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Laissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll).
The New Orleans motto, visitors will definitely have a good time when they visit the Big Easy. Although it’s most well-known for its Mardi Gras celebrations, the city also hosts many other annual festivals. Take your pick of the best New Orleans festivals.
4 Fun New Orleans Festivals
All that jazz
Jazz music has been the sound of New Orleans since the early 20th century. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival takes place annually on the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. It includes 12 stages featuring performances of African beats, church hymns, pop music, blues and roots, and of course, jazz. If visiting New Orleans outside the festival, get your jazz fix aboard the Steamboat Natchez. The authentic steamboat does day and evening cruises along the Mississippi River that includes a live jazz band performance.
Mardi Gras celebrations began in New Orleans back in 1857. Nowadays, the festival goes for 12 days and culminates in the biggest parade on Fat Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival generates half a billion dollars for the New Orleans economy. This is because people travel from across the world to enjoy the celebrations and catch the trinkets being thrown from the floats. When visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras, ensure you book a hotel in advance. For example, the Lafayette Hotel is conveniently located along the parade route. Year-round visitors can go behind-the-scenes and see how the hundreds of floats are made at Mardi Gras World too.
Spooked at Voodoo
America’s most haunted city, New Orleans naturally hosts a huge music festival over Halloween each year. The Voodoo Music and Arts Experience began in 1999, with the 2014 line-up including the Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys and Skrillex. The Halloween-themed festival also includes many local food vendors and shops selling clothing, jewellery and art. If you need to be spooked further, visitors can join a that visits several haunted sites that have featured on the History and Discovery Channels. There’s no guarantee that guests will see ghosts, but there’s no assurance they won’t see an uninvited guest, either.
The free festival
Everyone loves a free festival and New Orleans’ version is the French Quarter Fest. The city’s second-biggest festival and the World’s Largest Block Party, it takes over the French Quarter from Bourbon Street to the Mississippi Riverfront. The festival is about celebrating New Orleans for a weekend with over 1500 musicians performing on 20 stages and 60 different food vendors serving local cuisine.
There’s certainly New Orleans festivals for everyone. Fortunately, they all seem to involve great music, scrumptious local food and a lot of fun. Even when there’s not a festival, the city has other activities to keep the good times rolling. If you’re looking for New Orleans accommodation, check out my guides here and here.
This blog post was a part of a previous partnership with Hipmunk.