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The Best Things to Do in August in New Orleans

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This post is about things to do in August in New Orleans, including free, nighttime, as well as family-friendly events and activities. It is updated for 2021.

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TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO

This section will focus on the top 10 things to do in August in New Orleans.

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

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


1. Learn about Hurricane Katrina

It has been over a decade since Hurricane Katrina first touched ground in New Orleans, 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!


2. See a Summer Concert 

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

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


3. See George Lopez Perform Stand-Up

If you're in need of a good laugh, head down to the Mahalia Jackson Theater on August 27th to see George Lopez live!

This is a rare opportunity to see one of the most famous comedians in the world performing stand-up, and tickets are selling out fast, so you might want to pick them up soon!

Although this is currently the only major show at a theater in August, there might be a few other shows popping up as the month approaches.

Check this list of theatrical events in New Orleans to see what's happening during your visit.


4. See a Sporting Event

The New Orleans Saints have been one of the best national football teams for several years, and they begin their pre-season in August. 

Tickets are as low as $8, so fans won’t even have to spend much to watch their favorite team play at the Superdome!

Football games are fun for the whole family to enjoy! And we have even more kid-friendly activities listed below


5. Grab a Bite During COOLinary Restaurant Month

Throughout the month of August, both locals and visitors from out of town can enjoy some pretty nice discounts at popular restaurants in New Orleans.

 During this event, you’ll find over 30 restaurants serving up low-priced prix-fixe meals for lunch, dinner, and brunch. 

Read our post on COOLinary for all the details on participating restaurants, prices, and more!

If you love food (who doesn't!) consider taking our pay-what-you-wish New Orleans Food Tour to sample NOLA cuisine and learn about the city's culinary traditions.


6. Attend Satchmo Summer Fest

The music and life of Louis Armstrong have meant a lot to New Orleans. Every year, they hold a music festival in his honor.

Satchmo Summer Fest is free for kids, but adults will be required to pay a small fee (typically around $5) for admission.

This event will take place at the New Orleans Jazz Museum and Jackson Square on July 31st and August 1st, 2021.


7. Go Out For Dirty Linen Night

On the second Saturday of August, the art galleries and antique shops on Royal Street hold an alternative event to White Linen Night.

Visitors are welcome to stop by and enjoy the artwork on display.

There may also be live musicians on hand, and some shops have been known to offer free dirty martinis and dirty rice. 

NOTE: Although it has not yet been scheduled, there are plans in place to bring back Dirty Linen Night in August of 2021.


8. See a Free Museum

Many of the fantastic New Orleans museums are available for free on specific (or every) day of the month! 

The Historic New Orleans Collection is always free to go in and see the permanent exhibits at the Royal Street and Chartres Street locations.

And if you've seen the HBO series Treme, you'll want to see the House of Dance and Feathers, a museum dedicated to the artwork and culture of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, Skull & Bones Gangs, and Baby Dolls.

We provide a list below in the next section.


9. Take a Sightseeing Tour

August is sunny and quite warm, so it is a great time to get out and see the sights in New Orleans. We offer many daily, pay-what-you-like walking tours.

If you are not a fan of the heat, an air-conditioned hop-on-hop-off bus tour is the perfect alternative.

What to Do in the French Quarter

If you’d rather do your sightseeing when it cools off at night, try our ghost tours that depart at 5:00 pm or later.

This would also be a great time to get out on the water for dinner and experience a view of the city from a riverboat dinner cruise.


10.Get a New Orleans City Pass

To go on all the tours and see all the museums, attractions, and plantations you can, using a New Orleans City Pass could save you time and money with fast-track or skip-the-line access and bundled discounts.

Attractions Included:

 


FREE THINGS TO DO

This section will focus primarily on things you can do for free in New Orleans during August.

Other sections of this post also list free things to do, so be sure to read this post in its entirety. 

Free Things to do in NOLA

For even more free activities, check out our Free Things to Do in New Orleans post.


Enjoy a Free Swamp Experience

Lots of people who visit New Orleans will take an organized swamp boat or airboat tour of the local marshlands and swamps.

However, there are a few free options and two of them are in the city. The first is City Park. The northern half of the park was designed to look like New Orleans without human development. 

