The summer in New Orleans is hot, humid, and sticky. If you are looking to take advantage of lower prices, the summer months in New Orleans may be the best time to take a summer trip.
Now I feel like summer always starts in May because it starts to get hot and the kids are out of school, but technically summer is from June 21-September 22. In this blog post, we will include some events that start in May and early June because – it’s hot as hades outside, and it might as well be summer in New Orleans.
When traveling to New Orleans, make sure that you have flexible plans in late August through September due to the oppressive summer heat and the potential impact of Hurricane Season.
Just note that New Orleans in summer is hot and even though it is a fun time to visit, make sure you hydrate and find your way to the air conditioner to escape the New Orleans heat. If you are looking for additional places to visit during the month of July our friend Megan can help with that!
When booking a hotel, make sure you look for refundable hotel rates for your trip if anything starts brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. For the best hotel deals, book as early as you can.
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Things to do all summer in New Orleans
There are quite a few things that you can enjoy all summer while in New Orleans. Many of these special events or fun things to do are available to both locals and tourists alike! There are many free and cheap things to do in the Big Easy. You will never run out of things to do in the summer.
1. Enjoy a Jazz Brunch
One way to stay out of the sun is a Jazz Brunch! What else would you do on a Saturday or Sunday but brunch it up?
Jazz brunch elevates your typical weekend brunching. Everyone dresses up, the food is of a higher caliber, and people come around to serenade you with live jazz!
My favorite Jazz Brunch is Commander’s Palace in the Garden District. It is one of the best ways to hear some live new Orleans music while dining on some of the best food in the City.
There is something about sitting in the garden room with all of the celebration balloons while the band is playing the Audubon Zoo Song that just fills my heart.
My favorite thing?
You can either go with a super sweet pancake or a more conservative savory brunch. No matter what, Commander’s has a seasonal menu, so you will never be bored with your choices. Commander’s is a popular place to eat brunch, so make sure you book reservations.
2. Go on a swamp tour
Now I know what you are saying. Why would I want to go on a Swamp Tour – I want to stay inside! Being on the water just makes it seem not so hot.
Many tour operators will pick you up at your hotel in the French Quarter, so you do not need to worry about renting a car or finding an uber.
3. TRY NEW ORLEANS OLDEST SNOWBALL STAND
I do not care where you are from, but a snowball is entirely different from a snowcone (or anything you can buy from the grocery’s freezer). To make the perfect snowball, you need to have good ice, a great snowball machine (may locals use vintage Snow Wizards), and the ideal recipe to make the syrups.
Hansen’s Snow Bliz, located on Tchoupitoulas, has been open since 1939, making it the oldest snowball stand in New Orleans.
Hansen’s has a couple of unique flavors like Honey-Lavender or Cardomon, but I would stay with the classic Strawberry with Condensed Milk or Chocolate and an Iced Coffee half and half. No matter what you pick, you will be happy and cool.
4. Get a Go City All-Inclusive Pass
One of the best ways to explore many things that New Orleans offers in the heat of summer is to be in air conditioning and never stop moving!
Getting a Go City All-Inclusive Pass lets you squeeze in 25 popular attractions while visiting New Orleans.
5. Take a Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour
I hate to admit it, but I love Hop-on and Hop-Off Bus tours!
I tend to take them to any large city with one, and I recommend them to anyone I meet. It is a great way to explore more than just the French Quarter.
This bus picks up everyone from Jackson Square, and on this bus route, you can explore the Warehouse District, the Garden District, and Downtown New Orleans!
6. Take a Steamboat Cruise
Nothing is more iconic than taking a ride on a historic steamboat cruise along the Mississippi River.
You can either do the dining option or just the riding option. Take advantage of a themed cruise during the Fourth of July to be on the river during the fireworks!
You can ride on the Creole Queen.
7. Ride the Ferry to Algiers
If you want to ride on the Mississippi River but do not want to shell out all the money for a Steamboat Cruise, take the Algiers Ferry and explore Algiers point!
The Algiers boat ride is significantly cheaper.
You can also make a fun day trip to explore Algiers Point!
8. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Suppose you do not have a great Aquarium in your hometown.
In that case, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is the best place to escape into some air conditioning and check out all of the exhibits, including an alligator and penguins!
It is a fun and easy way to discover some of Louisiana’s wildlife.
9. Splash around at Audubon Cool Zoo
After a long day of visiting the animals at the Audubon zoo, The Audubon Cool Zoo is the perfect place to refresh.
This Kid-friendly attraction not only has a lazy river but has splash pads for the kids to cool down in the heat.
10. Swim at a rooftop bar
Are you looking for something a little more adult-friendly?
