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The Best Fests

Annual New Orleans Events, Activities + More

New Orleans festivals you can’t miss

If you’re in the mood for merriment, New Orleans delivers year-round. In fact, our supremely social city hosts more than 130 annual festivals, parades, and celebrations. Some you’ve no doubt heard of — does Mardi Gras ring a bell? — but others are under-the-radar fetes worth finding. Whether you’re in town specifically to celebrate or are looking for something spontaneous to do, here are a few of our favorite New Orleans activities:

Mardi Gras Parade Route

Carnival Season

January 6–February 21, 2023

Carnival is a time to eat, drink and be merry before the rigorous fasting and sacrifice during Lent. It is filled with parades, balls and other celebrations leading up to Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday.”

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kid looking at book

New Orleans Book Festival

March 9-11, 2023

The three-day event at Tulane’s campus that will showcase nearly 100 national, regional and local authors, feature children and family resources, and include exciting literary programming.

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Indian feathers

Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday

March 19, 2023

In keeping with traditions that date back to the 19th century, New Orleans Super Sunday is the Sunday closest to St. Joseph's Day (March 19). During their processions, the participating Mardi Gras Indian tribes, led by their Big Chiefs, often meet other tribes performing colorful dances, chants and other rituals.

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Vintage books

Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival

March 22-26, 2023

Now in its 37th year, The Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival is a five-day event held each spring in New Orleans' historic French Quarter that attracts participants from around the world. We also host Saints+Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival the same weekend.

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man playing guitar

Treme Creole Gumbo & Congo Square Rhythms Festival

March 25-26, 2023

It was in Congo Square that enslaved African people gathered on Sunday afternoons to practice their ancestral traditions. Their legacy lives on in our Tremé Creole Gumbo/Congo Square Rhythms Festivals, a free weekend celebration showcasing the music, food, and dance that made this city known around the world.

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French Quarter Festival

April 13-16, 2023

More than 20 stages throughout the French Quarter celebrate local music and represent every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, Zydeco, classical, cabaret, and international.

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Man playing trumphet

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

April 28-May 7, 2023

It’s been called “the country’s very best music festival” with 13 stages of soul-stirring music—jazz, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, blues, R&B, rock, funk, African, Latin, Caribbean, folk, and much more—the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is a singular celebration.

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audience at show

Essence Festival

June 29-July 3, 2023

Essence Festival of Culture promotes, celebrates, and explores health & wellness, spirituality, beauty & style, food, community & culture, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and much more within the African American community.

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