The other one is Bayou Sauvage, just 25 minutes from the French Quarter, which is free and where you can enjoy activities such as hunting, fishing, photography, and wildlife viewing.


Go to a Free Museum

In addition to the fact that August is Museum Month in New Orleans, there are also several museums in the city that you can visit for free either on certain days of the month or every day of the week.


See the Hurricane Katrina Restoration Efforts

In the years since Hurricane Katrina touched ground in New Orleans, efforts have been made to help restore the city to its former glory.

One example of this can be seen in the Make It Right campaign which began with the help of Brad Pitt.

The idea was to build hundreds of new and sustainable homes in the area, and architects have successfully done just that. These houses have very unique designs that you can see for free! 


This photo of Make It Right Project is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Another attempt at rebuilding came in the form of Musician’s Village, a neighborhood designed for displaced musicians and families who needed affordable housing in the area.

The development of this area included a community center known as the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music (video).

If either of these activities is of interest, you may also want to consider a Hurricane Katrina tour

We also cover this area in part two of our Hurricane Katrina video tour.


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

New Orleans Travel Tips and Hacks


Foundation Free Fridays at Tipitina

This music venue and nonprofit foundation has been popular since the 1970s and is still entertaining people every week!

On Fridays during the summer (through August 31!) patrons who are 21+ can get into the concerts for free.

Doors are at 9:00 pm and the music starts at 10:00 pm.

The events are free, but they might request a donation to help them support New Orleans's music community through various educational and instrument donation programs. 

For even more free activities, check out our Free Things to Do in New Orleans post.

 


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

In this section, we will give you a few ideas for fun things to do at night over the month of August in New Orleans.

Don’t forget to check our other sections for ideas such as going to a Saints game or grabbing a bite during COOLinary Restaurant Month. 

Check out our full post on things to do at night any time of the year and/or check out our video below.


Take a Spooky Ghost Tour

New Orleans has a long and (at times) spooky history filled with tales of murder and the supernatural.

Many of the locations tied to these stories are still around today, allowing visitors to see where creepy events once took place. 

We offer a pay-what-you-want ghost tour in the French Quarter which provides a lot of detail about Pirates Alley and the Hotel Monteleone.

This could be a great activity for families with older children and it’s also very affordable! 


See the Swamps After Dark

For a few months every year, some of the swamp tour companies in New Orleans will offer excursions after the sun goes down.

This is an excellent and unique opportunity to see what the wildlife of Louisiana does at night.

Tour guides will use spotlights to reveal what life is like in the swamp after dark.

Boats leave at around 7:30 pm and come back at 10 pm, giving you plenty of time to experience a side of the bayou that few will ever get to see!

Check our swamp tours post for more information. 


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.


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 August 30th and running through September 3rd, 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. 

NOTE: This event has been pushed forward to September 2nd in 2021.


Whitney White Linen Night

On the first Saturday of August, New Orleans residents don their best white linens and descend upon Julia Street in the Arts District.

During this special event, visitors are invited to hop from one gallery to the next and perhaps even support local artists by purchasing some of their work.

Although the block party is free to attend, you can also buy a food & drink ticket for $10. There are also after parties and a cool down lounge which will cost extra.

If you’re looking for other activities in the area to combine with this event, check our Audubon Aquarium post for more ideas.

Check out our full post on things to do at night any time of the year and/or check out our video below.

 


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

This section will include a variety of family-friendly attractions and events in New Orleans throughout the month of August.

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


Take the Kids to Cool Zoo

The Audubon Zoo is a great place for families to visit, but during the summer their Cool Zoo water park is undoubtedly the more popular destination.

Kids can have fun in an alligator water slide called the Gator Run which will take them past some of the animals at the zoo.

There are many additional attractions here including a spider-monkey soaker and spitting water snakes.

If you need to cool off and have some fun, this is an excellent activity for the whole family.

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


Go Bowling

The Rock'n'Bowl in New Orleans is the perfect place to go when it is too hot to stay out in the afternoon sun.

It costs $24 per hour, per lane to bowl with $1 shoe rental, which is a good deal for the whole family! 


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.


This photo of Tammany Trace is courtesy of TripAdvisor

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

 


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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: October 12th, 2021
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