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What to Do in New Orleans in September

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This post covers things to do in New Orleans in September, updated for 2022.

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.


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER

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.

New Orleans Walking Tours

1. See a Live Concert

This city has a rich musical history, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are usually a lot of concerts in New Orleans throughout the year. 

September has a handful of notable performers taking the stage. Here are some you may want to attend:

If you’re looking for more options, make sure to check our live music in New Orleans post. 


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: Don't forget that tickets for Audubon Zoo are included with some New Orleans tourist passes!


3. Get a Drink at Martini Madness

The Friends of City Park will be holding this special event to celebrate one of the most popular drinks in New Orleans. 

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to taste more than 25 special martinis along with cuisine from more than 35 local restaurants. 

In addition to the food and drink, Martini Madness will also include a live DJ playing music, photo opportunities, and a fun raffle.

All proceeds will go toward improvements to City Park, one of the most family-friendly and affordable attractions in New Orleans.

This event will take place on September 16th, 2022 from 7 pm – 11 pm. 

If you can’t make Martini Madness, consider taking our cocktail tour.

Purchase tickets or learn more here.

For even more fun you can enjoy after dark, please check our nighttime activities section below.


4. Celebrate Smithsonian Museum Day

If you’re interested in visiting a popular New Orleans museum but you can’t afford the tickets, this is a day you won’t want to miss.

Smithsonian Museum Day takes place on September 17th, 2022 when participating locations offer free entry.

You will have to download your tickets ahead of time from the Smithsonian website.

Guests are allowed only one ticket per email address, and each ticket provides access to two people.

The following New Orleans museums will participate in this event:

  • Bayouu Teche Museum
  • Capitol Park Museum
  • E.D. White Historic Site
  • Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame/Northwest Louisiana History Museum
  • The National WW2 Museum
  • Wendell-Williams Aviation/Cypress Sawmiss Museum
  • West Baton Rouge Museum

Tickets will be made available for download beginning at midnight on August 15th.


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. Listen to the Victory Belles

BB’s Stage Door Canteen at the National WW2 Museum will be hosting a special event that includes the music of the 1940s.

The songs, sung by the talented Vicory Belles, "brought hope and joy to our GIs and those on the Home Front" during WWII.

The shows takes place on September 14th & 28th. Seating is at 11:45 am and the performance begins at 12:45 pm.

Tickets cost $45.00 for non-members, and $42 for members. A buffet style luncheon is included.

Note that on September 10th, there will be a 30 minute show with patriot tunes that costs $20.00

NOTE: If you’re interested in learning more about WW2, a full trip to this museum is definitely in order. Please read our post about the National WW2 Museum for more details.


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. 

The 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.

Considering all of the fun activities you can enjoy, it may be worth the trip to Westbank Bridge Park, especially if you plan on seeing any of the swamps or plantations in the area.

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 22nd - 25th in 2022.


8. Attend a Football Game

Considering that the football season begins in September, this is an excellent time to go and see the New Orleans Saints play at the Superdome. 

There is only one NFL game taking place in NOLA this month and it is highly advised to purchase tickets well in advance.

New Orleans Saints - purchase tickets here.

There are also a handful of Tulane football home games taking place in September.

Tulane Green Wave - puchase tickets here.


9. NOLA Bluedoo Fest

The festival brings folks together for some great music, food and drink, all to raise funds for cancer research.

The festival takes place on September 17th, 2022 at Tulane University on Gibson Quad.

There will be a two-mile walk/run with registration opening at 3:00 PM. The race starts at 4:00 PM.

Wendall Bunions and his band take the stage at 4:30 PM with the fun lasting until 7:00 PM.

Money raised through purchases will be donated to the the Tulane Cancer Center by local vendors.

For more information, visit their website.


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.


Attend the Events of Southern Decadence

This fun and unique celebration of the LGBTQ community is sure to draw in large crowds over the course of Labor Day weekend.

Starting on September 1st and running through September 5th, this special event has been referred to as “Gay Mardi Gras.”

You’ll find a variety of concerts, parties, contests, and parades taking place during the Southern Decadence events.

Click here for full schedule details and parade routes.


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN SEPTEMBER

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.

Tickets range from $22 – $40 per night and can be puchased here.


Enjoy Live Jazz at the Ritz

Several nights a week, the Ritz-Carlton hosts their headliner Jeremy Davenport – and they don’t even charge anything for entry!

These performances take place every Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm.

If you’re looking for an even later show, come on either Friday or Saturday for a performance. Hours are 8:00 pm - 12:00 am.

Although this is a free activity, we recommend bringing some cash for drinks and perhaps leave a tip if you really enjoy the music.

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


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN SEPTEMBER

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.


Attend Beignet Festival

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

On September 24th, 2022 in New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds you'll find beignets, music, a Kid's Village, and more.

This year a stage has been added to the Kid's Village, with storytelling and readings, added with the purpose of making it the most family friendly festival possible.

Tickets go on sale August 1st. Adult tickets are $20, and children under 12 will be admitted for free with a paid adult.

Proceeds support the Beignet Fest Foundation which supports children with autism.

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


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 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. 

o 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. 


FREE THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER

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

Even if you don’t feel like taking our pay-what-you-like walking tours, you can still 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.


See a Free Comedy Show

Anyone looking for a good laugh may want to consider going to a stand-up comedy special in New Orleans.

Although some of these shows require a cover charge, there are a lot of open mic nights and other performances that are entirely free to attend.

As a matter of fact, there are so many venues offering free comedy shows in NOLA that you can enjoy this activity almost every night of the week!

Even though these shows are free to watch, we recommend bringing some cash for drinks and tips.

If you’re wondering where to go and when, make sure to read our post covering free things to do in New Orleans for more details.


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