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What to Do in New Orleans in February

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This post covers things to do in February in New Orleans (updated for 2020), including free events, things to do at night, and family-friendly activities.

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN FEBRUARY 

This section covers our top 10 activities that you can enjoy in New Orleans in February. 

For tips on the most popular activities in New Orleans, check out our other 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 attracts a lot of notable musical guests, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that several famous musicians will be performing throughout the month of February.

If you’re looking for a good concert to attend, consider one of the following options:

For more concerts, check our post about finding live music in New Orleans.

Find all the concert tickets here


2) Attend a Basketball Game

There are several notable sports teams in New Orleans, but during the month of February, it's all about basketball.

Both the New Orlean Pelicans of the NBA and the Tulane Green Wave of the NCAA will have home games this month.

Find more sporting events in New Orleans here.

New Orleans Pelicans

Tulane Green Wave

Check this list of sporting events in New Orleans for more great games to attend.


3) See a Popular Musical

Looking for a stage production?

While there won’t be a lot of different musicals to see in New Orleans this month, it’s worth noting that the Saenger Theater will be hosting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from February 11th - 16th.

This is a great family-friendly show to see, but if you’re looking for a more adult theatrical performance, consider going to see Tim and Eric at the Joy Theater on February 3rd.

Tickets range from $50-$80 for both theatrical shows.

Find all theatrical performances here

Most of these performances take place after dark, making this a great night time activity. Check our things to do at night section for more ideas.


4) Go to a Mardi Gras Parades

Mardi Gras falls on February 25th in 2020, so you can expect a lot of great parades and other activities throughout the month.

Most Mardi Gras parades are at night and are free to attend. 

These parades can be quite ‘adult-themed’ so if you are traveling with children, stick with one of the children’s parades we list below in the family-friendly section.

 

Most parades occur on the weekend days and nights, but not all of them. Check the official schedule for dates, times and Krewes.

To learn about Mardi Gras beads and other traditions, see our post about Mardi Gras and Carnival Season.

TIP: If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity, consider taking the kids to Mardi Gras World to see how the floats are made!


5) Sightseeing Tours

February is a great time to see the sights. The weather is mild but not cold and the city is in a festive mood. 

Look no further than our pay-what-you-like walking tours. Consider one of the following options: 

We also have GPS-guided audio tours.

There’s no cost or obligation to sign up for our tours. You pay only at the end of the tour what you think it was worth or what you can afford. You can see our live tour calendar here.


6) Save Money With a Tourist Pass

If you’re planning to visit a lot of popular attractions or take a variety of tours in New Orleans, you might be able to save some money by using a tourist pass.

There are currently two different types of pass in NOLA: all-inclusive and flex passes. Depending on which option you choose and how you use it, you could save 50% or more off general admission prices.

The all-inclusive pass offers access to dozens of activities and attractions for a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, or 5 days). 

Although this service provides pretty good discounts, it’s important to note that you’ll have to use it for as many activities as possible to save the most money.

Alternatively, a flex pass will allow you to pay one flat price for a set number of attractions (2, 3, 4, 5, or 6). The only issue with this option is that your savings will be limited to how much you pay per activity.

At $19 per attraction at the cheapest, it wouldn’t make sense to use this pass for anything that already costs less. However, if you’re interested in more expensive activities, this could be worth it!

Here are a few of the best attractions included with New Orleans tourist passes:

  • Creole Queen Jazz Cruise | $48
  • Hop on Hop off Bus Tour | $39
  • Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour | $52
  • National WWII Museum | $30
  • Audubon Insectarium | $23
  • Audubon Aquarium | $30
  • Audubon Zoo | $23
  • Mardi Gras World | $22
  • Oak Alley Plantation | $27
  • And more!

For more details about how to use these services and how much you can save, please check our post covering New Orleans tourist passes.


7) Eat King Cakes

For those who aren’t aware, King Cake is a traditional dish typically served during Mardis Gras festivities. It’s also one of the top 13 foods you must try in NOLA.  

The history of king cakes goes back to the Middle Ages. Today, king cakes are baked treats with a trinket inside, usually, a plastic baby said to represent the Christ child.  

