Things to Do in April in New Orleans

This post covers New Orleans in April, including a list of the best things to do, free activities, things to do at night as well as with kids and is updated for 2020. 

 

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TOP ELEVEN EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN APRIL

This list features some of the most exciting and entertaining activities that you’ll find in NOLA during the month of April. 

For tips on the most popular activities in New Orleans, check out our popular tour posts:

Many of these items are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.

 


1) Go to a Concert

There are going to be a lot of festivals featuring music in New Orleans throughout the month of April.

But if you’re hoping to see a specific artist, you may want to consider going to one of the following concerts

 

 

For even more musicians you may want to see, check this list of concerts in New Orleans.

TIP: If you’re looking for other opportunities to hear live music and learn more about the history of various genres in New Orleans, consider taking our Music and Arts tour.


2) Attend a Basketball Game

April is the end of the NBA season, which means you can expect a lot of exciting games.

In addition, New Orleans will be hosting the NCAA Women’s Final Four Basketball Semifinals early in the month.

 

 

If you have any sports fans in the family, consider going to one of the following events:

New Orleans Pelicans

TIP: Interested in displays of athleticism? Consider attending the Crescent City Classic and cheering on everyone taking part in the race!

Find all of the game tickets in New Orleans here.


3) See Anastasia: The Musical

This is without a doubt the best musical in all of New Orleans during the month of April. Needless to say, this would be a fantastic activity for the whole family. 

 

 

Unfortunately, this show will only be available for a few short days, so you should get your tickets as soon as possible.

NOTE: If you’re looking for an even more family-friendly show, consider taking the kids to Disney on Ice: Dream Big.


4) Go to a Music Festival

There will be several festivals held in New Orleans during the month of April, with two specific stand-out examples that most families will want to consider.

The annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (April 23rd – April 30th), better known as “Jazz Fest” by locals, is a very exciting activity for lovers of rhythm & blues, zydeco, folk, Cajun and other musical genres.

 

 

Attendees can look forward to performances from notable artists like Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz, The Beach Boys, The Who, Stevie Nicks, The Black Crowes, Lizzo and many more. 

The French Quarter Fest (April 16th – 19th) brings together rhythm & blues, zydeco, rock, swing, classical, jazz and much more across 12 stages over a 3-day weekend. 

Accompanying the amazing music is an impressive spread of local food and drink vendors. You can expect everything from Rouses Crawfish Broil to jerk chicken. 

The entertainment is free and the food and drinks are well priced making this an excellent outdoor experience to consider for families.


5) Enjoy Some Sightseeing

Spring is the perfect time to see the most historic and notable attractions throughout New Orleans, and there are a lot of great ways to do some sightseeing at this time of year. 

In addition to hop-on-hop-off bus tours and riverboat cruises, there is also an abundance of walking tours available in the Big Easy.

 

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If you’re looking for a great way to save money on sightseeing, we offer several pay-what-you-wish walking tours which cover a variety of neighborhoods and topics, including the following:

No matter what your budget is, this is an excellent activity that every visitor should consider now that the weather is getting warmer.


6) Consider Getting a Tourist Pass

If you’re planning to visit some of the most popular attractions in New Orleans, general admission prices can really add up after a while. 

Thankfully, you can save a lot of money on tickets (20% – 50% on average) by using a New Orleans tourist pass. Here are a dozen of the best activities included with these discount services:

 

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Even if you only plan to enjoy a few of these attractions, you could still save plenty of cash with a New Orleans tourist pass.


7) See Mike Epps Live

If you’re in need of a good laugh, this is probably the best stand-up comedy show taking place during the month of April. 

Mike Epps has become well known over the course of his career as one of the most hilarious comedians in the world.

 

 

After years of starring in a variety of films such as Next Friday, The Hangover and more recently My Name is Dolemite, fans will want to take advantage of this opportunity to see him perform stand-up in front of a live audience.


8) Make a Trip to the Swamps

April will most likely be one of the last opportunities to visit the swamps near New Orleans without worrying about the heat.

While it does start to get warmer at this time of year, it’ll be much more bearable to visit now than during the summer.