Many of the hotels in the Central Business District have rooftop bars and pools, and they are a great way to cool down when air conditioning won’t do the trick.
Many hotels offer free access during the week.
If you are not interested in a rooftop bar you can always head over to the Country Club in the Marigny. Don’t worry, it is not that type of country club.
11. Pop into St Louis Cathedral for Mass
St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in continuous use in the United States.
You can take a self-guided tour for a $1 donation and stick around for mass at noon.
If a volunteer is available, they can give you an impromptu tour of the Cathedral.
Special Events for Summer months
When the warm weather gets hot, the only way to beat the heat is by getting steep discounts for the whole family.
Whether you are looking for deals on meals or museums, summertime in New Orleans is the best time to visit.
You have an opportunity to soak in some of the City’s art and culture while dodging the sun.
12. Coolinary – August
August is one of the most miserable months in the City.
There is no doubt about that. Each August, some of the finest local restaurants in New Orleans give incredible discounts for lunch and dinner.
Lunch typically consists of 2 courses and costs around $15-$20, and dinner generally is three courses and costs around $39.
My Goal is to dine as many places as I can during lunchtime, so I can make sure I make my rounds at some of the finest restaurants in the City.
13. MUSEUM MONTH – August
This one is more for my local readers.
Still, if you are a Louisiana resident and you have a membership to any participating museum, you can get into all of the participating museums for free in August.
I recently fell in love with the New Orleans Museum of Art when we attended an event for the closing at A Queen Within Adorned Archetypes at night.
After that evening, I realized that I hadn’t taken advantage of all the fantastic museums in the New Orleans Area.
If you are looking to brush up on your history, look no further than visiting the National WWII Museum and New Orleans Pharmacy Museum for free admission!
Related Post: 9 Reasons Why New Orleans is the Best During the Spring
14. RESTAURANT WEEK – September
Restaurant Week is a miniature Coolinary at the beginning of September. Typically the second week of September is Restaurant week.
This limited week is another time when some of the finest restaurants in New Orleans offer delicious discounted menus.
Festivals and New Orleans go hand in hand, one of the best ways to beat the hot weather this season is to hit the street and just enjoy every festival New Orleans has to offer.
I genuinely think that the only way the City can get locals to go out in July and August is by convincing us to leave our house and head on down to a fun festival.
15. Champagne Stroll – May
The Champagne Stroll is an excellent event where you stroll up and down Magazine street from 5-9 pm and the shops and art galleries that are participating offer up free champagne to all participants.
I love going to the Casey Langteau Art Gallery and shopping at Home Malone during this event!
16. Bayou Boogaloo – May
Pretty much the start of summer is Bayou Boogaloo! This three-day event at the end of May boasts delicious food, music, and art. This festival features primarily local artists.
One of the favorite parts of this festival is the boating and rafting on Bayou St John, one of the bayous of New Orleans. People can even make a homemade barge or raft after submitting a $150 deposit.
If you enjoy walking around the bayou, this is the festival!
Pin for Later
17. Greek Festival – May
There is a festival for everyone in New Orleans and Greek Fest over Memorial Day weekend is one of the best ways to explore the Greek Community.
On Friday, they have a traditional 5K to kick off the weekend of festivities. Each day you can do a cathedral tour or see the Hellenic Dancers.
18. New Orleans Food and Wine Experience – June
Happening every June, the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience is one of my favorite festivals.
If you ever wanted to learn some tips on wine tasting or just needed a whole evening to taste delicious Wines, NOFWE is a must-attend event.
There are even Wine Dinners that you can attend at various restaurants throughout the City.
19. Ogden Museum of Southern Art Magnolia Ball – June
The Magnolia Ball is a summer extravaganza celebrating art, and music, while raising money for a great cause.
20. New Orleans Pride Festival – June
Pride happens all month long in New Orleans in June.
Typically the second Saturday of the month is the New Orleans Pride Parade that runs through the Marigny and French Quarter.
21. Tales of the Cocktail – June
If learning about cocktails is more your style, Tales of the cocktail is one way to learn about the cocktails, culture, and history all during one festival.
The Big Easy knows how to drink, and Tales of the Cocktail is the premier cocktail even to up your game.
If you can score a ticket to a few seminars, then you have the opportunity to go to the tasting rooms for free.
22. Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival – June
The Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival is a sister festival to the world-famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
This festival is two full summer days of live music.
23. Creole Tomato Festival – June
If you love tomatoes, check out the French Market Creole Tomato Festival.
Creole Tomatoes are my favorite summer treat when they are in season, and what better way than to eat tomatoes in the middle of June?
