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What to Do in July in New Orleans

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This post covers things to do in July in New Orleans.

We’ll start things off with our top 10 attractions/events, but we also have sections devoted to free activities, things to do at night, and family-friendly ideas.

Let's dive in!

 


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN JULY

This section will focus on the top 10 things to do in July 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 discount pass.


1. Visit a Swamp After Dark

During the summer months, some swamp tour companies offer outings after dark. This is a very limited opportunity that is only available for a few months each year.

While you’re out on the water, your tour guides will use high-powered lamps to shine a light on some of the wildlife in the area.

If you’ve ever wondered what life is like for swamp animals after the sun goes down, this is an excellent chance to see for yourself!

Even if you don’t want to go on a trip after dark, you may still want to consider taking a swamp tour during the day.

There are also free trails to hike and other activities to enjoy which won’t cost you a thing!

For more fun things to do when the sun goes down, check our section covering things to do at night in New Orleans this July.


2. Celebrate American Independence Day

There are several fun activities to enjoy on the 4th of July in New Orleans.

One of the most popular events is Go 4th on the River, a free, annual fireworks show on the Mississippi River.

One popular choice is to schedule a riverboat cruise during the show and see it take place from the water.

 

You can also try to catch the fireworks while traveling across the river on the Algiers Point Ferry.

Another excellent alternative is to visit one of the parks along the river. Woldenberg Park is just north of the Audubon Aquarium which offers a discount to all visitors on July 4th.

For more great kid-friendly events, check our family-friendly activities section.

You can also find a lot of great attractions to enjoy after dark in our section about things to do at night.

NOTE: Some July 4th events might be canceled or off limits to the general public to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.


3. Go on a Sightseeing Tour

Summer is the perfect time to go on a New Orleans sightseeing tour, and there are several different services to consider.

One of the most affordable and popular options is a pay-what-you-wish walking tour. During the month of July, we will be offering the following tours in NOLA:

What to Do in the French Quarter

We also have several GPS-enabled audio tours you can take whenever you want.

Alternatively, you may also want to consider going on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour or a Segway tour. These tours will take you to all of the major sites in the city.

There are also riverboat tours that will take you down the Mississippi River.

This is also one of the best times to take a swamp tour and see some of the natural wildlife that lives in the area.


4. Go to the Audubon Zoo

The Audubon Zoo might be one of the best places to visit in New Orleans during the summer.

Not only will you have the chance to see a lot of wonderful animals, but you can also cool off at their Cool Zoo water park.

Audubon Zoo also offers Dinner and a ZOOvie during the summer, allowing kids and their families to enjoy a film at the park.

Visitors who purchase a ticket to this event for $6 can also get into Cool Zoo for the 2 hours before the movie starts for an additional $6.

There will also be an opportunity to see a movie at the National WW2 Museum this month.

If you’re looking for more kid-friendly attractions to visit, make sure to read our section about family-friendly activities in New Orleans this July.

NOTE: Some of these events might not be available in 2021 due to the pandemic, but the Audubon Zoo and the National WW2 Museum should be open with at least limited availability.


5. Discover New Orleans on a Virtual Tour

Whether you're trying to avoid going out for an in-person tour to prevent the spread of Covid-19 or you just want to avoid the crowds, we actually provide several virtual tours of New Orleans that you can enjoy.

New Orleans TV, Film, and Book Locations

Here are the outings we currently offer in NOLA:

Our tour guides will provide a plethora of information about each location they visit. Much like our regular outings, you can also buy your tour guide a cup of coffee for these virtual tours as well!

We love New Orleans Group


6. Attend a Concert

New Orleans is a city rich with musical history, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they attract a lot of musicians throughout the year.

The only major musical event happening this month is the Artemis Tour starring Lindsey Stirling, Kiesza, and Mako. This show will take place at the Saenger Theatre on July 26th.

If you’re looking for even more opportunities to hear live music, consider going to the Ritz for free live jazz performances.

NOTE: Most concerts have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. We recommend checking this concert calendar to see if there are any other shows which have been announced recently.


7. See Maks & Val Live

Although there are usually a few musicals, ballets or operas to attend in New Orleans, most theaters won’t be hosting any productions in July.

Thankfully, there will be one great show to see this month at the historic Saenger Theatre.

