New Orleans Festivals 2024 - A Vibrant Calendar of Music, Food and Culture

Advisor - Heather Budd
Curated By

Heather Budd

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  • New Orleans

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Louisiana

  • History

  • Local Culture

  • Foodie

  • Entertainment

An artist in a colorful outfit and headpiece on stage performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, one of the New Orleans festivals in 2024.
Curator’s statement

New Orleans is one of my all-time favorite cities. I think I have visited at least a dozen times, and each time, we discover new places and experiences that keep us coming back for more! It's a city known for its vibrant culture, amazing food, rich history and lively festivals. In 2024, the city continues its tradition of hosting an array of exciting events that showcase its unique heritage and diverse community. From music to food to art, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Here's a roundup of some festivals taking place in 2024 in New Orleans, along with recommendations for accommodations, dining and sightseeing.

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Where to stay in New Orleans

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The Eliza Jane - The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

Elegant property in a converted newspaper office from the 19th-century with art deco-inspired rooms.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / resort credit.

  • Welcome amenity.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out, whenever possible.

Virgin Hotels New Orleans

Chic property nearby Bourbon Street with upmarket rooms.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Welcome amenities.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans

Upscale hotel in a 1920s building with relaxed rooms around the corner from the French Quarter.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Welcome amenity.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & late check-out whenever possible.

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Advisor - Heather Budd

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Things to do in New Orleans

A man walking by pastel-colored buildings in the French Quarter, New Orleans

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Dates: April 25th - May 5th, 2024
Location: Fair Grounds Race Course

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, affectionately known as Jazz Fest, is a cultural institution that celebrates the rich musical heritage of New Orleans and beyond. Spanning two weekends, this iconic festival brings together an eclectic lineup of musicians from various genres, including jazz, blues, R&B, gospel, Cajun and zydeco. Set against the backdrop of the Fair Grounds Race Course, Jazz Fest offers attendees the opportunity to experience live performances on multiple stages, indulge in delicious local cuisine and explore the vibrant arts and crafts of Louisiana's cultural landscape. From the infectious rhythms of brass bands to the soulful melodies of jazz legends, Jazz Fest embodies the spirit of New Orleans' musical traditions. This is year is going to be incredible with acts like the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, the Foo Fighters and Hozier headlining the festival!

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE)

Dates: June 6th - 9th, 2024
Location: Various venues across New Orleans

Prepare your taste buds for a gastronomic journey like no other at the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE). Spanning four delectable days, this epicurean extravaganza invites food and wine enthusiasts from near and far to indulge in the culinary delights of the Crescent City. Whether you're a seasoned epicurean or a curious newcomer, NOWFE promises an unforgettable experience filled with tantalizing flavors, expertly crafted libations and culinary inspiration.

Essence Festival

Dates: July 4th - 7th, 2024
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome & Convention Center

This is the 30th year of the Essence Festival, which is an annual celebration of African American culture and music that takes place in the heart of New Orleans. Over the course of four days, this iconic event brings together some of the biggest names in music, entertainment and activism for a weekend of empowerment, inspiration and celebration. From electrifying performances by top R&B, hip-hop, and gospel artists to thought-provoking panel discussions and keynote speeches, Essence Fest offers attendees the opportunity to connect, engage and celebrate the beauty and resilience of the African American community.

Satchmo SummerFest

Dates: August 3rd - 4th, 2024
Location: Various venues in the French Quarter

Named in honor of the legendary Louis Armstrong, Satchmo SummerFest celebrates the life and music of this iconic jazz musician with live performances, seminars, and delicious food. Visitors can enjoy jazz concerts, brass band parades and even a traditional second line procession. But be prepared for the heat, because NOLA in summertime is NO JOKE!

Oktoberfest in New Orleans

Dates: Fridays and Saturdays in October 2024
Location: Deutsches Haus, 1700 Moss St, New Orleans, LA 70119

Prepare your steins and don your lederhosen as New Orleans celebrates Oktoberfest in true Bavarian style! Held at Deutsches Haus, a cultural center dedicated to preserving German heritage in the city, Oktoberfest brings the spirit of Munich to the Crescent City with weekends full of festivities, live music, traditional food and of course, plenty of beer.

Christmas New Orleans Style

Dates: December 1st - 31st, 2024
Location: Various locations throughout New Orleans

Experience the magic of the holiday season in New Orleans with Christmas New Orleans Style. Throughout the month of December, the city comes alive with festive decorations, twinkling lights and a variety of holiday-themed events and activities. From holiday concerts and parades to traditional réveillon dinners and festive home tours, there's no shortage of ways to celebrate the season in the Big Easy.

Looking ahead to 2025?

Mardi Gras 2025: This iconic carnival celebration will take place on March 4 in 2025.

French Quarter Festival 2025: Held annually in the historic French Quarter, this music festival usually takes place in mid-April. It features live performances by local musicians across multiple stages, along with food and drink vendors showcasing the city's culinary delights.

Sightseeing Options:

New Orleans Museum of Art: Explore a diverse collection of artwork spanning centuries and cultures.

