All that Jazz: Why March is the best time to visit New Orleans

by | 17 Mar 2023

Researching the best time to visit New Orleans? The Big Easy’s fascinating blend of unique cultures guarantees a colorful visit any time of year, with unique food, a fantastic art scene, and festivals aplenty. That said, there’s truly nothing like New Orleans in spring, particularly in March, when all the fun kicks off in style. The city is alive in the wake of Mardi Gras, festival season is in full swing, and the sun has emerged from its downy blanket of clouds.

Also read: Mardi Gras Magic: In Conversation with a New Orleans Legend


post image

March is perfect for visiting New Orleans, as the weather is warm and sunny – without the stifling humidity of a gulf coast summer. As New Orleans is by and large a city made for strolling, the cooler weather is ideal. Spend your days meandering between the taverns, townhouses and art galleries, or sauntering down infamous Bourbon Street. Take a streetcar through the city, try all the eateries and street food stalls, and enjoy the gorgeous azaleas and bridal wreath blossoms that open up to decorate the streets. And that’s before you get in the swing of the outdoor festivals and street parties that burst onto the city in March. Wrap up warm in the evenings, however, as the heat of the day quickly evaporates into the star-filled sky.


post image

With sobriquets like ‘The City that Care Forgot’ and ‘The City of Festivals’, it’s no surprise that ‘The Big Easy’ is an easy-going, carefree, party place. When considering when to visit New Orleans, many first-timers have eyes only for its world-renowned festival, Mardi Gras. However, hallowed as it is, it comes with large crowds and high prices. If you want to connect with New Orleans, away from the Mardi gras madness, then there’s no better time to visit than March.

The festival usually takes over the city in February; whenever Shrove Tuesday falls, which means by March it has typically passed, leaving the city buzzing and alive with energy in its wake. It feels vibrant and fun, but with diminished crowds. Spring is prime festival season, meaning there’s no shortage of celebrations to indulge in, with everything from literary to film, food and beer festivals and more.

Also read: Celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans


post image

If you can, make sure you’re there for the huge St. Patrick’s Day celebration, complete with cabbage tossing, dressing up, Irish coffee, and energetic parades that take over the city for the weekend closest to the holiday. New Orleans has a long history of Irish emigration, and therefore a lot of citizens with Irish ancestry call the city home. It served as a major Catholic refuge, and became a primary entry point to the USA for the Irish, as well as a welcome refuge from British persecution. There’s even a whole neighborhood named the Irish Channel, complete with plenty of Irish pubs to revel in the festivities.


Tennessee Williams. Charles Bukowski. Mark Twain. So many incredible writers in literary history have found a muse in the city’s avenues and squares. This heritage is honored well, with several buzzing literary festivals to enjoy in March.

The Tennessee Williams Literary Festival features prominent authors, scholars, and artists, who discuss topics ranging from the creative process to literary trends and themes in panel discussions, interviews and live readings, making it a must-attend event for bookworms and theatergoers alike. Around the same time, the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival brings the community together to champion and enjoy LGBTQ+ literature. And then there’s the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University, where you can enjoy fascinating panel discussions and keynote speeches from a huge lineup of notable literary names including Malcolm Gladwell, Elizabeth Alexander and Elliot Ackerman.


post image

Boasting another sobriquet, ‘The Birthplace of Jazz’, New Orleans’ musical heritage is legendary. March brings the return of one of our favorite things to do in New Orleans: jamming out in Lafayette Park at Wednesday at the Square. This pop-up community event is one of many that epitomize the city’s melodic heartbeat. With rock, jazz, blues, Latin rhythms and more played by local musicians, and with vendors and stalls serving up sumptuous Louisianian street food, you’ll have everything you need for an unforgettable spring in New Orleans.


post image

On the topic of food, no trip to New Orleans is complete with experiencing the city’s renowned food scene. Gumbo, Muffaletta, Po-Boys and more, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to sink your teeth into the local culture. Yet another March festival, this time based around New Orleanian food, is Hogs for the Cause, where you can enjoy music, locally brewed beer, and a famous BBQ cookoff between top chefs, with all the proceeds going to fighting pediatric brain cancer.

Also read: Five Creole Dishes You Must Try in New Orleans


post image

We hope you enjoy your trip to New Orleans, no matter which month you choose. When it comes to traveling to a new destination, planning can be daunting and time-consuming, especially if you’re looking to explore a region as vast and culturally rich as the American South. That’s where Insight Vacations comes in.

On our popular Country Roads of the South tour, you’ll embark on a 12-day trip through some of the region’s most iconic destinations, including Nashville, Graceland, Greenwood, Memphis, and New Orleans. Insight’s expert Travel Directors lead your tour, bringing with them an intimate knowledge of the area and a wealthy network of connections with local businesses and institutions, which they use to make your tour a truly unique, premium experience.

This is best exemplified through the Local Experts who join your tour, as well as the countless hours spent researching and planning your itinerary to provide you the best sights, sounds, and flavors the South has to offer. All the details have been taken care of, meaning you can simply relax and discover all the sights and insights of New Orleans and the American South.

I'm Jay – born in Italy, raised in South London. Having French sisters and Hungarian ancestors, I've always been fascinated with the world and its cultures, and I carry this curiosity into my writing for Insightful. My favourite destinations I've traveled to so far have been Italy, Peru, France and Brazil.