On July 30th, the acclaimed dancers Maks & Val are scheduled to appear live for their Motion Pictures Tour.

 

 

This duo has become quite well known thanks to their performances on Dancing With the Stars, and this is your opportunity to see them live!

NOTE: This show was originally scheduled for 2020, but was postponed due to Covid-19. Depending on the number of cases this month, they may reschedule this event as well.


8. Check Out the Bastille Day Block Party

Due to its French roots, New Orleans likes to celebrate Bastille Day in a big way.

 

 

One big activity is an annual block party held in the 3100 block of Ponce de Leon Street in the city’s historic Faubourg St. John neighborhood.

This block party will include live music, food and drinks, games, arts & crafts and other family-friendly activities.

Although the event itself is free to attend, you can probably expect to pay for food/drinbetter thk and other things from various vendors.

Bastille Day is celebrated on the closest Saturday preceding July 14th every year.

For more activities that won’t cost a dime, make sure to read our section covering free things to do in New Orleans this July.

NOTE: This event has yet to be confirmed for 2021. 


9. Running of the Bulls

You don’t have to visit Spain just to enjoy this classic event, because New Orleans also celebrates the Running of the Bulls from July 9th - 11th.

 

 

Unlike the Spanish festival, this activity welcomes the Big Easy Rollergirls to perform as the bulls, keeping everything safe and fun for everyone.

This event is free to watch, but it will cost $15 to take part in the festivities.

If you intend to be a part of the show, make sure to wear red and white so that the “bulls” know who to target.

For more details or to sign up, check the NOLA Bulls website.

NOTE: This event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Currently, the Running of the Bills is still scheduled to take place in 2021, but that could change depending on the numbers of Covid-19 cases.


10. Go to a Sporting Event 

Although there aren't always a lot of sporting events happening in New Orleans during the summer, it's worth noting that the local soccer team usually has at least 1-2 games this month.

The New Orleans Jesters are usually finishing off their season at the beginning of July, which means you may actually have an opportunity to catch one of their final games.

This makes for a great family activity. For more things to do with kids, read our family-friendly activities section.

NOTE: The Jesters have games scheduled in July of 2021, but these events might be either rescheduled or closed off to the public depending on the Covid-19 situation in New Orleans.


BONUS: Consider Getting a Tourist Pass

If you’re trying to save money on some of the best summer attractions in New Orleans, a discount pass could be just the ticket.

Many popular locations are included with the top passes, and you can save 50% or more off regular admission prices.

In addition to the discounts, tourist passes usually include skip-the-line tickets which can save you a lot of time.

Here are some of the most notable sites included with these services:

  • Audubon Zoo
  • Audubon Aquarium
  • Audubon Insectarium
  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
  • Mardi Gras World
  • Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour
  • National WW2 Museum
  • Riverboat Cruise
  • Houmas House Plantation
  • Oak Alley Plantation
  • Louisiana Children’s Museum

These are just a handful of the activities you can enjoy. For more details, make sure to read our full post about New Orleans tourist passes.

 


FREE THINGS TO DO

In the following section, we will provide details about some of the best activities you can enjoy for free in New Orleans this July.

Don’t forget to take a look at our other sections for even more fun things to do that won’t cost a dime, such as a trip to the Sculpture Garden, the Bastille Day Block Party, Go 4th On the River, Running of the Bulls and more.

For even more great ideas, check out our full post covering things to do for free in New Orleans.

 

 


Go on a Swamp Hike

There are a few different swamps you can visit in New Orleans without paying a dime, and each location offers a variety of fun activities for free.

The Barataria Preserve is protected by the National Park Service, and they have free trail maps you can use to take a self-guided tour.

In conjunction with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bayou Sauvage also provides similar trail maps that can be used to hike through the area.

Alternatively, if you don’t feel like traveling very far, you can go to City Park to experience the Couturie Forest.

No matter which location you choose to visit, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide range of wildlife including alligators, turtles, and over 200 different species of birds.

For more details, check our post covering swamp hikes in and around New Orleans.


Celebrate the 3rd of July

The day before independence day, City Park will be holding their annual celebration of the holiday in grand fashion.

During this event, the Marine Corps Band of New Orleans performs a number of patriotic tunes including the 1812 Overture and America the Beautiful.

There will also be a fireworks show at the Peristyle which overlooks Bayou Metairie.

