It’s summertime in New Orleans. When the heat kicks up in the Crescent City, we’re cooling down with plenty of festivals, special art exhibits, indoor escapes and tasty cold treats. Not to mention, you’ll find plenty refreshing cocktails (that iconic Southern hospitality is already a given). Below, a few of our favorite ideas for the Big Easy’s warm weather months.
Sweating? Grab an icy summer treat! A tradition that dates back to 1930, sno-balls feature a mound of fluffy shaved ice flavored with choose-your-own syrups ranging from strawberry to coconut and then those unique-to-Nola flavors like king cake and praline pecan. Order a root beer sno-ball at the legendary Hansen’s Sno-Bliz (est. 1939) or opt for an ice cream topping. You’ll also find Pandora’s Snowballs in Mid City which experiments with fun creamy flavors like wedding cake and nectar cream.
Art and Festivals Galore!
Want to literally step into a painting? The popular touring Vincent Van Gogh exhibit has landed in the Scottish Rite Temple. A 360 degree immersive experience of sound and light, you’ll view the artist’s famed sunny landscapes in a 20,000 square foot space.
August is also a busy month for festivals. The annual Tales of the Cocktail (July 25-29th) pits together the best of the best in the field of mixology. Expect tastings and debut samplings, mixing competitions, special dinners and trips to local distilleries. Next, put on your best summer whites and head Warehouse District for White Linen Night (August 6) where performances dovetail with local art showings. Stroll down Julia Street, known for its galleries, where you’ll also find a sprawl of local grub and cocktail vendors. The following week, a charity run called the Red Dress Run (August 13th) hosted by the Nola Hash House Harrier, requires its runners to dress in, wait for it, yes, red dresses.The 2-mile run starts at Crescent Park and includes live music and plenty of spirited revelry (100% of the donations and proceeds go to local charities). Festivities are known to trickle into the French Quarter come early afternoon. Over Labor Day weekend, catch the Southern Decadence (Sept 1-5th) parades, a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Expect DJs from around the world, a drag brunch on a River Cruise and live performances. Sports fan? You can catch the LSU season opener against Florida State University (Sept 4th) inside Caesar’s Superdome.
It won’t cost you a dime to gallery hop along Gallery Row in the Arts and Warehouse District. You can also catch live music at Musical Legends Park on Bourbon Street or perhaps you’ll just saunter down Frenchmen Street, where street-corner brass bands fill the air with gratis tunes. And, because it’s never too early for Mardi Gras, head upstairs at Arnaud’s for a tour of the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum, housing a wild and lavish collection of costumes and masks.
Quench Your Thirst
Warm n’ sultry days call for refreshing cocktails. While classics like a Pimm’s Cup and Mint Juleps never go out of style, drop by the hip Cane and Table for a frozen pina colada, or sip a made-to-order frozen Hemingway daiquiri at the pint-sized Manolito. Later, inside the chic, mosaic-tiled Peacock Room, you’ll find a mean hurricane, made with Appleton Estate Rum, Hamilton 151, passionfruit and lemon. And, if you’re going booze free, try a hydrating mocktail with coconut water, pomegranate, orgeat, thyme and club soda.
If you’re looking for an easy homebase for your New Orleans adventures – or perhaps you’re seeking a longer staycation, Kimpton Hotel Fontenot offers generous room sizes, and is especially great for families. Check out the Annual Summer Anniversary Package and help support New Orleans’ own The Roots of Music. The package includes an amenity from a local brewery, discounted parking and a donation to the Roots of Music.