City Park: Spanning over 1,300 acres, City Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States and offers a wealth of attractions for visitors of all ages. Explore the park's scenic pathways, lush gardens and majestic oak trees, or enjoy recreational activities such as biking, picnicking and boating on the park's lagoons. Don't miss popular attractions like the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden and the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.

Frenchmen Street: Experience the local music scene with live performances at various jazz clubs and bars. Less hectic than Bourbon Street, you can find live music happening all day and well into the night. We love the Spotted Cat Music Club and stopping for a Dat Dog on the way home.

Preservation Hall: Attend a traditional jazz concert in this intimate venue dedicated to preserving New Orleans' musical heritage.

Audubon Park: Nestled in the Uptown neighborhood, Audubon Park is a picturesque oasis featuring sprawling green spaces, meandering walking paths and scenic lagoons. The park offers a range of recreational activities, including jogging, golfing and picnicking, as well as family-friendly amenities such as playgrounds and a zoo. Be sure to visit the park's iconic Tree of Life, a massive oak tree estimated to be over 500 years old.

Cafe Du Monde at Jackson Square: Treat yourself to a classic New Orleans experience with beignets and café au lait at Cafe Du Monde. Open 24/7, this iconic cafe is the perfect spot to fuel up before a day of festival fun or unwind with a sweet treat after a night of dancing.

French Market: Immerse yourself in the vibrant sights, sounds and flavors of New Orleans at the French Market. Spanning six blocks along the Mississippi River, this bustling marketplace offers everything from fresh produce and seafood to handmade crafts and souvenirs.

Bywater Art Galleries: Venture off the beaten path to the Bywater neighborhood, where you'll find a thriving arts scene tucked away in converted warehouses and eclectic storefronts. Explore the neighborhood's numerous art galleries, studios and street art murals, showcasing the creativity and diversity of New Orleans' artistic community.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1: Perhaps the most famous cemetery in New Orleans, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is located just outside the French Quarter and dates back to the late 18th century. This historic cemetery is the final resting place of many notable figures, including voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. Visitors can explore the labyrinthine pathways lined with above-ground tombs and learn about the city's unique burial traditions and customs. Due to preservation efforts and concerns about vandalism, access to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is typically restricted to guided tours.

Day trips

Manchac Swamp: We almost always do a day trip to the Machac Swamp for a kayaking tour where we have spotted everything from alligators to bald eagles. We love working with Wild Louisiana Tours.

Algiers Point: Take a ferry ride across the Mississippi River to Algiers Point, one of New Orleans' oldest neighborhoods. Wander through charming streets lined with historic homes, visit local shops and cafes and enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline from the levee. Algiers Point offers a peaceful retreat with a laid-back atmosphere just a short ferry ride away from the French Quarter.

Places to eat & drink in New Orleans

The interior of Jacques-Imo's Cafe, with colorful wall art on all walls and ceiling and multicolored tablecloths.

Jacques-Imo's Cafe: Experience Creole and Cajun cuisine with a twist at this funky eatery known for its lively atmosphere and flavorful dishes. Although it is a bit far from the center of the city, it is worth the trip!

Sneaky Pickle / Bar Brine: A unique dining experience with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and creative culinary twists. Enjoy craft cocktails and elevated bar bites in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. Don't miss the opportunity to try their signature pickleback shots for a tangy and refreshing libation.

Killer Poboys: Putting a gourmet spin on New Orleans' iconic sandwich with inventive fillings and artisanal bread. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this cozy eatery offers a menu of creative po'boys that showcase a range of flavors and ingredients. From the classic roast beef with debris gravy to the Vietnamese-inspired glazed pork belly, each sandwich is a culinary masterpiece that pays homage to the city's rich culinary heritage. We love the location at the back of the Erin Rose.

Port of Call: A beloved institution known for its mouthwatering burgers and tropical cocktails. This legendary eatery has been serving up hearty fare and hospitality since 1963. Sink your teeth into the restaurant's famous Monsoon burger, a juicy beef patty topped with baked potato fixings. We can't leave NOLA without having a POC burger!

GW Fins: Renowned for its innovative seafood dishes crafted with the freshest Gulf seafood available. Situated in the heart of the French Quarter, this upscale restaurant offers an ever-changing menu that highlights seasonal ingredients and local flavors. One of our favorite places to indulge in some fine dining!

Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits: A unique dining experience that combines a wine shop, gourmet food menu and live music in a charming outdoor courtyard setting. Located in the Bywater neighborhood, Bacchanal is housed in a historic building that exudes bohemian charm and casual elegance. Guests can browse a curated selection of wines from around the world in the shop, then enjoy their purchases alongside gourmet cheeses, charcuterie and small plates in the courtyard. Go early and get a spot outside on a sunny day!

Need to Know

Let me help you plan your perfect trip to New Orleans, whether you are visiting for a festival or just want a fun weekend in the Big Easy!

Advisor - Heather Budd

Travel Advisor

Heather Budd

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to New Orleans. For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Kinsey Baltzell’s trip report, New Orleans Travel: Beyond Bourbon Street.