Although concessions such as burgers, hot dogs, ice cream and various drinks are not free, attending this celebration won’t cost you a dime.

This is a great family-friendly event which takes place at night from 7 pm – 9 pm.

Learn more about 3rd of July events or find more things to do in City Park.

NOTE: This event was canceled in 2020, and it might be canceled again for 2021. That said, they have yet to make any announcements about this activity.


Experience a Free Art Show

There are some great art exhibitions and galleries to see in New Orleans this July.

In addition to their permanent exhibits in the Louisiana History Galleries, the Historic New Orleans Collection will also have several limited exhibitions this month.

One of their most interesting shows is called French Quarter Life: People and Places in the Vieux Carré, and it features 22 paintings which focus on the lives of people in the French Quarter.

NOTE: The permanent exhibits of The Historic New Orleans Collection are always free to visit, and admission to the National WW2 Museum is included with most New Orleans tourist passes.


Laugh it up at an Open Mic Night

There are several great venues in New Orleans that offer open mic comedy shows every month. Some locations even provide a weekly show!

Open mic performances are usually free for all visitors, which means you don’t have to pay anything to get in and enjoy the laughs.

Even though you won’t have to worry about a cover charge, you might want to consider bringing some extra cash for tips and/or drinks.

You will find a full list of locations where you can enjoy free open mic shows on our post about free and cheap things to do in New Orleans.

NOTE: Some of these open mic nights might not be available in July 2021 due to the pandemic.


Enjoy a Free Jazz Performance

Jazz fans won’t have much trouble finding live performances in New Orleans, but many of them will set you back a few bucks.

Thankfully, even if you’re running low on cash, there is at least one option for a jazz performance that won’t cost you a thing!

Jeremy Davenport performs at the Ritz-Carlton every Wed & Thur from 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm and every Fri & Sat from 9 pm - 1 am.

This free performance is also an excellent nighttime activity.

Even though the performance is free, you might want to bring some extra money for drinks and tips!

NOTE: These events could be limited in scope or postponed due to the pandemic. Make sure to check ahead before stopping in for some live jazz.


Go to a Free Wine Tasting

If you’re interested in trying out some new wines, drop into Faubourg Wines on Wednesday nights from 6 pm - 8 pm for their free wine tasting event.

During this weekly activity, 3-4 different wines are selected and visitors are given the chance to taste all of them.

It is recommended to arrive before 7:30 pm if you want to have the opportunity to try all of the different flavors available.

No reservation is required, all you need to do is show up and participate in the activity!

 


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THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

This section will cover some of the more interesting activities you can enjoy after dark in New Orleans this July.

Take a look at our other sections for more ideas such as a free jazz show at the Ritz, Open Mic comedy shows, Go 4th on the River, July 3rd celebrations, concerts, and more.

You can find even more great things to do after the sun goes down on our full post about what to do in New Orleans at night.

 

 


Take an Evening Cruise

One of the best ways to see New Orleans is from with a cruise on the Mississippi river, and there are a few different options available after dark.

Both of the major riverboat cruise companies in this city offer evening cruises with live jazz performances.

If you’re looking to make this a date night, you can also go on a dinner cruise and have a nice meal while listening to live jazz and enjoying the view.

Best of all, this service is actually included with both of the major New Orleans discount passes, allowing you to save a lot of money on tickets.

For more details on this activity, make sure to read our post about riverboat cruises in New Orleans.


Go on a Ghost Tour

New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in the United States, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there have been a lot of hauntings reported here.

In addition to potential supernatural activity, there have also been notable crimes and other creepy happenings in Louisiana throughout the years.

If you want to learn more about these subjects, we offer a pay-what-you-wish French Quarter ghost tour that covers a variety of interesting paranormal and crime stories.

We also have a pay-what-you-wish voodoo tour which covers the history of this religion in Louisiana.

In addition to these options, you’ll find several cemetery tours, pub crawls, and even vampire tours on our post covering haunted New Orleans tours.

NOTE: Some of these tours might offer limited spaces to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.


Attend a Thursdays at Twilight Concert

New Orleans City Park is host to a very special series of concerts known as Thursdays at Twilight.

Located at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters, each show starts at 6 pm and typically continues until after dark.

