The BEST Time to Visit New Orleans [December 2019]
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It’s hard not to be intrigued by all the charm that is New Orleans – Mardi Gras, po-boys, beignets, street parties, gumbo – and all that jazz! You can almost hear the live music playing as you envision yourself wandering down Bourbon Street in a cascade of colorful bead necklaces.
If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that you’ll have one hell of a time in New Orleans! But it is located in the USA’s Deep South, so weather conditions can range from pleasantly comfortable, to cold and windy, to oppressively muggy.
It’s important to take note of NOLA’s typical weather conditions so that you can decide when the best time of the year to visit New Orleans is for you.
When is the best time of year to visit New Orleans?
Depending on your travel activity preferences – and how weather resilient you are – there are a few times of the year that you may find more favorable than others. Overall, summers in the Big Easy are very hot, rainy and muggy.
You can expect average highs between 85 – 90℉ (29-32℃) – which can feel hotter due to high humidity. Winters (December through February) are short and windy, and not unbearably cold. You’ll find average temperatures between 45 – 65℉ (7-18℃).
This is our INSIDER GUIDE for the best times to visit New Orleans!
There are two high tourist seasons is New Orleans: spring and fall. These are the times of the year with the least amount of rain and the most comfortable temperatures – when average highs that rarely go much higher than 80℉ (26℃) and lows stay closer to 60℉ (16℃) .
If you prefer to travel during the periods with the most pleasant weather conditions, you’ll find spring or autumn to be the best time of the year to visit New Orleans.
Is New Orleans safe?
While nowhere in the world is 100% safe, as long as you use your common sense, you’ll likely be fine in New Orleans.
Having said that, you should NEVER travel without proper travel insurance. We’ve tested all of the best travel insurance providers, and World Nomads is our favorite! Fill out the form below to get a quote for your trip to New Orleans so you can keep yourself (and your belongings!) covered and safe 🙂
What months are the best time to visit New Orleans?
When broken down by month – March, April, October and November are considered to be the best time to visit New Orleans weather-wise. Temperatures during these months are typically between 68 – 77℉ (20-25℃), which most people find to be the most comfortable for outdoor activities.
You also want to take into account the types of events and that are offered in this culturally vibrant city. There are countless festivities taking place year round, so it’s worth taking a closer look at weather conditions and the selection of activities available by month when deciding which months you’ll select as the best time to visit New Orleans.
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in January (Photo credit – Blue Green Destination)
New Orleans Weather in January
January is the coolest month of the year with an average high of 62℉ (16℃) and low of 43℉ (6℃) with windy conditions. There’s a chance of rain, but it’s not the wettest of the year – the month of January usually sees an average of 10 days of rainfall.
New Orleans Events in January
Allstate Sugar Bowl (January 1)
If you’re a college football fan, NOLA is a fun place to be on the first day of the year. This prime championship game – played by either the champs of the Big 12 and Southeastern conferences or as a Playoff Semifinal – brings a whole slew of revelers and parties to the French Quarter.
Twelfth Night Parades (January 6)
This date, also known as Twelfth Night, officially marks the start of Carnival season. In celebration, several parades take place – the most famous of which is the Phunny Phorty Phellows Parade. This zany troupe, dressed in satirical costumes, rides the St. Charles Ave. streetcar line to Canal Street and back again – handing out loads of Mardi Gras bead necklaces along the way.
King Cake Festival (last Sunday of January)
Lucky visitors get to attend this free festival held annually at Champions Square, where local bakeries offer $1 samples of their delectable versions of Mardi Gras’ most famous treat: king cake. Enjoy treats and live music all day long.
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in February (photo credit – The Culture Trip)
Weather in February
February is slightly warmer than January but gets more rain. Outside of the summer months, February is the month that sees the most rainfall. You’ll find average temperatures ranging from an average high of 65℉ (18℃) to an average low of 46℉ (8℃).
Events in February
Mardi Gras (late February)
Easily New Orleans’ biggest and most important celebration day of the year, the actual day of Mardi Gras falls anywhere from late February to early March. Party lovers consider this the best time of the year to visit New Orleans! You’ll have no shortage of daily Mardi Gras-themed parades and parties hosted by a myriad of ‘krewes’ to keep you entertained! There’s the Krewe of Muses, Krewe of Bacchus, Krewe of Orpheus, Krewe of Zulu – just to name a few.
Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon (early February)
Amidst all of the Mardi Gras revelry, you can also find NOLA’s popular marathon, half-marathon, 10k and 5k race winding through some of the city’s most historic and scenic spots. Local bands line the course and fill the race course streets with lively music, offering enjoyment for runners and spectators alike.
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in March (Photo credit – Youtube)
New Orleans Weather in March
March warms up considerably as the beautiful spring season appears. In terms of weather, many consider March one of the three best months of the year to visit New Orleans – especially towards the end of the month when average highs settle into a comfortable temperature range in the mid-70s℉ (mid-21℃).
New Orleans Events in March
Soul Fest (early March)
This popular 2-day festival is one of the biggest celebrations of African American history in the whole country. There’s plenty of soul food and amazing music to be enjoyed – including jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues and big band.
St. Patrick’s Day (week of March 17)
New Orleans prides itself on its deep Irish heritage, as can be seen in their massive celebration of St. Patrick’s Day – one of the biggest in the U.S. Take part in several days’ worth of more parades involving floats, cabbages, and of course, public drinking!
Tennessee Williams Literary Festival (last week of March, closest to the 26th)
A unique 5-day festival commemorating famous writer and playwright, Tennessee Williams, 40-year New Orleans resident and NOLA devotee. Enjoy a variety of activities, from lectures and workshops with writers and actors, to theatrical performances and an entertaining one-act play competition.
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in April (Photo credit – bestneworleanshotels)
New Orleans Weather in April
April is considered by many to be the best time of the year to visit New Orleans. This is due to the near-perfect weather with average highs of 78℉ (25℃) to average lows of 60℉ (15℃) that make it easy to enjoy the plethora of events. Monthly precipitation levels are also one of the lowest of the year, so you can count on amazing conditions for outdoor activities!
New Orleans Events in April
New Orleans Food & Wine Experience (early-mid April)
Doesn’t get much better than a 5-day celebration of cuisine and wine pairings, does it? NOFWE offers visitors the Royal Street Stroll, an unforgettable walk along the French Quarter’s most scenic street, dotted with food and wine tasting stops.
French Quarter Fest (early-mid April)
This beloved New Orleans festival has become the largest free music festival in the South. It involves over 20 stages all through the French Quarter with the best of local talent in every genre from New Orleans funk to opera.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (late April)
Also known as Jazz Fest, this world-renowned festival at the Fair Grounds grows more every year and now spans over 8 days full of music taking place on multiple stages and tents, with plenty of food, drinks and crafts. The lineup includes a variety of talent from local musicians to big-name headlining artists.
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in May (Photo credit – tripsavvy.com)
New Orleans Weather in May
The first half of May is much like April with pleasant, dry weather. As the second half of the month approaches, temperatures start to rise to hot summer levels. The average high is around 85℉ (30℃) with an average low of 66℉ (19℃).
New Orleans Events in May
Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
What better way to beat the heat than with a frozen margarita? There’s no shortage of Cinco de Mayo festivities taking place throughout local Mexican restaurants and bars celebrating all out with music, food and drinks!
Bayou Bougaloo (mid May)
This lively 3-day music festival on the water is one you don’t want to miss if visiting the Big Easy in May. Live music, food and art line the banks of Bayou St. Johns and features fun activities like a bicycle pub crawl and paddle boat races.
Read below for information about New orleans weather in June (Photo credit – gonola.com)
New Orleans Weather in June
June is the first full month of NOLA’s summertime not-so-comfortable phase, as temperatures continue to rise with high humidity – resulting in muggy conditions 90% of the time. The chance of rain also increases as it gets more into summer. If you don’t mind sweating, there are a few fun activities lined up in June.
New Orleans Events in June
New Orleans Oyster Festival (early June)
If you’re an oyster aficionado, this free 2-day event is for you. New Orleans’ best oyster vendors offer oysters fried, raw or chargrilled as local bands entertain visitors with live music all day long.
New Orleans Pride (early June)
A whole series of Pride events take place throughout the weekend with Saturday night’s show-stopping Pride Parade in the French Quarter as the major highlight.
