We are very used to having our own local celebrations in New Orleans (Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, etc.), but we also offer a unique and dynamic twist on national and international celebrations, like St. Patrick’s Day and Pride. 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 Wednesday this year, but we’ve got a few ideas to carry you through the holiday and into the weekend. Here’s how to spend the 4th of July and the weekend after it in New Orleans.
New Orleans 4th of July Weekend Itinerary
Thursday, July 4
Happy 4th of July!
Kick off your holiday weekend in New Orleans East with the inaugural Sneauxball Fest. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., enjoy food and drink, live music, a car show, a Greek Step Show, and, of course–snowballs! This free festival is a family-friendly way to enjoy the holiday.
Later in the day, head to the French Quarter and post on the Riverfront for a view of the fireworks in the annual dueling barges at Go 4th on the River. Enjoy the French Quarter while awaiting the fireworks show at 9 p.m. It’s a spectacle that provides a fitting accompaniment to the oversized nature of the holiday.
Friday, July 5
Visit a brewery, or head out on a bar crawl.
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). If pubs or dive bars are more your thing, check out our complete guide to the ultimate New Orleans bar crawl here.
Saturday, July 6
Head to ESSENCE Fest.
ESSENCE Fest takes place during Fourth of July weekend from July 4-7, and the evening concerts are a main highlight. On Friday, the lineup includes featured performers Missy Elliott, Ledisi, Morris Day, and more. Saturday’s lineup includes H.E.R., Mary J. Blige, Nas, and a special appearance by Michelle Obama. On Sunday, enjoy performances from Big Freedia, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, and more.
Sunday, July 7
Visit the National WWII Museum.
Celebrate our nation’s Independence Day by checking out 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. While you’re in the area, check out the restaurants and galleries in the Arts District of downtown New Orleans.