Fill Your Weekends in New Orleans with Festivals, Saints Football, and More Fun

Festival-packed weekends are back in New Orleans.

Brewery Saint X
Kölsch Fest at Brewery Saint X | Photo courtesy of Brewery Saint X
Kölsch Fest at Brewery Saint X | Photo courtesy of Brewery Saint X

Get ready everyone. After a brief summer lull, festival-packed weekends in New Orleans (with hopefully cooler temps) are back. Football is back too, which means it’s time to pull out your best Black and Gold outfits and find your favorite spot to watch the game. This month in New Orleans will be busy with everything from big events like Southern Decadence, Fried Chicken Fest, and Beignet Fest to the Saints’ first home game and the Barrett-Jackson Auction.

Consider catching an early Oktoberfest with beer and a boisterous celebration of German heritage or as the heat begins to dissipate, you might want to plan an outing to one of Louisiana’s beautiful outdoor destinations or grab a drink at a bar with a balcony. No matter how you decide to fill the calendar, September has plenty of fun options—and they’re all right here on this list of the most fun things to do on every weekend in New Orleans this month.

Southern Decadence
Southern Decadence | Tim Turner/Shutterstock

Festivals in New Orleans this month

Southern Decadence
Thursday, August 31 – Monday, September 4
French Quarter and beyond; Price varies
A bawdy, celebratory mix somewhere between New Orleans Pride and Gay Mardi Gras, Southern Decadence attracts revelers from around the world each Labor Day weekend. The extravaganza features parties, concerts, club events, and a parade through the French Quarter.

NOLA Coffee Fest
Saturday, September 16
Warehouse District; $15-$30
This two-day fest draws coffee industry professionals for seminars, presentations, documentary viewings, and exhibitor showcases. Day two of the fest is open to the public, giving coffee enthusiasts a chance to sample coffee from more than 25 Southern roasters, check out the latest trends in coffee brewing, watch a latte art competition, experience the La Marzocco Equipment Playground, and celebrate everyone’s favorite caffeinated beverage.

Kölsch Fest
Saturday, September 16
Warehouse District; $39
Head to Brewery Saint X to celebrate the famously crisp, golden ale from Köln (Cologne). Enjoy unlimited pours of Little Oblivion, their new German Kölsch, paired with chef Shannon Bingham’s takes on classic Köln fare like smoked currywurst, grilled bratwurst and beer mustard on a roll, and chicken schnitzel with smoked mushroom gravy and beef fat fries.

Beignet Fest
Saturday, September 23
Mid-City; $20-$50
Celebrate the iconic, powdered sugar-piled pillows of deliciousness at Beignet Fest in City Park. But it’s not just the classic beignet being served at this fest—vendors will be selling every type of beignet you can think of, from sweet versions stuffed with chocolate or bananas foster to savory options starring crawfish, spinach and artichoke, and more. The family-friendly festival features performances by the Imagination Movers, Flow Tribe, and Mia Borders. Proceeds benefit the Beignet Fest Foundation, which supports children with developmental delays and disabilities.

Celebración Latina
Sunday, September 24
Uptown; Free with Zoo admission
Celebrate Latin American culture in New Orleans with a full day of festivities at the Audubon Zoo. Celebración Latina features Latin cuisine, live music, and special programming and activities, centered around the Zoo’s Capital One Stage. Start off moving to the sounds of salsa band Muevelo and keep dancing throughout the day until things wrap up with Los Güiros. Fuel up with bites from Mais Arepas, La Michoacana, Norma’s Sweets Bakery, Que Rico, and Empanola.

Urban South Oktoberfest
Saturday, September 30
Mid-City; Free
Oktoberfest kicks off early as Urban South Brewery is transformed into a Bavarian wonderland for the occasion. Dance the day away to lively German ditties while you quaff Urban South’s seasonal Oktoberfest brews, then indulge in German-style culinary delights. If you’re up for it, test your strength and endurance in the stein-hoisting competition.

National Fried Chicken Fest
Saturday, September 30 –Sunday, October 1
Lakefront; $15-$25
Get your fill of some of the crispiest, tastiest fried chicken around, all in one spot on the Lakefront. The outdoor weekend event features 40 chefs and restaurants from across the country serving up their takes on the festival’s namesake dish. Fest goers will also enjoy live music, a car show, games, installations, activations and a vendor marketplace. High rollers can opt for one of two VIP experiences—Crown Royal’s Royalty VIP Lounge or Chandon’s Chicken & Bubbles VIP Lounge—but all attendees will enjoy amazing fried chicken and cool waterfront views.

Photo courtesy of Galactic

Concerts and music events in New Orleans this month

Sugar Bowl Country Kickoff
Saturday, September 2; 5:30 pm
CBD; $88
Get ready for college football season with a big show by Garth Brooks, his only show outside of Vegas. The show will be preceded by Tailgate Town at Champions Square—an immersive, football-themed experience highlighting college football players, amateur athletes, and emerging artists and musicians. Enjoy the festivities before heading into the Superdome for the main event, where Garth will be joined by special guests Lainey Wilson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

MTV ‘80s Rock Night
Friday, September 8; 8:30 pm
Mid-City; $12
Break out your best ‘80s attire and brush up on your air guitar skills for this throwback night at Rock N Bowl, where supergroup Phaze V will revive Rock Night MTV-style. Shake your big hair and spandex to tunes from top ‘80s rock acts including Skid Row, Poison, Whitesnake, Journey, Ratt, AC/DC, Foreigner, Scorpions, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, and more.