24. Essence Music Festival – July
Essence Music Festival, or simply Essence, is one of the festivals that attract visitors from all over.
If you have never made a trip down to New Orleans during Essence Fest, this is the perfect time to visit New Orleans and experience the annual black music and culture festival.
This festival usually coincides with the fourth of July. Make sure to book a hotel early for Essence Fest.
25. Running of the Bulls – July
One of my favorite events of summer! Right after the fourth of July, New Orleans pays homage to its Spanish Roots by inviting the citizens of New Orleans to wear their finest white (with a red accent) and be chased by Roller Derby girls dressed up as Bulls.
Running the bulls is a weekend-long celebration that raises money for local charities. The event starts at 8 am sharp so make sure you and your crew get down in the street by at least 730 to get your Mimosa or Bloody Mary on.
26. Bastille Day – July
Along with many of the festivals on this list, New Orleans has a ton of different cultures mixed in with our different histories.
To celebrate New Orleans French Heritage, Bastille Day Fete is a weekend-long celebration during the second weekend in July.
27. Satchmo Summer Fest – August
Another free summer fest in the City is Satchmo Summerfest.
Head to the New Orleans Jazz Museum to find some delicious food and music.
28. White Linen Night – August
White Linen night is historically the hottest night of the year. This free event is just one of the best things to do in the Arts District.
Everyone in New Orleans puts on their white linen (yes, you can wear just white, but that’s frowned upon) and descend on Julia Street to browse all the local art galleries while sipping on cocktails and enjoying light bites.
Many venues hold private parties, so be prepared to wear white, become sweaty, and have a wonderful time.
29. Dirty Linen Night – August
After White Linen night, please do not wash your linen (or get a darker colored linen outfit!) and wear it the following weekend for Dirty Linen Night!
In your Dirty Linen, you can stroll up and down Royal Street and check out all of the art galleries in the Crescent City.
Dirty Linen Night is an excellent way to walk around the French Quarter while walking around some of the City’s art galleries.
30. Red Dress Run – August
The height of summer is marked by Red Dress Run – if you haven’t seen a theme yet, New Orleanians like to be told what to wear during the summer and show up in whatever attire.
Both males and females wear Red Dresses and descend on the Crescent City.
The hardcore runners run a race in their red dresses and celebrate the rest of the day by drinking and having a great time up and down Bourbon Street.
31. Mid-Summer Mardi Gras – August
If you missed out on Mardi Gras and still want to catch a parade, you are in luck!
Mid-Summer Mardi Gras is one of the only Mardi Gras parades.
This free event, hosted by the Krewe of Oak, ends on Oak Street.
32. Southern Decadence – August-September
One of the last events during the Summer is Southern Decadence during Labor Day Weekend. This entire weekend is coined the best gay event of the summer.
Packing Tips to Visit New Orleans This Summer
You need an entire itinerary of things to do in New Orleans during the summer, but you need a What to wear in New Orleans for any Season or Occasionlist of things to pack & wear.
The summer season is intense, and you do not want to leave your house to go on vacation without many of these personal items!
Comfortable Shoes – yes, you will do a lot of walking. If you do not plan on walking on Bourbon Street, comfortable Sandals should be fine, but be prepared to bring some closed-toed shoes if you are walking on Bourbon Street.
Umbrella – It tends to rain a lot in New Orleans during the summer. Pack an umbrella to avoid those afternoon showers. Or you can jump into a historic bar or restaurant to avoid the rain.
Sunscreen – The sun is extreme down here. You will want to bring or plan to buy Sunscreen while attending some of these outdoor festivals and events.
Linen and cotton outfits – The best fabric to wear in New Orleans is straight-up linen or cotton (we do have two events surrounding linen). My Favorite thing to wear is either my linen shorts or a linen dress so I can stay as cool as possible.
Extra Underwear – When the average temperatures range from 85-96 degrees, yes- pack an extra pair of underwear (or two) in your bag. If you are not close to your hotel or house, you can easily slip off the swamp-ass undies and switch into a fresh pair without detouring from your itinerary.
Evening Outfits– Even though many of these events and activities are during the day, you will want to bring a few going gout outfits! Whether you are grabbing a classic drink from a New Orleans Staple or a nice dinner, you will want to plan.
Liquid IV – Face it, whether you are drinking or not; Liquid IV is a savior for the whole family. During the summer, you do not realize how much you sweat you lose. I take 2-4 Liquid IVs each week during the summer. It is always wise to pack a few for a festival if you or a friend starts to feel dehydrated.
Cute Fanny Pack – you may not want to tote around a bag while festing. Invest in a super cute Fanny pack that you can wear around your body or waist.
Want to know what to do in New Orleans during the Spring? Find out!
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