Things to Do This November in the French Quarter and Nearby
November in New Orleans is jam-packed with festivals and celebrations. It’s also a magical time to be here, with a stretch of perfect weather leading up to the winter holidays and Mardi Gras. Here are some of our favorite suggestions on what to see, eat, and do if you’re in New Orleans in November.
Thursday-Tuesday, November 2-7, 2023
The New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) has been constantly evolving since its inception in 1989. As the movies and the technology behind them have become more advanced, so too has this local event, which promotes and fosters the cinematic arts for audiences and filmmakers in the Crescent City.
To date, the New Orleans Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in the South and is the longest-running festival of its kind in the state. The festival has grown to the point of attracting thousands of attendees and industry insiders, plus more than 400 filmmakers and over 200 films annually.
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Bayou Bacchanal is a celebration of Caribbean culture and heritage. Presented by Friends of Culture, Bayou Bacchanal will include Caribbean cuisine, dance, music, and celebration, all held on Louis Armstrong Park’s Congo Square.
Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
Sunday, November 19, 2023, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
There’s a po-boy for every budget and palate in New Orleans — and at the Po-Boy Festival, you can sample the best po-boys the city has to offer. The fest will be held between the 8100 and 8800 blocks of Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood.
Over 30 vendors will present more food that you could shake your fork at, with over 60 varieties of delicious sandwiches alone — plus beer, specialty cocktails, and desserts. Admission is free, but you’ll need to purchase a wristband at the fest to purchase the po-boys.
There is also a “fast pass” that would let you bypass the line to enter. And, just like in the past years, some of the best restaurants in the city will once again compete in six “Best of” categories.
Thanksgiving at the Fair Grounds Race Course
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Per a long-standing New Orleans tradition, it’s customary to turn out at the track on Thanksgiving Day to watch the opening-day races while sporting cocktails and some seriously fabulous hats. The first race starts at 11 a.m., and the racetrack also serves a sumptuous holiday buffet, plus a fancy dinner with all the holiday trimmings at the Clubhouse.
Bayou Classic 2023
Friday-Saturday, November 24-25, 2023
Each November the Bayou Classic draws the fans and alumni of Southern University and Grambling State University to New Orleans to partake in one of the country’s greatest college sports rivalries. Over the years, the event has become much more than a football game, drawing more than 200,000 visitors to New Orleans.
The Battle of the Bands between the Grambling “Marching Tigers” and the Southern “Human Jukebox” on Friday, November 24, 2023, is an unforgettable extravaganza (tickets). The same two marching bands will lead the Annual Bayou Classic Parade on Saturday, starting at 9:30 a.m., from the Marigny to the CBD. The parade will have the elements of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, floats, military units, and more. In other words, expect a great show.
November 24, 2023 – January 1, 2024
This beloved New Orleans tradition is celebrating over three decades of existence, selling out quickly for the past few years. Celebration in the Oaks is a dazzling holiday lights festival scattered throughout the 25 acres of the City Park, including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.
Stroll through the magical grounds swathed in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, take a train ride or a holiday picture by the iconic Mr. Bingle, listen to the caroling, do some holiday shopping, or ride the historic carousel.
2023 dates TBA; showtimes vary
This comedy fest originated in Austin but has become a New Orleans mainstay since its Crescent City debut in 2011. Get ready for a diverse lineup featuring improv, sketch, and stand-up, including an all-female showcase on Thursdays. Comedy House New Orleans (609 Fulton St.) will host.