What to Do in New Orleans in March
This post covers New Orleans in March, including a top 10 list of things to do, free activities, things to do at night as well as with kids and is updated for 2018. March means warmer weather and lots of free outdoor music. If you are coming at the start or end of the month, then you might want to read our February and April guides.
This list features some of the most exciting and entertaining activities that you’ll find in NOLA during the month of March. We will mention if an item in the top 10 is also free, family-friendly or part or a good nighttime option, but you could also click on these options at the top of the page to take you to these sections for more ideas. For tips on the most popular activities in New Orleans, check out our ghost, swamp, plantation, and riverboat tour posts.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
In New Orleans, St. Patrick’s Day is a multi-week celebration complete with parades and block parties. Beginning on March 10, the city will kick off their annual celebrations with an Irish festival in Jefferson and the Jim Monaghan’s St. Patrick’s Parade in the French Quarter. The days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th will be filled with other Irish festivals and block parties featuring plenty of live music and delicious traditional foods. While many of the festivities are hosted by pubs and include plenty of drinking, you’ll still find great activities to do with the whole family. The Irish Channel Parade on March 11th in the Garden District is one of the largest and most fun parades to attend in New Orleans. The kids will enjoy participating in the fun of catching not only colorful beads but also cabbage, carrots, and potatoes amongst other things hurled off by riders. The day of St. Patrick’s Day you’ll find no shortage of festive activities to do including more block parties, parades, and free food. Check out the schedule and watch this video to keep up with all the fun!
The Barataria Preserve is a part of the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve. This area is free to visit and is a combination of swamps, forest, and marsh. In addition to an Education Center, the preserve regularly hosts guided walks and other special events and activities. This is a great way to see up-close the variety of habitats, animals and plant life that exist in New Orleans (possibly even alligators).
For a more organized tour and a boat ride of area wetlands, be sure to read our post on choosing a swamp tour in New Orleans.
There are a variety of great live music events to catch this month. Wednesday at the Square starts up this month in Lafayette Square. This free event features musicians from New Orleans and the Louisiana area in a concert series that includes swamp pop, jazz, rock, funk, Latin and much more. The concerts usually run 2 – 3 hours and there are plenty of food and beverage booths throughout the park.
The annual Soul Fest at Audubon Zoo will be taking place March 3rd and 4th this year. This family-oriented event is a celebration of African American history featuring African American soul food, crafts and of course, plenty of soul music. Festival-goers can expect to see live music from local Jazz, R&B, and Gospel acts. Visit our post on the Audubon Zoo to find out more about tickets, directions, and other nearby attractions.
Also taking place on the 3rd and 4th this month, the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival will bring New Orleans jazz and African drumming and dance to Armstrong Park. The festival, celebrating the historic role of Congo Square before slaves were liberated is free to attend and family-friendly. Buku Music and Art Project will also be taking place this month, March 9th and 10th 2018. This electrifying festival combines live music and local art along the Mississippi River at Mardi Gras World. This year’s lineup features some of the biggest names in EDM and contemporary music today, including Bassnector, Migos, and SZA.
For a more in-depth look at Congo Square and its role in one of New Orleans most unique subcultures, join us on our name-your-own-price New Orleans Voodoo Tour. Also, check out our Tips for Live Music in New Orleans post for the top ways to get the best musical experience out of your time while visiting the city.
New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon
One of the most exciting marathons run annually, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon attracts thousands of runners from all over the world to the Crescent City. This one-of-a-kind marathon can be either walked or run as a 10K or 5K. Perhaps the most exciting component of this run is its landscape. Not only is the terrain less challenging, given the city is mostly flat, the course takes participants through some of the impressive neighborhoods in New Orleans. The marathon runs through historic, scenic spots like the French Quarter and down Bourbon Street, Garden District and through Audubon Park as well as City Park. This year’s entertainment will be provided by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
One of the most astonishing elements of New Orleans is the city’s many historic and distinguished homes. Once a year for a week, these privately-owned homes open their doors to visitors for public tours. The Spring Fiesta offers guests an inside look into 20 different homes in the French Quarter, Uptown and the Garden District. This is an excellent opportunity for tourist to get a taste of the opulence of New Orleans past and experience what these homes would have looked like a century or more ago. This week also features a horse-drawn carriage parade with the Spring Fiesta Queen and her court through Jackson Square. The event serves as an educational and entertaining celebration of the rich culture that is New Orleans.
Alternatively, we offer name-your-own-price tours of both the French Quarter and Garden District. These tours do not include access to the mansions, but rather explore the neighborhoods themselves with an experienced guide who will give insight into the historic attractions located within each area.