The Creole Tomato Festival (early June)
A charming local favorite, this 2-day festival offers an authentic glimpse into local NOLA culture. Experience everything Creole tomato at the number of food tents while enjoying live music from several stages set up in the French Quarter.
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in July (Photo credit – findyourneworleanshome.com)
New Orleans Weather in July
Temperatures continue to crawl up in July as summer temperatures reach their peak with an average 90℉ (32℃) high. You’ll experience constantly muggy – and often oppressive – conditions with an average of almost 15 days of rain for the month. For whichever activities you decide to do, staying cool is critical!
New Orleans Events in July
Go Fourth on the River (July 4)
New Orleans’ July highlight is undoubtedly their 4th of July riverfront celebration. Free music concerts provide entertainment leading to the big highlight – the incredible fireworks show featuring two dueling barges on the river. It’s unlike any fireworks display you’ve ever seen!
ESSENCE Festival (July 4 weekend)
A long-weekend celebration of black culture with music and entertainment from big-name record artists and a day of gospel celebration. Empowerment also takes center stage at the Beauty Carnival, a free series of educational workshops and sessions.
Tales of the Cocktail (mid-July)
A winning 5-day conference/festival combo where industry folks and cocktail-culture lovers can take advantage of world-class workshops, seminars, tastings and networking opportunities. For those interested in hearing from the best in the cocktail and hospitality industry from around the world, this one’s for you!
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in August (Photo credit – wwno.com)
New Orleans Weather in August
Along with July, the month of August is the hottest and rainiest time of the year. Muggy and oppressive conditions continue, and you can expect to find highs of around 90℉ (32℃) with average lows of 73℉ (23℃). With the humidity, it’ll likely feel much hotter, so be prepared!
New Orleans Events in August
COOLinary New Orleans (month of August)
If you’re a foodie and want to sample some of New Orleans’ top restaurant menu offerings, you’ll want to check this out! All month long, participating restaurants offer special two and three-course meal deals. Be sure to make reservations in advance!
Satchmo Summerfest (first weekend of August)
An annual celebration of New Orleans born-and-raised jazz legend, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. Enjoy indoor and outdoor activities at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, including live music, food, drinks, seminars, lectures and top local talent paying tribute to Armstrong’s life and music.
Red Dress Run (second Saturday of August)
A quirky and fun annual event hosted by New Orleans Hash House Harriers, who coin themselves to be a “drinking club with a running problem.” Choose to be runner (and drinker), or just to be a spectator taking part in the sea of red celebration. Don’t forget to wear your red dress!
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in September (Photo credit – travelpulse.com)
New Orleans Weather in September
September is the height of hurricane season – so be mindful of weather forecasts before making big plans. This month, New Orleans starts seeing a gradual decline in temperature and humidity. Average inches of rain drops to 4 compared to the 5-6 in June through August. Expect an average high of 87° F (31° C) and an average low of 70° F (21°C).
New Orleans Events in September
Burlesque Festival (mid-September)
See the best of burlesque from the top burlesque dancers from around the world. Weekend-long festivities include performances, parties, showcases and workshops – all leading up to the main event, the competition to crown “The Queen of Burlesque.” A unique opportunity to see a show like you’ve never seen before!
Restaurant Week New Orleans (mid-September)
Take advantage of a week of fixed-price menus at some of New Orleans’ most renowned restaurants – at a special discounted price!
NOLA on Tap (mid-late September)
Where beer lovers unite! As the region’s largest beer fest, this one-day festival offers tastings of over 400 local, micro-brewed and home-brewed beers. You can also count on plenty of food and live music all day.
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in October (Photo credit – gonola)
New Orleans Weather in October
October is New Orleans’ driest month and can also be considered the best time to visit New Orleans – as long as there are no hurricanes in the forecast (October is still in hurricane season!) Daytime temperatures go back to bearable and pleasant levels at an average 80° F (27° C) with nighttime temps dropping to a refreshing 59° F (15° C).
New Orleans Events in October
Art for Art’s Sake (first Saturday of October)
NOLA’s biggest art-walk event brings together the city’s galleries and museums to showcase a night of art, food, wine, music and entertainment to fellow art lovers. Galleries and businesses stay open late to welcome visitors with drinks and dining al fresco opportunities as they make their way through the exhibits and performances.
