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Things to do in New Orleans in October, Besides Halloween?

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New Orleans is known for its Halloween festivities throughout October. Still, there is much more to experience in this city during this time of year. From festivals to delicious food events, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in addition to the spooky celebrations of Halloween night. 

Let the good times roll and enjoy local food and businesses during your trip to New Orleans. Keep reading to see what fun activities you should add to your trip. 

Festivals and Events

October is one of my favorite festival season months in New Orleans. Many events and festivals are happening in October besides Halloween. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival

The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is a two-day Lafayette Square Park event celebrating New Orleans’s rich music and food culture. Attendees can enjoy live performances by local and national artists while indulging in mouth-watering BBQs from some of the best pitmasters in the area. The Festival also features a local art market where visitors can purchase unique handmade items.

Art for Art’s Sake

Art for Art’s Sake is one of the most significant art walks in New Orleans. This event occurs in the Arts District and features over 20 galleries showcasing local and national artists. The galleries are open to the public, and visitors can enjoy complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres while browsing the Art. Art for Art’s Sake is a great way to experience the vibrant art scene of New Orleans like a local. 


Oktoberfest is a famous festival that celebrates German culture and traditions. This New Orleans version occurs in the Deutsches Haus, a German cultural center. Oktoberfest features live music, traditional German food, and, of course, plenty of beer. Visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere while participating in the stein-holding contest and the chicken dance.

Girl holding a beer at Oktoberfest

Gentilly Fest

Gentilly Fest is a three-day festival in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans that celebrates the area’s music, food, and culture. It features live music performances by local and national artists and various food vendors offering everything from traditional New Orleans cuisine to international dishes. The Festival also has a marketplace where visitors can purchase handmade crafts and other items.

In conclusion, New Orleans has much to offer in October besides Halloween. Whether you’re interested in music, Art, food, or culture, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Add some of these activities to your upcoming trip or staycation!

🚌 Take a 2-Hour City Sightseeing Bus Tour which is great way to learn about the history and romance of this magnificent city
🚢Experience Evening Jazz Boat Cruise with dinner while soaking in incredible views.
👻 Hear tales of vampires, voodoo, and witchcraft on this city walking tour of New Orleans’ French Quarter
🦸 Try Escape Room Adventure and test your problem-solving skills with fun and tactile challenges
⛰️ Go on a food tour and explore the history and culture of the area with an expert local guide while tasting regional specialties at some of the best restaurants around.

Food and Drink

If you’re a foodie, October is a great time to visit New Orleans. The city is known for its delicious cuisine, and several food and drink festivals occur during the month.

Bridge City Gumbo Festival

One of the most popular festivals is the Bridge City Gumbo Festival, which takes place in early October. The Festival features live music, carnival rides, and, of course, plenty of gumbo. The gumbo cook-off is a festival highlight, with teams competing to see who can make the best. You will want to attend this Festival if you enjoy Cajun dishes.

Fried Chicken Fest

Another festival in October is the Fried Chicken Fest. This family-friendly event celebrates all things fried chicken, with vendors from around the city offering their best recipes. In addition to fried chicken, there are sides like mac and cheese, coleslaw, and biscuits. Live music and a kids’ zone make this festival fun for the whole family.

Top Taco

Top Taco is one of my favorite events in Jefferson Parish. Local restaurants compete for the Top Taco (and a margarita!). This Festival is held in Lafreniere Park, a large park in Jefferson Parish, and is one of the best mid-week festivals they have! Since you must pay an admission fee, you can eat unlimited tacos (until the different vendors sell out). 

A sign that says I love Tacos

Culinary Tours

If you want to experience New Orleans’ food scene more intimately, consider taking a culinary tour. Several companies offer food tours of the city, taking you to some of the best restaurants and bars. You’ll sample various dishes and drinks and learn about the city’s culinary history. It’s a great way to taste New Orleans’ unique cuisine.

Live Music and Entertainment

If you’re a fan of live music, October is the perfect time to visit New Orleans. The city is known for its vibrant music scene, and there are plenty of opportunities to catch a live performance during this time of year. Here are a few options to consider:

Jazz Performances

New Orleans is often called the birthplace of jazz, and the city is home to some of the best jazz musicians in the world. In October, you can catch performances by established and up-and-coming jazz artists at venues throughout the city. Some popular options include Preservation Hall, the Spotted Cat Music Club, and Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro.

Street Musicians and Performers

One thing that makes New Orleans unique is its tradition of street musicians and performers. During October, you’ll find these talented artists throughout the French Quarter and other parts of the city. Something always happens on the streets of New Orleans, from brass bands to solo guitarists.

Nightclub Shows

New Orleans has plenty of options if you’re looking for a more traditional nightclub experience. Many of the city’s top nightclubs, including the House of Blues, Tipitina’s, and the Maple Leaf Bar, feature live music performances during October. Whether looking for jazz, blues, or rock, you will find a great show in New Orleans.

Overall, October is a fantastic time to experience the live music and entertainment scene in New Orleans. Whether you’re a jazz fan or just looking for a fun night out, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

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Things to do in New Orleans in October Besides Halloween

Outdoor Activities

The Fall season in New Orleans brings cooler temperatures, making it a great time to enjoy the city’s beautiful outdoor spaces. Here are a few outdoor activities to consider during your October visit:

City Park Fall Garden Festival

One of the best ways to enjoy the fall weather in New Orleans is to attend the City Park Fall Garden Festival. This annual event, which takes place in early October, features live music, food vendors, and a plant sale. The Festival also offers a variety of gardening workshops and demonstrations, making it an excellent opportunity to learn more about horticulture and landscaping.

New Orleans Botanical Garden

Even though the Botanical Gardens are open all year round, I love going in October. Free admission on Wednesdays for LA residents (with valid ID) is one of the reasons why I like to go out here and check out what is growing in City Park. 

