The best seasons to visit in New Orleans depend on what “best” means to you. New Orleans is known for its festivals and events. If you want to enjoy those or stay away from them, learning more about what happens each month is a good idea.
If you want the lowest prices, a visit from December to February (except holidays) or in summer from June to early October. In April, May, and October, rates are usually cheaper during busy times. If you prefer good weather and many events, come between Mardi Gras and May, or from October to November.
While visiting New Orleans, you also need to know the best places in New Orleans, the best hotels in New Orleans, and the best restaurants in New Orleans. It will help you to explore and give you less suffering. The best seasons to visit in New Orleans depend on your advantage.
Let’s see which is the best seasons to visit in New Orleans.
New Orleans Weather
You’re absolutely right! New Orleans has a unique climate that is often characterized by its two distinct seasons: summer and not summer. The city’s climate is heavily influenced by its location in the southeastern United States and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.
In New Orleans, there are two main seasons: summer from May to October, and the rest of the time which isn’t summer. Sometimes, even during non-summer months, it can get hot like 80°F (26°C) during a week that’s usually 50°F (10°C) in winter.
Remember that from May to October, hurricanes can also happen in summer. The rest of the year, from October to April, is “not summer.” During this time, there’s a cold winter, a nice spring for about two months, and a short autumn of around three days.
When are the Best Seasons to Visit in New Orleans?
The best seasons to visit New Orleans depend on your preferences for weather, events, and crowd levels. People looking for great weather, less crowded places, and good deals will find certain months better than others for traveling.
This best seasons to visit in New Orleans guide will let you know which season is best for what:
- Fall Season in New Orleans (September-November)
- Spring Season in New Orleans (March-May)
- Winter Season in New Orleans (December – February)
- Summer Season in New Orleans(June – August)
Fall Season in New Orleans (September-November)
Many consider fall to be the best time to visit. The weather is mild, with highs in the 70s and 80s °F (24-30°C) and lower humidity. The city comes alive with the festivals and events, including the world-famous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Fall also marks the end of the hurricane season, reducing the risk of tropical storms.
Key Events in Fall Season:
- Beignet Fest (September)
- Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival (October)
- Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (October)
- Oak Street Po-Boy Festival (November)
- New Orleans Film Festival (November)
- Celebration in the Oaks (November-January)
Spring Season in New Orleans (March-May)
Spring is another popular time to visit due to pleasant weather with highs in the 70s and 80s °F (24-30°C). The city hosts various festivals, such as Mardi Gras and French Quarter Festival, which showcase the vibrant culture. Crowds can be larger during major events, so plan in advance.
Key Events in Spring Season:
- Mardi Gras (March)
- Tennessee Williams/Literary Festival (March)
- French Quarter Festival (April)
- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April-May)
- Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo (May)
- New Orleans Greek Festival (May)
Winter Season in New Orleans (December – February)
Winters are mild and the average highs are in the 60s °F (15-20°C) and occasional cooler days. It’s a good time for lower hotel rates and fewer crowds, except during the holiday season. While some chilly days might be, you can still enjoy indoor attractions, delicious cuisine, and the city’s unique charm.
Key Events in Winter Season:
- Mardi Gras (February)
- Sugar Bowl (January)
- Celebration in the Oaks (November-January)
Summer Season in New Orleans (June – August)
Summer can be hot and humid, with high temperatures in the 90s °F (32-37°C) and a higher chance of rain. Hotel rates are often lower during this time, making it a more budget-friendly option. If you can tolerate the heat, you might find fewer tourists and more space to explore popular attractions.
Key Events in Summer Season:
- Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival (June)
- New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (June)
- New Orleans Pride Festival (June)
- Essence Festival (June-July)
- Satchmo Summerfest (August)
- COOLinary New Orleans (August)
- Red Dress Run (August)
What to Know Before Planning a Trip to New Orleans?
Before planning a trip to New Orleans, there are several important things to know to ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable visit. Here are some key tips:
Weather and Packing
New Orleans has a humid subtropical climate, so be prepared for high humidity levels and sudden weather changes. Pack lightweight and breathable clothing and rain gear, especially if visiting during the wetter months. Comfortable walking shoes are essential; many attractions are best explored on foot.
Events and Festivals
New Orleans is also known for its vibrant festivals and events. Check the city’s event calendar for any festivals or celebrations during your planned visit. Popular events include Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, French Quarter Festival, and more.
Book accommodations well in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak seasons or major events. The city can get busy, and lodging options might fill up quickly.