Sports fans should consider attending a home game of the NBA, New Orleans Pelicans. Located in the Smoothie King Center, this family-friendly event takes place several times this month. Also, for the fifth year in a row, New Orleans will host the Sun Belt Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament. The tournament will include 12 teams from both men’s and women’s basketball who will compete in a series of elimination games.
Check out StubHub for discounted Pelicans tickets.
Spring Festivals at the Plantations
This month on the 3rd and 4th, San Francisco Plantation will hosts the 15th annual Frisco Fest. This two-day event features a slew of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. In addition to over 100 artist booths, the festival features an open car show, a run and bike tour, live music and Cajun and Creole cuisine. There are also fun activities planned for the kids, including pony rides, a petting zoo, and spacewalks. Admission to San Francisco Plantation is free for holders of the New Orleans Power Pass.
Oak Alley Plantation hosts its 22nd Annual Spring Arts and Crafts Festival on the 16th and 17th this month. There will be art vendors from throughout the country selling handmade jewelry, furniture, paintings, toys and many more. This festival also features kid-friendly activities, like sand art, bungee jumping, face painting and pony rides.
Check out our post on Plantation Tours near New Orleans for information and reviews on the many historic plantations in the Louisiana area.
World War 2 Museum
The World War 2 Museum is ranked as the #1 activity you can do while visiting New Orleans by TripAdvisor, and there’s not much question as to why. This impressive 5-building campus located in the Warehouse District features interactive exhibits that transport visitors back in time into the lives of the people who lived and fought in WWII. This month, the museum hosts two exciting events: Always…Patsy Cline, a musical featuring many of the unforgettable hits of Cline, and The Best of Sinatra, an emotional showcase of Frank Sinatra backed by the Museum’s Victory Three trio.
Check out our WW2 Museum post for details about hours and tickets and tips on navigating the museum.
St. Joseph’s Day Parade
This celebration commemorating the relief St. Joseph provided to Sicilian immigrants during a famine in Sicily, features the construction of elaborate altars, ceremonial foods and of course, the St. Joseph’s Day Parade. The parade takes place in the French Quarter and features traditional Italian music backing marchers in black tuxedos busting through the streets. The event is hosted by the American Italian Marching Club, considered to be the largest ethnic group organization in the Southeast.
March is peak season for Louisiana favorite, crawfish! These crustaceans which resemble small lobsters are at their highest in population and are large enough to make preparing them worthwhile. Many New Orleans restaurants host crawfish boils this month and include them in a variety of dishes including Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Crawfish Pie.
Visit our post on Crawfish in New Orleans for tips on where to find the best in the city this month.
In addition to the free activities mentioned above, such as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade or visiting the Barataria Preserve, there are many more free activities to do in March. Check out our comprehensive post of the Best Free (and almost free) Things to do in New Orleans.
Wednesday’s at the Square
Sponsored by the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans, Wednesday’s at the Square is a free 12-week concert series every Wednesday at Lafayette Square. There are a few chances to catch a show this month, showcasing a variety of local artists who will play everything from jazz, funk, swamp pop, Latin, rock and many more. Guests are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets to set up for seating. There will also be a variety of inexpensive food booths offering local culinary specialties. Concerts start at 5:00 pm and run until just around 8:00 pm.
Be sure to check out our post on Tips for Live Music in New Orleans for even more great opportunities to catch live acts this month.
While in most places throughout the country “Super Sunday” refers to the Sunday in which the NFL Super Bowl is played, in New Orleans Super Sunday is a traditional celebration of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes. It is believed that these tribes date back to antebellum times when escaped slaves lived among Indian tribes in the South, thus adopting much of their customs. Held as close as possible to St. Joseph’s Day, Super Sunday will take place on March 18th, 2018, beginning in A.L. Davis Park. The procession features around 50 tribes who will be dressed in colorful displays of Native American ceremonial attire. This spectacle features rituals, dances, and chants as each tribe competes to outdo one another for spectators. Learn more at http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/supersunday.html.
Check out our Mardi Gras post for information about the history of this festive celebration. Also, consider joining us on our name-your-own-price Treme tour for even more insight on the Mardi Gras Indians.
Algiers Point is the only part of New Orleans located on the west bank of the Mississippi River. This Bohemian-like area offers 3 miles along the levee for walking, biking, and picnics. While you can get to Algiers Point by driving across the Crescent City connection, we’d recommend riding the Canal Street Ferry as it runs every 30 minutes on the hour and offers a unique perspective of the city. Be sure to check the schedule before riding.
