2018 New Orleans Spring Festivals & Major Events Schedule

Right after Carnival, New Orleans gears up for a busy spring festival season. From French Quarter Fest to Jazz Fest, don’t expect things to slow down anytime soon. Here’s your guide to festivals and major events to mark on your calendar. Check back for updates as we get them.

March 2018

Soul Fest

March 3 – 4

Audubon Zoo
Google Map
Audubon Zoo hosts one of New Orleans’ biggest annual celebrations of African-American history. The two-day, family-oriented event features live music from local jazz, R&B and gospel artists. R&B singer Eric Benet makes a special guest appearance. Admission to the Audubon Zoo or Audubon membership will get you into the fest.

Sista Strut

March 3

Woldenberg Park
Google Map
Strut your stuff at this walk to raise awareness of breast cancer among women of color. This breast cancer walk is a celebration among survivors and those ready to strut for a cure. Registration fees vary.

Frisco Fest

March 3 – 4

San Francisco Plantation
Google Map
More than 100 crafters, artists and chefs gather at this historic plantation in Garyville, La. for the annual Frisco Fest. The fest also features Creole and Cajun cuisine, a car show, bike tour, live music and kids activities. Festival admission $5. Free fest admission for kids ages 12 and under. Home tour tickets $10. Home tour free for kids ages 6 and under.

Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival

March 3 – 4

Armstrong Park
Google Map
Congo Square in Armstrong Park becomes center stage for this melting pot of New Orleans culture at this two-day, family-friendly festival. Brass bands, Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans funk and African dance fill the line-up at this free fest. Look out for the Rebirth Brass Band, Water Seed and a showcase of African dance.

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2

March 3 – 4

Race Course
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series infuses each course with live bands, cheer teams and more. This is a fast, flat course that is complemented by historic houses, iconic landmarks and a post-race party.

Los Isleños Fiesta

March 3 – 4

Los Islenos Museum & Village
Google Map
Head to St. Bernard Parish for this annual cultural celebration of the Isleños people who migrated from the Canary Islands to St. Bernard during the 1700s. Cultural traditions, food, music, and dance are celebrated. Entertainment includes well-known musicians and dancers from the Canary Islands, music from local bands and amusement rides for children. Admission $3 for anyone 12 years and older.

New Orleans Bourbon Festival

March 8 – 10

Contemporary Arts Center & Le Meridan Hotel
Google Map | Google Map
The New Orleans Bourbon Festival returns a second year for the enjoyment of bourbon lovers. Food, spirit and culture converge as the festival brings together distilleries, restaurants speakers and industry professionals in a 1920’s “speakeasy” setting. Ticket prices range from $59 to $490.

BUKU Art + Music Project

March 9 – 10

Mardi Gras World
Google Map
The eclectic, two-day festival takes over Mardi Gras World bringing along a slew of electronic, hip-hop and indie acts. Bassnectar, Migos, SZA, and MGMT are just a few of the artists making a presence this year. A two-day pass will run you $190.00.

New Orleans Home & Garden Show

March 9 – 11

Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Google Map
Find everything for your home under one roof at this home and garden expo. Hundreds of vendors will feature everything that you need to take care of both your indoor and outdoor needs. Cooking demonstrations, seminars and workshops are all a part of the weekend schedule. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for military and free for kids 12 & under.

New Orleans Sacred Music Festival

March 10

New Orleans Healing Center
Google Map
Diverse cultures and traditions come together to share voices at this local celebration of the intersection of music and spirituality. The New Orleans Sacred Music Festival spreads peace and respect to all people and their faiths. A full schedule of performances and workshops take over the New Orleans Healing Center. Free admission.

St. Patrick’s Day Parades and Celebrations

March 10 – April 14

Metro Area
From the Irish Channel to the North Shore, New Orleans and it’s surrounding areas go green to honor St. Patrick’s Day. Expect green beer, bagpipes and plenty of produce. Several local neighborhoods host parades and festivities.

