When to Visit New Orleans: Unlocking the City’s Seasonal Secrets

Written by Angie Menjivar
Published: May 1, 2023
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You’ve heard the Cajun food is to die for, and the festivals and parades are must-see. But when planning your trip to New Orleans, you need to account for the weather too. Discover the best time to visit New Orleans, learn what temperatures to expect, and find out what kinds of activities you can enjoy while there!

New Orleans streetcar

Visitors to New Orleans can enjoy delicious Cajun food as well as various festivals and parades.

©f11photo/Shutterstock.com

Best Time to Visit New Orleans

The best time to visit New Orleans is when the weather is still cool in February through the time of festivals in May. Or you can skip the frenzy and book a visit between December and January for a much calmer experience and a much better deal (since it’s off-season!). Either way, if this is your first time getting to know the city, you can always look for a local, private tour guide to share the city’s secrets with you!

During February, the weather is still a bit cool with average temperatures ranging from 47 degrees Fahrenheit to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Considering New Orleans is known for its swampy weather, this is a great month to check out the town without your clothes sticking to your body. In March, it warms up a bit with temperatures ranging from 54 °F to 73 °F. April averages range from 61 °F and 79 °F and by the time May rolls around, you can expect most days to be in the mid-80s with a low in the high 60s.

From June through November, you’re getting the brunt of the heat with temperatures in the 90s and cooling slightly to the 80s. In December, the weather is cool again, with an average high of 65 °F and a low of 46 °F. In January, the temperatures remain steady with a low in the 40s and a high in the 60s.

Rain falls as a horse drawn carriage rolls along Bourbon Street

The best time to visit New Orleans is when the weather is still cool in February through the time of festivals in May.

©Page Light Studios/Shutterstock.com

Things To Do In New Orleans From February to May

Mardi Gras, the festival New Orleans is most famous for (yes, that’s when the beads are thrown!), is in February. The Mardi Gras marathon weekend usually starts around February 5. Part of what you may encounter includes edgy parades that are inclined toward a mature audience, so you’ll want to leave the kiddos at home and paint the town! There’s also the Krewe du Vieux parade, which starts over where Royal and Homer Plessy Way meet — this one has some adult themes, but the satire and political commentary may just go over your kiddos’ heads.

For more of a family-friendly vibe, head over to the uptown parades. You have a few to choose from but definitely avoid Bourbon Street when you have little ones in tow. There’s too much going on, especially once partygoers have the cover of the night. Take the whole clan over to Mystic Krewe of Barkus, where you and the fam can enjoy the floats of the all-dog crew (or “krewe”), all looking for their forever homes. You can also enjoy The Krewe of House Floats, which initially started as a joke but immediately began thriving. It’s when residents have a lot of fun transforming their houses into floats!                             

Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans

New Orleans is most famous for its Mardi Gras festival.

©Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock.com

Things To Do In New Orleans From December to January

There are free concerts at St Louis Cathedral Concert Series, where they play Latin holiday music, Cajun, and jazz. If you feel like New Orleans is a good time to spend the Christmas season or you’ll be visiting with family, check out “Christmas at the Cathedral.” It’s a stunning experience, not just because the orchestra and choir are impressive, but because the cathedral itself is something you can marvel at.

There’s a little something for sports fans as well! Plan a trip to the Smoothie King Center where you can watch the New Orleans Pelicans play. Grab some nachos, popcorn, and craft beer when you arrive, and enjoy them while you sit back and watch the game. Sports and musicals draw different crowds, but there’s space for everyone in New Orleans! Saenger Theater, for instance, offers a variety of ballet and opera performances.

You might want to consider a riverboat cruise for some fun on the water. There are tons of activities to select from but make sure you find out ahead of time what kind of food options they offer. Whereas some only carry hors d’oeuvres, others may have a full buffet for you to feast on.

St Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

Enjoy free concerts at St Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Weather in New Orleans From June to November

If you are into tropical weather, you can appreciate the heat and the high level of humidity. There is a slight chance that you will encounter a hurricane, so when planning your trip, click that “yes” box and get your travel insurance. It’s better to be on the safe side and if plans go awry, that small upfront cost is an investment that allows you to recoup your funds.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Sean Pavone


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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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