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The best time of the year to visit New Orleans depends on what vacationers are looking to experience. The Big City is always brimming with parties, festivals, and parades going on. Having been at a cultural crossroads for music, food, and language for many years, this city is like no other in America. Ground zero for the biggest and most vibrant celebration in the country, Mardi Gras, New Orleans is full of fun adventures, and planning a trip to the city is all about timing.

This city rarely experiences the harsh winters as other cities, so the weather is mostly warm and pleasant. When it comes to weather, certain times of the year can have lots of crowds visiting. When should you visit New Orleans? Depending on varying interests and budgets, here is a helpful guide to the best time to explore this Big City.


Season By Season Guide To Visiting New Orleans

Each season in New Orleans offers up something special. Plan your trip with these seasonal tips.

Exploring The Big City In Spring

Given a calendar full of events and incredible weather, it is no surprise that spring is New Orleans' peak tourist season.

This is the time when some of the biggest events in the city are underway. The food scene is fascinating, the blooming flowers create breathtaking scenery, and emerging wildlife attracts travelers from different parts of the world.

Sometimes the beginning of the spring coincides with the Mardi Gras, a serious draw for tourists looking to see the costumed performers along the streets and attend the many parties associated with the festival.

  • Events to check out: Mardi Gras, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
  • Why Spring is the best time to visit New Orleans: incredible weather, better deals, wildlife

Exploring New Orleans In Summer

The South gets extremely hot, sometimes unbearable for some tourists. The heat and humidity are always high in summer, from June through September.

Temperatures hover in the 90s in July and August. Summer days are long, muggy, and frequented by thunderstorms. However, summer is the best time of the year to travel on a budget.

The extreme temperatures make many vacationers avoid the Big City in Summer, meaning one will only deal with fewer crowds.

Because the season is less busy, travelers will find the best deals in restaurants, hotels, and flights.

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Summer is also the best time for sightseeing, as wildlife is abundant. There are numerous summer tours offered for the best wildlife experience in New Orleans.

However, vacationers should be careful because the high humidity in summer attracts bugs. Tourists planning to spend several days in this city should be prepared well for the heat, especially if they are hoping to spend more time outdoors.

One should have plenty of water and hydrate frequently.

  • Why summer is the best time to visit New Orleans: Fewer crowds, better flights, accommodations, restaurant deals, and sightseeing.
  • Why it is the worst time to visit: Extreme heat and humidity
  • Events to check out: Fourth of July, the Annual Essence Music Festival

Visiting New Orleans In the Fall

While travelers can experience higher temperatures at the beginning of fall, only small amounts of rainfall occur, making fall a pleasant time to explore the Big City.

Being the shoulder season, fall is accompanied by reasonable rates in accommodation, flights, and restaurants because the city hosts fewer events than in winter and spring.

Related: Here's What Fall Is Like In Kentucky (& Why You Should Go)

When October arrives, however, the city gets busier, thanks to the fall festivals, including the New Orleans Film Festival, Voodoo Music and Arts Experience, and Halloween.

  • Events to check out: New Orleans Film Festival, Voodoo Music and Arts Experience, and Halloween.
  • Why Fall is the best time to visit: No crowds, reasonable rates, and pleasant weather

Exploring New Orleans In Winter

Winter is considered by many tourists as the perfect time to explore the Big City, and it's not hard to see why. While the weather can be unpredictable, sometimes it is good, enough to spend some time outside.

Travelers can bargain for better hotel deals and find the city decorated for Christmas celebrations. Even with that, winter is still not a popular time for visiting the city, making it one of the most affordable seasons to tour New Orleans.

Winter is a great time to see seasonal wildlife, including deer, otters, and certain migrating birds.

  • Events to check out: Thanksgiving, New Year, Christmas
  • Why winter is the best time to visit New Orleans: Fewer crowds, better deals, and wildlife viewing, several events to catch
  • Why it is the worst time to visit the city: Unpredictable weather

When Should You Visit New Orleans?

For a combination of mild weather, better hotel deals, and fewer crowds, try planning a vacation in December and January. For Mardi Gras, the biggest celebration in the city, visit in February or March. For incredible sightseeing, visit in either winter.

Travelers looking to visit when the city is most vibrant, during festivals and celebrations, spring and fall are the best seasons to plan a trip to the Big City.