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What to Do in New Orleans in September

Updated: March 13, 2024

This post covers things to do in New Orleans in September, updated for 2024.

We include a top 10 list as well as things you can enjoy at night, for free, or with the family.

And don't miss our free walking tours throughout New Orleans.


This section will focus on the most fun and interesting things to do in New Orleans this September.

Whenever possible, we will make note of activities and attractions that are either family-friendly, free, or fun after dark. 

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

1. See a Live Concert

Although there aren't a lot of concerts scheduled this month, there are at least a few notable artists performing in New Orleans this September.


Find other concerts in September here.

For other live music options, check out our post Where to Hear Live Music in New Orleans.

Find more great things to do in the evening in our nighttime activities section below.

2. Enjoy One Last Splash at Cool Zoo

Labor Day Weekend represents your last chance to enjoy the Cool Zoo water park at Audubon Zoo. 

This attraction includes a lazy river water slide, spitting water snakes, and other fun activities that will keep you and your children cool no matter how hot it is.

Although we can’t predict the weather, it’s safe to say that the heat usually doesn’t die down in New Orleans until well after the summer is over. 

With that in mind, we recommend taking advantage of this opportunity to have some fun in the water before this park closes down for the season.

Make sure to read our post about Audubon Zoo for more details. 

NOTE: Tickets for Audubon Zoo are included with some New Orleans tourist passes!

3. Attend Beignet Festival

Of course, there should be a festival celebrating everyone's favorite deep-fried powdered-sugar treat!

On September 23rd in New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds you'll find beignets, music, a Kid's Village, and more.

There's a stage in the Kid's Village that has storytelling and readings, added with the purpose of making it the most family-friendly festival possible.

Proceeds go to the Beignet Fest Foundation which supports children with autism.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the festival website.

4. Have Fun at the Southern Decadence Festival

This festival has been around for almost 50 years and is known as the "Gay Mardi Gras."

Over 200,000 folks from the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters attend this party in the Franch Quarter.

There's a parade, club dancing, DJs, and more. There are also street parties in the lead p to the festival.

Events take place August 31st - September 5th, 2023 and more information can be found on the Southern Decadence website.

5. Take a French Quarter Walking Tour

If you’re planning on seeing the historic sites in New Orleans, you may want to consider taking a walking tour.

The French Quarter is filled with landmarks such as Jackson Square, the Cabildo, St. Louis Cathedral, and more.

We make a stop at these locations and many others on our pay-what-you-wish French Quarter walking tour as well as our audio tour of the area.

Visitors who are looking for a fun activity after dark may also want to consider our French Quarter ghost tour. We also offer a food tour of the French Quarter.

In addition to all of these tours, we also offer pay-what-you-want walking tours in neighborhoods such as the Garden District and even cemetery walking tours

For more information on each of these options, make sure to read our post on New Orleans walking tours.

6. Fill Your Belly at the National Fried Chicken Festival

You'll find a lot of food at this festival, and not just delicious fried chicken. There are even options vegans and vegetarians

The festival also has a marketplace with items from local artisans and designers and an area with kid-friendly activities. There is also music, games, and more.

2023 date are September 30th-October 1st (the website hasn't yet been updated).

Last year activities took place along New Orleans Lakefront, and it's expected to return there this year.

For more information, visit the Fried Chicken Festival website.

7. Go to the Alligator Festival

Although this festival doesn’t technically take place in New Orleans, it isn’t too far out of town. 

Festivities include carnival rides and games, arts & crafts, and live music. You can also expect a lot of fantastic food.

This is undoubtedly one of the best family-friendly activities during the month of September, as there are a lot of things for kids and their parents to see and do.

If you are also interested in gators or getting out of the city, make sure to visit our post on swamp tours and plantation tours for more details on each opportunity.

The Alligator Festival will be held from September 21st-24th.

8. Attend a Theatre or Comedy Show

If you're a fan of musicals, theatre, or comedy, it can be found in New Orleans in September.

Theatre or Musicals



9. Learn about Hurricane Katrina

It has been 18 years since Hurricane Katrina first touched ground in New Orleans in August of 2005.

But, the impact of this catastrophic event can still be felt throughout several neighborhoods in the city.

If you’re visiting in late August, you may want to consider honoring the victims of this tragedy, by visiting the Hurricane Katrina Memorial.

Alternatively, you could also head to the Presbytère to see their exhibit about the disaster.

In addition to these activities, you could also take our free, self-guided Hurricane Katrina Tour or our GPS-led audio tour.

We also have a two-part video tour you can take if the weather is bad. The first part is listed right above, so all you have to do is click play!

10. Save Money With a Tourist Attraction Pass

Many of the best attractions in New Orleans are included either for free or at a heavy discount with a discount tourist pass.

Depending on what you’re planning to do while you’re in the area, these services can be a fantastic way to save up to 50% off general admission prices.

While you will pay per day with all-inclusive passes, there are also options that allow you to choose a specific number of attractions. 

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

  • Audubon Zoo, Aquarium & Insectarium
  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
  • Paddlewheeler Jazz Cruise
  • National WW2 Museum
  • Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour
  • New Orleans Jazz Museum
  • Mardi Gras World
  • The Presbytere
  • The Cabildo
  • And more!

In addition to all of the money you can save, these passes will sometimes include skip-the-line access at certain locations, making it easier to save time as well.

For additional details, please read our post about New Orleans tourist attraction discount passes.


The following section will provide some great ideas for activities you can enjoy in New Orleans after dark during the month of September. 

If you’re looking for even more ideas, don’t forget to check our top 10 for events such as Martini Madness, live concerts, and Restaurant Week.

