New Orleans, the city known for its endless celebrations, turned 300 this year, and it has never looked better. While many picture Mardi Gras when NOLA comes to mind, the city’s unrivaled spirit comes alive long before the floats, beads and costumes consume Bourbon Street. Fall is the perfect example of this. With a variety of festivals, fundraisers, shows and sporting events in full swing, it’s safe to say when the temperatures start to go down, the fun heats up.
See for yourself with these 30 things to celebrate in The Big Easy this season:
1. Kick-off Oktoberfest early on September 22 at the 9th Annual NOLA on Tap Beer Fest, the largest beer fest in the region.
2. Enjoy the start of oyster harvest season at some of the city’s most popular seafood restaurants for shucking, slurping and savoring.
3. Indulge in one of the South’s favorite dishes during the National Fried Chicken Festival September 22-23, complete with live music and a fried chicken tenders eating contest.
4. Hop on a bike and embrace the cooler fall weather while exploring the sights and sounds of the city on one of the popular guided cycling tours.
5. Celebrate America’s oldest African-American neighborhood while enjoying local food, live music and craft booths during the Tremé Fall Festival, October 5-7.
6. Cheer on the New Orleans Saints when you catch a football game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
7. Treat yourself to New Orleans’ signature sweet during Beignet Fest at the Festival Grounds at New Orleans City Park, October 6.
8. Get in the spirit of National Gumbo Day (October 12) while tasting the famous creole soup at one of the city’s many celebrated restaurants.
9. Take a break from stuffing your face when you spend an afternoon at Clue Carré, New Orleans’ first live escape game.
10. Head to Lafayette Square Park to savor the sounds and seasonings of the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival, October 12-14.
11. Catch a live performance at Smoothie King Center this fall, welcoming a diverse lineup of entertainers including Kevin Hart, Paul Simon, Nicki Minaj and Elton John.
12. Get the family dressed up for Boo at the Zoo at Audubon Zoo, hosting a zombie-themed train ride, monster maze, haunted houses and more October 19-20 and 26-27.
13. Celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) October 31-November 2 at one of the concerts, block parties and masquerades happening around the city.
14. Put on a sweater and head to see the changing of the leaves as you stroll through the New Orleans Botanical Garden.
15. Get tickets to the WWII Air, Sea and Land Festival October 12-14, honoring America’s aviation innovation of World War II with special performances, aircraft tours, live music, obstacle courses and more.
16. Take your love of the silver screen to the next level during the New Orleans Film Festival October 17-25, the longest running festival of its kind in Louisiana.
17. Celebrate the season of scares on one of New Orleans’ Haunted History Tours, offering everything from ghost and graveyard bus tours to French Quarter pub crawls.
18. Go on an afternoon stroll through Uptown, a neighborhood known for its historic residences with over-the-top Halloween decorations.
19. Make your mouth water during the NOLA Mac N’ Cheese Fest at Louis Armstrong Park, October 20.
20. Get dressed up for a night of thrills and chills when you attend Krewe of Boo!, New Orleans’ official Halloween Parade, on October 20.
21. Shop for the ultimate Halloween disguise at one of the city’s famous costume shops.
22. Catch live performances by Mumford & Sons, Modest Mouse, Artic Monkeys, Third Eye Blind and many more at the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, October 26-28.
23. Skip trick-or-treating and instead satisfy your sweet tooth by stopping at one of New Orleans’ famous praline shops and chocolatiers.
24. Celebrate the start of basketball season while cheering on the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center.
25. Enjoy the sultry sounds of National Saxophone Day (November 6) when you head to one of the live jazz clubs New Orleans is known for.
26. Start your seasonal sipping and savoring early by purchasing tickets for Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Boudin, Bourbon & Beer, November 9.
27. Try over 50 variations of the New Orleans specialty during the 11th Annual Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, November 11.
28. Wash down all of that Southern comfort food with a self-guided cocktail drinking tour, or leave it up to the experts when you join a group tour.
29. Fuel your love for college football at the 45th Annual Bayou Classic on November 24, an epic rivalry game between Grambling State and Southern University.
30. Get a jump-start on your holiday shopping as you stroll down Magazine Street, home to a variety of unique boutiques, antique stores, jewelry shops and art galleries.
Feel like New Orleans is calling your name? Save big on your fall getaway to The Big Easy when you bundle your accommodations and airfare through Vacations by Marriott.