New Orleans is a walkable city, and many attractions are concentrated in the French Quarter and nearby areas. Public transportation options include buses and streetcars, which can be convenient for exploring different neighborhoods. Rideshare services and taxis are also readily available.
New Orleans is famous for its unique and delicious cuisine, including dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, beignets, and po’boys. Don’t miss out on trying the local specialties. Explore the diverse dining scene, from street food to upscale restaurants.
Safety and Neighborhoods
While New Orleans is generally safe for tourists, staying aware of your surroundings is important, especially in crowded areas. Stick to well-lit and populated streets, particularly at night. Different neighborhoods offer varying vibes, so research them to find the ones that align with your preferences.
New Orleans has a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Respect local customs, traditions, and etiquette. Be mindful of the city’s history, including its connection to slavery and civil rights.
Music and Entertainment
Music is deeply woven into the fabric of New Orleans. Enjoy live music performances at venues around the city, especially in the French Quarter. Be prepared to tip musicians when you enjoy their performances.
Cash and Cards
While the most places accept credit and debit cards, carrying some cash is a good idea, especially for smaller vendors and tips.
New Orleans has a unique and laid-back atmosphere. Embrace the slower pace of life in New Orleans and enjoy the local charm.
Best Time to Visit New Orleans on a Budget
If you want to visit New Orleans without spending too much money, certain times of the year can be better for your budget. One of these times is during the winter months, from December to February. It is when fewer tourists visit, so you can often find cheaper hotel prices and save money on where you stay.
Another budget-friendly option is the summer, from June to August. Even though it’s hot and humid during this time, it’s considered the city’s “low season.” It means that hotels and activities are often cheaper than in other months. Remember that it’s also hurricane season, so it’s important to watch the weather forecasts.
If you can, try planning your trip for the middle of the week instead of the weekend. Weekends are busier and more expensive, so traveling from Monday to Thursday can help you save money on accommodations and activities.
Remember, the best time to visit New Orleans on a budget might differ for everyone. Hence, it’s a good idea to do some research and plan ahead to make sure you get the most out of your trip without spending too much.
Best Time to Visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras
If you want to join the big Mardi Gras celebration, come the weekend before and stay until Fat Tuesday. In 2024, Mardi Gras is on February 13, but it can differ in other years, usually between early February and early March. You’ll see famous parades like Endymion, Orpheus, Bacchus, Zulu, and Rex during this time.
According to Branden Lewis, a Grammy-nominated trumpet player from Preservation Hall Jazz Band, you hear music all year in New Orleans. Still, there are special songs just for Mardi Gras. These songs capture the spirit of Carnival each year.
Since Mardi Gras is really popular, it’s smart to plan early. Book your hotel about a year ahead for better prices and expect expensive flight costs. Many hotels in certain areas need you to stay for at least four nights. Remember, some attractions and restaurants might be closed on Mardi Gras day because it’s a public holiday. But you’ll probably be too busy enjoying the parades and celebrations to worry about that.
Fat Tuesday ends the Carnival season, but the fun starts much earlier on January 6, called the Twelfth Night of Christmas. If you want to enjoy Carnival but don’t want the Mardi Gras rush and high prices, go in January. You can still see parades, go to masquerade balls, and have fun at parties.
Best Time to Visit New Orleans for the Jazz and Heritage Festival
If you’re a music fan and want to experience the famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the best time to visit is usually in late April or early May. This festival, often called “Jazz Fest,” is a big celebration of music, food, and culture showcasing local and international artists. It’s a fun and lively event that gives you a taste of New Orleans’ vibrant spirit.
Jazz Fest usually takes place over two weekends, the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. It is when you can expect the biggest lineup of performances, with various genres of music like jazz, blues, gospel, and more. It’s a unique opportunity to enjoy live music from well-known artists and local talents.
However, it’s important to note that Jazz Fest is a popular event that many people worldwide attend. It means that accommodations and flights might be more expensive during this time, and the city can get quite crowded.
If you want to experience the excitement of the Jazz and Heritage Festival then plan your visit for the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. It might be a bit more crowded and pricier, but the music, food, and culture make it a truly unforgettable experience.
Best Times to Visit New Orleans for Great Weather
If you want to miss the big festivals but have nice weather, go in two good periods: after Mardi Gras and before Jazz Fest (usually late Feb to late Apr), or in the fall (Sep to Nov).
If you’re not worried about money, visit in spring. It’s lovely with good weather and many festivals happening. Spring is a popular time, so flights and hotels might cost more. New Orleans is great in spring, the city gets livelier as the days get warmer, and it’s not too humid.
