began again in 1984 as a manner to attract locals again to the world after the development of the World’s Truthful completed up.

It’s a celebration of New Orleans meals, music, and tradition that lasts for 4 days each April. If you happen to’re in search of an excellent New Orleans music competition, this can be a stable selection.

Better of all, the French Quarter Pageant is completely free!

It’s really the largest free music competition within the nation, with an estimated 1,700 Louisiana musicians taking part in throughout 23 completely different phases. You’ll hear many alternative genres of music right here, from funk to jazz to zydeco.

Along with all the good native music, you’ll be able to count on loads of scrumptious delicacies being cooked, and typical New Orleans cocktails being blended. There are over 60 cubicles arrange across the French Quarter serving up classics like po’ boys and Hurricanes.

The occasion is highlighted by the world’s largest jazz brunch, which takes place in Jackson Sq. and the Riverfront Park. For extra info, you should definitely examine their web site.

3. New Orleans Wine and Meals Expertise

Clinking glasses at the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

The Wine and Meals Expertise is certainly top-of-the-line New Orleans festivals. Foodies and winos will love this 5-day celebration of the finer issues in life. With over 250 wineries and 100 eating places participating, you’ve bought loads of choices.

Throughout the competition, wineries and eating places workforce as much as provide particular menus with wine pairings. I discovered extra about wine (and had extra enjoyable ingesting it) in in the future than in my total life earlier than it!

There are additionally grand tastings and seminars all through the competition the place you’ll be able to study extra concerning the incredible meals and wine on provide. The spotlight of the competition is the Royal Road Stroll, a parade led by the Krewe of Cork.

Top-of-the-line elements about supporting this competition is that it’s for a fantastic trigger.

The NOWFE donates all of its proceeds minus prices to profit the humanities, careers in wine and hospitality, and charitable organizations. They’ve contributed over $1 million up to now, so that you’re consuming and ingesting for an excellent trigger right here!

There’s little doubt that the Massive Straightforward is without doubt one of the greatest cities within the US for consuming and ingesting. You could possibly plan your total journey right here round what you need to eat and drink, and there can be completely nothing improper with that!

If you wish to participate within the New Orleans Wine and Meals Expertise, head on over to their web site to study extra.

4. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Pageant

One of the best New Orleans festivals  is Jazz Fest

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Pageant (or Jazz Fest for brief) lately celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and is a crucial a part of the native tradition. In a metropolis referred to as the birthplace of jazz, it ought to come as no shock that there’s a significant jazz competition within the Massive Straightforward!

This well-known New Orleans music competition goes down on the Truthful Grounds Race Course. Right here you’ll be able to catch over 100 artists throughout a number of phases taking part in each fashion of music related to Louisiana, which is principally every little thing!

Along with jazz, you will get all the way down to blues, gospel, rap, nation, bluegrass, and a lot extra. All this selection is why Jazz Fest is my private favourite occasion in New Orleans.

Jazz Fest wouldn’t be top-of-the-line New Orleans festivals with out loads of native meals to take pleasure in. Jazz Fest has a coverage of “no carnival meals,” which means you gained’t get overpriced corn canines and cotton sweet right here. As an alternative, you’ll be able to munch on native classics like boiled crawfish or purple beans & rice.

There are additionally loads of cubicles across the competition promoting native crafts.

Whereas the music on the competition solely goes till 7:00 PM, the social gathering doesn’t cease then. Top-of-the-line elements about experiencing Jazz Fest is testing a number of the superb late-night reveals that go on throughout town.

The toughest half about going to this enjoyable New Orleans music competition is getting any sleep! I should have slept for a full week afterwards.

Jazz Fest is definitely so large now that it takes place over two weekends. If you wish to expertise top-of-the-line New Orleans festivals, plan to be within the metropolis for the final weekend of April or first of Might, or each if you wish to go large. For extra info on Jazz Fest, take a look at their web site.

5. White Linen Evening/Soiled Linen Evening

Group of people wearing white clothes

White Linen Evening and Soiled Linen Evening are two distinctive New Orleans festivals that positively stand out. On the very least, they definitely have essentially the most attention-grabbing names.

When you can zip across the Massive Straightforward in a pleasant air-conditioned cab nowadays, this was not the case again within the day.

