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Best Local Things to Do

Hot Summer Festivals in New Orleans

Things are heating up this summer on the festival circuit.

Satchmo SummerFest (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Summer is on the horizon. With a celebration for everything under the sun, you know we’re well equipped to party on through the next few seasons. It’ll be here before you know it, and these fests are primed and ready to show you a good time. Let’s get started.

New Orleans Summer Festivals

Indulge in charbroiled oysters at Oyster Fest. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

New Orleans Oyster Festival, May 30-31

What would a festival lineup in New Orleans be without one dedicated to our finest bivalve? At this two-day, free fest, the city showcases all the amazing ways you can prepare an oyster. Held along the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Park, Oyster Festival includes lots of eating and music, all with a picturesque view of the city. Make sure to check out the cooking demonstrations around the fest, plus oyster shucking and eating contests and a slew of local crafts from vendors around the area.

Festigals, June 5-7

As June begins, grab your gal pals to celebrate female empowerment. Festigals blends business with leisure in the form of luncheons, panelists, and cocktail excursions. Don’t miss the Step Up Second Line Parade, which raises awareness for heart disease and its impact on women.

The New Orleans Pride Parade on Bourbon Street (Photo: Paul Broussard)

New Orleans Pride, June 12-14

Experience New Orleans’ annual celebration of Pride with a weekend full of events. Celebrations include the Pride parade on Saturday, June 13, which marches through the French Quarter in typical New Orleans fashion.

Creole Tomato Festival, June 13-14

Juicy tomatoes, a Bloody Mary market, and delicious cuisine are a few of the highlights of this favorite summertime festival. Held in the heart of the French Market, Creole Tomato Fest also features several music stages and plenty of food to keep you satisfied.

NOLA Caribbean Experience, June 19-28

NOLA Caribbean Festival returns this year for two weekends of Caribbean food, music, and culture. The festival highlights New Orleans’ shared connection with the Caribbean and celebrates its position as the northernmost Caribbean city.

The Superdome transforms for ESSENCE Fest every 4th of July weekend. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
The Superdome transforms for ESSENCE Fest every 4th of July weekend (Photo: Paul Broussard)

ESSENCE Festival, July 1-5

Every year, ESSENCE Fest brings a wave of big-name acts to the Superdome. This year’s headliners include Janet Jackson, Bruno Mars, Patti LaBelle, and more. An annual celebration of black culture, the festival also holds smaller performances as well as workshops, an empowerment speaker series, a beauty fair, and much more. Bonus: all of the daytime programming at Essence Fest is free!

Running of the Bulls Photo: Cheryl Gerber
Running of the Bulls (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

San Fermin en Nueva Orleans, July 10-12

Inspired by the world-famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain, New Orleans’ Running of the Bulls begins its events on Friday, July 10. Then on Saturday, participants take to the French Quarter streets in red and white ensembles as they try to avoid getting hit by a bull. Don’t worry though, there aren’t any real bulls here. Instead, roller derby team the Big Easy Rollergirls (and their Wiffle ball bats) chase guests around town.

Satchmo Summerfest, July 31-August 2

New Orleans couldn’t pass Louis Armstrong’s birthday without a grand affair. Held at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, Satchmo Summerfest celebrates Pops’ birthday with music, food, and a second-line parade appropriately dubbed the “Satchmo Strut.” The fest also includes seminars, discussions, and speakers focused on Louis Armstrong and his contributions to New Orleans — and the world.

Whitney White Linen Night. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Whitney White Linen Night, August 1

Don’t skip your laundry this week, y’all. Every year, a mass of white clothing takes over Julia Street as guests explore art galleries in the Warehouse District. What started as a way to revive the downtown’s arts district has grown into one of the summer’s most anticipated events. Channeling days gone by in New Orleans where residents donned white to reflect the summer sun, guests roam in and out of art galleries with handheld fans in tow for this evening art celebration.

Dirty Linen Night, August 8

Don’t put those linens in the wash just yet because Dirty Linen Night rolls through the French Quarter the following weekend! Join in as folks stroll down Royal Street to see the art galleries. Shopkeepers give away free dirty martinis and dirty rice too!

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