New Orleans Film Festival (mid-October)
This Oscar-qualifying film festival attracts stars and film industry professional near and far for 10 days of screenings of local indie, national and feature films. Parties, seminars, and VIP events are also on the roster of activities.
Halloween (October 31)
If there’s a city that knows how to do Halloween right, it’s New Orleans! Which makes sense for the city known as “the most haunted in America.” Aside from Mardi Gras, Halloween showcases the city’s best costumes and all-out dressing up and provides an amazing time for kids and adults alike.
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in November (Photo credit – tripsavvy)
New Orleans Weather in November
November weather is crisp and cool and in the clear of hurricane season. With an average high of 71° F (22° C) and an average low of 55° F (13° C), many visitors find this to be the most comfortable weather to be outdoors, therefore making November the best time of the year to visit New Orleans.
New Orleans Events in November
Oak Street Po-Boy Festival (early-mid November)
A local favorite, this one-day festival celebrates New Orleans’ most beloved sandwich, the po-boy. Try out locals’ favorite flavors – catfish and oysters, fried shrimp and roast beef. There’s also plenty of drink and live music available to make it a party!
Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival (second weekend in November)
New Orleans loves to celebrate its local cuisine, so it’s perhaps no surprise that there’s a festival for their classic dish, gumbo. It’s also an African American heritage celebration with incredible brass music in the neighborhood said to be USA’s oldest of free African Americans.
Bayou Classic (Thanksgiving weekend)
Starting out back in the 1930’s as a rivalry game between historically black universities, Grambling State and Southern University, the Bayou Classic has become one of NOLA’s biggest sporting events. Fans flood the city to enjoy a parade, a Battle of the Bands and festival until Saturday night’s big showdown game – the Bayou Clash. No need to be a football fan to enjoy this one!
Read below for information about New Orleans weather in December (Photo credit – beenthayerdonethat.org)
New Orleans Weather in December
December weather in New Orleans is cool with an average high of 64° F (18° C), which isn’t cold compared to many other parts of the country. Nights feel chilly with an average low of 45° F (7° C). With a December average of 10 rainy days in the month, winter showers aren’t uncommon.
New Orleans Events in December
Celebration in the Oaks (open all month)
Join thousands of visitors who flock to see the famous oaks of 25-acre City Park wrapped in over a million sparkling lights! Light displays, rides, music and treats further add to this magical light festival. It’s a must for all true Christmas lovers – young and old!
LUNA Fête (early December)
This Light Up Nola Arts (LUNA) festival is one of the city’s most unique. The city’s historic architectural landmarks are used as contemporary art canvases for incredible light installations. It’s an awesome way to appreciate art and get in the holiday spirit!
Christmas Eve Bonfires on the Levee (December 24)
A beautiful Cajun holiday tradition going back to the time of the area’s earliest settlers. Bonfires were set up along the Mississippi River to light the way for the Cajun Santa Claus, Papa Noël. Pre-book a bus tour or river cruise for the best bonfire views.
What is the best time to visit New Orleans weather wise?
When it comes down to deciding the best time to visit New Orleans based solely on weather, you have to consider a few questions: Are you a hot weather person or a cold weather person? Do you handle heat and humidity well, or do you find it unbearable? Or you okay with rain, or do you prefer to avoid it all costs?
If you’re a hot weather person that can handle heat and extreme humidity, then take advantage of low tourist season and visit New Orleans sometime between June and mid-September. But you must be willing to deal with some rain because these months are also New Orleans’ hurricane season.
If you prefer warm weather and are rain averse, you’ll find that May, October and early November represent the best time to visit New Orleans.
For those who enjoy cooler temperatures and like a little bundling up at night, the best time to visit New Orleans would be December through March.
Final thoughts on the best time of year to visit New Orleans
As you can see, the best time of year to visit New Orleans really depends on your travel preferences and the types of conditions under which you’ll best enjoy all that the Big Easy has to offer.
The good news is, no matter which season or month that is for you, there is no shortage of events to choose from year-round. New Orleans promises to be a good time, and you know it will always deliver. Winter, spring, summer or fall – NOLA has it all!
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Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.