February through May is peak travel season and if you're looking for parties its the best time to visit New Orleans. This period includes Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, two events for which travelers should book their hotels at least six months in advance. Accommodations and air fares can be much higher during this time and restaurants and attractions are crowded. For the best selection and rates for Mardi Gras, book your air and hotel a year in advance.
Off-Season June - September
August and September bring brutally hot New Orleans weather and the threat of hurricanes keeps many travelers away. While the crowds may be absent, there’s never a shortage of people on the streets and in the clubs and restaurants. The residents love to eat, drink and party too, and there’s always something fun happening. You can find good discounts on hotel rooms during the summer, especially on the weekdays. July and August are good for swamp tours outside of the city because the alligators are more active. Popular summer events include the Fourth of July, Satchmo Summer Fest, White Linen Night, Southern Decadence, the New Orleans Oyster Festival and the Creole Tomato Festival.
Shoulder Season October - January
October through January aren’t popular with visitors, but there’s a lot going on through these cooler months (New Orleans weather in the late fall and early winter months is generally mild, with temperatures ranging between the mid 40s to mid 60s). New Orleans has often been ranked one of the best places to celebrate Halloween and New Year’s Eve. With costumes, all night parties and eccentric celebrations fall and winter holidays can be one of the best times to visit New Orleans. With unique celebrations such as Reveillon dinners and Celebration in the Oaks, December is a great month to visit the Big Easy. The New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation promotes travel to the city in December with special “Papa Noel” hotel discounts. Other popular events during the shoulder season include Voodoo Music Experience, Gretna Fest, New Orleans Film Festival and the Oak Alley Plantation Fall Arts & Crafts Festival.