We are very used to having our own local celebrations in New Orleans (second line season, Red Dress Run, Jazz Fest, etc.). We also offer a unique and dynamic twist on national and international celebrations, like St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras, the latter of which, of course, has its own versions throughout other countries around the world. But the most famous of all specifically American celebrations is the 4th of July, and it’s celebrated here with the kind of fanfare that you’d expect from New Orleans. And we know, we know — it’s kind of weird to have it on a Tuesday (a #HappyTuesday, perhaps?) this year, but we’ve got a few ideas to carry you from Saturday right on through the holiday.
New Orleans 4th of July Weekend Itinerary
Saturday, July 1
Head to ESSENCE, or go on a beer crawl.
Option 1: ESSENCE Fest takes place from June 29 to July 2, and on Saturday there are some incredible acts that you could check out to really get the weekend started: Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Monica, and Jill Scott are all on the lineup. In between checking out live performances, there are some spots to hit up around the CBD: Willa Jean has refreshing cocktails and some of the city’s best baked goods, and Company Burger has my favorite burger in the city. They’re perfect fuel for ESSENCE partying.
Option 2: Head towards Uptown to check out three of the city’s breweries. Start at Courtyard Brewery, which offers a combination of fine beers from around the country, then head up Tchoupitoulas Street to one of the newer additions to this city’s beer scene, Urban South Brewery— make sure you have Holy Roller, a strong IPA that the brewers describe as for “all of us caught between best intentions and bad behavior.” The next stop on your New Orleans beer odyssey has to be right up the road at NOLA Brewing Company, where you can match your beer with McClure’s BBQ for an early dinner (we recommend a half rack of the St. Louis Cut Pork Ribs).
Sunday, July 2
A couple options here, for your consideration…
Option 1: Before the city gets too packed with people looking to enjoy a NOLA 4th of July, start your patriotism early at the National WWII Museum. The museum is a reminder of a moment when a larger cause brought Americans together. Moreover, the museum bears witness to the sacrifices Americans have made for one another in a time of crisis. After perusing the museum, finish with a drink and bites at American Sector.
Option 2: Whether you’re visiting from outside New Orleans or you live here, use Friday to see the city from a different perspective. Use the Hop-On, Hop-Off City Sightseeing Bus (also known as the double-decker “red bus”) to thread your way through the neighborhoods. Their website provides a clear description of the various routes you can try out. You can jump off at multiple points (Jackson Square, along Magazine Street, on St. Charles Avenue) where there are a plethora of drinking, eating, shopping, and sightseeing options.
Monday, July 3
All about Mid-City.
Option 1: Mondays are easier when you can take things at a slow and steady pace. Hang out in Mid-City for lunch — Mopho, Revel, and 1000 Figs are all perfect for a pre-holiday eat and drink session. After lunch you can spend the afternoon enjoying the New Orleans Museum of Art, which is currently featuring a collection of paintings from local artist Regina Scully.
Option 2: Push your lunch to an early dinner instead, and head to Goldfish Island in City Park for a clear view of the July 3 Fireworks. Music and festivities start at about 7 p.m. with the fireworks commencing at 9 p.m. They’re a fun precursor to the next day’s festivities.
Tuesday, July 4
Happy 4th of July!
There’s really only one option here: The whole plan of this itinerary was to get you ready for the big day. So, keep it simple: stay close to the French Quarter, and post up near Jax Brewery for a view of the fireworks in the annual dueling barges at Go 4th on the River. Celebrations start at 6 p.m., leading up to the fireworks show at 9 p.m. It’s a spectacle that provides a fitting accompaniment to the oversized nature of the 4th.
Regardless of the options you pick, you’ll have a more than memorable 4th of July in New Orleans.