While you can visit areas like the Jean Lafitte Swamp and take a walk around the trails for free, an airboat tour could be a great way to beat the heat as you feel the wind hitting your face on these high-speed outings.

 

 

In addition to just enjoying the natural beauty, there are also several locations where you can see local wildlife – including alligators – and potentially even encounter them with the help of a knowledgeable guide!

For more details, please read our post about New Orleans swamp tours.


9) Celebrate Easter Weekend

Easter marks the end of Lent to the many Catholics who populate New Orleans, and the city celebrates big with parades and other family-friendly activities.

There are at least three parades in the French Quarter on Easter Sunday.

The earliest parade is largely made up of mule-drawn carriages with riders handing out stuffed Easter bunnies for the children.

 

 

Later in the afternoon, Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade will make its way through the French Quarter, featuring local entertainer Chris Owens herself.

The Gay Easter Parade will stroll through the French Quarter late afternoon passing by every gay bar and local gay retail shop in the neighborhood.

In addition to all the fun, many restaurants will have special Easter Sunday brunch menus. Don’t forget to wear your best Easter bonnet!


10) Attend the Freret Street Festival

Held annually in April, the Freret Street Festival was launched in the early 1990s as a celebration of the rebirth of a once dull district.

Locals refer to this area which connects downtown to uptown as “The Middle Passage.” 

 

 

This free festival extends six blocks and features plenty of live music, food & drink vendors and local art. Over the years the festival has even become very kid-friendly with the addition of a petting zoo, arts & crafts and more.

If you’re looking for more activities and events that won’t cost you a dime, make sure to check our free things to do section.

For additional ideas, read our full post covering free and cheap things to do in New Orleans.


11) Grab a Bite at the Crawfish Festival

This one-of-a-kind festival is a three-day spectacular featuring live music, beer and of course plenty of crawfish! 

This year’s lineup for the Crawfish Festival features a variety of artists and genres of music, assuring there’s something for all music lovers to enjoy. 

 

 

The crawfish will be provided by none other than New Orleans own’ Crawfish King, and the beer from local breweries like Port Orleans Brew Co. 

With plenty of great food, music, and entertainment on hand, this is an excellent family activity.

If you’re looking for more events you can enjoy with your kids, make sure to check our section about family-friendly activities.

For even more great ideas, take a look at our full post covering things to do with kids in New Orleans.

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO IN APRIL

The following section will include several free activities that you can enjoy in New Orleans this April.

 

 

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If you’re looking for even more great activities you won’t have to pay for, make sure to read our post covering free and cheap things to do in New Orleans.

Keep in mind that you can save a lot of money on the best attractions by using a New Orleans tourist pass.


Visit the Swamps

There are a few different swamps near New Orleans that could be fun to visit. If you’re interested in seeing some of the wildlife in the area, the following locations offer hiking trails, self-guided tours and other services that you may want to consider.

For more information on free activities you can enjoy at the various nearby swamps, make sure to read our swamp tour post.


Go to an Art Gallery

There will be two opportunities to enjoy free admission to art galleries/museums in New Orleans during the month of April.

Newcomb Art Museum – Enjoy a free tour of their collection from 12 pm – 1 pm on the first Friday of the month. This museum always offers free admission.

Arts District New Orleans – Get free admission from 6 pm – 9 pm on the first Saturday of April. This could be a great activity to enjoy after dark.

In addition to these opportunities, you can also visit the Historic New Orleans Collection and check out their Louisiana History Galleries for free. 

Although the New Orleans Museum of Art charges for admission, their outdoor sculpture garden is free to visit whenever you want.


Attend Wednesday at the Square

If you’re in the mood to hear some live music, this 10-week concert series at Lafayette Square is entirely free to enjoy. 

With a new show every Wednesday in April, there will be a few different opportunities to hear a free performance from local artists who play jazz, funk, swamp-pop, rock, and other genres.

 

 

Concerts start at 5:00 pm and run until about 8:00 pm, so this might be a good idea for an activity to enjoy after dark. 

Visitors can bring their own lawn chairs, blankets, and other items to get comfortable for the show. There will be food booths available nearby if you get hungry.


Go to the Crescent City Classic

In addition to all of the other activities taking place on Easter weekend, this annual 10K will also be taking place. Athletes from around Louisiana will participate in this race which runs from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to City Park.

