5 Reasons To Visit New Orleans This Summer
Summers in New Orleans are a well-kept secret.
The heat and humidity of a NOLA summer often keep less hardy visitors out of the city, but New Orleans’ bars, restaurants, museums, and festivals continue operating in full swing.
Despite the heat, summer is a great time to visit New Orleans, as there is still a lot of fun to be had...often without the peak season crowds.
Many people associate New Orleans with Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations, which usually occur in February or March. However, New Orleans saves some of its best festivals for the summer months, where you’ll encounter more of the city’s regular inhabitants and participate in authentic NOLA experiences.
New Orleans is known for its food as much as for its music. Summer is a particularly great time to visit the city because many of its most beloved and acclaimed restaurants open their doors to the public at discount prices. Seafood and creole cuisine are abundant in the summer, making the hottest months of the year some of the best times to visit.
Not that you needed a reason, but below are 5 reasons you should throw your favorite linen outfit in a bag and hurry down to New Orleans this summer.
New Orleans Oyster Festival
In the days before refrigeration, an old adage held that the only safe times to eat oysters were in months ending in ‘r’. New Orleans holds its annual oyster fest in June to dispel that myth. Restaurants across the city feature oyster-heavy offerings, like po’ boys, gumbo, and raw bar specials. But the real action happens along the Mississippi at Woldenberg Park, where you can participate in oyster shucking and eating contests, view cooking demonstrations, enjoy every variety of oyster, and relax to the soundtrack of great bands, including Raw Oyster Cult. Admission is free!
New Orleans Pride Parade is one of the largest in the country. It’s a celebration held over a weekend in June recognizing the city’s LGBTQ community – but all are most certainly welcome. The parade is huge, with dozens of floats, upwards of 60 marching bands, and thousands of bead necklaces. The party continues into the night at parties in restaurants and bars in the French Quarter. Pride’s second line is legendary, continuing a neighborhood tradition of joining the bands and parade members that dates back to the 19th century’s joyous jazz weddings, funerals, and neighborhood gatherings.
Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival
Cajun culture is on display during this June festival, which features a lineup of world-renowned Cajun musicians and artists. Enjoy traditional dark roux Cajun gumbo, boudin, and corn maque choux while listening to unique and acclaimed Cajun and Zydeco bands and shopping for traditional Cajun crafts and art.
Satchmo fest celebrates New Orleans native son, Louis Armstrong. The festival occurs in August, and serves as a kind of smaller, more local counterpoint to the massive Jazz Festival that occurs in April/May every year. Though Satchmo Summerfest is somewhat less well-known than Jazz fest, it is no less raucous a celebration of NOLA’s musical history. The festival centers around the New Orleans jazz museum and includes a lineup of some of the most dazzling jazz musicians playing today, many of whom interact with the crowd on street level as they parade through the venue.
COOLinary, which runs for the entire month of August, is an annual tradition in the Crescent City in which restaurants create special prix-fixe menus that they offer for a discounted price. Most of the restaurants are in the French Quarter or Downtown, but more than 80 restaurants participate in all areas of the city. Three-course lunch menus can run for less than $20, with three-course dinners around $40.
Some of the city’s most beloved and renowned restaurants participate, making this one your best opportunities to score a fine dining experience in New Orleans without breaking the bank.
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