January in New Orleans: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Low Angle View Of Buildings In City

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January is a great time to visit New Orleans: There's still a festive air lingering from the holidays, but the city isn't yet overcrowded with tourists visiting for Mardi Gras, which means that hotels and other attractions aren't as busy. The city is anything but boring during this time, though, hosting a slew of sporting events, art fairs, and Mardi Gras kickoff parties to keep you entertained. Plus, the mild weather makes it possible to spend time outside.

New Orleans Weather in January

New Orleans weather in January is generally mild, with high temperatures usually in the 60s Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) and lows in the mid-40s (7 degrees Celsius). Occasionally, warmer afternoon temperatures can rise just above 70 degrees. In past years, the temperatures have risen into the 80s and dropped into the teens, but these would generally be considered extreme cases.

  • Average high: 62 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius)
  • Average low: 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius)

February receives an average amount of rain, typically around 4.7 inches spread across nine days. On a few days, rainfall can be more extreme, with up to .5 inches occurring on a single day. Snow, on the other hand, is scarce.

What to Pack

New Orleans' January climate is similar to fall in other parts of the U.S. There will be chilly days, so a medium-weight jacket is a good idea, as are gloves. In general, a light jacket or windbreaker will be plenty warm enough. The Big Easy is a walking city, so don't forget comfortable, waterproof shoes. If you'll be attending a Carnival Ball, bring something formal.

January Events in New Orleans

January is a busy month in New Orleans, especially because it's the start of carnival season. In addition to parades, the city also hosts several interesting art, cultural, and sporting events during the first month of the year.

  • The carnival season begins on January 6, which is also known as Epiphany, or the official end to the Christmas season. After this date, you'll see king cakes on sale everywhere, and the festive carnival balls begin.
  • The Allstate Sugar Bowl is an annual college football event in the Superdome. It's held on January 1 and was first played in 1935.
  • The Arts Market of New Orleans takes place on the last Saturday of every month. At this festive, family-friendly event held at Palmer Park, you'll find handmade art from local makers, ranging from ceramics and prints to canvases and soaps.
  • New Orleans celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr., Day with a series of events, the most notable being a parade in Central City. The annual remembrance draws thousands and includes noteworthy speakers and performers.
  • The final battle of the War of 1812, the Battle of New Orleans, was fought just outside of the city. Each year, on January 8, more than 150 re-enactors gather on the Chalmette Battlefield to commemorate the victory over the British.

January Travel Trips

  • January in New Orleans offers a big benefit: You beat the miserable humidity and stifling temperatures that can plague a summertime visit.
  • Make your travel arrangements early. The city is popular year-round, especially as Mardi Gras draws closer. Sporting events, like New Orleans' Saints football games, can attract exceptionally large crowds, which means higher prices for hotel rooms and other attractions.
  • Watch your bag and wallet when exploring the French Quarter or any crowded area. While these areas of New Orleans are generally safe, petty crime can happen just like any major urban area.
  • New Orleans is a great dining city, but especially so for those looking to dine outdoors. Mild weather means that sitting on the patio, ideally listening to live jazz, is the perfect way to spend a sunny New Orleans afternoon.