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The Best & Worst Times to Visit New Orleans in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit New Orleans in 2024

What's the best time to visit New Orleans?

The best time to visit New Orleans is from February to May when the weather is mild, and the city hosts its iconic festivals like Mardi Gras and Jazz & Heritage Festival. Expect daily highs ranging from the 70s to mid-80s, making it ideal for being outdoors. Keep in mind that spring is a popular and more expensive time to visit, so book early ( and be sure to use one of the links below to save big!)

Planning a visit to New Orleans? Get excited, because this city down south is packed with fun things to do, sights to see, and festivals to attend year-round.

The Big Easy is known for its incredible food, lively music and arts scene, and rich cultural history told through architecture, language, and events. And making the most of your NOLA stay starts with knowing the best time to visit New Orleans!

You’ll learn the best time to visit New Orleans for your personal trip goals. whether that’s being at the heart of the Mardi Gras action, enjoying the most affordable NOLA getaway possible, or visiting when the city is at its most laid-back and relaxed with fewer crowds.

Find it all here in our quick travel guide, along with tips for your stay and the worst time to visit. 

The Overall Best Time to Visit New Orleans

Mardi Gras pictured during the best time to visit New Orleans, in the middle of Summer


The overall best time to visit New Orleans is in the springtime – February through May. The weather is mild and warm, the city’s biggest festivals are picking up and entering full swing, and the lush greenery and blooming flowers are a sight to behold this time of year. 

Mardi Gras dates shift every year, but the 2-week+ celebrations typically kick off in February through March. Plan your stay to overlap with Mardi Gras to experience the full NOLA Carnival tradition!

From parades and costumed revelers to midnight parties and copious amounts of food and booze, there’s always something happening in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras. 

If you’re here to spot wildlife, spring is a great time for it. Swamp tours are a great way to see the wild side of New Orleans from a safe distance.

Spot native plants and flowers in full bloom, hanging Spanish moss, birds, gators, turtles, wild boar, snakes, and more while traveling through the cypress swamps in an airboat, kayak, or canoe.

The weather is great in New Orleans during spring. The daily highs reach the low 70s and mid-80s, which is comfortable and mild. That’s perfect for this walkable city, where you’ll likely be spending a lot of time outdoors.  

While spring (February to May) is truly the best time to visit New Orleans, it does come at a higher price. With more tourists arriving at this time of year, prices go up considerably during these months.

With the exception of April, when prices and visitor numbers take a brief dip, this is the most expensive time to visit NOLA. You may have trouble booking hotels that are close to the action, so book early if you plan to go in spring. 

  • February to May is the best time to visit overall
  • Mardi Gras, French Quarter Festival, Jazz & Heritage Festival, and more
  • Daily highs range from 70s to mid-80s

Cheapest Time to Visit New Orleans

Cheapest time to visit New Orleans pictured with empty streets

Ellie-Rose Cousins/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit New Orleans is from June to September. August sees the lowest rates of the year on hotel rooms in NOLA, so it’s the perfect time to go if you’re seeking the most affordable trip.

But all of the hot summer months – June, July, August, and September – will net you cheaper rates on hotels, flights, rental cars, and even food in the city. 

Let’s be upfront about why New Orleans is cheaper to visit in the summer: It’s hot. Real hot. Humid, sticky, muggy hot. With daily highs soaring to the upper 90s and extremely high humidity levels (as much as 97%), it can feel like 110F+ on summer days.

It’s not for the faint of heart, but with plenty of water and frequent breaks indoors, it’s bearable. There are lots of events and festivals in summertime, but it’s not as crowded as during the milder spring months.

Frequent rain, storms, and severe weather is common during the summer and early fall months. June also marks the start of hurricane season here. That’s definitely something to consider when planning your trip.

Bring a lightweight rain jacket, umbrella, and comfortable shoes that can get wet. Travel insurance is a good idea when booking a trip during New Orleans’ hurricane season, too. If saving money on your trip is your main goal, summer is easily the best time to visit New Orleans.