Fall is nice with warm weather, around the mid-80s to low 70s. Hurricanes are possible from June to November, but strong storms are rare. Usually, October and November have the least rain, and the spring crowds are gone.
From December to January, it’s not too hot (usually in the 60s) and there are fewer people. Winter is good if you want a quieter trip with nice weather and lower prices. December is great for seeing holiday decorations around the city, like at The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
Best Time to Visit New Orleans With Families and Kids
If you’re planning a family trip to New Orleans with kids, the best times to visit are spring and fall. These seasons offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and a range of family-friendly activities, and kids activities that everyone can enjoy.
Spring, from March to May, is a popular time for families to visit. It also brings a festive atmosphere to the city, with events like the French Quarter Festival and Mardi Gras. These events often feature family-friendly parades, music, and delicious food that kids will love.
Fall, from September to November, is another great time for a family trip. The weather starts to remains cool down a bit, and the humidity becomes more manageable. Additionally, the famous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival takes place during this time, offering a chance for families to experience live music, cultural exhibits, and local cuisine.
Both spring and fall offer a range of family-oriented activities, from exploring the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium to taking a Mississippi River steamboat cruise. The city’s vibrant music scene, street performers, and delicious food options also add to the family-friendly atmosphere.
In simple terms, if you’re planning a trip to New Orleans with your family and kids, consider visiting during the spring season (March to May) or fall season (September to November) months. These times offer comfortable weather, family-oriented events, and a variety of attractions.
Best Time to Visit New Orleans to Avoid Crowds
Certain times can be better for your visit if you’re looking to explore New Orleans without dealing with big crowds. One of these times is during the fall months, from September to November. Remember that September is also hurricane season, so staying updated on the weather is important.
Another great option is the winter months, from December to February. It is considered the city’s “low season,” meaning fewer people are around. While it might be a bit cooler, it’s still a nice time to visit. Plus, you can often find better deals on hotels and activities during this time.
If you have the flexibility, try planning your weekday trip, from Monday to Thursday. Many people visit on weekends, so you’re more likely to find smaller crowds and shorter lines at popular places if you go during the weekdays.
It’s also a good idea to avoid visiting during major events and festivals, like Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest, because those times can be really busy. If you’re not set on attending those events, consider planning your trip around them for a more relaxed experience.
Worst Time to Visit New Orleans
The worst time to visit New Orleans is generally during the hot and humid summer months, from June to August. While the city has its charm year-round, these months can present some challenges for visitors. The heat and humidity can be intense, with high temperatures often reaching the 90s °F (32-37°C). This can make walking around and exploring the city uncomfortable, especially for those who aren’t accustomed to such weather.
Additionally, summer is the peak of the hurricane season, from June to November. While hurricanes don’t hit New Orleans every year, there is a risk of heavy rainfall and stormy weather during this time. It’s important to stay informed about weather forecasts and have a backup plan in case your travel gets affected by unexpected conditions.
The combination of high temperatures, humidity, and the potential for tropical weather can make it less enjoyable for tourists, especially families with young children or individuals who have a hard time with the heat. Many locals also take vacations during the summer months, so some businesses and restaurants might have adjusted hours or be closed.
In conclusion, the best seasons to visit in New Orleans depend on what you’re looking for in your trip. Spring and fall are great choices if you want pleasant weather, vibrant festivals, and a lively atmosphere. Spring brings Mardi Gras and French Quarter Festival, while fall hosts Jazz & Heritage Festival. These seasons have comfortable temperatures and a lot of cultural events to enjoy.
Remember, the best seasons to visit in New Orleans depend on your preferences. So whether you’re interested in music, food, history, or just soaking up the city’s unique vibe, New Orleans has something to offer throughout the year. Plan ahead, pack accordingly, and prepare for an exciting and memorable trip!
Best Seasons to Visit in New Orleans FAQs
I hope this guide will help you choose the right season and time. Here are some frequently asked questions about the best seasons to visit in New Orleans:
The best times for pleasant weather and fewer crowds are during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) seasons.
The busiest times in New Orleans are typically during major events and festivals like Mardi Gras, Jazz & Heritage Festival, and other special occasions.
Summer can offer more affordable accommodations and attractions if you’re okay with the heat and are looking for budget-friendly options.
Hurricane season in New Orleans runs from June to November. While hurricanes don’t hit every year, monitoring weather forecasts is important if you plan to visit during this time.
Yes, weekdays, typically from Monday to Thursday, can be better for visiting to avoid larger crowds. Weekends tend to be busier as many tourists arrive for weekend getaways.
Families with kids might find the best times to visit New Orleans are during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) seasons.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest, is usually held in late April and early May.