Soul Sister’s 17th Annual Birthday Jam
Saturday, September 16; 8 pm
Uptown; $25
It’s time once again for another edition of DJ Soul Sister’s legendary Birthday Jam at Tipitina’s. This year’s theme is “D.C. Go-Go in the N.O.,” spotlighting Washington, DC’s funk-based go-go music. Soul Sister herself will kick off the show with a DJ set to get everyone moving before the main event: go-go legends E.U. featuring Sugar Bear. Free birthday desserts will be available while they last.

Bombino with Louis Michot
Saturday, September 16; 7 pm
Mid-City; $25
Tuareg guitarist Bombino—The “Sultan of Shred”—brings his electrifying sounds of the Nigerian desert to The Broadside. Cajun musician Louis Michot opens the show to celebrate the release of his upcoming solo album, and he will perform sure-to-be-legendary collaborations with Bombino.

Jazz ‘n the Vines
Saturday, September 16 and Saturday, September 30; 6:30 pm
Bush; $12-$28
Jazz ‘n the Vines returns for the fall season at Wild Bush Farm + Vineyards. Gather your friends and fest chairs for an evening of stellar local music under the stars. Catch Dusky Waters on the 16th and Johnny Sketch + the Dirty Notes on the 30th. Food trucks will be serving up tasty bites, and Wild Bush wine will be available for purchase (snag a combo ticket before 4 pm on the day of show to get two tix and a bottle of wine for just $28). The season continues through December with Flow Tribe, Deltaphonic, and the Pine Leaf Boys.

Friday, September 29; 8 pm
Uptown; $35
Galactic—featuring vocal powerhouse Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph—is set to bring the funk to Tipitina’s for this jam-packed night of music. The band will be joined by more local icons of funk: Cyrill Neville, Big Chief Juan Pardo, and Roger Lewis. RAM From Haiti opens the show.

Josephine Estelle
Photo courtesy of Josephine Estelle

Food and drink events in New Orleans this month

High Tea, No Shade
Sunday, September 3; Varies
French Quarter; $95
Celebrate Southern Decadence in style at this enchanted garden-themed drag tea at the Ritz-Carlton. Unlimited Chandon Garden Spritzes and select Belvedere and Hennessy cocktails will be flowing, with three courses of traditional tea bites served for sustenance. Enjoy dazzling drag performances throughout. There will be prizes for the finest floral fashions, so be sure to don your best.

A Trip Through Italy: Pasta-Making & Wine Tasting
Saturday, September 16; 2 pm
CBD; $80
Learn the art of Italian pasta making and wine tasting with executive chef Trey Williams at Josephine Estelle. The chef will demonstrate the process of creating and rolling pasta dough before preparing a dish with one of his famous sauces. To complete the meal, beverage director Sergi Fernandez will guide participants through a perfectly paired wine tasting. You’ll come away with the skills and knowledge to bring Italy home with you.

Comedy shows in New Orleans this month

Fortune Feimster
Saturday, September 16; 7 pm
Downtown; $29-$114
Stand-up comedian, actor, and writer Fortune Feimster brings her Live, Laugh, Love Tour to The Orpheum. You’ve seen her specials on Netflix, her spots on shows like Conan, Chelsea Lately and Late Night with Seth Meyers, not to mention a slew of hilarious guest appearances and recurring roles in many TV shows. Catch her live for a night of big laughs.

LOOP ropes course
Photo courtesy of LOOP

Sports in New Orleans this month

New Orleans Saints vs Tennessee Titans
Sunday, September 10; noon
CBD; Tickets start at $95
The New Orleans Saints kick off the regular NFL season at home in the Superdome as they take on the Tennessee Titans. If you can’t cheer on the Black and Gold in person, head to any of the city’s top sports bars to share the excitement with fellow fans.

City Park Challenge Course General Public Day
Sunday, September 17; 10 am
Mid-City; $35
Up for a challenge? Tackle LOOP NOLA’s Challenge Course in City Park and climb to new heights. The Fall 2023 General Public Day is a chance for you to make your way through two high ropes courses with elements up to 30 feet high. Test your limits as you move through the course, nestled in a forest of pines and live oaks. Advance registration is required.

Barrett-Jackson New Orleans Auction
Thursday, September 28 –Saturday, September 30
Warehouse District; $25-$85
Whether you’re a car collector, classic car enthusiast, or just mildly curious, there’s nothing quite like the Barrett-Jackson Auction. The luxury lifestyle event comes to the Convention Center bearing hundreds of collector cars that are a feast for the eyes. The event is an experience for all ages, and it includes a Performance Track where professional drivers take you on thrilling, heart-pounding laps in top vehicles.

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Gerrish Lopez is a Thrillist contributor.