Later this week, we’ll be in New Orleans for Essence Festival. We hope to see you there! Whether it’s your first trip to NOLA or you’re a seasoned Essence Fest veteran, there’s so much to do and explore outside of the endless amazing concerts, speakers and expos you’ll be attending. You could always go back to the hotel and rest during your downtime — but why not check out the wide variety of things the city of New Orleans has to offer? Explore the history and culture in the city for the most well-rounded Essence Fest experience. If you’re not sure where to start, check out some of our suggestions below:

1. Explore the New Orleans Museum of Art.

2. Visit The New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History.

3. Pick a spot to watch the fireworks over the Mississippi river at 9 p.m. on July 4th.

4. Stand in awe of the many gorgeous art galleries. Some hot spots to look out for include Royal Street, Magazine Street, St. Laude and Julia Street.

5. Learn more about the history and tradition of Mardi Gras at one of the many museums centered around the subject.

6. Admire the details on the figures in the Besthoff sculpture garden in City Park.

7. Skip Bourbon Street for Frenchmen (and avoid other tourists) for a slightly more authentic New Orleans experience.

8. And don’t forget the Frenchmen Art Market, which is gorgeous at night and full of incredible local art and vendors.

9. Take a tour of the St. Louis Cathedral — the oldest active Roman Catholic Catholic Cathedral in the United States.

10. And don’t even act like you don’t need some beignets from Cafe du Monde. They’re worth it.

11. Don’t stop there! Check out some other can’t-miss restaurants, such as the award-winning Shaya, Acme Oyster House or Cochon for some New Orleans favorites, or check out Bacchanal Wine for some wine, cheese and great conversation on the patio.

12. Explore the Audubon Nature Institute zoo and/or aquarium for some light-hearted fun for all ages.

13. Join the Blavity team at one of our many events: Attend a happy hour, go on a walking tour with us or even join us for a VIP boat party. Check out the schedule of events and get tickets here.


Will you be at Essence Fest? We can’t wait to see you there!

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