I want to start planning a trip to NOLA but have no clue when the best time of year would be? Obviously, Mardi Gras is a huge event but is this an ideal time to go? I'd like to experience the city more like a local instead of a tourist. Also, I hate the heat and I know that it gets warm there during the summer months. Looking for an "in between" time (not too hot, not too cold). Suggestions?
While Mardi Gras (February 9, 2016) and Jazzfest (April 22 – May 1, 2016) are premier times to be in New Orleans, accommodations can be pricey and the city too crowded to enjoy like a local. Unless you're a diehard festival music lover (Jazzfest) or know people you can stay with (during Mardi Gras) let's say, you're better off enjoying a weekend in September through May with a local festival going on (during the summer, you sweat through your clothes in 10 min, but summer is cheaper and there are, again, more fun festivals). Here is a non-exhaustive list of festivals/events you might enjoy as a visitor to New Orleans during non-summer months:
Krewe de Vieux (Saturday two weeks before Mardi Gras). If you don't do actually Mardi Gras, come a couple weeks before for this very clever parade in the French Quarter where parades historically ran.
Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival (March 30 – Apr. 3, 2016)
French Quarter Festival (April 7 – 10, 2016). It's Free.
Check out these exhaustive lists:
2015 Guide to Louisiana Fairs & Festivals (stay tuned for the 2016 Guide)
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