New Orleans

Carnival Date: March 1, 2022 One of the most famous carnivals around the world has to be Mardi Gras. Carnival landed on American soil thanks to 17th century French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville, who arrived in present day Louisiana on March 3, 1699. When they realized that it was Fat Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras, in French) back home, they dubbed their landing spot Point du Mardi Gras and held a party. The Mardi Gras tradition has since grown into a million-reveler celebration, which includes everything from street parades a lá Rio, to elegant society balls like the Venetians host. While Alabama actually lays claim to the oldest Mardi Gras celebration (d’Iberville and Bienville established their first settlement near modern day Mobile), the largest and most decadent is definitely held in New Orleans. Receiving more than 10 million visitors, this celebration isn’t just an awesome party – it’s a culture and tradition-lain festival where secret societies, beaded indian battlers, fire dancers, and flying beads fill the streets for weeks until the fall of Ash Wednesday when lent begins. If you love beads, battles, and some amazing music, you’ll need to head to New Orleans this pre-lent season.

Carnival 2022 Date: March 1, 2022 One of the most famous carnivals around the world has to be Mardi Gras. Carnival landed on American soil thanks to 17th century French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville, who arrived in present day Louisiana on March 3, 1699. When they realized that it was Fat Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras, in French) back home, they dubbed their landing spot Point du Mardi Gras and held a party. The Mardi Gras tradition has since grown into a million-reveler celebration, which includes everything from street parades a lá Rio, to elegant society balls like the Venetians host. While Alabama actually lays claim to the oldest Mardi Gras celebration (d’Iberville and Bienville established their first settlement near modern day Mobile), the largest and most decadent is definitely held in New Orleans. Receiving more than 10 million visitors, this celebration isn’t just an awesome party – it’s a culture and tradition-lain festival where secret societies, beaded indian battlers, fire dancers, and flying beads fill the streets for weeks until the fall of Ash Wednesday when lent begins. If you love beads, battles, and some amazing music, you’ll need to head to New Orleans this pre-lent season.

Essence Festival 2022: TBD For over 25 years, Essence Festival has been taking New Orleans by storm each 4th of July weekend. In 1995, the first festival popped up in the Crescent City. Dubbed as the ‘party with a purpose,’ Essence has long been instrumental in bringing millions of dollars to the city’s economy and creating a conjure of Black culture through music, food, and travel.  When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2004, the Essence Fest team was on the ground providing aid and helping to rebuild the city. 2004 was the only year that the festival was held outside of Louisiana (it moved to Houston temporarily). Each year, festival goers are invited to celebrate Black culture with performances from artists like Janet Jackson and Beyonce. When concerts aren’t happening, the community gathers at the convention center for celebrity panels, demos, and giveaways from brands like Shea Moisture. At Essence Fest, there is absolutely no shortage of love, pride, or “Sis, you look good” compliments.

Essence Festival 2022: TBD Location: New Orleans, Louisiana For over 25 years, Essence Festival has been taking New Orleans by storm each 4th of July weekend. In 1995, the first festival popped up in the Crescent City. Dubbed as the ‘party with a purpose,’ Essence has long been instrumental in bringing millions of dollars to the city’s economy and creating a conjure of Black culture through music, food, and travel.  When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2004, the Essence Fest team was on the ground providing aid and helping to rebuild the city. 2004 was the only year that the festival was held outside of Louisiana (it moved to Houston temporarily). Each year, festival goers are invited to celebrate Black culture with performances from artists like Janet Jackson and Beyonce. When concerts aren’t happening, the community gathers at the convention center for celebrity panels, demos, and giveaways from brands like Shea Moisture. At Essence Fest, there is absolutely no shortage of love, pride, or “Sis, you look good” compliments.

New Orleans is famous for some of the best food in the country, old French architecture, and a lifestyle full of pizzaz, but the old roads of the city echo whispers of ghosts, witches, and scary happenings that linger to this day. Embrace the magical Halloween celebrations of New Orleans that transform the entire fall season into one of partying, tour old haunted buildings and hotels, and enjoy crispy beignets every morning at this gorgeous destination.

New Orleans is one of the most spectacular and vibrant cities across the USA, and the food matches perfectly. Taste freshly cooked beignets and indulge in southern comfort food, from creole cuisine to soul food, with a touch of traditional french cooking, New Orleans encompasses an eclectic mixture of culture that results in some of the most delectable and unique dishes across the world.

The next destination on my bucket list - I've never been to New Orleans so my husband gifted me beignet mix, chicory coffee, and a small voodoo doll keychain for Christmas as his way of telling me we were finally going this year.

Munch on freshly baked beignets and enjoy this unique cultural experience, New Orleans is fully equipped with beautiful and lively streets, friendly people, and some of the most delicious food the US has to offer. With a rich history and cultural heritage seeping from every picturesque balcony, this sparkling destination has to be on your summer bucket list if it isn't already.

Famous for its food, music, and parties- this place speaks to my younger self. New Orleans is a city I endeavor to explore with good friends on a generously loose budget. Why it's on my Bucket List: New Orleans has been on my list since before bucket lists were a thing. The appeal used to be about the hedonistic parties, but now it's more about the culture for me. That doesn't mean I'm going there to behave though.

It's always a party in NOLA. Don't miss the Creole cuisine and beignets.

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