The best time to visit New Orleans really depends on what kind of trip you envision. For those looking to live it up, the appeal of the mayhem of Mardis Gras is undeniable.
For everyone else, however, aim for the early spring or late fall, before the city’s famous humidity descends. During these months, temperature highs range from 73℉ (23℃ ) and 88℉ (31℃ ), with warmer days giving away to cooler Cajun evenings.
One of the best things about New Orleans is that the party never really stops, even if it does settle down slightly during the low season. Locals in the Big Easy love to dress up and the calendar year is peppered with live music, parades, and food festivals. Really, the best time to go to New Orleans is any time at all.
Visiting New Orleans by Season
There’s no way to get around it: summers in New Orleans are sweltering, with highs in August running around 92℉ (33℃ ) with steamy humidity during the day. Brief, torrential downpours also occur like clockwork every afternoon.
That being said, the months of June through July are jam-packed with concerts and events.
Should you choose to visit in summer, do as the locals do and hang out somewhere air-conditioned during the mid-afternoon, then venture out a few hours later for drinks, jazz, and superb food, especially around the French Quarter.
September and October are an excellent time to visit New Orleans. During these months, the summer rains dissipate somewhat, as do the humidity levels. Temperature highs are in the low 80s℉ (20s℃ ), so it’s still warm during the afternoons.
The winter months tend to be slower in New Orleans in terms of the number of visitors, but are still a reasonably good time to visit.
December and January are often on the gray side, with around five inches (125 mm) of rain and temperature highs of around 64℉ (17.7℃ ). February is, of course, Mardis Gras, so expect crowds flocking to town for the festival.
March through early May is a perfect time to visit New Orleans, with balmy, pleasant days and cooler evenings. The heat and humidity rise as the season goes on, but usually remain manageable.
When Is Rainy Season?
June, July, and August are the rainiest months of the year, with an average of around six inches (150 mm) of precipitation each.
That being said, the rainstorms in New Orleans typically don’t last very long. When the heavens open, just duck into a bookshop or café and wait for it to pass.
When Is High Season?
High season in New Orleans is typically from February through May. Note that for a brief period around Mardi Gras in February the number of visitors increases dramatically.
When Is Shoulder Season?
Shoulder season in New Orleans typically runs from October through January, when the temperatures are cooler and the crowds tend to thin out a bit.
Since rainfall is moderate during this period and the thermometer never drops too low, this is arguably the best time to go to New Orleans.
When Is Low Season?
Unlike many destinations in the United States, low season in New Orleans runs during the summer months from June to August.
During this period, the heat and humidity makes doing much of anything outdoors during the middle of the afternoon inadvisable. August and into September also brings increased risk of tropical storms.