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10 Can’t-Miss Fall Events in New Orleans

Cooler weather, festivals, and an intangible magic coursing through the city can mean only one thing: this is fall in NOLA. And you don’t want to miss it.

If you can hear more music on a Tuesday than you can over an entire weekend in any other city (it’s true), then there’s no such thing as a boring day in New Orleans. Add in a splash of cooler weather, a jammed-packed festival lineup, and an intangible magic that courses through the city and puts everyone under its spell, and it could only mean one thing: this is fall in New Orleans. And you don’t want to miss it.


Dance, eat, drink, Oktoberfest! New Orleans is celebrating the harvest with three weekends of all things German courtesy of the Deutsches Haus. The fest kicks off on Oct. 12 and is chock-full of authentic German bites, from bratwurst and sauerkraut to sauerbraten and giant Bavarian pretzels. Bands will be playing and the beer will be flowing, especially during the stein-holding contest held every single day of the festival.

New Orleans Film Festival

The New Orleans Film Festival has come quite a long way in its 26 years. It’s attracted thousands of producers, directors, writers, and actors, screened one of the first showings of the Academy Award-winning film “Twelve Years a Slave,” and for the first year ever is slated as an Oscar-qualifying festival. So grab your popcorn and hit up one of the 170+ featured movies playing Oct. 14-22.

Music Stage at Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest (Photo via Cheryl Gerber)
One of the stages at Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival

Bring your appetite (and dancing shoes) Oct. 16-18 for the 10th-annual Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest. This free event in Lafayette Square packs on the flavor with more than 30 vendors dishing out some of the best barbecue in the South. Add in two stages of live tunes filled with blues legends like Ruthie Foster, Marcia Ball, and Jarekus Singleton, and you’ve got a fest to sate your hankering for down-home food and music.

Bywater Mirliton Festival

New Orleans is the queen of quirky, and proof is at the Bywater Mirliton Festival. For those who are unfamiliar: a mirliton is a variety of squash often found on New Orleans tables in the form of a casserole during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. At the 26th annual Mirliton Fest, expect to find the vegetable topped on pizza, grilled on bruschetta, and tossed in pasta from all your favorite Bywater restaurants.

Krewe of Boo

If New Orleans isn’t on your Halloween to-do list, stop what you’re doing right now and make it your top priority. As one of America’s Most Haunted Cities, we pull out all the stops to celebrate our scarier side and embrace the spirits of the season. To kick things off, Krewe of Boo rolls out beautifully horrific floats as the city’s official Halloween Parade on Oct. 24. Expect elaborate costumes, festive dancing troupes, and plenty of candy corn necklaces.

Voodoo Music Experience (Photo via Cheryl Gerber)
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Ozzy Osbourne, Deadmau5, Florence + The Machine, Modest Mouse, Zac Brown Band. This pretty much sums up our Halloween Weekend. From Oct. 30- Nov. 1, City Park transforms into an interactive playground featuring four unique staging areas ready to welcome a stellar lineup as diverse as New Orleans itself. And thanks to Voodoo Experience, you’ll be spending Halloween with Ozzy Osbourne. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Faux/Real Festival of Arts

Once known as Fringe Fest, the first-ever Faux/Real Festival of Arts is three weeks of the wildest live entertainment in New Orleans, happening Nov. 4-22. Highlights include eDGe (the dance mini-fest), a ‘nerdlesque’ mini-fest, and a ‘barlesque’ competition. Since this is New Orleans, the lineup wouldn’t be complete without a one-of-a-kind culinary experience with dinner pop-ups and themed meals. Don’t you love this city?

Chef creations at Boudin, Bourbon & Beer (Photo via Paul Broussard)
Chef creations at Boudin, Bourbon & Beer. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Boudin, Bourbon & Beer

Ever wondered how Chef Emeril Lagasse throws a party? Now’s your chance. The annual fundraiser (this year’s happens Nov. 13) benefitting the Emeril Lagasse Foundation brings out more than 50 of the South’s best chefs for a boudin throw-down, with the added bonus of sipping craft bourbon cocktails and brews all for a good cause. Also, there’s a cigar tasting tent. And games. Emeril, you party animal, you.

Treme Creole Gumbo Festival

Fall in New Orleans translates to two things: football and gumbo. And we take both very seriously. While football is celebrated around the city all season long, two days are dedicated to the return of gumbo weather with its very own festival on Nov. 14 and 15. Now in its 8th year, Treme Gumbo Fest is the perfect opportunity to sample New Orleans’ signature dish in a variety of styles (complete with a Vegan Gumbo Contest) while grooving to the finest brass band jazz around.

Oak Street Po-Boy Festival

When it comes to sandwiches, the po-boy rules in New Orleans. And like our gumbo, it’s only appropriate to celebrate our staple dish with, you guessed it, a festival. Not only will you find your classics (fried shrimp, oysters, and roast beef), but Po-Boy Fest (Nov. 22) brings out some creative options like GW Fins‘ fried lobster variety.

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