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New Orleans Summer Travel Guide

New Orleans summers are a well-kept secret, filled with incredible festivals, art, music, history and outdoor adventures that will keep you busy all summer long! Beat the heat with a plethora of activities this summer, which we’ve conveniently mapped out for you by interest.

For the Avid Indoorsman

While there are a ton of fun-in-the-sun activities, some of us just aren’t made for the hot NOLA summers. Have no fear – here’s our list of fun, and air-conditioned activities:

  • Southern Food and Beverage Museum
    Southern Food and Beverage Museum
    Visit one of New Orleans’ many amazing museums, such as New Orleans Museum of Art, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, or The Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Better yet, if you can’t make it to NOLA until August, you can take advantage of Museum Month – a chance to see many of the great museums in the city for a discounted price!
  • Channel your Mardi Gras spirit any time of the year at Mardi Gras World. View the floats and costumes, taste king cake and learn about the many traditions that surround the beloved holiday.
  • If you are looking for something more interactive, visit the New Orleans Boulder Lounge, where you can stay active and cool! Rock ‘n Bowl is another great place to let loose indoors while enjoying live music.
  • Enjoy all things R&B and hip-hop at Essence Festival. This 4-day indoor music festival on 4th of July Weekend features headliners such as Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Chance the Rapper and John Legend.
  • Pamper yourself at one of New Orleans’ many spas, like the luxurious Winsdor Court or Ritz Carlton. Or check out a neighborhood spot like Belladonna on Magazine Street.

For Guaranteed Family Fun

School’s out for the summer, and New Orleans is the perfect place for fun for the whole family! No matter your age, here are some places everyone will enjoy.

For the Urban Explorer

New Orleans is the perfect place for the curious and adventurous traveler. There are tons of unique things to do and ways to get off-the-beaten-path.

For the Foodie

New Orleans has an incredible history of food, and continues to thrive with restaurants and bars. There’s no better place for a foodie to indulge.

For the Bargain Hunter

New Orleans has a ton of affordable activities for everyone! You can easily find low cost or free activities around town.

  • Take the streetcar to access some of Nola’s coolest tourist attractions. For $3, you can get a day pass and travel to cemeteries, parks and various neighborhoods. You can view the beautiful mansions that line Saint Charles Ave as you ride.
  • Walk around the French Quarter and Jackson Square to experience the history and magic that surrounds New Orleans. Stop by Café Du Monde for a plate of beignets and a coffee for under $6,
  • Check out many of the musicians that have shows for little to no charge. Frenchmen Street and Preservation Hall are great places to spend your night.
  • Cajun Zydeco Fest
    Cajun Zydeco Fest
    Enjoy festival season for little charge! Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival is free and open to the public, while Satchmo Summer Fest is only $5. Live music will take over the French Quarter for these multi-day festivals. Want to win a free trip to New Orleans for the Satchmo Summer Fest? Enter the sweepstakes here.
  • Visit us mid-week for discounted hotel stays and special deals or download some coupons for various venues across the city. Stay tuned to all of our mid-week happenings and discounts here!

For the History Buff

New Orleans claims a rich and complex history dating back a few centuries. There are many places to learn about the evolution of New Orleans culture and what part the city has played in the history of the United States.

For the Art Lover

Everywhere you turn in New Orleans features art and creativity. From art galleries to outdoor markets, there is plenty of exploring for the artistic mind.

For the LGBTQ Traveler

Known for its welcoming atmosphere, New Orleans celebrates the LGBTQ community to the fullest. Summer in New Orleans is a great time for the LGBTQ traveler to visit, when Pride festivals and activities abound.

  • Kick off summer with New Orleans Pride – a weekend long celebration to promote the LGBTQ communities the best way New Orleans knows how: with parades, DJs and parties galore.
  • Try one of the city’s hottest workouts such as City Surf, Big Easy Bootcamp or the Sweat Social. See here for more recommendations how to sweat it out in the Big Easy.
  • Party at one of New Orleans many gay bars such as The Oz or Saints and Sinners.
  • Kick off a summer day with an unforgettable drag or burlesque brunch at legendary spots like the Country Club or SoBou.
  • End your summer with Southern Decadence – nicknamed “Gay Mardi Gras” – on Labor Day Weekend.

If you haven’t booked your trip to NOLA yet...

Need more ideas of ways to spend your summer? Here are just a few to make New Orleans the ultimate summer getaway.

For an overview of upcoming events to check out this summer, visit our calendar here.

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