November is one of the loveliest months in the New Orleans year. Hurricane season is over 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 (the latter can technically be made any time of year, but as a warming stew, it's really best eaten when there's a chill in the air). The 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.
Average High: 71 F / 22 C
Average Low: 55 F / 11 C
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. Also, if you're a fella and you plan on dining in any of the dress-code-keeping old-line restaurants, be sure to bring a suit jacket.
November Event Highlights
- 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.
- Voodoo Music Experience - This large-scale music festival in City Park features a wildly diverse lineup of performers.
- Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival - The same non-profit 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.
- Oak Street Po-Boy Festival - Head uptown to join thousands of locals in celebrating the humble (but glorious) New Orleans po-boy. Over 40 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.
- 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.
- Celebration in the Oaks - City Park has been hosting this historic Christmas celebration for generations. 25 acres of the enormous park (including Carousel Gardens and the fairy tale-themed Storyland playground) are decked out to the nines with light displays and other holiday decorations. Kids and holiday-loving grownups find it entirely magical. Tickets are required and are best purchased in advance, particularly for busier weekends.
- 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.