November is one of the loveliest months in New Orleans. Hurricane season is at the tail end, and "winter" is sliding in—it's not frigid by any means, but it's cool enough to enjoy outdoor activities easily. Oysters are in season and so is gumbo, and while the latter can technically be made any time of year, as a warming stew, it's best eaten when there's a chill in the air.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans are both going full-throttle, as are the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs with their weekly Second Lines. Holiday decorations are starting to roll out, and everything looks festive and joyful. Hotel prices are a bit higher than they would be during the summer, but it's still affordable.
New Orleans Weather in November
November is much cooler than previous months in New Orleans, but will still be quite enjoyable for most visitors. It's usually regarded as the first real month of fall.
- Average high: 71 degrees Fahrenheit
- Average low: 56 degrees Fahrenheit
November is one of the cloudiest months in New Orleans, and some precipitation is typical, but it doesn't usually rain for long stretches at a time. New Orleans is humid year-round, but the cooler temperatures in November help. Earlier in the month, it's technically still hurricane season, but these massive storms are highly unlikely in November, and shouldn't concern most visitors.
What to Pack
You'll probably want primarily long pants and some layers on top. T-shirts and sweaters or hoodies are a standard go-to. Bringing a light jacket and scarf for evenings is a good idea. Good walking shoes are important—you'll want them while exploring cemeteries or strolling around the Garden District—and a travel umbrella is a good idea. If you're a man and you plan on dining in any of the dress-code-keeping old-line restaurants, be sure to bring a suit jacket, while ladies will want to bring nice attire for an evening out.
November Events in New Orleans
There's no better place to celebrate this food-centric month than New Orleans, which goes beyond turkey dinner in November to celebrate some favorite regional dishes as well as local scenery and events.
- Words and Music Festival: Sponsored by the good folks at Faulkner House Books in Pirate's Alley, this literary festival features readings, workshops, concerts, book signings, and more. The event takes place from November 19–22, 2020.
- Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival: The same nonprofit that runs JazzFest puts on this annual free celebration of New Orleans African-American culture in Armstrong Park (home of Congo Square) at the edge of the historic Tremé neighborhood. There is, as you might expect, gumbo a-plenty available for purchase and sampling, as well as other food, crafts, and tons of great music. The festival is canceled in 2020.
- Oak Street Po-Boy Festival: Head uptown to join thousands of locals in celebrating the humble (but glorious) New Orleans po-boy sandwich. Over 30 vendors (mostly local restaurants coming out to play in street-casual mode) serve up traditional and unique po-boys to compete for a slate of prizes. There's live music, of course, along with lots of shopping to be had in the many diverse shops and galleries of Oak Street. The Po-Boy Festival is a "to-go festival" in 2020, and visitors can pick up a classic sandwich to enjoy at home. It takes place on December 5, 2020, instead of the usual November date.
- Thanksgiving: Lots of local restaurants offer up decadent Thanksgiving meals for both locals and out-of-towners (make reservations in advance), but the big excitement on Thanksgiving Day is at the racetrack. Thoroughbred season at the Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots traditionally opens each year on Thanksgiving, and it's a big to-do. However, the 2020 race season is taking place without spectators.
- Celebration in the Oaks: City Park has been hosting this historic Christmas celebration for generations. Twenty-five acres of the enormous park (including Carousel Gardens and the fairytale-themed Storyland playground) is decked to the nines with light displays and other holiday decorations, starting on Thanksgiving Day. Kids and holiday-loving grownups find it entirely magical. In 2020, it's a drive-through event and visitors will be able to experience the holiday lights from inside their own vehicles.
- Bayou Classic: This showdown between two legendary HBCU football rivals, Grambling State and Southern University, has been taking place since the 1930s. Nowadays, it's held the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and broadcast over national television. It is an absolute blast to attend, even if you're not affiliated with either team. The 2020 Bayou Classic has been postponed until April 2021.
November Travel Tips
- Don't feel like you need to visit on the weekend to soak up everything New Orleans has to offer. It's a bustling, vibrant city with plenty of celebrations, festivals, and performances on the weekdays, too. As a bonus: Weekday hotel rates are almost certain to be lower.
- Don't rent a car. New Orleans is walkable in most parts and ride-share services like Uber are prevalent. It's also easy to hitch a ride on a historic streetcar, which is a part of the oldest continuously operating streetcar system in the world.
- Bourbon Street is mostly family-friendly during the day, but at night it becomes rowdy. Best to keep the kids away—or any adult that doesn't enjoy being around inebriated crowds.
- It might not be the fastest mode of transportation, but the historic streetcars are a fun, relaxing way to view the city. There are four lines: the St. Charles line, the Canal Street line (covering the Cemeteries and City Park), the Riverfront line, and the Rampart line. All lines intersect between the French Quarter and the Central Business District, and tickets are just $1.25 each way.