Between LSU and Saints (and Tulane!) football seasons, it can be hard to remember the numerous festivals held in the city during the fall. But as the weather finally cools off, and you’re looking for fun things to do outside of a stadium, there are many festivals around the city to choose from. Here are 10 worth checking out!
National Fried Chicken Festival
September 20-22, Woldenberg Park
If the #ChickenSandwichWar left you craving fried chicken, then be sure to visit the Fried Chicken Festival at the end of September. Though this festival only started in 2017, it’s quickly become popular with locals and tourists alike. This year, the event expands to three days and will have food from over 35 different restaurants, as well as 3 music stages. There’s also a VIP lounge sponsored by Chandon Champagne that offers bottomless champagne and unlimited chicken—a match made in heaven. Free entry, food and drinks available for purchase; more information here.
NOLA on Tap
September 21, City Park Festival Grounds
Beer lovers unite for the largest beer festival in the state: NOLA on Tap is an annual festival that draws over 25,000 beer enthusiasts to City Park every year, with over 400 beers for attendees to sample. In addition, there will also be snacks and bar food from vendors like The Big Cheezy and Dat Dog. The one-day festival raises money for the Louisiana SPCA, and last year they raised over $30,000. Those looking for an easygoing, relaxed afternoon will love NOLA on Tap; You can even bring your dog! $5 Admission ($10 day-of), more information here.
Scout Island: Scream Park
Weekends September 27- November 2, City Park
Double, double, toil and trouble… ahead of Halloween, the people behind The Mortuary put on a festival sure to scare even the bravest attendee. Attractions include “My Bloody Homecoming” and “The Coven,” though there are plenty of non-scary options for little ones (and not-so-little ones). There will also be plenty of food and drinks to round out the spooky experience. Daylight hours are more family-oriented, but once the sun sets, the fest promises to become as scary as The Mortuary. $20 General Admission, more information here.
Weekends October 4-October 19, 1700 Moss St.
This New Orleans version of the German classic has been a staple of the festival scene for years. Presented by the Deutsches Haus, this 3-week festival is a celebration of all things German, with over 20 German beers offered and a food menu full of bratwursts and pretzels. There will also be special events throughout the fest, including a Dachshund race (is there anything cuter?) and a 2-mile run/walk sponsored by the New Orleans Track Club. Guten Appetit! $8 Admission, more information here.
Art for Art’s Sake
October 5, Magazine St.
The entire 6-mile stretch of Magazine will be lit up for this event, where hundreds of shoppers will enjoy complimentary wine and extended hours for over 30 shops and galleries on Magazine Street. Art & Eyes, Pollack Glass Studio, White’s Mercantile, and more will offer deals during the evening. Free and open to the public, more information here.
Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
This offbeat celebration of one of the city’s most iconic foods features over 60 different variations on the po-boy, including vegan and gluten-free options. There’s also live music, a kickoff second line, and a kids area, so there’s something for everyone at this festival. Though entrance to the festival is free, a $5 wristband must be purchased for access to food and drinks, with proceeds benefiting the Oak Street Merchant Association and Son of a Saint. More information here.
Nola Mac n Cheese Fest
October 12, Louis Armstrong Park
Fact: Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Kids and adults alike love it, and as the weather cools off, we’re craving the gooey melted cheese and pasta even more. Enter Nola Mac n Cheese Fest. Now in its third year, the day-long festival will feature cheesy dishes from the Big Cheezy, Frey Smoked Meat Co., and Superior Seafood, among others, as well as non-mac options and vegetarian/vegan options. There will be live music (of course) and an artist market for when you need a break from carb-loading. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will go to Special Olympics Louisiana. Free entry, food and drink available for purchase; more information here.
New Orleans Film Festival
October 16-23, various locations
Get a small taste of Cannes and Sundance right here in New Orleans at the New Orleans Film Festival. Produced by the New Orleans Film Society, the festival will include screenings of over 230 films from around the world, industry events, panels, and many more events celebrating all things film. Now in its 30th year, the New Orleans Film Festival is an Oscar-qualifying event, meaning the films screened at the festival will be eligible for the Academy Awards. Admission prices vary, more information here.
Central City Festival
November 9, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
Held along Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, this festival is a celebration of African American New Orleans culture and history. “OC Haley” Boulevard is known for its place in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, when black musicians such as Professor Longhair and Buddy Bolden played along the main thoroughfare after being barred from many performance venues in the city. Today, the Central City Festival features cooking demonstrations, live music and dance performances, an arts market, and a health fair. Free, more information here.
Fête Des Fromages
November 13, 15-16, New Orleans Jazz Museum
Otherwise known as NOLA Cheese Fest, Fête des Fromages is back for its second year. Presented by the French American Chamber of Commerce, this festival will feature over 150 cheeses and more than 24 international cheesemakers, including makers from Wisconsin and the Netherlands. In addition, there will be a class on cocktail and cheese pairings from cheese expert Liz Thorpe and Fromage à Trois, a party where chefs from around the city will compete to create the perfect bite with cheese from one of the visiting makers. Whether or not you’re an expert on cheese, this festival promises to be a delicious outing. Ticket prices vary, more information here.