Everything You Must Do in New Orleans This Summer

Updated On 06/25/2018 at 05:29PM EST Updated On 06/25/2018 at 05:29PM EST
new orleans jazz band
Simply Photos/Shutterstock
Thursday - Sunday
Jun 14-Jul 15
Various locations
After four long years of waiting, the 2018 FIFA World Cup is finally here! The US may not be in the competition this year, but that doesn't mean that the games in Russia won't be a blast to watch. We've rounded up all the best bars in New Orleans to watch the fĂştbol magic play out.
Cost: Varies by location.
Saturday - Sunday
Jun 23-24
Louis Armstrong Park
Mais oui, there’s beaucoup talent at this free zydeco festival, cher! Lost Bayou Ramblers, Lil' Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band -- good thing there are misting fans, because you’ll definitely work up a sweat on the dance floor. Aieee!
Cost: Free
Jun 23
Seventh Ward
You could go to a Bourbon Street strip club, fight the crowds of tourists and pay for a cover charge and overpriced drinks. Or you could hang out at your favorite Seventh Ward dive bar, Poor Boys, and enjoy an eclectic, nubile roster of talent hand-picked by organizer (and veteran dancer) Holly Tamale. Yes, it’s a pop-up strip club, and we just have to ask ourselves why this concept isn’t more widespread.
Cost: $10
Friday - Friday
Jun 29-Aug 10
Shrine on Airline
Regardless of your feelings about this minor league baseball team’s recent rebranding (no, nothing about an angry, bat-wielding, crown-wearing baby sprouting from a king cake isn’t terrifying), we can all agree that nothing says summer like baseball, right? Stop by on Fireworks Fridays (June 29, July 13, July 27, August 10) for a truly impressive spectacle after the game.
Cost: $10 and up
essence festival
Essence Festival
Jul 4
French Quarter
Yay, more fireworks! These ones shoot from dueling barges docked on the Mississippi River, and the show goes on way longer than you’d think it could. Watch it from the French Quarter, Crescent Park in the Marigny/Bywater, or the balcony of the rich guy you’re house-sitting for.
Cost: Free
Thursday - Sunday
Jul 5-8
Downtown New Orleans; Superdome; Convention Center
Essence magazine’s annual celebration of black womanhood, culture, and music attracts half a million attendees who will pack the Superdome to see headliners Erykah Badu, Janet Jackson, and Mary J. Blige. There’s also a convention and countless ancillary parties and pop-ups citywide.
Cost: Varies by event, but the single-day Superdome tickets start at $80-$90.
Jul 5
The Howlin’ Wolf
If you don't have the money for the Superdome experience, Essence Fest brings lots of talented comedians to town, and they’ll share their talents at this open mic night presented by Black Girl Giggles Comedy Festival. Prepare your best jokes, or get ready to laugh -- or both. It's a free show either way.
Cost: Free
Friday - Sunday
Jul 13-15
Warehouse District
If you’ve ever wanted to run with the bulls in Spain, but didn’t want to actually get gored by a bull (thus defeating -- or maybe capping off -- the very idea of a bucket list), then San Fermin in Nueva Orleans is for you. At best, you’ll get to dress as the drunken matador of your dreams, and at worst, you’ll get paddled by a rollergirl wearing horns. Some kinksters pay a lot of money for that, you know.
Cost: $25-$80
Jul 15
Washington Square
Louisiana’s staple dishes (crawfish etouffee, muffalettas, jambalaya) aren’t exactly the most vegan-friendly foods, but this city has made a ton of progress when it comes to plant-based dining. Case in point: this free food, music, and fun festival.
Cost: Free
Jul 15
Pythian Market
New Orleans’ newest bougie food court (its “artisan purveyors” dish out Vietnamese street food, craft cocktails and Gulf seafood, among other things) hosts a World Cup viewing party. You’ll TVs, raffles, happy hour prices for people wearing soccer team jerseys, and a bar that opens at 7am.
Cost: Free
Tuesday - Sunday
Jul 17-22
French Quarter
This is the convention for people in the spirits and bar industries -- but you don’t have to be a mixologist to enjoy learning about booze (and sucking down more free samples than should be legally allowed at 9am). Besides, is there any better place to learn about cocktails than the city that invented cocktails?
Cost: Varies; some events are free
Friday - Sunday
Jul 27-29
Hyatt Regency New Orleans
Giant robots? Check. Cosplaying attendees? Check. Panels, presentations, workshops and vendors? Check, check, check, and check. We’d keep listing the cool nerdy stuff at MechaCon, but then this description of the anime convention would potentially get as bloated as a live-action, Hollywood remake of Cowboy Bebop.
Cost: $50-$155
Wednesday - Sunday
Jul 25-29
French Quarter
Is “swinger” technically a sexual orientation? Not exactly, but that’s not stopping these grown-and-sexy Naughty in N’awlins attendees from marching in “the world’s biggest (and only) swinger’s pride parade.” Come for the erotic ball -- stay for the fisting seminar!
Cost: Varies; the parade is free to attend, but the hotel rates listed start at $99/night
new orleans
Visit New Orleans
Wednesday - Friday
Aug 1-31
How do you make the hottest, hurricane-iest, all-around worst month in New Orleans somewhat bearable? By offering sweet, sweet discounts at the finest fine dining destinations in the city. From Creole grand dames to chic new gastropubs, all the culinary players are here, and they’re all offering incredible three-course dinners for $39 or less.
Cost: Varies
Aug 4
Warehouse District
It’s a real challenge to look cool and classy at the biggest outdoor art party of the summer, but white linen, white wine, and handheld fans definitely help. This evening's gallery openings, live music, and art installations attract a bigger crowd each year, so come prepared.
Cost: Free to attend openings; $10 for the after-party at the Contemporary Art Center
Friday - Sunday
Aug 3-5
Old US Mint
This tribute to Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong takes over the US Mint each August and features live music, seminars, and lectures. If it’s too hot for you to enjoy music on the two outdoor stages, just duck inside the Mint for a smaller, more intimate concert experience.
Cost: Free
Aug 11
French Quarter
You don’t have to be a hasher to participate in the Red Dress Run, but you do have to wear a pretty red frock and drink beer. In 2010, more than 5,000 people participated and raised more than $200,000 for charity. On-on!
Cost: $60 registration through June 30; $65 after that.
Thursday - Sunday
Aug 30-Sep 2
French Quarter
Every day is pride day in the French Quarter, historically a mecca for LGBTQ people. But not every day is Southern Decadence, the biggest gay festival in New Orleans. More than 250,000 people attend its parade, free concert and circuit parties, and roughly the same amount scream “YASSSS!” at some point during the weekend.
Cost: Free