This is a great activity to enjoy with the whole family. For more ideas, check our section on family-friendly activities.

TIP: King Cakes are part of our pay-what-you-wish French Quarter Food Tour. You’ll also receive some free King Cake on a tour of Mardi Gras World.


8) Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrate black culture at a family-friendly event like Get Yah Praise On, a gospel show on February 2020, at the Audobon Zoo.

You can also find special exhibits at museums and institutions that are open year-round. Check this list of things to do for Black History Month to get an idea of the types of activities that are typically available.

For a look into the darker times in black history, you can visit Whitney Plantation, the only plantation that focuses solely on the experience of enslaved people. 

The plantation serves as a museum featuring artwork, narratives and restored buildings that capture the conditions of slaves who once worked on the plantation.

Find out more about visiting the Whitney Plantation or others by reading our post comparing the different plantations in the New Orleans area.


9) Learn about the History of Mardi Gras 

You may have seen a Mardi Gras Indian on the HBO show Treme. Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade also includes a Mardi Gras Indian. 

At the Backstreet Cultural Museum, you will see real artifacts including the impressive costumes and regalia of the Mardi Gras Indians.

 

Mardi Gras Tour Video

This is just one great way to learn about this celebration, but there is also a free museum you can visit which covers several years of Mardi Gras history.

The Mardi Gras Museum is located in Arnaud’s Restaurant, and it’s open to the public. There are more than two dozen notable costumes on display, as well as other memorabilia.

For more details about this celebration, check our Mardi Gras FAQ.

If you’re looking for more activities that won’t cost a thing, check our free things to do section.


10) Go on a Romantic Cruise for Valentine's Day

What could be more romantic than a jazz cruise on a steamboat with gorgeous views? To find out which night cruise is best for you, read our detailed posts on dinner cruises as well as historical sightseeing cruises to compare the different options.

 

Whether you want to take a cruise on February 14th or you just want something nice to do with your significant other on that weekend, there should be several options to choose from.

Don’t forget that there is a Creole Queen Jazz Cruise included with at least one of the New Orleans tourist passes!

For even more activities you can enjoy after dark, check our things to do at night section.

 


FREE THINGS TO DO IN FEBRUARY

This section lists several free activities you can enjoy this February in NOLA.

Some of the items listed in the other sections of this post are also free, such as the Mardi Gras Museum, Mardi Gras parades, and more.

 

Also, check out our guide to visiting New Orleans on a budget and our list of free things to do in Nola for more free and almost-free ideas. 


Tet Fest: Vietnamese New Year

If you need a break from Mardi Gras, the free Tet Fest is an excellent idea. 

During the weekend of February 7th - 9th, 2020, you can celebrate the Vietnamese New Year by trying authentic Vietnamese cuisine and watching performances of traditional music and dancing. 

There will be family-friendly activities, fireworks, and an evening dragon dance. 


Visit the Bayou Sauvage Swamp

Bayou Sauvage is a National Wildlife Refuge just 15 minutes from the French Quarter. The refuge contains a variety of different habitats including lagoons and canals where you might see alligators, snakes and more!

If you feel like getting off the beaten path, this activity if for you. Learn about how to visit Bayou Sauvage for free.

Also, see our post on swamp tours in New Orleans


Laugh at a Free Comedy Show

Every week The Howlin’ Wolf hosts free comedy shows. Tuesdays you can see the Comedy Beast and on Thursdays, Comedy Gumbeaux Shows start at 8:30 pm.

See the venue website for more information. You can find out about other shows from our list of free comedy performances.


Take a Hurricane Katrina Self-Guided Tour

If you’re interested in visiting the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina and the revitalization of those areas since the storm came through the city, then consider our Hurricane Katrina self-guided tour.

 

Hurricane Katrina Video Tour

Our tour is set up in such a way that it can be done in 2-3 hours by car and 5 hours by bike.

There are 15 stops that cover everything from the Presbytere (which holds a permanent exhibit dedicated to Hurricane Katrina) to St. Claude Ave.