A girl at the Botanical Garden in black outfit with leopard shoes

Ghost Tours

Of course, I had to sneak in something Spooky – it is October! New Orleans is famous for its haunted history, making it the perfect destination for a ghost tour. Several companies offer spooky walking tours of the city, including the French Quarter Phantoms and Haunted History Tours. These tours provide a fascinating look at the city’s haunted past and are a great way to spend a fall evening in New Orleans.

Whether you’re interested in gardening, Halloween fun, or spooky history, New Orleans offers plenty of outdoor activities in October.

Cemetery Tour

If you need more history and culture during your stay in New Orleans, do a Cemetery Tour! Many of our graves are above ground, and your tour guide will give you all the history of why the Graves are above ground instead of below ground. 

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Sports and Recreation

As a sports enthusiast, I can attest that New Orleans is a great place to visit for sports and recreation in October. The weather is perfect for outdoor activities, and there are plenty of events to keep you entertained.

New Orleans Saints Games

October is a great month to catch a New Orleans Saints game. The Saints are among the most popular teams in the NFL, and the atmosphere at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is electric. The team usually has a few home games in October, so check the schedule and get your tickets early. There are plenty of bars and restaurants that will have the game on! 

Pelicans Basketball Games

If basketball is more your thing, you can catch a New Orleans Pelicans game in October. The Pelicans play at the Smoothie King Center, which is located in the heart of downtown New Orleans. The arena is state-of-the-art, and the Pelicans have a talented team that is always exciting to watch.

Running and Cycling Events

New Orleans has plenty of options for those who prefer participating in sports rather than watching them. Several running and cycling events occur in October, including the Crescent City Fall Classic and the Tour de Jefferson. These events are a great way to stay active and explore the city simultaneously.

In October, New Orleans has something for everyone regarding sports and recreation. If you prefer to watch the pros or participate in Willow-satisfied Unity and Social Gatherings, you will be satisfied.

As the weather cools in October, New Orleans locals and visitors come together to enjoy various community and social gatherings. Here are some of the events that you shouldn’t miss:

Farmers Markets

New Orleans is known for its delicious cuisine, and what better way to experience it than by visiting one of the many farmer’s markets in the city? The Crescent City Farmers Market is one of the most popular, offering fresh produce, seafood, and baked goods from local vendors. You can also check out the market at the French Market, which has been a fixture in the city since the 1700s.

Art and Museums

You might not think it, but New Orleans is full of Art and museums. Even though I love spending as much time as I can outdoors in October, there may be a rainy day or two that you need to spend indoors, and a museum is the perfect place to spend that time! 

Contemporary Arts Center Exhibits

The Contemporary Arts Center is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Modern Art. In October, the center typically hosts a variety of exhibits featuring works by local and international artists. Some past exhibits have included “Art in Bloom,” which showcases floral arrangements inspired by works of Art, and “The Whole Drum Will Sound,” a multi-disciplinary exhibit exploring the intersection of music and visual Art.

Museum Special Events

In addition to the regular exhibits, many of New Orleans’ museums also host special events and activities during October. For example, the New Orleans Museum of Art often holds concerts in its beautiful sculpture garden. Meanwhile, the National World War II Museum hosts an annual “Victory Ball,” featuring live music, dancing, and period costumes.

Overall, October is a fantastic time to explore the Art and culture of New Orleans. With so many exhibits, galleries, and events to choose from, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

girl infront of art

Theater and Performance Art

New Orleans is known for its vibrant performing arts scene, and October is no exception. From Broadway shows to local theater productions, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Broadway Shows

If you’re a fan of Broadway, you should attend the shows in New Orleans in October. The Saenger Theater and Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts hosts a variety of shows, including musicals, plays, and dance performances. Some of the shows that have been featured in past Octobers include “Hamilton,” “The Lion King,” and “Wicked.” Check the theater’s schedule to see what shows are coming up.

Local Theater Productions

New Orleans has a thriving local theater scene, and October is a great time to catch a show. Many local theater companies put on productions throughout the month, ranging from classic plays to experimental works. Some theaters include the Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, Southern Rep Theatre, and The NOLA Project.

Taylor Swift

While not strictly a theater performance, Taylor Swift will be in New Orleans the last weekend of October 2024. This could impact the prices of hotels and the availability of tours as Swifties descend on New Orleans. This 

Major Events are something to keep in mind when planning your October trip. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top free events to attend in New Orleans during October?

New Orleans offers a variety of free events for visitors to enjoy during October. Some of the top free events include the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest, the NOLA Caribbean Experience, and the Gentilly Fest. These local festivals feature live music, delicious food, and cultural activities that showcase the unique spirit of New Orleans.

How does the weather in New Orleans in October affect outdoor activities?

October is a great time to visit New Orleans because the weather is mild and comfortable. It is also towards the end of Hurricane Season. The average temperature during the day is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with cooler temperatures at night. This makes it perfect for outdoor activities such as exploring the city’s parks, walking tours, and festivals.

What family-friendly activities are available in New Orleans in October?

New Orleans has plenty of family-friendly activities during October, including the Boo at the Zoo event at the Audubon Zoo, the Ghostly Galavant Halloween Parade, and the Krewe of Boo Parade. Families can enjoy the City Park Pumpkin Patch and the Louisiana Children’s Museum. There are a lot of Halloween-themed activities throughout October.

How does the New Orleans Oktoberfest differ from traditional German celebrations?

While the New Orleans Oktoberfest celebrates German culture and traditions, it also incorporates the city’s unique flair and personality. Visitors can enjoy authentic German food and beer, live music, and cultural activities. The Festival also features a variety of local vendors, artists, and craftspeople, making it a truly unique experience.

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