Fun Summer Culinary Festivals in New Orleans You Don’t Want to Miss
Despite the soaring temps, summer in New Orleans is packed with festivals. While you won’t go hungry at any of this summer’s music and culture festivals like Satchmo SummerFest, here are four summer events that focus on local food and drink specifically.
French Market Creole Tomato Festival
June 10-11, 2023
Traditionally held on the second weekend of June, the annual French Market Creole Tomato Festival welcomes the arrival of Creole tomatoes that Louisiana loves to incorporate into many local recipes. The French Market location and the food offerings make this a popular festival among locals and visitors alike.
The festival features live music, kids’ activities, a parade, and a second line. There are cooking demos in addition to an extensive menu of Creole tomatoes incorporated into gelato, crepes, crawfish pies — you name it.
The festival will also feature a Bloody Mary market in Dutch Alley and a tomato-eating contest. There will be local restaurants and bars offering the Marys, the Marias, and other variations of the signature cocktail, competing for “Best of the Fest” awards in such categories as Most Creative Bloody Mary and Best Bloody Mary Garnish.
The festival is spread out between the tents and the stages located at the Farmers Market, the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, and Dutch Alley. The live music schedule never disappoints.
July 23-28, 2023
This cork-popping annual industry gathering keeps expanding to include more wine and spirits tastings, tours, parties, seminars, book signings, bartender contests, and more, every year. The event draws the worldwide cocktail community with its packed schedule.
Tales of the Cocktail was conceived as a bar industry networking and education event targeting bar owners, mixologists and other pros, but its focus on celebrating not just trends but history and culture has made it popular with the general public and cocktail enthusiasts from all walks of life.
The “best of” Spirited Awards, and the prix fixe tasting menus and food-pairing dinners are especially popular. The tours and cocktail-themed parties also tend to sell out quickly, while the opening night street party is free and open to everyone. Tickets for events are sold individually, so you can build your own itinerary)
August 1-31, 2023
There’s no better time to try out an award-winning restaurant during your visit than in August. For the whole month this dining program offers discounted dining deals at participating restaurants located all over the city, and even stretching as far as Harvey and Kenner. Orchestrated by the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, it was conceived as a promotion to attract diners to local restaurants during the slower summer months.
In over a decade, COOLinary kept growing in size and popularity, with over 100 restaurants participating in the past couple of years. Those run the gamut from the iconic to the smaller, more casual ones. The list includes the famous Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, Bayona, Commander’s Palace, Domenica, Tujague’s, and Galatoire’s.
September 23, 2023
Happening on the official last day of summer, this popular local festival features dozens of sweet and savory beignets, so beloved here in New Orleans. Held at the Festival Grounds at New Orleans City Park, the festival is family-friendly and free. As usual, there is live local music, a Kid’s Village, Artist Market, and Beer Garden.
Coming to New Orleans this summer? Be sure to check out our resource for French Quarter Hotels.