While the Crescent City Classic requires an entrance fee, visitors are welcome to cheer on the runners and celebrate the holiday. 

Many of the participants in the 10K will wear costumes, some even choosing to dress up as the Easter Bunny!

If you’re looking for even more to do, head to the Crescent City Health & Fitness Expo. This 2-day fair includes free food and drinks, presentations and other handouts. 


Try a New Wine

Every Wednesday night from 6 pm – 8 pm, Faubourg Wines provides a free wine tasting event that includes a few different wines to choose from. 

If you’ve been interested in learning more about wine and/or trying out some new flavors, this is an excellent opportunity to broaden your horizons.

Reservations are not required for this event, so feel free to drop in and taste a few wines. It is recommended to arrive before 7:30 pm if you want to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything.


Attend a Free Jazz Performance

In addition to Wednesday at the Square and the French Quarter Festival, there will also be opportunities to hear live jazz throughout the month of April.

The Ritz-Carlton will be hosting a free concert with Jeremy Davenport on Wednesday & Thursday from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. You can also enjoy this show from 9:30 pm to 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Every Tuesday at 2 pm, the Jazz Museum holds a free live jazz performance on the third floor. There may be additional live performances throughout the month which you can learn more about from their event calendar.

TIP: Tickets to the New Orleans Jazz Museum are included with the New Orleans Pass.

 


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THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

This section will provide several different activities that you can enjoy after dark in New Orleans this April.

 

 

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If you’re looking for a way to save money on some of the most popular things to do after the sun goes down, keep in mind that New Orleans tourist passes include services such as evening cruises and ghost tours.

For even more great ideas, please read our full post covering the most interesting things to do at night in New Orleans.


Go on a Haunted Tour

If you have an interest in the potentially haunted history of New Orleans, you may want to think about taking our pay-what-you-wish ghost tour

This service is available twice a night at 7:30 pm and 8:15 pm, and it covers the often disturbing tales behind locations such as the Hotel Monteleone and Pirates Alley.

In addition to this service, there are also cemetery tours that you can take at night. This is a great opportunity for an even creepier experience in New Orleans.

For those who aren’t interested in the haunted history of the Big Easy, there are also pub crawls you can enjoy after dark which cover some of the best bars in the city and the best drinks they have to offer.


Go on a Riverboat Cruise

With the weather warming up, this is a great time to take an evening cruise on the Mississippi River. 

There are two popular companies currently offering riverboat cruises after dark, and both of them are very highly rated. Each cruise includes live jazz music and the opportunity for dinner.

 

 

This is one of the best ways to see the city skyline, as most evening cruises start at around sunset. As if that weren’t good enough, this service is actually included with each of the major New Orleans tourist passes.

If you’re looking for an even cheaper alternative, you can also take the Algiers Point ferry across the water for $2. This is a great way to see the city from the water without worrying about your budget.


See a Free Comedy Show

There are a lot of great venues in New Orleans that offer an open mic comedy show on various nights throughout the week. No matter when you choose to visit the city, chances are you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy some live comedy.

One of the most popular shows is Comedy Gold at the House of Blues, and it takes place every Wednesday night. While the laughs are free, you should bring some money for drinks and snacks. 

If you’re looking for even more open mic nights, make sure to check our post about almost free things you can do in New Orleans.


Attend Thursdays at Twilight

Even if you can’t afford to see one of the many concerts taking place this month, you can still catch this concert series at City Park on every Thursday night in April. You can expect the following musicians this month:

  • Wanda Rouzan
  • Tim Laughlin
  • Boogiemen Swing Band
  • Patrice Fisher

Tickets are only $10 per person, but seating is limited to only 480 people, so you’ll need to purchase admission as soon as possible.

NOTE: Don’t forget that there will be several other opportunities to hear live music at City Park this month including the Egg Scramble.

 


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FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

In this section, we will provide a list of many fun and engaging events you can enjoy with your family in New Orleans this April.

 

 

It’s also worth noting that you can save money on several kid-friendly attractions such as the Audubon Zoo and Mardi Gras World with a New Orleans tourist pass.

For even more great ideas, make sure to read our full post covering things to do with kids in New Orleans.


