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Is there such a thing as a bad time to visit New Orleans? Nope! But if you’re more inclined to enjoy the city without all that fun Mardi Gras debauchery and mayhem, here are some of our favourite (alternative) times to visit.
French Quarter Festival
The 2019 French Quarter Festival will take place from April 11-14, 2019 and is the largest showcase of Louisiana music in the world. If you’re interested in NOLA’s own special flavours of music, this festival is the best opportunity to soak up jazz, zydeco, New Orleans funk and more. Almost two-dozen stages are set up throughout the charming French Quarter, and Jackson Square is filled with food booths from the city’s best restaurants. Grab a shrimp po’boy and enjoy the show. (The best part? The concerts are all free!)
Jazz & Heritage Festival
Locals know that the Jazz and Heritage Festival is one of the summer’s hottest events, taking place annually in late April/early May. It started back in 1970 and has since grown to a legendary music extravaganza attracting nearly a half million people. Jazz, gospel, R&B and rock performances are hosted all over the fair grounds. But it’s not just about the music here – the spirit of Jazz and Heritage Fest is one of pure joy for all things NOLA, including its epic culinary scene. Eat, make new friends, attend late night parties and then return for a second serving of crawfish bread.
Fall foodie festivals
Attention foodies: fall in New Orleans is your season. There’s Crescent City Blues & BBQ, and the Oak Street Poboy Festival. There are festivals dedicated to mac n’ cheese, fried chicken and, of course, beignets. There’s even an Oktoberfest throughout October with Oompah music and all the German beer you can handle. Most foodie festivals also come with other fun perks, like live music and competitions for those skilled in devouring food quickly. Pro tip: Show up with an empty stomach.
You only have to glimpse the plentiful voodoo doll souvenirs hanging out in local shops to know that people in New Orleans aren’t afraid to embrace the darker side of things. Become a professional ghost hunter at the Mortuary Haunted House, a stately Victorian mansion built in 1872 with a few spooky stories behind its closed doors. Or, if you love a good ghost story, take a haunted tour in the French Quarter with Free Tours By Foot. They’ll also guide you through some spooky (but stunning) graveyards, like the St. Louis Cemetery.
NOLA’s own brand of Christmas cheer
Few people think to go to New Orleans during the Christmas season, but we can assure you it’s a great time to make the journey. Worthwhile endeavours: checking out the holiday decorations around the French Quarter and Garden District, and seeing City Park’s oak trees adorned in hundreds of thousands of glittering lights and displays for Celebration in the Oaks. If you’re lucky enough to be around for Christmas Eve, Bonfires on the Levee is a must-see. Every year, massive bonfires are lit at sundown along the Mississippi River levees, lighting the way for Papa Noël. If that doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, nothing will!
For over 300 years, New Orleans has been inspiring stories.Our Spanish, French, African and Caribbean influences create a cultural gumbo of distinctive architecture, celebrated cuisine, and cool Jazz that only New Orleans knows how to dish out. From second line parades to centuries old streetcars, this timeless city offers something amazing around every cobblestone corner. Start creating your New Orleans story today!
For more information, visit: www.NewOrleans.com.