Be sure to check out our other self-guided tours of New Orleans. 

 


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN FEBRUARY

A few things mentioned in other sections, such as attending a Pelicans basketball game or attending Tet Fest, are great night options.

 

We’ve listed several more activities here, but there are plenty more so check our post on things to do in New Orleans at night for even more ideas.


Krewe of Chewbacchus Parade

On SaturdayFebruary 1, 2020, at 7:00 pm, you can see the most 'out of this world' krewes parade in the streets of Marigny.

The 900-member Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is a sci-fi themed krewe and their parade is one not to miss.

You'll see stellar floats and costumes of characters of fantasy, horror, science fiction, and more. Click here for more information and a map of the parade route.

To explore the area around the parade, check out our guide to Frenchmen Street and the Marigny.


Learn about New Orleans' Haunted History

We offer daily evening pay-what-you-wish ghost tours, including one that is family-friendly. The tour takes place in the heart of the French Quarter.

There are also many other companies offering different types of ghost, or pirate and even a night cemetery/ghost bus tour.

Read our guide comparing the different options.


Attend Thursdays at Twilight

City Park’s evening concert series will be returning during the month of February. Thursdays at Twilight is a popular event that has been held in New Orleans for many years.

This month, you can expect to hear the following musicians:

  • James Rivers Movement | Feb 6th
  • Evan Christopher | Feb 13th
  • John Boutte | Feb 27th

Tickets are always $10 per person, and the doors open at 6 pm. That said, with limited seating, you may want to get your tickets as soon as possible.


Bourbon Street

This famous street in the French Quarter is always bustling, but especially so in February while Mardi Gras celebrations are underway.

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.

 


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Below you’ll find a few ideas for things to do with kids in February.

Many items listed in other sections of this post such as attending a Pelican's basketball game or going to the horse races, so look at all sections for more ideas.

 

We also have a guide to New Orleans with kids for more family-friendly ideas for any time of year. 


Mardi Gras Parades for Children

While most parades are for the grown-ups, there are some parades that are just right for kids.

One example that people of all ages will love - provided they love dogs - is the Krewe of Barkus, a one of a kind lineup featuring dogs dressed in festive costumes. It takes place on February 16, 2020, at 10:39 am. 

Another family-friendly parade is the Krewe of Little Rascals parade on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at 12:00 pm in Metairie. 

For more Mardi Gras events that are family-friendly, see this helpful resource list: Mardi Gras with kids.


Family Gras

Family Gras is a free family-friendly three-day event just ten minutes from Downtown New Orleans.

In 2020, it is being held from Friday, February 14, through Sunday, February 16, at the Clearview Shopping Center at 4436 Veterans Memorial Boulevard.

Family Gras sees large crowds enjoying Mardi Gras parades, an Art Market, food vendors, and lots of kid's activities. There are also free concerts by local and national performers. 

Past lineups have included John Oates, Michael McDonald, and Brett Eldredge. The 2020 event schedule will be announced soon. See the Family Gras website for all the details.


Enjoy Some Mini Golf

There is a great mini golf course available in City Park known as City Putt. This location actually has two different courses and a total of 36 holes to play.

Not only are tickets affordable at less than $10 per person, but City Putt is open until 10 pm from Tue - Thur and midnight on Friday & Saturday, making this an excellent nighttime activity as well.

For more details, please check our post about City Park.


Kid-Friendly Tours

There are many forms of tours that are kid-approved. Depending on the age of your child, some tours are better than others.

Walking tours can be a good family tour, especially if you take one of our pay-what-you-like tours which won't bust your budget.

Younger children benefit from a hop-on, hop-off bus tour as they have a chance to rest their little legs. Check out our post for Hop-On, Hop-Off New Orleans Bus Tours for more information.

There are also tours of the French Quarter designed especially for kids! You’ll find a uniquely designed tour for different age groups like the “Spooky Tour” for ages 5 – 10 years and tween and teen tour. Check out the schedule here.

For more suggestions on family-friendly activities see our Guide to New Orleans with Kids.

 


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About The Author

Sarah

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!
Updated: September 27th, 2021
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