A guide to must-do summer events in New Orleans

Now that we're back outside, let's take a look at the events to do in New Orleans for the summer.

by Marielle Songy
July 6, 2022

It’s summer 2022 and it’s official: WE’RE OUTSIDE AGAIN! Since this is the first proper summer since the pandemic began, you might be a bit overwhelmed with all of the events that are scheduled. Don’t worry! Very Local New Orleans has you covered with the “we’re back outside and this is what’s happening” schedule of all the summer events in New Orleans worth doing and seeing!

Things to do in New Orleans this Summer

July

Essence Festival of Culture 
Caesars Superdome & Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
www.essencefestival.com
June 30 – July 3 

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 01: Ashanti attends the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 1, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

Essence Fest is easily the biggest festival of the summer in New Orleans. This “party with a purpose” features everything from health, beauty, and lifestyle seminars to food experiences and a film festival. But, by far, the biggest thing at Essence is the performers. This year, Janet Jackson, Jazmine Sullivan, New Edition, and Patti LaBelle are just a few of the artists who will be taking the Essence stage. 

Uncle Sam Jam 
www.unclesamjamjefferson.com
Lafreniere Park
July 3 

Uncle Sam Jam is a free Jefferson Parish festival with live music, food, and a fireworks show. This year, headliners include Cowboy Mouth and The Topcats.

Go 4th on the River
www.go4thontheriver.com
Crescent Park and Mississippi Riverfront
July 4

What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than on the riverfront? Go 4th on the River hosts an annual event with live music and a free fireworks show.

San Fermin in Nueva Orleans (Running of the Bulls)
www.nolabulls.com
The Sugar Mill
July 9

Runners run from bulls and avoid swats to their behinds during the Running of the Bulls in the Central Business District of New Orleans, La., Saturday, July 14, 2018. (Photo by EMILY KASK / 00061392A / AFP) (Photo credit should read EMILY KASK/AFP via Getty Images)

Running of the Bulls New Orleans-style is back! Crowds of people will be hitting the streets to run from roller girls with soft bats, and it’s all for a good cause. The run itself will take place at 9 a.m. on July 9. Meet at The Sugar Mill by 8 a.m. for food, drinks, and music. After the run, there are plenty more activities to enjoy, including a post-run party back at The Sugar Mill. Tickets are required, and they go fast, so get yours now!

Tales of the Cocktail
www.talesofthecocktail.org
Various Locations
July 25-29

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JULY 21: Signature cocktails served at The Dogg House during Tales Of The Cocktail on July 21, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images for Diageo)

If you’re a cocktail lover, Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC) is the event for you. Over five days, TOTC holds events, celebrations, educational seminars, and more. Not only can you learn how to mix a good drink, but you can learn how to open your own bar or start your own cocktail business. Enjoy a tour of various cocktails or attend a tasting held by companies such as Jack Daniel’s and Ciroc. This is Tales of the Cocktail’s twentieth anniversary, and they are going big with the events, so get your tickets now!

August

Fidelity Bank White Linen Night
www.artsdistrictneworleans.com/events/fidelity-bank-white-linen-night
Warehouse District/Julia St. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Aug. 6 

A group walks away from the event during the 25th annual Hancock Whitney White Linen Night in the 300 to 700 blocks of Julia Street as well as other venues around the Arts District New Orleans. The free block party featured live music, food and drink from over thirty local vendors, gallery openings, and displays of public art, all benefiting the Contemporary Arts Center.

Every year, White Linen Night celebrates New Orleans’ art scene with a block party on Julia St. Visitors spend the evening dipping in and out of art galleries and enjoying wine and snacks. As the name suggests, wearing white is very much encouraged and you don’t have to be an art nut to have a good time; there’s something for everyone at White Linen Night! After the block party, the fun isn’t over—an after-party will be held at the Contemporary Arts Center where you can mingle the night away.

Satchmo Summer Fest
www.satchmosummerfest.org
New Orleans Jazz Museum
Aug. 6-7

Irma Thomas perform on the Fidelity Bank Stage during the Satchmo Summerfest at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint on Sunday, August 5, 2018. (Photo by Peter G. Forest/Very Local New Orleans)

This much-needed music festival in New Orleans celebrates local music artists over the course of two days at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the mint. While this year’s lineup has yet to be announced, the festival is always a great time with incredible music and delicious food from local vendors.

Red Dress Run
www.neworleanshash.com/reddressrun
Crescent Park
Aug. 13

Runners take part 25th annual New Orleans Red Dress Run that is put on by the Hash House Harriers who call their group ‘A Drinking Club with a Running Problem’ in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. The annual event also raises money for charities awarding over $1 million in grants over the years. Most people don’t run and instead hang out in the French Quarter. Photo by Matthew Hinton

Red Dress Run is a yearly charity event held by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers in which participants don a red dress to raise money for local non-profits. That’s right, this event is to raise money for charity, so do the right thing and pay to participate! Every participant will wear a number to distinguish that they paid to party. 

September

Southern Decadence Fest
www.southerndecadence.net
French Quarter
Sept. 1-5

This LGBTQ+ event has been happening for over fifty years and is sometimes called “Gay Mardi Gras.”  Throughout Labor Day weekend, people come together to party and have a great time celebrating love, freedom, and fun.

Beignet Fest
www.beignetfest.com|
City Park Festival Grounds
Sept. 24

A Barecque and Peanut Butter beignets are on display courtesy of Loretta’s Authentic Pralines during the Beignet Festival at the City Park Festival Grounds in New Orleans on Saturday, October 6, 2018. (Photo by Peter G. Forest) Instagram: @forestphoto_llc

What better way to close out a list of summer events in New Orleans than a Beignet Festival? If you think that beignets are just fancy powdered donuts, you’re in for a treat. At Beignet Fest, you’ll be able to try an array of sweet and savory beignets of all kinds from multiple vendors. Of course, there will be music, and the fest will serve as a fundraiser with proceeds benefiting community programs that help children with autism and other developmental differences.

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Marielle was born and raised in New Orleans. She thinks it's hard to grow up there and not let the culture and history of the city become part of you. Whether it be the jazz, food, of fabulous architecture, she thinks most would agree that things are a little spicer down here. You can reach her via email at [email protected]

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