Feb 11, 2024



Travel Inspiration

When Is the Best Time to Go to New Orleans? Your Full Guide

Fora Author Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


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When is the best time to go to New Orleans? It depends. There are a lot of reasons to visit this charming city, from Mardi Gras in winter to Jazz Fest in spring.

Read on for the best months to visit New Orleans for any occasion. Better yet, book your vacation with a New Orleans trip planner (a.k.a. Fora Advisor) and you’ll get access to a plethora of awesome New Orleans travel perks, tips and recommendations. 

Ready to travel? Connect with Fora to plan and book your getaway today.

When is the best time to go to New Orleans, season-by-season?

Here are the best months to visit New Orleans, organized by travel season.

January, February & March: the time to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, parades & St. Patrick’s Day

January, February and March are the best months to visit New Orleans for many reasons. New Orleans is an increasingly popular destination for New Year’s celebrations, but Tet, an important holiday among the city’s large Vietnamese population, is also celebrated.

And of course, January 6th marks the beginning of Carnival Season. Mardi Gras, the final day of Carnival, usually falls somewhere in mid-February or early March, and New Orleans' overall Mardi Gras seasons lasts through mid-to-late March. Black History Month is hugely important in New Orleans, too. 

While Mardi Gras Day (i.e., Fat Tuesday) is usually the busiest date of the year, March still sees more traffic overall. In fact, March is arguably New Orleans’ liveliest month. The weather is also at its most temperate — the perfect time for a honeymoon trip (check out the most romantic hotels in New Orleans) or a spring break New Orleans girls’ trip. St. Patrick’s Day is the last major holiday of these three months, and the celebration is one of the biggest outside Boston. 

(Eager to sample the city’s world-renowned gastronomy? Our foodie’s guide to New Orleans has you covered.)

April & May: the best months to visit New Orleans for nice weather and the Jazz Festival

April and May also bring great weather, although it can get fairly warm toward the end of this period. Festivals and parades continue until the end of April, with the Jazz Festival capping the season before the harsh summer weather rolls in. 

Connect with Fora for the full scoop, plus guidance on (and VIP travel perks at) the coolest New Orleans hotels.

June, July, August & September: NOLA’s quietest & hottest months

June through September are New Orleans’ hottest months to visit. You won’t see many major festivals and celebrations during this period, as temperatures and humidity can be particularly severe. Hurricane season also peaks in August and September.

The one exception to large gatherings is the beginning of the NFL season in September. New Orleans Saints games have achieved a near-religious following here, and it’s one of the better atmospheres for a football game (unless the Saints are playing a divisional rival). This might be the best time of year to visit New Orleans if you want a more low-key trip away from other travelers.

(Want to get off the beaten path in New Orleans? Check out our guide.)

October, November & December: Halloween, Christmas & New Year’s Eve

An exceptionally elaborate display of gold, silver and red decorations and lights fill the lobby of The Roosevelt hotel in New Orleans for Christmas

By October, the crowds are starting to come back to New Orleans’ streets. If you’re looking for a quieter vacation and a relatively laid-back atmosphere, it's better to visit outside of the major holidays and long weekends.

Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s (again) are exciting times to enjoy the city, with many local businesses participating in some fashion. In fact, October, November and December are arguably the best months to visit New Orleans if you want the most balanced experience: fun holidays and quieter off-days. The overall vibe is still energetic, but magnitudes less than what you can expect during spring.

(Celebrating Christmas in New Orleans? Our guide has itinerary suggestions.)

When is the best time to go to New Orleans: FAQs

Have more questions about the best time of year to visit New Orleans? Read on.

(Wondering when to visit other great destinations in the USA? Read our guides to the best time to visit Colorado and the best time to visit Utah.)

When is Mardi Gras? What about the Jazz Festival?

The Mardi Gras season usually begins around mid-February — whatever day Fat Tuesday falls on — and runs between four and eight weeks, depending on when Ash Wednesday occurs. 

Part of Carnival Season, which kicks off on January 6th each year, Mardi Gras is when New Orleans nightlife is at its peak. Tens of thousands from all over crowd the city’s streets, jazzy rhythms flow from the music halls and everyone on Bourbon Street has a daiquiri or hurricane cocktail in hand.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (a.k.a. Jazz Fest) is usually held the last weekend of April through the first weekend of May. If you’re a music lover, this might be your best time to visit New Orleans.

Connect with Fora to book your getaway today and get intel for all the major happenings in New Orleans. And when you book your trip with a Fora Advisor, you can stay at the city's best hotels (including the coolest boutique hotels in New Orleans), all while unlocking exciting extras and VIP perks at no extra cost.

