Best Things to Do in Fall in New Orleans

10Best things to do in New Orleans in the fall

After a long and steamy summer, New Orleanians embrace fall like a long lost love. Fall in New Orleans means the temps and the humidity go down and the energy level in the city quickens. We may not get the autumnal splendor seen in less tropical climes, but fall is the kick-off to all things we love, from festivals to football.  With so many places to explore the outdoors, as soon as the weather gets a smidge cooler, locals take to the streets, porches, stoops and parks to enjoy the weather. Outdoor dining flourishes come fall, with restaurants from Brennan's to the Country Club to Katie's and Tableau offering sidewalk and courtyard seating. Festivals happen at breakneck speed, from the National Fried Chicken Festival to the Crescent City Blues and Barbecue Festival, Hogs for the Cause and the Treme Fall Fest -  all great. This line up of fun outdoor activities is best enjoyed any time the temperature dips into the 80s and below.


New Orleans Streetcars
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

The New Orleans Streetcar is the most historic mode of transportation in the Crescent City. Traveling through the middle of major streets such as St. Charles, Canal and Carrollton and soon Rampart Street, the streetcar is an affordable method of transportation that allows you to soak in the sights as you move closer to your end destination. $1.25 gets you aboard, and if lucky, you'll have a streetcar operator that will act as a pseudo tour guide, pointing out important landmarks. The streetcar itself is of historical significance to the city. It is the oldest continually operating street railway system in the entire world, moving city-goers around since the 19th century.

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: Nothing beats seeing the city with the clickity-clack of a streetcar in the background.

Beth's expert tip: Single-day $3 Jazzy passes (also available in multiple days) deliver unlimited rides, which usually cost $1.25 each - buy online or in cash from the streetcar conductor.

Read more about New Orleans Streetcars →

French Quarter
Fat Tire Bike Tours
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

Bike tours are a thing in New Orleans, and with good reason. There's not a hill in sight, the city has ramped up its bike lanes and there are gorgeous avenues shaded by live oaks all over town. Fat Tire Bike and Segway Tours is a super option for getting a visitor out and about. Knowledgeable tour guides set the stage for an in depth exploration of New Orleans, especially outside of the French Quarter, as well as in the Garden District. After a brief orientation by the Mississippi, guides lead guests through neighborhoods including the Marigny and Treme and into City Park, with plenty of stops for water and breaks along the way. The tour is about 3 1/2 hours and the pace is relaxed. Book online and if you've never tried a segway tour - give it a shot, it's fun!

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: This company does a great job introducing New Orleans to visitors.

Beth's expert tip: Take the tour early in your stay to learn your way around the city and get ideas for the rest of your time in Nola.

Read more about Fat Tire Bike Tours →

French Quarter
Royal Street
Photo courtesy of New Orleans and Company

While offering similar types of shops, the Royal Street experience differs significantly from Magazine Street. First, located a block away from Bourbon street, the area is more reminiscent of a European 19th-century city, with horse-drawn carriages and cobblestone providing the ambiance. Higher-end jewelry, art and antique shops are the specialties on this strip, which also has a handful of very nice hotels and restaurants. And there are constant reminders that the French Quarter is a living neighborhood, as you pass an elementary school, a vet's office and a supermarket. Pedestrian-friendly all the time, Royal is especially so during the day when it's closed to vehicles.

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: Lauded internationally for its art galleries and antique shops, Royal Street is a must-stroll for any New Orleans visitor.

Beth's expert tip: Lower Royal is closed to traffic during the day, making it a popular place to hear live music from buskers.

Read more about Royal Street →

Kayak-iti-Yat Kayaking Tours
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

A snowy egret watches cagily from the banks of Bayou St. John, strutting with his oversized yellow feet like a clown on parade. Maybe he's not used to seeing humans kayaking in his urban waterway, a sight that's becoming increasingly common, thanks to Kayak-iti-yat, a business owned by local partners Sara Howard and Sonny Averett. Kayak-iti-yat sheds new light on the city's charming Mid-City neighborhood bounded by the historic canal, once a vibrant transportation waterway connecting to Lake Ponchartrain. Along the way, history and lore are shouted into the breeze, historic homes are identified and a growing confluence of birds remarked upon, from great blue herons to beady-eyed pelicans.

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: Seeing the bayou from a kayak offers a new perspective to this iconic waterway.

Beth's expert tip: There are two to four-hour tours, depending on your ability and interest.

Read more about Kayak-iti-Yat Kayaking Tours →

Outside the city
Global Wildlife Center
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

Outdoor attractions are plentiful on this side of Lake Pontchartrain, a world away from the excess of New Orleans. The Global Wildlife Center is the Northshore's answer to Disney's Animal Kingdom, an eco-friendly 900-acre predator-free animal park that offers 90-minute covered wagon tours to view the 40 species, 2700 animals in all, which live in the park. You're likely to see giraffes, antelope, Father David deer, dromedaries and bison on your Louisiana safari, which includes feeding the curious critters from an open air safari-like vehicle. There is so much to do for families on this side of the lake that you might want to stay over for a night or two.

