Tourism Ireland

Top 5: Festivals in New Orleans

by Megan Hill

Apr 6, 2015

New Orleans Mardi Gras, Louisianna © King Ho Yim | Dreamstime

North America

New Orleans knows how to celebrate. The city claims the title of Festival Capital of the World, with various elements of the region’s culture and history celebrated throughout the year. Among the best festivals to attend are:


Jazz and Heritage Festival

Held each spring since 1969, the Jazz Fest (as it’s known locally) is a multiday gathering of musicians on multiple stages. Acts include world-famous musicians and bands like Elton John and The Who to an array of local and regional musicians showcasing the area’s rich musical heritage. The festival grounds are filled with food vendors serving up classics like crawfish Monica and beignets.


Jazz Band playing in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana © Kenneth D Durden | Dreamstime 9064645

Jazz Band playing in Jackson Square © Kenneth D Durden | Dreamstime


French Quarter Festival

New Orleans’ most historic district hosts what is basically an enormous block party, with small stages scattered around the area and food and drink vendors. Wandering the French Quarter, eating and drinking and dancing in the streets, is a quintessential New Orleans experience.


Tennessee Williams Literary Festival

This festival celebrates one of the city’s most famous residents with performances, walking tours and a “Stella!” screaming contest.


New Orleans, Louisiana's Red Dress Run© Tom Pumphret | Flickr

New Orleans’ Red Dress Run © Tom Pumphret | Flickr


Red Dress Run

The annual event involves thousands of women — and men — donning red dresses and jogging (or stumbling drunkenly) through the French Quarter. There’s also live music and food. And plenty of hilarious photo ops.


Mardi Gras

The city’s joie de vivre is on display for the many celebrations surrounding Mardi Gras. Parades, street fairs and wild parties are on the docket.



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