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 2023.
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
New Orleans has a rich history with music, so it isn't surprising that several artists choose to perform here throughout the year.
Here are just a few of the shows to see in April:
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is also in April. The line-up hasn't been released yet, but tickets can be purchased here.
Click here for a list of even more concerts in New Orleans in April.
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 quiet month for sports in New Orleans but you can still attend some exciting games.
- The Crescent City Classic 10K takes place April 8th, as it always does the Saturday before Easter Sunday. You could register to run, or cheer runners on from the sidelines.
5. See Moulin Rouge the Musical
If you loved the movie you will likely love the live stage version of the musical Moulin Rouge!
On Saturdays and Sundays there are two showings:
- Tickets: start at $66
- Dates: April 5th - 16th
- Location: Saenger Theatre
- Purchase tickets or learn more
NOTE: If you’re looking for a family-friendly show, consider taking the kids to Disney on Ice: Into the Magic.
4. Go to a Music Festival
There will be a few festivals held in New Orleans during the month of April.
The annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 28th - April 30th), better known as “Jazz Fest” by locals, is an exciting activity for lovers of rhythm & blues, zydeco, folk, Cajun and other musical genres.
Crawfest (April 22nd) is a student run food, music and arts festival located on campus at Tulane Univeristy. Of course, you can expect plenty of crawfish!
Hogs for the Cause (March 31st-April 1st) is one of the largest BBQ and music festivals in the country. Taking place at UNO Lakefront Arena, the festival raises money for childrens healthcare. As they say "bring your stretchy pants and come pig out!"
The Freret Street Festival is expected to take place in April, although dates haven't been released yet. This kid-friendly festival, started in the 1990s and covering six blocks, has all sorts of activites, food, drinks, arts, crafts, live music, and more.
French Quarter Fest (April 13th-16th) 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.
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:
- Treme Tour
- French Quarter
- Garden District
- Frenchman Street
- Music, Arts & More
- Voodoo Tour
- Ghost Tour
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:
- Audubon Zoo
- Audubon Aquarium
- Audubon Butterfly Garden
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
- Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour
- Mardi Gras World
- National WW2 Museum
- Paddlewheeler Cruise
- Oak Alley Plantation
- New Orleans Jazz Museum
- New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
- Louisiana Children’s Museum
- The Cabildo
- And More!
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 a Famous Comedian Perform Stand-up
If you’re in need of a good laugh, you can find it in NOLA in April.
A few of the comedians appearing are:
The Royal Comedy tour is also in NOLA at UNO Lakefront Arena on April 15th
8. Make a Trip to the Swamps
April is sometimes one of the last opportunities to visit the swamps near New Orleans without worrying about the heat.
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 (April 9th, 2023).
1. The Historic Fench Quarter Easter Parade is largely made up of mule-drawn carriages with riders handing out stuffed Easter bunnies for the children. It tends to start around 9:30 AM.
2. The Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade will make its way through the French Quarter, featuring local entertainer Chris Owens herself. This usually starts at 1:00 PM.
3. 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. It typically starts around 5:30 PM.
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 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.
In April 2023 there will be shows on the 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th.
Concerts usually start at 5:00 pm and run until about 8:00 pm.
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.
The following section will include several free activities that you can enjoy in New Orleans this April.
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
Enjoy free admission to art galleries/museums in New Orleans during the month of April.
Newcomb Art Museum: This museum, on the campus of Tulane, always offers free admission.
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.
Go to the Crescent City Classic
As mentioned above, 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 5 pm - 7 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 6:30 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, and Friday-Satuday from 7:00 pm - midnight.
Every Tuesday at 2 pm, the New Orleans 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.
This section will provide several different activities that you can enjoy after dark in New Orleans this April.
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 one of our pay-what-you-wish ghost tours.
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.
Take in the sights and sounds of Frenchmen Street
Frenchmen Street is great for live music, food, and drinks.
There are dozens of places to try local cuisine, hear the sounds of the city at clubs and plenty of watering holes to enjoy bourbon and other spirits.
Our guide to Frenchmen Street and the Marigny will help you figure out where to go to enjoy it all.
TIP: You can find out about other great venues to hear live music from our post on music performances in New Orleans.
Walk Bourbon Street
This famous street in the French Quarter is always bustling!
Just two of the many iconic bars include Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and the Old Absinthe House.
You can find many places to hear live jazz but perhaps the most popular takes place in a 200-year-old building, Fritzel’s European Jazz Club.
Read our post on things to do on Bourbon Street.
See our post on Things to Do in New Orleans at Night for other great nighttime 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 probably also be a few interesting events to attend this month as well.
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 often has events throughout the month. 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!
For more details, read our full post on the Audubon Aquarium.
Temporarily Closed & Moving: The Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
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 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.