New Orleans! Or NOLA, as some call it, is a great place to visit almost around the year. Some even call it the Big Easy, and no wonder! Its welcoming, friendly locals, a mix of rich culture, and fantastic food make it a charming place to spend some quality time on vacation with loved ones. Over the last few centuries, New Orleans collected multiple cultures, including French, Spanish, African-American, and others. So, all these combined heritage factors nicely season up NOLA’s food, music, art, architecture, and traditions.
If all these fun and quirky things in and around New Orleans don’t incite travelers to go to the Big Easy, then the list of multiple events taking place in New Orleans around the year will surely make this a must-visit destination. This city boasts many landmarks, museums, galleries, restaurants, bars, and hotels full of great musical talent.
So, planning an itinerary for New Orleans? Tourists will have numerous options to choose from. But knowing when to visit is also important. Here, the number of tourists rushing to NOLA, the prevailing hotel room prices, and the weather conditions all matter tremendously. Keeping these points in mind, visitors can decide what time is best to visit New Orleans. With that in mind, whether looking to sample the best fish dishes in New Orleans or seek out its best festivals, it’s time to take a look at the best times of year to visit NOLA.
The tourist season starts in the months of February-March with the loveliest weather. Think of a major event like the famed Mardi Gras in February-March and on the side Tennessee Williams/Literary Festival, and it usually happens around these two months. If travelers love nice mild weather, peak crowds, and crazy fun, they should visit New Orleans at this time of the year.
The two-week plus Mardi Gras carnival promises a unique experience for the visitors to this great city. Just visualize attending masquerade parties with fun costumes and watching incredible floats at the festival. If that sounds appealing, visiting in late February or early March, which are generally the months of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, is the perfect time to do so.
If travelers hope to enjoy some sightseeing NOLA in the Mardi Gras season, forget about it. Most other sites generally close down during Mardi Gras.
Springtime continues in April, promising lovely weather and a time of the year to visit the Big Easy. Be prepared for higher flight and hotel prices, though. Spring in April brings the best of NOLA forward. From mid to end of April, one can see the French Quarter Festival and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April-May – the two main events to keep track of. Attending these two festivals marks April as the perfect time to visit New Orleans.
- French Quarter Festival celebrates Louisiana music, food, and its rich culture. Tourists can also enjoy free tours of the lovely gardens and homes of the French Quarter.
- The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is considered one of the year’s biggest events. Just don’t forget to prebook flights and stay beforehand, as the waiting line for the event is quite long. Get a head start on any travel plans.
May promises the start of the summer season with temperatures in the high 80s. New Orleans is quite uncomfortably humid during summer. So, May is among the best times to visit New Orleans. The Bayou Boogaloo festival in May is also a worthy tourist event. Remember, NOLA is primarily a walking town. Whether travelers wish to check out different art galleries or bar hop, they have much to do on the outside. So, going for the May month is best before the humid and sticky summer months come.
Think affordable hotels and flights along with having the best weather with less rain! If that sounds tempting, September is the perfect time to visit New Orleans. But the summer heat and humidity can still linger in September. It is a great month for foodies due to Restaurant Week, which usually occurs in late September – a great excuse to try some of the best restaurants in New Orleans that combine tasty food with fun nightlife. Overall, visitors can get the best of the summer and fall seasons with affordable prices and minimal risk of crowds.
October is also one of the best months to visit New Orleans, as the hurricane season ranging from June to August is mostly over. This month typically sees some of the least rainfall throughout the year with less hassle from lesser crowds. Tourists can also escape the mad spring rush by visiting the NOLA this month. Furthermore, Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival and Voodoo Music & Arts Experience make up the noteworthy events of October.
5 Halloween (End Of October)
Halloween is probably the biggest time of year in New Orleans, only second to Mardi Gras. There are huge parties and bewitching displays of spooky and fun Halloween decorations, and the entire town gets into the scary festive spirit. Every year, Halloween in New Orleans attracts thousands of people to the French Quarter for a ton of fun, as zombies, ghosts, vampires, goblins, and costumes of all kinds haunt up and down Frenchmen Street. Plus, the spooky season is the perfect excuse to check out New Orleans’s eerie haunted sites on a ghost and vampire mystery tour.
November welcomes visitors to New Orleans with its mild pre-winter weather. Travelers can visit it without fear of being crowded by endless tourists. Some key events happening this month include:
- Celebration in the Oaks (November-January)
- Oak Street Po-Boy Festival (November)
- New Orleans Film Festival (November)
Here ‘Celebration in the Oaks’ is a months-long, family-friendly event that only happens after dark. Being a popular holiday lighting display in the country, this event attracts hundreds of thousands of people annually.
The best trip to New Orleans can be made in December if visitors want a low-key vacation. They can get lower prices and fewer crowds because of the approaching winter season. The weather is pleasantly cool and not harshly cold, typically staying between the 40s to 60s ranges.
Fun Fact: CN Traveler highly recommended New Orleans as one of the 23 Best Places to Spend Christmas in 2018. So, why not spend Christmas Eve in NOLA for a memorable experience?
If one wishes to avoid crowds and expensive stays or flights, then January is the best time to visit this lovely place. All the prices on hotels, flights, and rentals take a dip. Even the food gets cheaper in December-January, as restaurants typically drop their rates in response. Also, the Sugar Bowl in January is not to be missed in New Orleans.
1 The Summer Months (June, July, And August)
Think rainy hurricane months and extreme humidity. NOLA summer stays for three months: June, July, and August. Imagine extremely humid conditions and heat with average temperatures going as high as the mid-90s. Some people consider it the worst time to visit New Orleans, avoiding these months altogether – particularly if they hate staying indoors since many people stay inside to seek solace in shade and air-conditioning. But it’s a matter of perspective; some people enjoy the sun, heat, and humidity, after all, and are quite happy with walking through the sunny streets and even taking day trips from New Orleans.
Still, if visiting in summer, there may be fewer crowds and affordable experiences in some cases. It’s also the best time to visit top NOLA events, such as:
- Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival
- New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
- New Orleans Pride Festival
- Essence Festival
- Satchmo Summer fest
- Red Dress Run
Here COOLinary means special multi-course, budget-friendly offers for lunch and dinner by multiple restaurants included in a specific list for the whole of August month.
The key to surviving summer in New Orleans is to stay indoors with frequent shelter and air conditioning breaks in the mix. Also, avoid continuous exertion outside in the heat and humidity, and remember to stay hydrated.