Since summers are so scorching and muggy in New Orleans, individuals most well-liked to put on white linen when going out. Retailers within the metropolis’s Warehouse District determined to have slightly flashback social gathering and began White Linen Evening in 1994.

The concept for this occasion is easy. You simply placed on some contemporary, white linen and are available out to Julia Road to peruse the artwork galleries. After all, there’s additionally dwell music and loads of meals & drink to maintain the social gathering going. White wine is the drink of selection at this fancy soirée!

New Orleans festivals are all about having an excellent time. That’s why the social gathering extends to the subsequent weekend with Soiled Linen Evening.

You’re inspired to put on the identical outfit that you simply did the earlier weekend now that it’s good and soiled. This social gathering takes place within the French Quarter on Royal Road. Soiled Martinis are the drink of selection, and a few outlets even give away Soiled Rice.

Going down over back-to-back weekends in the summertime, these are art-centered block events which might be free to attend. White Linen Evening takes place on the primary Saturday in August, whereas Soiled Linen Evening occurs the next weekend.

6. Essence Pageant

party and festival having drinks

The Essence Pageant was initially deliberate as a one-off occasion again in 1995.

Often called the “social gathering with a goal,” it has now been working for greater than 25 years and is now one of many largest occasions celebrating African-American tradition in your entire United States.

Essence is principally two festivals rolled into one. Throughout the day, there are panels and workshops within the Ernest Morial Conference Middle. These are open to the general public and are completely free, however registration is required.

The motion strikes to the Superdome within the evenings for a powerful lineup of hip-hop, funk, soul, R&B, and gospel music.

You should buy tickets for live shows individually or go for a weekend go. That is one New Orleans music competition you gained’t need to miss.

In earlier years, former First Woman Michelle Obama headlined the festivities in a particular keynote dialog. The musical lineup was stacked as nicely, with Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, NAS, Pharrell Williams, and extra.

Examine their web site for the newest info on this 12 months’s occasions.

7. Tales of the Cocktail

A cocktail in the New Orleans cocktail festival

Tales of the Cocktail dates again to 2002 when it began out as a strolling tour of native bars. The subsequent 12 months, it became a small gathering of cocktail aficionados and professionals, and it has grown yearly since.

Over the course of 5 days, the cocktail group descends upon New Orleans for seminars, workshops, competitions, tastings, and rather more. There are even area journeys out to native distilleries, which could be a variety of enjoyable.

For this competition, you’ll be able to simply buy tickets to the occasions individually.

If you happen to purchase tickets as much as a worth of $150, you will get free entry to all of the tasting rooms. Right here you’ll discover nice occasions like “Craft Your Personal Excellent Bloody Mary” and “Hecho in Mexico: All Issues Agave.”

Whether or not you’re part of the business or simply fascinated by mixology, that is positively one of many coolest New Orleans occasions. You’ll find all the information you want over on their web site.

8. Crescent Metropolis Blues & BBQ Pageant

new orleans food festivals

In a metropolis well-known for its music and meals, Crescent Metropolis Blues & BBQ is without doubt one of the greatest New Orleans festivals to take a look at. Simply because the climate begins to chill down a bit, this competition heats issues proper again up in downtown New Orleans.

This New Orleans music competition began after Hurricane Katrina as a strategy to convey vacationers again to town and create jobs for locals. It’s been an enormous hit ever since and shall be having its 14th version this 12 months.

The competition takes place in Lafayette Sq. Park within the metropolis’s Central Enterprise District. There are two completely different phases arrange the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in some superb blues music and one other smaller stage the place artists inform tales and host Q&A occasions.

So far as the meals goes, you’ll be able to count on loads of mouth-watering Louisiana barbecue right here. Take your decide between brisket, lamb chops, and naturally all kinds of sausages. They’ve vegetarian and vegan choices accessible as nicely.

Admission is free, however there are VIP packages accessible if you happen to’re . You’ll be able to learn extra concerning the competition on their web site.

9. Voodoo Music & Arts Expertise

festival party drinks nightclub dark black lights

The Voodoo Music & Arts Expertise takes over Metropolis Park each October on the weekend round Halloween. With catchphrases like “be a part of the ritual” and “worship the music,” this New Orleans music competition embraces town’s historical past with voodoo.

Voodoo has been an essential a part of the native tradition in New Orleans for hundreds of years. It got here right here with slaves from West Africa, who quickly merged their rituals and beliefs with Catholicism. Not solely is there a Voodoo Museum in New Orleans, however there’s even a competition.