Go to the Zoo

There are a lot of interesting animals and exhibits to see at the Audubon Zoo, and there will also be a few interesting events to attend this month as well.

  • Music Under the Oaks – On the first two Sundays of April, the zoo will be hosting a free concert series in the nearby Audubon Park.
  • Zoo-To-Do for Kids – This event will include a variety of family-friendly entertainment, snacks and drinks for kids.
  • Party for the Planet – Help your kids learn about saving the environment during this special Earth Day event.
  • Cool Zoo – The splash park at Audubon Zoo usually opens up in early April, and this might be a great place to visit if it gets too hot!

TIP: Tickets for Audubon Zoo are included for free with both major New Orleans tourist passes.


See the Victory Belles

The National WW2 Museum is more than just a fantastic place to learn about history, they also host some pretty interesting events at BB’s Stage Door Canteen. 

The Victory Belles are one of their most popular acts, singing some of the more memorable music from the WW2 era. 

 

 

This group will be performing on every weekend in April from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. In addition to the show, you can also purchase tickets for a lunch buffet which is perfect for kids. 

Ticket prices range from $25-$60 depending on whether or not you want a meal as well.

NOTE: Tickets for the National WW2 Museum are included with every major New Orleans tourist pass.


Go to Audubon Aquarium

Now that the weather is getting warmer, you might want to consider a trip to the Audubon Aquarium. In addition to all the aquatic life on display, they also have a rainforest exhibition featuring parakeets and other birds. 

There is also a giant screen theater which they use for family-friendly 4K and 3D films. Admission to the Audubon Aquarium includes a free ticket to the Entergy theater, so you don’t even have to pay extra!

Tickets can be purchased in combination with admission to the Audubon Zoo for a small discount. Alternatively, you can also use a New Orleans tourist pass.

For more details, read our full post on the Audubon Aquarium.


Visit the Butterfly Garden

In addition to the zoo and the aquarium, the Audubon Nature Institute also has a Butterfly Garden/Insectarium that your kids might enjoy. 

Located just down the street from the aquarium, this attraction is a great place for children to learn all about bugs from around the world. 

The Insectarium includes exhibits covering monarch butterflies, ladybugs, honey bees, dung beetles, leafcutter ants and more. 

As the name implies, there is also an Asian garden with thousands of butterflies freely fluttering around. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that CNN once voted this the top museum for you and your kids!

Admission is included with each major New Orleans tourist pass.


Take the Kids to the Egg Scramble

If you’re looking for something to do with your kids on Easter weekend, take them to the Egg Scramble in City Park

This is probably the biggest Easter egg hunt in New Orleans, as there will be more than 36,000 eggs to find. You don’t even need to bring a basket for this event, because they provide them for all children in attendance.

The day will begin at Carousel Gardens at 9 am on April 4th – 5th. Visitors can expect live music, face painters, a balloon artist, and even the Easter Bunny.

Out of the thousands of eggs to find in the park, there will be 100 golden eggs with free tickets to various City Park attractions!


Take Your Picky Eaters on a Food Tour

New Orleans is home to a bunch of unique foods, but children can be picky when it comes to the things they eat. 

If you’re trying to figure out what to get the kids, consider taking them on a French Quarter food tour so that they can try a variety of different things.

We offer a pay-what-you-want food tour that covers several popular food items including gumbo, jambalaya, po-boys, crawfish, beignets, red beans & rice and more. 

Unlike other food tours, you only have to pay for the food you try, so anything your kids turn down won’t cost you a thing. This is a great way to save money while figuring out what your tykes will eat.

TIP: If you’re looking for the best family-friendly restaurants, make sure to check our post covering things to do with kids in New Orleans.

 


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About the author

Manager | New Orleans

Sarah first moved to New Orleans in 2001 to work for the American Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana. While working in the communities of New Orleans she fell in love with the unique culture of the Big Easy; it's food, music, architecture, wildlife, and most of all history.

Sarah began her career with FTBF, first as a guide, then as an owner/operator. She believes every day is a good day if she gets to impart her love of her beloved New Orleans with Free Tours By Foot guests. She especially likes to convert new Who Dat Saints Fans!