Be sure to also check out our post on the 40+ things to do at night in New Orleans any time of the year.

Go on a Ghost Tour

New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in the United States, and there has been a lot of supernatural activity reported in the area. In addition to paranormal happenings, this is also the site of some disturbing crimes.

If you’re interested in learning about subjects such as hauntings, criminal activity, vampires, and more, there are several interesting ghost tours available in NOLA.

As a matter of fact, we offer our own pay-what-you-wish French Quarter Ghost Tour which covers a variety of interesting topics.

In addition to that option, there are also haunted pub crawls, ghost bus tours, and more!

Make sure to read our post about New Orleans ghost tours to find the perfect haunted experience.

Attend the Burlesque Festival

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the city which celebrates Mardi Gras like no other enjoys a little risque entertainment every now and then.

During the month of September, the Burlesque Festival will welcome artists from around the world to put on their best performance.

There will also be a contest to determine the “Queen of Burlesque". Various comedians, singers, and other variety acts on hand to celebrate the event.

All shows will take place at one of three locations: the Civic Theatre, the House of Blues, or Harrah's Casino.

Enjoy Live Jazz at the Ritz

Several nights a week, the Ritz-Carlton hosts their headliner Jeremy Davenport in the Davenport Lounge.

Show times are:

  • Wednesday & Thursday | 5:30-9:30
  • Friday & Saturday | 8:00 pm - midnight

TIP: If you’re a jazz fan, consider going to the New Orleans Jazz Museum on Tuesdays for a free performance!

Be sure to also read our master post on 40+ Things to Do at Night in New Orleans


In this section, we will discuss some of the free activities you can enjoy during the month of September in New Orleans. 

For additional ideas, make sure to check out some of the other sections to read about attractions such as the Sculpture Garden and the Fried Chicken Festival.

Be sure to check out our master post on free things to do in New Orleans for many more budget-friendly ideas.

Take a Trip to Bayou Sauvage (the Free Swamp)

The summer may be over, but you can probably expect plenty of sunshine to enjoy in New Orleans during September. 

With that in mind, you may want to visit the Bayou Sauvage Urban National Wildlife Refuge, a location within the city and which is always free to enjoy.

In addition to obvious activities such as wildlife viewing, you can also go fishing or take a self-guided tour down the Ridge Trail.

If you are looking for a more exciting swamp experience, then you might want to consider taking a swamp tour . We have compared and reviewed the best in the city. 

Enjoy a Self-Guided Tour

If you don't take one of our pay-what-you-like walking tours, you can instead enjoy our self-guided tours for free. 

We currently offer self-guided trips through several different neighborhoods in New Orleans, and you can choose when and how to take them at your leisure.

Enjoy Live Music in the French Quarter

There are a lot of great places to hear live music in New Orleans after dark.

In addition to some free performances in local venues, you may experience music simply by wandering around the city.

If this sounds like a great idea, make sure to check our post about live music in New Orleans for a comprehensive list of locations you might want to visit.

TIP: Keep an eye on this live music schedule to find performances happening during your visit to New Orleans.

Take a Stroll Through Palace Market

If you’re in the mood to see some modern artwork but you don’t want to go to a museum, consider a trip to the Palace Market instead.

The collection on display rotates frequently.

Visitors who want to learn more about the Palace Market and Frenchmen Street should consider taking our pay-what-you-like tour of Frenchmen Street and the Marigny.


This section will discuss family-friendly activities you can enjoy during the month of September in New Orleans.

If you’re looking for additional ideas, make sure to check our other sections for festivals such as the Fried Chicken Festival or the Alligator Festival. 

Alternatively, you may also want to consider attending a New Orleans Saints game or going on a pay-what-you-wish walking tour.

Be sure to read our master post on things to do with kids in New Orleans for even more family-friendly ideas.

Cool Down With a Snowball

There are a lot of wonderful snowball shops all over New Orleans offering a delicious way to cool off during the summer.

In addition to classic flavors, you’ll also find some pretty interesting local favorites ranging from Cajun Red Hot to Creamy Tootsie Roll.

Check this list of the best snowball stands in the city.

If you’re looking for additional activities, check out our full post of family-friendly things to do in New Orleans.

Visit the Children’s Museum

Now that the kids are heading back to school, you may want to help activate their love of learning once again by making a trip to the Louisiana Children’s Museum.

This location is filled with exhibits that give children the opportunity to learn through fun activities.

No matter how old they are, chances are your kids will find something interesting and educational to do while they’re here.

Tickets are very affordable, but you can actually get them for free with the New Orleans Pass.

If you want to know more about this option, make sure to read our post about New Orleans tourist passes

Take a Trip to the Pharmacy Museum

It might not seem like your kids would have much interest in a pharmacy museum, but the exhibits and artifacts on display could prove enticing for young visitors. 

One of the most popular attractions on hand is the soda fountain, a device that was once used to deliver bitter medicines with a sweet and fizzy drink.

Everything in this historic building is period-appropriate, as the walls are lined with both full and empty bottles of remedies that are now centuries old. 

To sweeten the deal, tickets are actually free for children under the age of six and only $5 for general admission.

For more details, check out our post about the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Take a Stroll Through the Sculpture Garden

If you’re looking for something fun to do on the cooler days of September, consider a trip to the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. 

Located right next to the New Orleans Museum of Art, this specific attraction is actually entirely free to visit.

Although some of the exhibits in the area may be a little challenging for younger kids, others are absolutely perfect for a family outing. 

While you’re there, you may also want to hop into the museum and check out everything they have to offer!

Read more about the Sculpture Garden

Be sure to read our master post on things to do with kids in New Orleans for even more family-friendly ideas.