The primary version of Voodoo occurred again in 1999 as a single-day occasion. It has grown significantly since then and is now a large 3-day competition with a powerful lineup. Previous headliners embody Weapons N’ Roses, Publish Malone, and Beck.

Along with all of the music, there are some fairly mind-blowing artwork installations right here. There’s even an interactive graveyard that makes for some spooky picture ops. Add in hundreds of costumed individuals and also you’ve bought a recipe for an superior Halloween weekend.

Sadly, Voodoo wasn’t held in 2022, and the 2023 version hasn’t been introduced but. However hold checking their web site, as a result of this in style New Orleans competition is sure to return.

10. LUNA Fete

Gallier Hall lit up in green during Luna Fete

LUNA Fete, which stands for Mild Up NOLA Arts, is without doubt one of the most original New Orleans festivals. That’s exactly what this superb competition of sunshine, artwork, and know-how does to the historic buildings of the Massive Straightforward.

This competition began in 2014 with a single set up at Gallier Corridor that includes a surprising projection of sunshine and video. Created by the Arts Council of New Orleans, the concept is to shine a lightweight on town and present how artwork can remodel communities.

What you’ll see if you happen to expertise LUNA Fete is a lot greater than photos being projected onto a constructing. It’s a really interactive show of movement graphics and sound utilizing the newest in video mapping know-how. It actually is an awe-inspiring sight and one I’d like to expertise once more on my subsequent journey to town.

LUNA Fete takes place over just a few nights in early December to kick off the vacation season in New Orleans. There are nightly projections together with another attention-grabbing artwork installations.

There’s additionally a big market right here with loads of artwork and meals distributors in addition to dwell leisure. It’s the right strategy to get within the vacation spirit and enjoyable for the entire household. Click on right here to study extra.

Curious About Extra Nice Festivals Across the World?

Considered one of my favourite issues about visiting new locations is experiencing native tradition. If you happen to’re fascinated by extra than simply New Orleans festivals, take a look at these different articles:

FAQs About New Orleans Festivals

Have a query about festivals in New Orleans? Check out these FAQs.

What’s the largest competition in New Orleans?

No shock right here: Mardi Gras is the largest New Orleans competition.

What’s the most well-known competition in New Orleans?

Not solely is Mardi Gras the largest New Orleans competition, but it surely’s additionally essentially the most well-known. For music followers, nevertheless, Jazz Fest would possibly come to thoughts first.

What number of festivals are in New Orleans?

New Orleans at the moment hosts over 130 festivals a 12 months. That averages out to a couple of each three days!

What time of 12 months is competition season in New Orleans?

New Orleans has essentially the most festivals in summer season, though two of the largest, Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, are within the late winter and spring.

What’s the greatest month to go to New Orleans?

In my view, April is the perfect month due to Jazz Fest. New Orleans festivals apart, October, January, and March are good occasions to keep away from the crowds and summer season warmth.

Prepared for New Orleans Festivals?

Fireworks during a New Orleans festival

As you’ll be able to see, the motion actually doesn’t cease in the case of New Orleans occasions. Only a few days after ringing within the New Yr with large events all around the metropolis, the Mardi Gras parades begin and final for a number of weeks.

There’s barely sufficient time to wash up all of the beads off of Bourbon Road earlier than town turns its focus in direction of its legendary spring festivals.

Along with the French Quarter Pageant and Jazz Fest, there are additionally tons of New Orleans festivals within the spring only for crawfish!

The tasty meals festivals of the Massive Straightforward proceed on by means of the remainder of the 12 months.

There are festivals right here devoted to fried hen, po’ boys, gumbo, beignets, and even one only for tomatoes. You’ll want one thing to clean all that down with, and New Orleans has you coated with wine, beer, and cocktail festivals.

With so many festivals occurring, New Orleans simply would possibly take the (king) cake for essentially the most enjoyable metropolis within the USA. When one social gathering ends, one other is simply starting within the Massive Straightforward. That’s why town’s motto is “Laissez Le Bons Temps Roulez” – Let the Good Instances Roll!

Have you ever traveled to New Orleans for considered one of these festivals, or do you may have one other nice advice? Go away a remark beneath and tell us.

Notice: Some photos on this article are courtesy of

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