My girlfriends and I are planning on taking a trip to New Orleans but we can't figure out the best time to go. We know Mardi Gras is a huge tourist attraction and the city will probably be packed. Is this a good time to experience New Orleans? Or should we head over during the summer?
Hey Bianca, it all depends of what you are looking to get out of your trip. There are non touristy things to do during Mardi Gras and there is no experience quite like it anywhere else. That being said the hotels will be outrageously expensive...
I don't think Nola gets any better than in the fall. Late October and November have always been my personal favorites. The weather is finally starting to cool off and the city is exploding with things to do.
Nobody does Halloween like New Orleans does Halloween. People really let their imagination go and come up with some of the best costumes you will ever see. There is a huge party on Frenchmen Street the weekend of Halloween. For sure worth checking out. Then you have Voodoo Fest which is 10/31,11/1, 11/2 under the live oaks in City Park.
November is really when the local festivals get started. There is the Treme Creole Gumbo Fest (11/8-11/9), the Fringe Theatre Festival (11/19-11/23), Words and Music Fest (11/20-11/24) and of course the local favorite Poboy Fest on Oak Street (11/23). Poboy Fest is for sure one you don't want to miss. All the best restaurants lay out food tents that celebrate the poboy itself. There are some long lines but the food is so good. You see the thing about New Orleans is we love a reason to have a party. These festivals are our way of doing that. Now if you feel like getting out of town for thanksgiving then you will be in for a treat. It is thanksgiving day tradition in NOLA to go to the races at Fairgrounds. Everybody dresses up and starts drinking early and bets on the races all day. Then you head to a friends house for thanksgiving. Chances are if you talk to some people you will get several invites. Always a fun thing to do.
So... lots of answers here on Trippy.com but I'm going with the Fall!!! Hope this helps and write back on here if you decide to go. Tons of to-do's to recommend.
Mentioned in this answer:
Most times to visit New Orleans are fine. You're right, Mardi Gras time will be very crowded, so if that much of a crowd bothers you, then stay away. It's not like the rest of the year is boring. Another thing you want to consider is hurricane season. Historically, August and September have the highest chance of hurricanes, so a trip planned for that time could possibly be disrupted. Other than that, any other time is fine. You can have a lot of fun in New Orleans any day of the year.
I'm sure that the weather during Mardi Gras will be great. Jazzfest too. Both bookend the spring'ish time. Just expect there to be a lot of people, so if you like crowds and festivals, that's the time to visit.
Spring and fall are probably the best time to visit temperature-wise (though there might be a chance of some tumultuous weather during certain times in the fall).
Summer will be sweltering hot, if you don't mind. I've actually been during the winter, in December, and the weather was actually pretty nice.. It rained a little, but I was still able to wear a dress and a cardigan at night comfortably/without freezing. Save for a few snowball stands, all the other shops were open and there were plenty of people around.
Pretty much unless there's a hurricane, any other time would be a great time to visit NOLA :)
Jazzfest in the spring is the best. But really any time from fall till end of may. extremely hot and humid down here during summer.
I was going to suggest French Quarter Festival as well! It is in the spring and will be hot, but not as bad as later in the summer, perfect for sundresses and cold beers! All of the music at FQF is free as well, which is a great way to see some famous New Orleans musicians and enjoy the French quarter without as much insanity as Mardi gras. Jazzfest is awesome as well, but the entire event is at the fairgrounds instead of around the quarter.
Mentioned in this answer:
If you want to experience New Orleans I would suggest NOT going during Mardi Gras. Too many people to really experience the city and all you get to do is Mardi Gras. The summer is very hot, so the best time to go would be sometime in the fall maybe October or November (although we don't really have seasons it should be a bit cooler). Let me know if you want more info on where to go and what to see!
Mardi Gras 2015 is Tuesday, February 17th... It is a massive event and a lot of fun. If I was you I would go middle of January. You will have a nice chill, but it will not be too cold. You can go during the summer but I will warn you it is very hot and humid in the summer.