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Best Local Things to Do

15 Things to Do in February

Welcome to February in New Orleans, where daily parades are the norm, NBA all-stars stroll the streets, and plenty more activities abound.

A float in the Orpheus parade. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

February in NOLA has hearts a-flutter. On top of the endless ways to spend Valentine’s Day (or Galentine’s Day), incredible cultural arts performances, and, of course, food we’ve also got the annual NBA All-Star Game and a little thing called Mardi Gras to keep you busy. Here are 15 things to keep your February festive.


A scene from Cirque de Soleil’s “Toruk.” (Courtesy photo)

Catch Cirque du Soleil’s Avatar-inspired performance, “Toruk”

From Feb. 1-5, check out Cirque du Soleil’s incredible, immersive interpretation of the world of Pandora. The show is filled with awe-inspiring makeup, costumes, set design, and acrobatics.

rock and roll marathon new orleans
Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. (Photo via anthony_goto on Flickr)

Rock and run at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

On Feb. 5, lace up your tennis shoes for the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, featuring live music along the way by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. If you’re not a runner, don’t worry – come to cheer on the racers and participate in the blowout after-party. Be sure to check out the Health & Fitness Expo at the Convention Center, too.

Cooter Brown’s Tavern & Oyster Bar. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Watch the Super Bowl at an iconic NOLA sports bar

There’s truly no better city to catch a sports game than in New Orleans – the camaraderie, good spirits (both in people and beverages), and bar scene are unbeatable. Check out our favorite sports bars for a list of places to watch the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons in this year’s Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

Tet Fest celebrates the Lunar New Year this weekend. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)
Tet Fest celebrates the Lunar New Year. (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Celebrate Tet Fest

Tet Fest is the perfect way to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year, NOLA-style. From Feb. 10-12, head to Mary Queen of Vietnam Church to experience delicious cuisine, carnival games, and dragon dances while embracing New Orleans’ large Vietnamese population’s heritage and culture. 

Krewe du Vieux parades on Saturday night. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
Krewe du Vieux parades on Saturday night. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Kick off parade season at Krewe du Vieux 

Get ready for a rowdy kickoff to Carnival season with the annual Krewe du Vieux Parade on Feb. 11. This rambunctious Mardi Gras krewe is famous for its use of satire and adult content to inspire laughs and gasps. You won’t want to miss each sub-krewe’s take on the parade: the Krewe of C.R.U.D.E., Krewe of Underwear, and the Mystic Krewe of Inane will be present among others.

(Photo: Paul Broussard)
(Photo: Paul Broussard)

Toast your better half at a romantic NOLA restaurant…

Order a bottle of wine and listen to live jazz under twinkling lights at Bacchanal, make a date for one of NOLA’s hidden gem restaurants, or check out our recs for the best date ideas around town. Romantic atmospheres are easy to come by in New Orleans, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to embrace them.

…or celebrate Galentine’s Day

Single ladies (and gents!) rejoice – Valentine’s Day isn’t just for the couples of the world. There are countless ways to enjoy the day of love with your pals: spend a day shopping locally around town, catch a flick at a funky theater, or dance the night away to Rebirth Brass Band at Maple Street Bar.

The Saenger Theater. (Photo by Rebecca Ratliff)
The Saenger Theater. (Photo by Rebecca Todd)

See Dave Chappelle and Chris Tucker at the Saenger

From Feb.15-18, snag a ticket to see two hilarious comedians/actors join forces for a night of stand-up at the beautiful Saenger Theater.

Root for your favorite player at the NBA All-Star Game

NBA All-Star Weekend is coming to New Orleans from Feb. 17-19, so brace yourself for a weekend of festivities, competitive games, and entertainment – all in the midst of Mardi Gras. Check out events like the All-Star Celebrity Game, the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, All-Star practices, and more, all leading up to Sunday’s big game.

A king cake from Manny Randazzo. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
A king cake from Manny Randazzo. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Eat allllll the king cake

Now’s your chance to complete a personal Tour du King Cake. Make your way to the classic king cake spots throughout February, but leave room to try twists on the traditional cake. Cochon Butcher’s “Elvis” is filled with banana, peanut butter, and bacon, and it’s a game-changer. See our guide to all things king-cake related here.

Photo: Paul Broussard
A teeny, tiny ‘tit Rex float. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Peep tiny floats at ‘tit Rəx

‘tit Rəx (Petite Rex) takes the term “micro-krewe” to a new level, presenting revelers with miniature floats. Check out these tiny takes on Mardi Gras traditions on Feb.18.

A dog dressed as beloved local character Mr. Okra at a recent Barkus parade. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
A dog dressed as beloved local character Mr. Okra at a recent Barkus parade. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Watch Mardi Gras go to the dogs at Barkus

While NOLA is always known as a dog-friendly city, Feb. 19 will transform the French Quarter into a dog-lover’s paradise. The Mystic Krewe of Barkus is rolling, so adorn your pup in his best Mardi Gras attire and join in on the fun, with festivities beginning in Armstrong Park. No dog? No problem. Enjoy reveling at these costumed canines.

Music Box Village
The Music Box Village at N. Rampart Street in the Bywater. (Courtesy photo)

Grab your favorite mask and head to the Music Box Village’s Mardi Carnival Ball

The Music Box Village’s new permanent home in the Bywater hosts the very first Airlift Carnival Ball on Feb. 19. Explore the incredible musical structures, and enjoy appearances from Big Freedia, Delish Da Goddess, and others. The New Orleans Society of Tableau Vivant will reinterpret 19th-century Mardi Gras masked balls. Tickets and more info about this innovative Mardi Gras event are available here.

Eat red beans on Lundi Gras

Embrace this Creole tradition of eating red beans and rice on Mondays on the most fun Monday of the year – Lundi Gras. Enjoy this delicious part of NOLA culture while parading through the Marigny for the Red Beans Parade (and read about its founder here). Stops on this second line include Buffa’s, Anna’s Place, Candlelight Lounge, and more.

Riders pass out coveted coconuts during the Zulu parade. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)
Riders pass out coveted coconuts during the Zulu parade. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Enjoy the Ultimate Happy Tuesday

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for – the happiest Tuesday of the year on Feb. 28! Celebrate the end of carnival season and try to catch a coconut at Zulu, or wave to the King at Rex.

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