(BTW: check out our 3-day New Orleans Jazz Fest itinerary if you’re wondering what to do while you’re in town.)

Is New Orleans a good spring break destination?

Unsurprisingly, New Orleans is easily one of the top spring break destinations in the United States, especially during years when spring break coincides with Mardi Gras. But even when the two events don’t coincide, spring is an electric time to go to New Orleans. Virtually every night feels like a party on Bourbon Street, and lively parades run through Magazine Street just about every weekend.

It’s also worth noting that outside of Bourbon Street (and to some degree Canal Street) at night, New Orleans is actually a family-friendly destination for spring break, too.

What time of year is New Orleans busiest? When’s the best time to avoid crowds?

Palm trees, manicured gardens and clean paths mark Jackson Square in New Orleans' French Quarter

All the best areas to stay in New Orleans are definitely at their busiest during Carnival Season, especially around Mardi Gras. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds — maybe because you’re visiting with kids (check out the best family hotels in New Orleans) — we recommend visiting in fall for a couple reasons. 

First, you’ll miss NOLA’s hottest and most humid weather. Second, while the streets are much quieter than they are during Mardi Gras, there’s still a fun energy in the city. 

(Can’t wait to take in the lovely scenery of New Orleans’ most prized district? Check out our ultimate French Quarter guide.)

When is hurricane season for New Orleans?

Hurricane season technically lasts from June 1st to November 30th, but August and September are especially volatile (i.e., this might not be the best time to throw a New Orleans girls’ getaway or family vacation). 

How serious is New Orleans’ hurricane season? Should I avoid visiting during this period?

Obviously, if a hurricane is coinciding with a planned trip, it’s wise to cancel (this is where travel insurance can be a good idea). However, one thing to note about hurricanes is that they’re almost always noticed and tracked well in advance. In other words, if you’re planning a trip that’s set to occur a few weeks out, you may be able to avoid any pending storms. On the other hand, if you’re planning a trip for the following hurricane season, you are taking a bit of risk. A Fora Advisor will help you navigate these risks. 

Is October the best month to visit New Orleans outside of Mardi Gras?

Arguably so: by October, New Orleans’ weather tends to cool down. And while fall sees the return of crowds, the streets are never as busy during this period as they are during Mardi Gras. Plus, locals take the holiday season — starting with Halloween — to heart, so it’s a magical time to visit.

What’s the best time of year to visit New Orleans for the weather?

Oak trees form a long archway leading up to a Victorian estate in New Orleans

Aside from summer, when it can be scorching hot and humid, New Orleans generally enjoys comfortable, pleasant weather. Even winters here are fairly mild. Although, it can get cold at night — occasionally dropping into the 40s and below. 

When does NOLA receive the most rain per day?

Rain is common all year long, but peaks in summer. On the bright side, this can provide a little bit of relief from the city’s otherwise hottest season.

How many days do you need to visit New Orleans?

Our full guide to how many days in New Orleans you’ll need covers this in detail, but generally, we recommend a few days to a week to get the full experience. 

Start planning your NOLA trip with Fora and an advisor will help you build your ideal 3-day New Orleans itinerary (or any itinerary, for that matter).

When is the best time to go to NOLA for lower prices?

The blazing heat, frequent rain and threat of hurricanes makes August the most affordable time of year to visit New Orleans. That said, it’s generally more affordable to visit during fall and winter than spring — and you don’t have to worry so much about adverse weather.

Does New Orleans have an off-season?

Summer is New Orleans’ quietest travel season almost exclusively because of the weather and lack of major events.

Is there an overall best time of year to go to New Orleans?

At dusk: a long row of palm trees bisects New Orleans' Canal Street

This ultimately comes down to whether you want to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras or to see the sights. If you can’t wait to experience the party atmosphere at its most vibrant, then spring is ideal. 

If you’re more interested in the city itself and other sights, then fall is generally better. It’s slightly more affordable, the weather is usually great, there’s still a great energy and virtually all the city’s best sights and attractions are still open (there’s way more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street).

When is the best time to go to New Orleans for ‘your’ trip? Ask Fora

So when is the best time of year to visit New Orleans? Ultimately, it depends on what your interests are. Connect with a Fora Advisor and they’ll help you figure out the best times to go to NOLA based on your preferences. Want a mother-daughter trip to New Orleans sans crowds? Or a bachelor party amidst peak Carnival Season? Consider it a done deal.

Even better, when you book with Fora, you'll unlock VIP hotel perks at no extra cost. Couple that with expert travel recommendations and tips and there’s no better way to vacation in New Orleans.

Curious about the best places to visit in the USA? Check out these travel guides, too:

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