Apr 6, 2023 - Things to Do

14 can't-miss festivals in New Orleans this summer

Ms. Lauryn Hill holds a mic to her lips as she performs at Essence Fest 2022, wearing a blue and pink dress with a white belt.

Ms. Lauryn Hill headlines Essence Fest 2023, a return performance after a surprise appearance in 2022 with her fellow former Fugees member Wyclef Jean. Photo: Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

If the idea of New Orleans in the summer is already making you sweat, well, you’re not wrong. But hopefully it's because you plan to get out into the city to enjoy one or more of our summer festivals, which will have you eating well, dancing plenty and, probably yes, soaking up some sunshine.

  • Here are the local New Orleans festivals we've got on our calendar for summer 2023.

Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo

What: A musical and artistic takeover of Bayou St. John. Expect a mix of homemade and truly seaworthy watercraft as locals enjoy music from the Yonder Mountain String Band, Boyfriend, Juvenile, Reverend Horton Heat and a ton of local brass bands and comedians.

When: May 19-21.


What: A new festival takes over the City Park Festival Grounds for three days, with headliners LCD Soundsystem, boygenius and Steve Lacy. Get tickets for one night or all three.

When: June 9-11.

New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

What: With hundreds of restaurants, wine makers and chefs participating, NOWFE serves up a smorgasbord for the discerning diner. There are many events to choose from, from the educational to the indulgent.

When: June 7-11.

New Orleans Pride

What: Celebrate with the city's LGBTQ+ community with dance parties, drag shows and the annual Pride Parade, which rolls at 6pm beginning the Marigny.

When: June 9-11.

Creole Tomato Festival

What: You say tomato, we say festival. Expect live music, family-friendly activities and lots of food vendors featuring the ruby red (if somewhat funky-looking) fruit.

When: June 10-11.

Essence Fest

What: Essence's annual event celebrating Black culture and community returns to downtown New Orleans, taking over the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the Caesars Superdome and just about everywhere in between. A mix of free and ticketed events. Expect a huge turnout and big name performances from the likes of Megan Thee Stallion and Ms. Lauryn Hill over the July Fourth holiday weekend.

When: June 29-July 3.

Running of the Bulls

What: Inebriate yourself, then run (slowly) and get hit on the bum by a bunch of roller derby athletes. What's not to love?

When: July 14-16 (the run is scheduled for July 15).

Tales of the Cocktail

What: The booze industry's biggest conference returns to New Orleans with daily educational seminars and tastings, and brand-hosted blowouts each night.

When: July 23-28.

Mid-Summer Mardi Gras

What: The Krewe of Oak takes over Oak Street with its annual parade. Expect the vibe of Mardi Gras, for a few hours only, combined with the heat of a New Orleans August.

When: Typically the last Saturday in August. Check Facebook for details.

Satchmo SummerFest

What: Celebrate New Orleans' most famous sons, Louis Armstrong, with live local music, food vendors and a lecture series.

When: Aug. 5-6.

White Linen Night

What: Julia Street art galleries throw open their doors, and everyone hits the streets to see and be seen cooling off while wearing fancy (if a little sweat-soaked) threads.

When: Aug. 5.

Red Dress Run

What: Don your best crimson gown and hit the road in the New Orleans Hash House Harriers' annual fundraiser.

When: Aug. 12.

Dirty Linen Night

What: Royal Street's answer to the earlier event that attracts tens of thousands. Head to the Quarter for a slightly quieter but still delightful night spent wandering art shops and galleries.

When: Aug. 12.

Southern Decadence

What: Entirely its own event. Think of Decadence as something like Gay Mardi Gras and Pride combined into one, but with a bigger focus on adults-only entertainment and events. Look to Bourbon Street's gay clubs to lead the charge on hosting parties, and the annual walking parade to roll on Sunday afternoon.

When: Aug. 31-Sept. 4.

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Editor's note: This story was corrected to show that Dirty Linen Night will take place on Aug. 12, not Aug. 13.


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