When to Visit New Orleans

by SmarterTravel Staff

Even with the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, New Orleans has maintained its status as a prime vacation destination any time of the year.

An integral part of the city's charm is its festivals, and Mardi Gras is still the most popular, rendering it the most expensive time to visit. Christmas is a beautiful time to see the city, as the streets are quiet and less crowded. Spring is perhaps the most pleasant time to visit, with mild weather and colorful flora and fauna. If you can't stand the heat, stay away during the summer. The high humidity and extreme temperatures are difficult for some to handle. However, some like it hot, and summer is indeed the hottest season for bargains on hotel rates.

  • high season: February to May, October to November
  • low season: June to September
  • shoulder season: December to January

Weather Information

New Orleans has a subtropical climate, with milder weather at the beginning and end of the year. Winters bring cool temperatures, averaging daily highs of about 62 degrees in January. Spring and fall are pleasant, with temperatures averaging a high of 79 degrees in April and October. Summers are hot and humid, with a daily high around 91 degrees in July. The average precipitation is 64 inches annually, with the heaviest rainfall in the summer months. Late summer and early fall are the height of the hurricane season, which begins in June and lasts until November.

Crowd Information

New Orleans gets busy during its two most popular festivals, Mardi Gras, typically in February, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival during the last weekend in April and first weekend in May. The Sugar Bowl in January can also attract large crowds.

Closure Information

Hotels, shops, and attractions remain open throughout the year, although some may close for major holidays.

When to Save

The least expensive time to visit is in the summer, when hotels offer lower prices and offer package deals. Prices rise during major festivals, especially Mardi Gras and the Jazz Festival.

When to Book

For stays during much of the year, and particularly for special events such as Mardi Gras and the Jazz Fest, it's wise to book your flight and hotel several months in advance. However, last-minute prices and availability are easier to find during the summer slow season.

Information provided by the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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