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Things to Do

Weekend Picks: ESSENCE Fest, Foundation Free Fridays, and More

The 4th of July isn’t until Tuesday this year, but who says you can’t kick off the celebration early?

essence festival new orleans
Essence Festival (photo by Cheryl Gerber)

The 4th of July isn’t until Tuesday this year, but who says you can’t kick off the celebration early? With ESSENCE Fest in town all weekend, there are plenty of world-class performances to blow you away before the fireworks even begin. Tujague’s also hosts a paired dinner with Buffalo Trace Distillery Thursday night, and Friday offers a movie at the zoo or free music at Tipitina’s. Find some zen in the midst of the hubbub at Crescent Park’s Saturday morning yoga session.

all weekend

1. ESSENCE Festival — The annual Essence Fest invites attendees to “Party with a Purpose” this weekend with show-stopping headliners, empowering speakers, and other experiences. Stuck on which performances to see? Check out our top picks here. Ticket prices vary.

Tujague’s in the French Quarter (Photo: Paul Broussard)


2. Sazerac in Seersucker — Throw on your best seersucker outfit and head to Tujague’s! Thursday night, the historic French Quarter restaurant hosts a special four course paired dinner with Buffalo Trace Distillery. Tickets are $90, call to make a reservation.

Audubon Zoo Photo: Paul Broussard


3. Dinner and a ZOOvie — Treat the youngsters to a fun weekend outing at the Audubon Zoo. Starting at 6 p.m., the Zoo will air the Lego Batman Movie at the Capital One Stage. Food trucks La Cocinita, Frencheeze, and Burgers Ya Heard will all be on site, with a slew of fun games and activities to kick off the night. Admission is $6.

4. Tipitina’s Foundation Free Fridays — One of the summer’s best music events, Foundation Free Fridays, offers a sensational beginning to your Fourth of July weekend. Maggie Koerner & Travers Geoffray plus Cha Wa take the stage, with every dollar going towards the Tipitina’s Foundation. Doors open at 9 p.m., show starts at 10. Patrons must be 21 or older.

The Piety Street pedestrian bridge at Crescent Park (photo: Paul Broussard)


5. Crescent Park Saturday — Summer snowballs weighing you down? Sweat it out this Saturday morning with Crescent Park’s “Pay What You Can” morning event with strength-building vinyasa flow at the Piety Wharf. Donations are encouraged but not necessary.

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