There will be three concerts during the month of July:

  • Ronnie Kole | July 11th
  • Little Freddie King | July 18th
  • Bobby Cure & the Poppa Stoppas | July 25th

Admission for this event is only $10 per person, but seating is limited, so you might want to purchase tickets well ahead of time.

TIP: If you’re interested in seeing a live musical performance, check our list of concerts in the top 10 section.

NOTE: This event has not been scheduled for 2021, and it was canceled for the 2020 season due to the pandemic. 


Experience Burlesque Bingo

Every Monday, the MRB bar and restaurant holds a special event known as Burlesque Bingo.

Between every round of the game, visitors can enjoy a free burlesque show from in-house performer Lefty Lucy.

There is no cover charge to play the game, all you have to do is buy a drink to get a bingo card.

Winners will receive several different kinds of prizes, including exclusive art prints, Abita Brewing Company swag, and a secret grand prize.

This unique and interesting bingo game begins at 8 pm each Monday.

 


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THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS

This section will go into detail about some of the more kid-friendly attractions and events taking place in New Orleans this July.

Our other sections contain even more great activities for families such as Go 4th on the River, July 3rd celebrations, Audubon Zoo, the Bastille Day Block Party, swamp hikes, evening cruises and more.

For even more ideas, make sure to read our post covering things to do with kids in New Orleans.

 

 


Visit a Plantation

The summer is an excellent time to visit one of the historic plantations in the New Orleans area.

These locations are kind of like museums, providing a look at what life was like during a different time in American history.

In addition to all of the things you can learn from visiting a plantation, these beautiful areas are full of natural flora and fauna that families will enjoy.

There are several different plantation tours you can take, and many of them are actually included with New Orleans tourist passes.

If you want to learn more about this opportunity, make sure to read our post about Louisiana plantation tours.


Grab a Sno-ball

When the weather gets hot, there’s nothing like a nice sno-ball to cool you down.

There are a lot of great places to get sno-balls in New Orleans, and they all provide a wonderful and delicious service during the summer months.

Check out this list of the best sno-ball stands in NOLA to find the closest location.

Although sno-balls are a great idea for families, other visitors may want to consider a more adult alternative.

Frozen Daiquiris are absolutely amazing, and you can find them at restaurants and bars all over New Orleans.

Check this list of the best places to get a Frozen Daiquiri in New Orleans.


Take the Kids to BB’s Stage Door Canteen

On July 20th, BB’s Stage Door Canteen at the National WW2 Museum will be holding a special event called “Kids Canteen.”

During this activity, children can come and enjoy a free screening of Captain America: The First Avenger from 10:30 am - 1 pm.

While tickets are free for kids (age 5-13), adults will have to pay $7 for admission – but that’s still pretty cheap for a movie!

There will be a variety of theater snacks available as well as craft activities for young visitors.

Tickets to the National WW2 Museum are included with more than one New Orleans tourist pass.

NOTE: Many of these events have either been canceled, postponed, or taken virtual as a result of the pandemic.


Visit the Sculpture Garden

Located near the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park, the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is family-friendly, free and open to the public.

 

 

Summer is one of the best times to visit this location, as you won’t have to worry about bad weather ruining your trip.

There are a variety of interesting sculptures and statues to see in this area, and they’re actually expanding it to include 26 new works!

This expansion will take place before July, which means you can see all the new artwork on display when you visit.

This sculpture garden will be open from 10 am - 6 pm each day this month.


Attend a Family Block Party

On July 26th, the National WW2 Museum will be hosting a block party for families from 5:30 pm - 9 pm.

This is the first time they have held this event, but they’re planning on making it an annual activity.

Visitors will have after-hours access to the museum and its exhibits, as well as special activities for people of all ages.

Admission is free for all kids under the age of 18, and accompanying adults only need to pay $10 each.

Even if you can’t make it to the block party, you may want to consider visiting this museum at another time during the month.

NOTE: This event has not been scheduled for 2021.


Go to a Plant Sale at City Park

Every month, the Botanical Garden holds a plant sale at the Pelican Greenhouse in City Park.

This time around, the event will be held every weekend in July from 9 am - 12 pm and admission will be entirely free.

Even if you don’t feel like buying any plants, this is a great opportunity to see a lot of flowers and other greenery with the kids.

Since it’s near the Botanical Garden, you may also want to stop by there and take a stroll through the area.

For even more fun activities while you’re here, check our post about things to do in City Park.

 


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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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