Hotels, flights, activities and tours, and rental cars are all cheaper at this time of year because demand is much lower. For the savvy traveler, that’s a perfect recipe for an affordable getaway to one of the world’s most famous cities. 

  • June through September are the most affordable months
  • Hot, humid, rainy, and the start of hurricane season
  • Major discounts on flights, hotels, and tours

Least Busy Time to Visit New Orleans

New Orleans pictured during the least busy time to visit

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit New Orleans is from June through August and December through January. These are the least busy periods for NOLA tourism and you’ll appreciate that the streets, hotels, restaurants, and city tours aren’t jam-packed at these times of year. 

Since springtime is New Orleans’ peak season and busiest time of year, heading to the city in summer, after the main spring festivities are over, is perfect for those seeking a less-crowded trip.

You’ll have better room and hotel availability, shorter lines and waits at NOLA’s famous restaurants and establishments, fewer crowds to deal with, and a more laid-back experience in the Big Easy.

But be warned that in summer, it gets hot, muggy, and stormy in NOLA. Visiting New Orleans in winter (December through January) will give you a milder weather experience than the summer.

The early winter months are pretty calm in the city overall with fewer tourists. Hurricane season is upon the city until November 30, so going in December can lessen your chances of being caught in severe weather.

Keep this in mind as you plan and purchase travel insurance in case you need to cancel last-minute due to weather concerns! While there are still lots of exciting festivals and events scheduled during the summer and winter months, it’s less intense than the busy springtime.

And if you plan your visit during November or December, you’ll get to see New Orleans decked out, holiday-style! Both June-August and December-January will net you cheaper prices on hotels, rentals, and even food in the city.

With fewer tourists in town at these times, hotels, car rental companies, and restaurants typically drop their rates in response. Lucky you!

  • June-August and December-January see fewer tourists here
  • Prices on hotels, flights, and rentals take a dip
  • Keep hurricane season in mind (June 1-November 30)

Worst Time to Visit New Orleans

Streetcar pictured on a rainy day during the worst time to visit New Orleans

Elliott Cowand Jr/Shutterstock

While it seems like anytime is a great time to visit New Orleans, is there a time of year that’s considered the worst time to go? That depends on what you’re traveling to the Big Easy to do. Here’s a look at the worst time to go for different trip types:

  • If you’re seeking the quintessential New Orleans experience, the worst time to go is during the winter (December and January especially). These are the calmest months of the year down in NOLA, and you’ll miss out on the city-wide parades, parties, and festivals that are so common in the spring, summer, and fall. You’ll be able to see the city decked out for the holidays and check out holiday-themed events, but it’s not quite the classic New Orleans experience most party-goers hope for. 
  • If you’re seeking the cheapest trip possible, the worst time to go is during the spring festival season (February through May). Mardi Gras, spring break, music festivals, and seasonal events make this the busiest time of year for NOLA tourism and prices on rooms, rentals, flights, and food jump in response. Go during the heat of the summer for the biggest savings instead. 
  • If you’re seeking the least crowded stay in New Orleans, the worst time to go is during the spring festival season (February through May). The increased number of events and perfect weather conditions draw visitors from around the world to the Big Easy. The result is large crowds, packed hotels, reduced booking availabilities, and higher prices all around. Go during the summer or winter for a less-crowded stay. 

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit New Orleans?

St. Louis Cathedral pictured during the best time to visit New Orleans

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

It’s flashy, it’s fun, and it’s friendly down in New Orleans. We’ve covered the best time to visit New Orleans – springtime, when the major festivals and best weather happens – as well as the cheapest time to visit and the least busy time to go.

Whether tasting the Big Easy’s culinary classics, catching live music, touring the city’s amazing architecture and history, or getting a look at Louisiana’s unique landscapes and wildlife is the reason for your stay, a trip to NOLA is something everyone should do at least once.

With so many activities, festivals, and tours available across the city, your time in New Orleans will be packed with fun. There’s always something going on and something to do here!