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Best Local Things to Do

20 Things to Do in October

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Krewe of Boo (Photo: Paul Broussard)

October is one of the best months of the year in New Orleans! So we’re featuring 20 things to do (instead of our usual 15) because there’s so much fun going on and we don’t want you to miss any of it. Between mouth-watering food festivals, concerts, must-see films, and of course – Halloween – October is sure to satisfy all your interests.

20 Things to Do in October

1. Tremé Fall Fest

On October 5, Tremé Fall Festival celebrates Faubourg Tremé, America’s oldest African-American neighborhood, with live music, local food vendors, and craft booths. Festival entry is donation-based, with proceeds going to support the many cultural destinations and organizations found in the historical community of Tremé.

2. Visit a Local Distillery

October 4 is National Vodka Day, and what better way to celebrate than to visit a local vodka distillery? Seven Three Distilling and Lula Restaurant Distillery both serve cocktails made with their vodka on site. If rum is more your thing, take a tour at Old New Orleans Rum.

Lula Distillery (Photo: Paul Broussard)

3. Gentilly Fest

From October 11 to 13, gather at Pontchartrain Park Playground for Gentilly Fest – with food, music, art, and fun for all ages! Children’s activities include face painting, an imagination playground, pony rides, garden crafts, a kids stage, and a New Orleans Fire Department fire truck.

4. Oktoberfest

Celebrate Nola’s rich German history, with the city’s own version of Oktoberfest, which takes place three weekends in a row (October 4-5, 11-12, 18-19). At this Mid-City celebration, you’ll find the best of German culture including rare beer, authentic cuisine, and live music.

5. Beignet Festival

Beignets, or French-style doughnuts, are one of those must-try New Orleans foods. You can try them all in one place at Beignet Festival at the New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds on October 5. Admission is free!

Cafe du Monde
Beignets and cafe au laits at Cafe du Monde (Photo: Paul Broussard).

6. New Orleans Film Festival

From October 16-23, the New Orleans Film Society is hosting the 2019 New Orleans Film Festival in venues throughout the city. In addition to showcasing the work of local filmmakers, films shown at NOFF can qualify for the Oscars in all three Academy-accredited categories: Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short.

7. Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival

Local barbecue with a side of live blues anyone? On October 18-20, Lafayette Square transforms into the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival, with live music, BBQ, and craft booths in the heart of the Central Business District.

8. Go on a Quest for the Tastiest Gumbo

October 12 is National Gumbo Day, so go on a quest to find your favorite bowl of gumbo in New Orleans. This famous Creole soup can be made many different ways, with seafood or chicken and sausage. We recommend starting your quest in the French Quarter at The Gumbo Shop or Mr. B’s Bistro!

9. Catch a Saints game in the Superdome

The Saints play at home on Sunday, Oct. 6 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and again on Sunday, Oct. 27 against the Arizona Cardinals. Don’t miss your chance to see the Saints in the dome! Come early and make it a weekend trip.

The Superdome is Saints fans’ haven during football season in New Orleans (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

10. Mac n’ Cheese Fest

October 12 is the third annual Mac n’ Cheese Fest! More than a dozen local restaurants will compete for the best mac n’ cheese dish in Louis Armstrong Park, and you can taste them all while you listen to live music and visit the cash bar.

11. Praise Fest

New Orleans is home to some of the oldest and most historic churches and congregations in the country, so the city has a proud tradition of Gospel Jazz, Gospel music, and other types of Christian music. Experience the best local musicians at Praise Fest the weekend of October 18-20.

12. Art for Art’s Sake

On October 5, Magazine Street will fill up with art enthusiasts and shoppers taking advantage of the shops and galleries open late for Art for Art’s Sake. Don’t miss the complimentary wine samples and live music!

13. Shop for Halloween Costumes

October 12 is National Costume Swap Day, so whether you’re in the market for a wig, a superhero costume, or some body glitter, New Orleans has you covered! We have plenty of recommendations on where to find great costumes.

Mardi Gras costumes
Festive costume go-ers make Halloween a special holiday in New Orleans (Photo: Zack Smith)

14. Krewe of Boo Parade

On October 19, Krewe of Boo, New Orleans’s official Halloween parade, marches through the French Quarter. Kids will have a blast as costumed float-riders throw candy, doubloons, toys, and other treats.

15. LGBT Halloween Celebration

Every year, the French Quarter puts on a special Halloween Celebration, LGBT-style. Festivities include dance parties with DJs and live music, creative costumes, and a second line parade.

16. Visit a Haunted Attraction

New Orleans has a handful of haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and festivals that you’ll want to add to your list this October. Scout Island Scream Park, the Mortuary, and New Orleans Nightmare are among our picks. See the full list here. Die hard Halloween fans can dive into Seven Days of Halloween in New Orleans.

17. Sip a Local, Craft Beer

October 27 in National American Beer Day, and luckily, New Orleans is full of craft breweries. Urban South and NOLA Brewing may be some of the best known, but you can also check out neighborhood microbreweries like Miel Brewery and Parleaux Beer Lab.

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (Photo: Paul Broussard)

18. Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Guns N’ Roses, Post Malone, and Beck are headlining Voodoo Music + Arts Experience this year! The music festival takes place over three days from October 25-27 in City Park and will feature plenty of colorful costumes and dance parties.

19. Indulge in Locally-Made Chocolates

Get an early start on Halloween indulgences with National Chocolate Day on October 28. New Orleans is home to several shops that make their own chocolate, so this is the perfect excuse to try them all. We recommend heading to Piety and Desire Chocolate or Bittersweet Confections.

20. Halloween

If you’re not beat by the end of October, there’s more. You know New Orleanians love to celebrate, especially when it involves dressing up. So naturally, Halloween is a local favorite. Leading up to the day, you’ll want to check out some costume shops to put together your perfect get up. On Halloween night, don’t miss one of the neighborhood street parties on Frenchmen Street or in front of Molly’s at the Market on Decatur Street.

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