Springtime in New Orleans means picture perfect weather, sunglasses, front porch sitting, and of course festivals! As soon as the final Mardi Gras float passes and the last beads are thrown, we shift into music mode. Here’s a lowdown on the best options for your spring break vacation.

Buku Music + Art Project – March 22, 2019 – March 23, 2019
Festival season kicks off in high celebration with the launch of the Annual Buku Music + Art Project. This house party style festival appeals to a young audience with many EDM musicians taking to one of four different stages at Mardi Gras World. This nighttime event allows festival goers to see the artists up close while enjoying live music in a cool New Orleans centric environment.

Music Festival at night with bright neon lights and a large crowd.

Insider’s tip: Pack your neon gear, Buku attendees like to add bright neon clothing or glow paint to stand out the in crowd. Onsite face painting is also available to enhance your look. Skip the VIP tickets to save money instead for the on-site artist auction featuring exciting and interesting pieces not sold anywhere else.

French Quarter Fest – April 11, 2019 – April 14, 2019
If you want to experience the largest and most affordable music festival look no further than the homegrown French Quarter Fest. Created as a bridge between Mardi Gras and Jazzfest when most tourists flock to the city, this festival was designed to pay homage to New Orleans’s homegrown musicians. Miles of stages are set up from the Aquarium to Jackson Square, all filled with local talent. This festival is great for catching the next big star and relishing in New Orleans’ wealth of local artists that you might otherwise not have a chance to catch live.

Large Stage setup with a blue Hilton banner.Insider’s tip: Leave the car at home or plan to park it downtown and leave it. This festival is all about the walkability and with so many street closures, getting around the crowds is best on foot. Be sure to pack light. There are fantastic food stations filled with local vendors, as well as outdoor restrooms, and a wealth of stages to get up close with the musicians. You won’t need much to have a great time.

Ice cream treat with candy at the French Quarter Festival

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – April 26, 2019 – May 5, 2019
Are you dreaming of seeing headliner acts from the legendary king of soul to the greatest of rock ‘n’ roll to the newest teeny bopper all in one arena? JazzFest is the quintessential king of festivals with two weekends of acts featuring some of the biggest names in music. This festival brings all the stops with a full day of music including interesting genres from Zydeco to Soul in tents across the Fairgrounds.

Main Stage event for Jazz Fest

Insider’s Tip: Many acts perform simultaneously, get the schedule ahead of time and plan your day based on what music you want to hear. Traffic is pretty intense and ride shares can be hard to come by at the Fairgrounds, so grab a shuttle from most of the downtown hotels for ease. And come hungry. Some of the best food in New Orleans is for sale at this festival from crawfish bread to alligator sausage po’boys. Your stomach will thank you later.

Tents selling festival food

Bayou Boogaloo – May 17, 2019 – May 19, 2019
When the weather is pristine there is nothing better than being outside. Bayou Boogaloo takes advantage of this perfect time of year in New Orleans with a festival that is as much about the outdoors as it is the music. This kick-off to summer runs right along the bayou near City Park and can be seen from miles away with signature do-it-yourself rafts filling the waterways. This music festival offers an escape from the large crowds that flock to the iconic festivals but makes its own splash with fun food items like root beer floats and falafels and a pop-up art market for shopping.

A boat that sells root beer floats.

Insider’s Tip: This free festival has discussed charging a fee for latecomers so your best bet is to come early and bring a kayak or inflatable you don’t mind spending the day in. Wear lots of sunscreen because you’re sure to get a lot of sunshine on the waterway and bring friends for a relaxing weekend of live music and fun!

Orange Kayak floating along a river in Louisiana

Springtime in New Orleans brings the excitement of new adventures as the festival season comes to fruition.  Whether it’s a festival of neon and EDM, kayaks and rock ‘n’ roll, or po’boys and smooth jazz there’s something for everyone!

To access more information about local restaurants, unique attractions, and special offers in New Orleans, visit our Destination Guide, or explore Hilton properties in New Orleans below.

Know Before You Go

  • New Orleans is known as “The Big Easy.”
  • The National WWII Museum is one of the top-rated museums in the country. Don’t miss checking it out!
  • The famous Café Du Monde is open 24 hours a day to get your beignet fix.
  • If you plan to go during Mardi Gras, pack comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Girl in a black shirt holding up a red and yellow marathon medal.

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Brooke H. Are you interested in traveling to New Orleans? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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