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The Ultimate Guide to Summer in New Orleans

Welcome to New Orleans, where summer isn’t just a season, but a celebration of life, food, music, and that special something we like to call lagniappe. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned NOLA aficionado, there’s always something new and exciting to experience. As thorough New Orleans enthusiasts, we’re here to guide you through the sizzling season, hidden gems, and vibrant festivals that make summer in the Crescent City unforgettable. Grab your sunscreen and mini fan because your ultimate summer adventure in New Orleans starts now!

Embrace the Festival Spirit

New Orleans is famous for its festivals, and summer is no exception. Here are some must-attend events:

Essence Festival

Held over the Fourth of July weekend, Essence Festival celebrates Black culture and music with performances by top artists, inspiring talks, and an empowering atmosphere. It’s a celebration of resilience, creativity, and community that you won’t want to miss.

Satchmo SummerFest

Pay homage to Louis Armstrong, one of New Orleans’ most iconic musicians, at Satchmo SummerFest. This festival features live jazz performances, second line parades, and seminars about Armstrong’s life and legacy. It’s a jazz lover’s paradise.

Tales of the Cocktail

For cocktail enthusiasts, Tales of the Cocktail is a dream come true. This five-day event in July offers tastings, seminars, and competitions, showcasing the best in mixology. It’s a spirited way to explore the city’s legendary bar scene.

*Tip from a Local

When attending festivals, stay hydrated and dress in light, breathable clothing. New Orleans summers are hot and humid, but the vibrant energy of the festivals makes it all worth it!

Indulge in Culinary Delights

New Orleans is a culinary mecca, and summer brings fresh, seasonal flavors to the forefront. Here are some must-try dishes and dining experiences:

Cool Off with a Snowball

Beat the heat with a classic New Orleans snowball. These finely shaved ice treats come in a rainbow of flavors and can be topped with sweetened condensed milk for an extra indulgence. Check out Hansen’s Sno-Bliz or Plum Street Snoball for a true local experience.

Savor Fresh Seafood

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh Gulf seafood. Head to Peche Seafood Grill for their famous whole fish or indulge in a shrimp po’ boy at Parkway Bakery & Tavern. Don’t forget to try some chargrilled oysters from the world-famous Acme Oyster House or Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar.

Experience a Crawfish Boil

Nothing says summer in New Orleans like a crawfish boil. Join a local boil or visit a restaurant like Bayou Beer Garden for a heaping plate of spicy, boiled crawfish served with corn and potatoes.

*Tip from a Local

When eating crawfish, pinch the tail and suck the head – that’s where all the flavor is! It might sound strange, but it’s the authentic way to enjoy this local delicacy.

Your essential summer guide to New Orleans

Explore the Outdoors

Summer is the ideal time to explore the natural beauty and outdoor activities New Orleans has to offer:

Stroll Through City Park

City Park is a lush, sprawling oasis perfect for a summer day. Rent a paddleboat, visit the New Orleans Botanical Garden, or take a leisurely stroll under the ancient oak trees draped with Spanish moss.

Take a Swamp Tour

Experience the wild side of Louisiana with a swamp tour. Glide through the bayous and swamps, spotting alligators, herons, and other wildlife. Cajun Encounters and Airboat Adventures offer thrilling tours that provide a unique perspective on the local ecosystem.

Bike Along the Mississippi River

Rent a bike and ride along the Mississippi River Trail. Enjoy stunning views of the river, historic sites, and the vibrant atmosphere of the French Quarter. It’s a great way to see the city while staying active.

*Tip from a Local

Bring plenty of water and sunscreen when exploring outdoors. The sun can be intense, but with the right preparation, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the beauty of our city.

Experience the Nightlife

As the sun sets, New Orleans comes alive with music and nightlife:

Frenchmen Street

Skip Bourbon Street and head to Frenchmen Street for a more authentic music experience. With a variety of bars and clubs offering live jazz, blues, and brass bands, Frenchmen Street is the place to be for music lovers.

Dance at a Second Line Parade

On Sundays join a second line parade and dance through the streets with locals. These historic parades are a quintessential New Orleans experience, featuring brass bands and joyous dancing. Check out Buku Local social media or local listings to find out where the next one will pop up.

Sip Cocktails at a Rooftop Bar

Enjoy a cocktail with a view at one of New Orleans’ rooftop bars. Hot Tin, located atop the Pontchartrain Hotel, offers stunning views of the city skyline and the Mississippi River. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring.

*Tip from a Local

Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with locals at bars and clubs. New Orleanians are known for their friendliness and love to share stories and recommendations.

Immerse Yourself In History and Culture

New Orleans’ rich history and vibrant culture are evident in its many museums and historic sites:

Visit the National WWII Museum

Consistently ranked as one of the top museums in the country, the National WWII Museum offers immersive exhibits and interactive displays that bring history to life. It’s a must-visit for history buffs.

Tour the Historic French Quarter

Explore the French Quarter’s charming streets, historic buildings, and vibrant culture. Don’t miss the iconic St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, and the lively French Market.

Discover Mardi Gras World

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the magic of Mardi Gras at Mardi Gras World. See the elaborate floats, costumes, and props used in the famous parades and learn about the history and traditions of this quintessential New Orleans celebration.

*Tip from a Local

Take a guided tour to learn the hidden stories and legends of the French Quarter. From ghost tours to history walks, there’s always something fascinating to discover.

Unwind and Relax

Summer in New Orleans also means taking time to relax and rejuvenate:

Relax at a Spa

Pamper yourself with a visit to one of New Orleans’ luxurious spas. The Ritz-Carlton Spa and The Now Massage Downtown offer a range of treatments that will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Lounge by the Pool

Cool off at one of the city’s chic hotel pools. The Chloe and Dew Drop Inn both offer stunning pool areas where you can lounge in style and enjoy a refreshing cocktail.

Take a Steamboat Cruise

Enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Mississippi River aboard the Steamboat Natchez. With live jazz music, stunning views, and a relaxing atmosphere, it’s a perfect way to unwind and take in the beauty of the river.

*Tip from a Local

End your day with a sunset cruise. The colors over the Mississippi River are breathtaking, and it’s a peaceful way to end a busy day of exploring.

Discover summer in New Orleans your go to guide

Summer in New Orleans is a season of endless possibilities. From vibrant festivals and mouth watering cuisine to outdoor adventures and rich cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone in this magical city. So pack your bags, embrace the heat, and get ready for an unforgettable summer in New Orleans.

We can’t wait to host you!


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