Discover the BEST time to go to New Orleans! Learn which months offer the perfect mix of fewer crowds and good weather to make your trip a success.
New Orleans is one of the many destinations that WHEN you go is almost as important as what you do and where you stay.
The city of jazzy brunches and haunted cemeteries can get miserably hot and humid during peak summer months and terribly crowded during certain holidays and events.
If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans you’ve come to the right place to start your research in discovering the BEST time to go to New Orleans!
Short and sweet answer for the best time to go to New Orleans
Early spring and late fall is the best time to visit New Orleans. Specifically March through April and October through November. These months offer the best sightseeing weather and decent crowd levels.
Spring in New Orleans | March - May
Spring is the best time to visit New Orleans for good weather (early spring) paired with plenty of events and festivals.
Early spring in New Orleans offers ideal sightseeing weather. March brings lows in the mid 50s and highs in the low 70s. April is a tad warmer with lows in the mid 60s and highs in the high 70s. I would recommend most tourists stick to these months.
New Orleans is a walking town. Whether that be strolling from art gallery to art gallery, wandering the French Quarter, bar hopping on Bourbon, or restaurant sampling and boutique shopping along Magazine street.
The typical tourist will find themselves outside quite a bit, so comfortable weather is important.
May starts to get pretty hot with temperatures in the high 80s. While 80 may sound nice, it's not. New Orleans is quite humid and sticky...80 degrees with the typical New Orleans humidity is not comfortable.
Spring also brings a lot of events and festivals...much more than summer, fall, and winter. You'll want to research what is going on so you don't accidentally choose a week/weekend that's packed with crowds because several events are going on.
The biggest events in spring include:
- New Orleans Bourbon Festival - March
- French Quarter Festival - April
- New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival - April
- Bayou Boogaloo - May
While Mardi Gras is usually late February, it can sometimes fall in early March.
Fall in New Orleans | September - November
Late fall is the best time to go to New Orleans for good weather, lower crowds, and a light event calendar compared to spring (i.e. better chance for hotel deals).
While fall may have a bad wrap because fall is technically hurricane season, October and November are wonderful months to visit.
Hurricane season runs June through November with the height of hurricane season being August and September. While chances are slim you'll have weather issues in late fall, I still recommend keeping an eye on the weather before you go.
I personally love late fall in New Orleans (mid-October through November). You'll see temperatures range from the mid 50s to mid 70s in October and November.
The summer heat/humidity can linger in September. Though, foodies may be willing to deal with the heat to partake in Restaurant Week, which usually occurs in late-September.
Fall also has a light event calendar compared to spring, so you'll have a better chance of finding a hotel deal in fall than in spring.
The big events in fall include:
- Nola on Tap Beer Fest - September
- Restaurant Week - September
- Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival - October
- Voodoo Music & Arts Experience - October (around Halloween)
WINTER in New Orleans | DECEMBER - FEBRUARY
Winter is the best time to visit New Orleans for cooler temps and lower crowds than fall and spring.
If you prefer cooler temperatures in the 50s and 60s, this is the best time to go to New Orleans. Hotel rates will also be lower compared to spring and fall.
Consider visiting during the Christmas season. New Orleans was actually listed as one of the 23 Best Places to Spend Christmas in 2018 by CN Traveler.
The ancient oak trees of City Park don hundreds of thousands of lights making the park glow with festive flare. Christmas Eve is an experience to remember as giant bonfires are lit from Baton Rouge to New Orleans along the Mississippi river to light the way for Papa Noel.
Mardi Gras is the biggest event for New Orleans. Mardi Gras, or Carnival, season starts January 6th and runs through Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. The weekend before Fat Tuesday is the busiest as this is when the main parades occur.
Book your hotels months if not an entire year in advance during this season.
Also be aware of the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
As long as you avoid these events, you should be able to find a good hotel rate and enjoy a less crowded New Orleans in winter.
Summer in New Orleans | June - August
The absolute worst time to visit New Orleans with extreme heat and humidity
To put it simply, summer in New Orleans is just miserable. June through August are the rainiest months of the year, which means you'll be dealing with extreme humidity paired with the typical heat of summer.
You'll cringe each time you have to leave the comfort of your air conditioned hotel.
New Orleans is a city to be explored by foot so visiting during summer is almost setting yourself up for a vacation that turns into a hot mess.
Because of the high amount of rain and heat this time of year, hotel rates will be low. I will usually deal with less than perfect weather conditions to snag a low price, but New Orleans just isn’t one of those places.
Do yourself a favor and visit New Orleans the other 9 months out of the year so you can look back with fond memories of your trip rather than just the ugly memory of sluggishly making your way around the city with sweat dripping down your back and your hair slicked to your face…i.e. don’t expect any decent pictures.
Summary of the best time to go to New Orleans
If you want enjoyable sightseeing weather, stick with early spring and late fall. Specifically, March through April and October through November.
Outside of the holidays and Mardi Gras, winter will bring lower prices as well as lower crowds. The weather is cool but not what I would call "winter weather", typically staying in the 40s to 60s range.
Avoid summer at all costs unless you plan on staying indoors the entire time. The humidity and heat is brutal this time of year.