Wednesday at the Square

March 14 – May 30

Lafayette Square
Google Map
Dance your heart out at this free concert series each Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Lafayette Square hosted by the Youth Leadership Council (YLC). Jam with local favorites as a new band takes the stage each week. Admission is free and open to the public. Food and drink proceeds benefit the YLC.

Top Taco

March 15

Woldenberg Park
Google Map
Top Taco returns for its second year at Woldenberg Park. The taco and tequila-centric festival features some of the best chefs and mixologists in the city competing for top honors. Taste the best from participating restaurants like Los Jefes, Rum House, El Patio, Cochon Butcher, Del Fuego, Superior Grill, Casa Borrega and Blue Oak BBQ. General admission starts at $69. VIP tickets include private nibbles and cocktails aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen for $125.

New Orleans Fashion Week

March 18 – 24

The Monastery
Google Map
Some of the regions’ most talented designers and fashion industry professionals flock to New Orleans for a week-long fashion fest. New Orleans Fashion Week launches with an official kick-off party at the NOPSI Hotel in the Central Business District. Nightly runway shows take place at The Monastery. Tickets start at $50.

Super Sunday

March 25  *rescheduled due to weather concerns

A.L. Davis Park
Google Map
Each year, on the Sunday closest to St. Joseph’s Day, Mardi Gras Indians come out in their elaborate, full regalia participating in traditional rituals which centers around A.L. Davis Park and throughout Central City.

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

March 19 – 23

Various locations
Entrepreneurs, investors, students and professionals congregate in New Orleans for a week of discussions, education and competition all to support growing companies and entrepreneurial success. Enjoy this jam-packed networking summit with citywide events. Visit the website for complete event details and registration information.

Tennessee Williams Literary Festival

March 21 – 25

Various locations
This literary fest features a series of master classes with industry leaders, panels, and educational walking tours, among other events. The most popular part of the festival culminates with its “Stella” shouting contest where hopefuls compete in Jackson Square by belting out the famous line from “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Louisiana Crawfish Festival

March 22 – 25

Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center
Google Map
Head over to St. Bernard Parish for a weekend of festivities at the Louisiana Crawfish Festival. Eat crawfish in every way imaginable. Plus, enjoy live music, crafts and rides. General admission is $5.

Hogs for the Cause

March 23 – 24

UNO Lakefront Arena
Google Map
Pork, beer and music round out this two-day event for a good cause. Local and regional barbecue competitors battle it out over the pit during the cook-off, with smoking dishes like these pork belly poppers. Music acts like Stoop Kids, Maggie Koerner, Hot 8 Brass Band, and The SteelDrivers hit the stage. Proceeds benefit pediatric brain cancer. Advance tickets start at $25. Free entry for kids under 12.

Bloody Mary Festival

March 24 – 25

The Howlin’ Wolf
Google Map
How do you like your Bloody Mary? Sip some of the city’s most delicious and innovative concoctions at this festival dedicated to the tangy tomato cocktail. Admission to the fest grants you access to two hours of unlimited tastes. Admission starts at $45.

Crescent City Classic

March 31

CCC Race Course
Runners and walkers can look forward to one of the region’s premier 10k road races. The Easter weekend tradition attracts more than 25,000 participants of all ages and levels, including competitive and amateur racers. A two-day expo precedes the race, and a post-race festival closes out the event at City Park. Runners can expect a new twist this year when the race celebrates its 40th anniversary with a 70s-inspired vintage theme.

April 2018


Easter Parades

April 1

French Quarter
Several parades roll in the French Quarter on Easter Sunday. The lineup begins with the Historic French Quarter Parade at 9:45 a.m., followed by Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade at 1 p.m. and the Gay Easter Parade at 4:30 p.m.

Freret Street Festival

April 7

Freret Street between Napoleon & Valmont
Google Map
This annual, free neighborhood festival takes over Freret Street from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Three music stages, more than 150 local vendors and festival food vendors span from Napoleon Street to Valmont Street. This family-friendly fest is a great way to make your weekend soar.

