What Festivals Does New Orleans Have to Offer?

New Orleans is a city that is renowned for its vibrant culture and unique festivals. From the legendary Jazz & Heritage Festival to the annual Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the Big Easy. The carnival season is a unique celebration of New Orleans culture, beginning on January 6th (Epiphany) and ending with Mardi Gras, the last hurrah before Ash Wednesday begins the solemn season of Lent. During this time, expect luxurious krewe balls, parades and parties.

Costumes are a must on Fat Tuesday, but don't be surprised if you see people wearing them several weeks before. The carnival season is a fun-filled festival and is appropriate for all ages (depending on how you decide to participate, of course).The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival also draws thousands of visitors each year to celebrate local music and food. This free festival celebrates Louisiana musicians and features more than 20 stages that host everything from traditional jazz to blues and funk, throughout the French Quarter. The festival's gastronomic offer, prepared by some of the best chefs in town, is unmatched (and helps keep the festival free).

For four days in April, this festival is an opportunity to enjoy all kinds of music, from stages along the Mississippi River to back streets of the French Quarter. The annual Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo takes place on the banks of Bayou St. John for three days in May. The festival showcases many of NOLA's favorites, from Amanda Shaw and Anders Osborne to Cowboy Mouth and Tab Benoit. With its unique location on the water, test attendees arrive in kayaks, canoes, rubber rafts and anything else that floats.

A true local festival, it also celebrates the neighborhood with art, food and more. No matter what time of year you arrive in New Orleans, you're almost sure to find something worth celebrating. Whether you love music, food, literature, art or drink, there's a festival for you at Big Easy. Mardi Gras arrived in the region in 1699 when a French-Canadian explorer landed about 60 miles downstream from New Orleans and called it “Ponte du Mardi Gras” (Point of Fat Tuesday) when he realized it was holiday day. Parades began in the 1830s and Mardi Gras has been an integral part of culture here ever since. Mardi Gras season in New Orleans basically means a lot of parades, interesting costumes, colorful beads and King Cakes.

There is a lot of eating, drinking, dancing and simply joy in general. Be sure to wear the official Mardi Gras colors: purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power). After 12 Days of Christmas, Mardi Gras Celebrations Begin. The first parades begin on January 6th also known as Three Kings Day.

That means the party lasts several weeks so you have plenty of options to include Mardi Gras on your list of things to do in New Orleans. The French Quarter Festival began in 1984 as a way to attract locals to the area after construction of the World's Fair ended. In fact, it's the largest free music festival in the country with some 1,700 musicians from Louisiana playing on 23 different stages. Here you'll hear a lot of different musical genres from funk to jazzy to zydeco. When it comes to New Orleans festivals, the Wine and Food Experience is without a doubt one of the best. Food lovers and drunkards will love this 5-day celebration of the best things in life with the participation of more than 250 wineries and 100 restaurants.

If you want to participate in the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience visit their website for more information. It has been operating for more than 25 years and is now known as the largest event celebrating African American culture in the entire United States. Tales of the Cocktail dates back to 2002 when it began as a walking tour of local bars. The following year it became a small gathering of cocktail amateurs and professionals and it has grown every year since. This New Orleans music festival began after Hurricane Katrina as a way to bring tourists back to the city and create jobs for locals. It has been a great success since then and will have its 14th edition this year.

The first edition of Voodoo took place in 1999 as a one-day event. It has grown considerably since then and is now a massive 3-day festival with an impressive lineup leading artists include Guns N' Roses Post Malone and Beck. As you can see the action doesn't really stop when it comes to events in New Orleans. Just a few days after celebrating the New Year with big parties all over the city the Mardi Gras parades begin and last several weeks. This festival has enchanted New Orleanians since it began in 1984 designed to remind locals how fabulous and fun the French Quarter can be.

Stages are set up around every corner food from the city's best restaurants.