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: Who knew you could be feeding giraffes on an excursion across the causeway to the North Shore?

Beth's expert tip: If you're already across the lake for a nearby swamp tour, this attraction is a terrific add-on sure to please the animal lovers in the group.

Read more about Global Wildlife Center →

The Steamboat Natchez is a throwback to the days when steamboats cruised up and down the mighty Mississippi for commerce and pleasure. The Natchez floats its lunch/dinner guests down the Mississippi daily as they enjoy a menu of Creole favorites and soak in some live jazz. The climate-controlled dining area ensures the boat's casually dressed guests stay dry and warm regardless of weather occurrences. Food is pretty straightforward comfort specialties, hearty and all you can eat. There's room for dancing to the spirited music of the Dukes of Dixieland and several bars that deliver one of the best bloody Mary's in town.

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: A ride on the Natchez is an activity loved by locals and visitors alike.

Beth's expert tip: You won't find a more Instagram-worthy shot of the New Orleans skyline than aboard the Natchez.

Read more about Steamboat Natchez →

Magazine Street
Photo courtesy of Paul Broussard

Magazine Street, which runs from Canal Street to Audubon Park, is a six-mile-long shopper's paradise. With dozens of funky boutiques, galleries, and restaurants to choose from, Magazine Street is a terrific place to connect with local owner/operators and sample some famous New Orleans hospitality. Say hello to Mark and Candace Latter, owners of the popular Tujague's Restaurant as well as Bin 428 (2801), a boutique wine store inspired by a passionate love of the grape. And the energetic guy you're likely to see greeting customers at Salu Bistro (3226) is co-owner Tarek Tay, the creative force behind this sunny Mediterranean restaurant, which features local ingredients in specialties like paella, best enjoyed to live Spanish guitar.

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: Magazine is the premier shopping and dining street in town.

Beth's expert tip: Magazine Street includes several day spas if pampering is a necessary - Belladonna and Earthsavers are two super options.

Read more about Magazine Street →

Audubon Zoo
Photo courtesy of Audubon Zoo

Audubon Zoo, located in Uptown New Orleans is a great place for a family visit. Home to more than 2,000 animals, the zoo is open year-round, from Tuesday through Sunday (seven days a week during the summer). Learning the eating habits of a Komodo Dragon under the Louisiana sun can get hot, so the Zoo features "Cool Zoo", a small scale water park complete with an alligator water slide. The zoo is located across the street from Audubon Park, and adjacent to "The Fly", a great place to relax in full view of the Mississippi River. Ask about Monkey Hill, a mound for climbing popular with local tykes.

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: This zoo delivers plenty of fun for kids of all ages.

Beth's expert tip: For 2019 there are two fall dates (Oct. 12, Nov. 9) for Safari after Dark, an overnight educational event for families that includes crafts, animal encounters, fireside activities, behind-scenes tour and night hike.

Read more about Audubon Zoo →

City Sightseeing New Orleans offers visitors a chance to tour the city in the comfort of a big red double-decker bus. As you peruse around the French Quarter and along the Mississippi River, feel free to plug in complimentary earbuds and listen to the recorded informative audio track. The bus visits sights such as the Superdome, Historic Treme and the atmospheric St. Louis Cemetery #1. City Sightseeing has tourism buses in cities all across the world and is known for offering visitors a chance to observe most of the "must-see" destinations all in one ride.

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: This is a great way to get the lay of the land in a new city.

Beth's expert tip: Purchasing a pass aboard the City Sightseeing bus allows you discounts to other attractions such as the Audubon Zoo and Harrah's Casino.

Read more about City Sightseeing Bus Tour →

City Park

The largest green space in New Orleans, City Park boasts 1,300 acres featuring dozens of colorful original artworks, excellent sports facilities and beloved attractions, such as the New Orleans Botanical Garden, the spanking new Louisiana Children's Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art, all surrounded by picturesque lagoons and sprawling lawns. Locals adore this place, walking, biking, strolling and picnicking in the shade of the wonderful live oak trees. Little ones love the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, home to an antique carousel, and the whole family can enjoy boating, biking or picking crawfish under the Spanish moss-draped oak trees. There's also an expanded free sculpture garden behind and to the side of the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: Gorgeous City Park is every New Orleanian's front and back yard.

Beth's expert tip: You can rent SUPs, swan boats and surreys in the park, all the better to enjoy the great outdoors.

Read more about City Park →


Meet Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.

Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets...  More About Beth