Festivals in New Orleans - Your NOLA Festival Guide
As one of the most festive cities around, New Orleans is home to some of the best festivals in the US. And NOLA certainly knows how to let the good times roll—laissez les bons temps rouler! Residents and tourists alike don purple, green, and gold in celebration of Mardi Gras. There’s great fun to be had by everyone, but for those looking for more adulterated fun, head to Bourbon Street for your festivities. Aside from being notoriously known for Mardi Gras, NOLA offers world-class jazz music at the iconic New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Rich in rhythm and history, this jazz fest is the epitome of the NOLA experience. Taking you further in time, the French Quarter Festival gives you a history lesson worth remembering as you’re immersed in NOLA culture. Hungry? Check out the Oyster Festival, a local fan favorite. Southern Decadence, Satchmo SummerFest, Essence Music Festival, and Voodoo Experience are all also great can’t-miss festivals. Whether you’re a longtime resident of the Big Easy, or just a visitor looking for some fun, there’s always something worth celebrating in NOLA.
Top NOLA Festivals Mardi Gras
Laissez les bons temps rouler. Decked out in purple, green and gold, Mardi Gras is quite possibly the ultimate annual celebration in New Orleans. Massive parades, outlandish costumes, gaudy beads and refreshing cocktails make Mardi Gras an unforgettable experience. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
As the original Jazz Fest, the Jazz & Heritage Festival celebrates New Orleans's history and culture with a jam-packed music schedule featuring hundreds of local and national acts. Everything from contemporary jazz to rock and hip-hop is heard across 12 stages. Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
Spooky Halloween fun and eclectic music performances are the heart and soul of the Voodoo Experience. Its energetic lineup, insane art installations and over-the-top shenanigans will put you under a spell while you're at City Park. BUKU Music + Art Project
Located in Mardi Gras World, BUKU boasts an incredible industrial setting that suits its underground vibe perfectly. Top-notch EDM, hip-hop and indie rock acts, live graffiti, street performances and traditional NOLA food makes for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. French Quarter Festival
It's the largest free music festival in the South. It also takes place in, you guessed it, the French Quarter, so you definitely can't pass this one up. Spanning more than 20 stages, you'll hear a wide range of genres including jazz, New Orleans funk, brass band, Zydeco and gospel. Essence Festival
Essence Fest celebrates African-American culture through an assortment of awesome music performances, informational workshops, motivational seminars and many other cultural events. Hogs for the Cause
You may not usually associate New Orleans with barbecue, but Hogs for the Cause is one of the most finger-licking barbecue festivals in the country. Over 100 local and regional pitmasters compete in a cook-off to determine who makes the best ‘cues, and there's fresh craft beer to wash it all down. Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo
There's always fun to be had by the water. This free festival takes place at Bayou St. John, featuring three days of live music, classic, NOLA-style food and fun in the sun. People canoe, race kayaks, go on bicycle pub crawls and much more. Tennessee Williams Literary Festival
Who says literary festivals can't be fun? This one in particular honors the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams, bringing over 130 authors, actors and musicians to celebrate all things theatre and literature. Freret Street Festival
Freret Street comes alive as over 200 food, art and merchandise vendors set up shop along the bustling street. There's exciting live music performances across five stages, a kids' area and a place where you can adopt a furry best friend.