March is the perfect time to visit Algiers Point as the weather has become comfortably warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities. Check out our post on things to do while on your visit and to check out our self-guided tour of Algiers.
One of America’s premier cities for fun and leisure, there is no shortage of activities to do in the evenings while in New Orleans. There are also activities mentioned in other sections such as attending a Pelicans game or attending the St. Joseph’s Day parade that goes into the evenings.
For even more great ideas check out our post on 16 Things to do in New Orleans at Night.
Phantom of the Opera at Saenger
Described as “Bigger and better than ever before…” by critics, the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera will be gracing the Saenger Theatre Stage March 14th – 25th this year. Theatre lovers won’t want to miss this grand opportunity to see one of the largest productions currently on tour with over 50 cast and orchestra members.
You could see if cheaper than retail tickets are available on StubHub.
Top Taco Festival
A festival like none other, Top Taco Festival will feature a taco competition between over 40 of the city’s best restaurants, handcrafted cocktails, and live music. This is the second installment of this festival in NOLA, but it’s been around since 2013 and became a hit in Denver. This year’s festival will take place in Woldenberg Park on Canal Street, March 15th from 6 – 10 pm. Participants can choose from three different entry options, including a VIP option that features a private party and entertainment. Check out the competing restaurants and categories here.
New Orleans is the founding place of more than one famous cocktail and who better to prepare one of these originals than a local bartender. There are countless places around the city where you can stop for a boozy treat and we’ve put together a self-guided tour of some of the best. Our cocktail tour explores 1.5 miles of the French Quarter where you’ll pass art galleries, street musicians and some of the most striking architecture in the Crescent City, all while sampling New Orleans originals like the Sazerac and Hurricane.
Check out our New Orleans Cocktails and Drinking Guide for tips on the best spots to stop for wine, beer, and cocktails.
Another great evening activity to consider on your visit to New Orleans is a visit to one of the cities casinos. Harrah’s casino located downtown features 1,500 slots, and over 130 table games including, craps, poker, roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. The casino also features several great dining establishments, cocktail bars and a nearby hotel for guests looking to stay close. Alternatively, the Fairgrounds Race Course & Slots is a combined effort of horse racing and gambling. This option is open until midnight daily and features 600 of the newest slot machines.
If you’re traveling with children, there are still plenty of great activities to enjoy this month. You’ll also want to read through other sections in this post as many of the things mentioned are also kid friendly. The NBA Pelican games, a visit to the Barataria Preserve, a ride to Algiers on the ferry and Taco Fest, are all family-friendly activities included in other sections. Don’t forget to check out our guide to New Orleans for families for more kid-friendly ideas for any time of year.
Tulips in City Park
In January, the staff at City Park plants thousands of tulip bulbs around Big Lake, of which take a month and a half to bloom. March is prime time to see the colorful assortments of these gorgeous flowers all along the lake. March weather in New Orleans is comfortably warm and taking the kids out for a walk or picnic during this spectacular season of the blossom is a great way to spend the day. City Park also features a larger than life playground complete with attractions from all their favorite storybook fairytales. Storyland is very inexpensive at $4 a ticket, and even includes admission to nearby Carousel Gardens Amusement Park (watch the video above). Read our post on City Park for more information.
While you’re visiting City Park, stop in at Morning Call for Beignets, deep-fried pastry with powdered sugar on top. Visit our post to find out more about the Best Beignets in New Orleans.
NOMA Egg Hunt
Taking place on March 24th at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the NOMA egg hunt is a day-long, outdoor family festival featuring an Easter egg hunt for the kids. There will also be other exciting activities including, face painting, a petting zoo, spacewalks, and arts and crafts. This colorful festival is a great way to get the kids excited for Easter.
The Audubon Aquarium is open Tuesdays – Sundays from 10 am – 5 pm. A component of the Audubon Nature Institute, this aquarium is located in the French Quarter and is sure to amaze your kids. It features a walk-through tunnel where you can watch the penguins as they swim along your side and above you. There are also exciting interactive opportunities including feeding parakeets and touching the stingrays. You should also consider the Audubon Zoo to marvel at the many land animals. Check out our blog post on the Audubon Zoo for information on tickets and directions.
A great option for eating out with the kids, Dat Dog has an array of custom hot dogs dressed with exciting toppings. This one-of-a-kind eatery has 3 locations around New Orleans, including one on Frenchmen Street. No doubt your little ones will enjoy trying one of the many imaginative dogs, like the Bacon Werewolf, the Alligator Dog, or creating one of their own.