A Taste of Covington

April 11 – 15

Various locations Downtown Covington, La.
A Taste of Covington brings a five-day celebration of food, wine, music and art to historic downtown Covington, La. Chef demonstrations, a Grand Tasting, a series of vintner dinners and a champagne jazz brunch make up some of the featured events. Tickets start at $55.

French Quarter Fest

April 12 – 15

French Quarter
One of the country’s largest free festivals brings local music, food and drink to the epicenter of the French Quarter. Festival-goers can enjoy food from more than 50 vendors and music from over 1,700 musicians. Popular Louisiana singer and musician Amanda Shaw will be headlining the French Quarter Festival. Others performing include The Honey Island Swamp Band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Bag of Donuts, Bucktown All-Stars and Charmaine Neville. Here’s a list of new things festival-goers can expect this year.

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

April 13 – 15

Memorial Park Ponchatoula, La.
Google Map
Head to “Strawberry Paradise” for this free, three-day fest spotlighting the strawberry. Festival-goers can enjoy strawberries served up almost every way imaginable at this sweet event. This free, family-friendly outdoor festival happens at Memorial Park in downtown Pontchatoula, La. Weekend festivities also include tons of music, games, rides and strawberry eating contests. Check out the 2018 entertainment lineup here.

Great Louisiana BirdFest

April 13 – 15

Northlake Nature Center
Google Map
The Northlake Nature Center hosts the Great Louisiana BirdFest where visitors can participate in birding trips and workshops. The fest is held each spring when many species are migrating north through Louisiana. BirdFest includes birding trips, some Southern food, hospitality and a few workshops. Registration prices vary.

Tricentennial NOLA Navy Week & Tall Ships New Orleans

April 19 – 25

Woldenberg Park
Google Map
Navy ships from the U.S. and around the globe will be in New Orleans for a week-long festival, including free ship tours and a cook-off between the ships. Boarding of visiting tall ships and navy ships are free and open to the public. VIP FastPass boarding for tall ships are available for purchase.

Italian Heritage Festival

April 20 – 22

Kenner, La.
Google Map
Former Kenner police chief Nick Congemi founded this festival to celebrate the rich Italian heritage and customs embedded into the formation of the Kenner area. Live music, food, rides, games and crafts are the festival’s main features.

Hospice Foundation of the South’s Crawfish Cook-Off

April 21

Fritchie Park
Slidell, La.
Google Map
Pinch, peel and suck all the crawfish you can eat, as crawfish cookin’ teams from across the South battle it out to claim the top prize. This annual crawfish cook-off at Slidell’s Fritchie Park is worth the trip. Hear live local music from The TopCats, Category 6 and more. Proceeds benefit the Hospice of the South. Advance tickets start at $30. Admission is $35 at the gate. Children ages 12 and under are free.

Angola Prison Rodeo

April 21 – 22

Louisiana State Penitentiary
Google Map
Thousands of visitors flock to the longest-running prison rodeo in the nation. In addition to the various rodeo events, many visitors look forward to the arts and crafts show including the intricate, hand-made works from inmates. Tickets are $20.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

April 23 – 29

TPC Louisiana
Google Map
The Zurich Classic attracts some of the biggest golf pros to New Orleans on this major stop on the annual PGA Championship Tournament Circuit. This family-friendly event tees off at TPC of Louisiana in Avondale, La. Ticket prices start at $35.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

April 27 – May 6

New Orleans Fairgrounds
Google Map
Thousands of music lovers head to the Fairgrounds for this two-weekend festival, considered one of the city’s most world-renowned events. Tons of music spans several stages bringing big local and international names across different genres. Some of this year’s headliners include Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Jimmy Buffet, Beck, Jack White and Lionel Richie. Let’s also not forget to mention all the incredible food vendors that will fill the Fairgrounds like the sought after Crawfish Monica, Mango Freeze and cochon de lait po-boys. Festival-goers can also enjoy art exhibits and some good people watching. Here are some festival tips straight from fest-goers to get you through. Ticket prices vary.

Nola Crawfish Festival

April 30 – May 2

Central City BBQ
Google Map
Hang out at the three-day NOLA Crawfish Festival at Central City BBQ. Several local musicians jam while festival-goers gobble pounds of crawfish. The festival hosts an “Ultimate Crawfish Cook-Off” on its last day where 20 teams compete for the best crawfish boil. Plus, the festival hosts its first-ever crawfish eating contest. Ticket prices start at $25, plus taxes and fees.

May 2018

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival

May 4 – 6

Parc Hardy
Breaux Bridge, La.
Google Map
Thousands flock to the “Crawfish Capital of the World” for the weekend-long Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival. Enjoy crawfish prepared in every imaginable way, and experience Cajun and Zydeco culture at this gathering. Some of the features include a celebrity crawfish eating contest, Cajun dance lessons, crawfish races, cooking demonstrations, performances and a crawfish etouffee cook-off. It’s Cajun fun for the whole family! Admission starts at $5.

Jazz in the Park Crab Festival

May 11

Armstrong Park
Google Map
Jazz in the Park brings back its crab festival after last year’s inaugural success. The fest features local restaurants serving up their best crabmeat dishes. Musicians Michael Franks and Loose Ends headline the concert. Ticket prices start at $30.

Crawfish Mambo 2018

May 12

University of New Orleans
Google Map
Head out to the University of New Orleans for the city’s largest crawfish cookoff.  The event features music, a crawfish cookoff, a peel n’ eat contest and all the crawfish you can eat for $25 in advance or $35 at the gate. Children under age 7 can join for free.

Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo

May 18 – 20

Bayou St. John
Google Map
Paddle along Bayou St. John at this free, family-friendly food and music fest. This three-day fest makes the perfect family outing to top off your weekend. Catch some cool local music acts, paddle boat races and other activities.

Plaquemines Parish Seafood Festival

May 18 – 20

Belle Chasse, La.
Google Map
Head to Plaquemines Parish for a celebration of the parishes’ unique heritage, and feast on great local seafood while you’re at it. The fest also features live music, carnival rides, crafts and the Seafood Queen Pageant.

New Orleans Food & Wine Experience

May 23 – 27

Various locations around New Orleans
Hundreds of wineries, restaurants and top chefs from around the city showcase their best for this diverse culinary experience. Test your palate with wine and food tastings at this event-packed feast. Some of the big highlights include the Grand Tasting and the Royal Street Stroll.

New Orleans Greek Festival

May 25 – May 27

Holy Trinity Cathedral
Google Map
Don’t forget your toga during Memorial Day weekend. Head out to the family-friendly New Orleans Greek Festival. Food, wine, live music and dance highlights this fun toast to Greek traditions. The line-up also usually includes a Toga Contest. Entrance fee $8. Children 12 and under enter free.

Jambalaya Festival

May 25 – 27

Gonzales, La.
Google Map
Head to Gonzales for a celebration of the iconic Louisiana dish. Aside from some good jambalaya, other events include a cooking contest, a pageant, carnival rides and live entertainment.

Bayou Country Superfest

May 25 – May 27

Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Google Map
The annual fest returns to New Orleans during the Memorial Day Weekend bringing the biggest names in country music. George Strait will headline the concert series with Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves and Midland also slated to perform. A new feature this year launches a huge fireworks display over the Mississippi River on Friday night. Tickets start at $50.

Slidell Jazz and Blues Festival

May 26

Heritage Park
Google Map
Groove to performances by local jazz and blues acts while benefiting a good cause. A portion of proceeds from the Slidell Jazz and Blues Festival support local young musicians and music education.

Diner en Blanc New Orleans

May 27

Location kept secret until event
Put on your best white outfit, and get ready for the most elegant picnic in town. Diners must register well in advance of this event to participate. Registered diners will find out the secret dining location at the last minute and be whisked away to dine with hundreds of others in a chic setting. Music, food and fun are all part of the magical evening. Here are tips for packing for the pop-up picnic. Registration is $40, plus a $9 membership fee.

 *All dates and information are subject to change.

Contact us if there are changes in schedule.

See also:

Jazz Fest Survival Guide

Jazz Fest Food: Crawfish Monica Pasta

French Quarter Fest 2018: 6 new things to expect this year