Spring in New Orleans. A.K.A. crawfish season. A.K.A. festival season. A.K.A. those few weeks between winter and summer where you can actually go outside without running the risk of heat stroke. Without a doubt, March, April and May are most New Orleanians’ favorite months. The parks are crowded, outdoor patios are booming and there’s always something to do. This year, even though festivals have been pushed back to the fall, there’s no shortage of fun activities in The Crescent City this spring.

Read on for part 1 of a New Orleans event planners’ guide to The Top 10 Best Things To Do In New Orleans For Spring 2021.

  • Enjoy an outdoor brewery

New Orleans’ craft beer scene has stepped up its game in recent years. With some of the region’s best beer coming out of the city, New Orleans is making a name for itself among craft beer connoisseurs. There are a multitude of options for a great brewery experience, but one of our favorites is the recently renamed Faubourg Brewing Co. in New Orleans East. They offer free live music in their outdoor brew park on Friday evenings and all day on Saturday + Sunday, so you can enjoy your brew in the breeze while boogieing.

We also love the classic NOLA Brewing Tap Room on Tchoupitoulas, which offers a wonderful selection of beer that you can enjoy on the rooftop deck. And for a more offbeat experience, check out Parleaux Beer Lab in the Bywater, a microbrewery with a lovely garden patio and a unique selection of beverages.

  • Savor crawfish on the Bayou

A trip to New Orleans in the springtime is not complete without a sampling of our famous mudbugs. While they’re in season, you can find crawfish at almost every grocery store, seafood restaurant and corner store in the city. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite spots for crawfish, so you don’t have to take a gamble at the grocery store on the corner (even though it will probably be very good).

Clesi’s in Mid City takes our top spot for crawfish. Not only do they serve boiled seafood like crawfish, shrimp and crabs (with all the fixins’), but they also have a full restaurant with some standout options like crawfish rangoons, thin fried catfish and chargrilled oysters. If you want to get your hands dirty, they also offer a traditional crawfish boiling or oyster grilling experience for your group.

A few of our other favorites are Schaefer Seafood in Bucktown for a traditional family run seafood market experience or North Broad Seafood (a.k.a. The Blue Store) in the Seventh Ward for some of the most well-seasoned crawfish around. Just be prepared to wait in line.

Once you’ve got your crawfish, grab a few Abita Ambers at the store and make your way to the grassy area near The Blue Bridge on Bayou St. John for one of the most quintessential New Orleans experiences.

  • Spend an afternoon at Crescent Park and around Piety Street

There’s no shortage of gorgeous parks in the city, but Crescent Park may take the cake. Boasting one of the best views of the skyline, this 20-acre park situated along the riverfront is perfect for a walk, bike ride or picnic. Park in the lot at the Piety Street entrance, climb up the Rusty Rainbow Bridge, and prepare to be blown away. After a few hours at the park, walk straight down Piety Street, and make a stop at Euclid Records, an independent record store with a great selection of new and used vinyl.

In need of some booze and relaxation? Pop right next door to Bratz Y’all, a German beer garden with daily live music and full pitchers of German brews. If you get hungry, you can order a schnitzel, pretzel or doner from the kitchen, or you can mozy down Chartres to Bywater American Bistro, one of the city’s most cutting-edge culinary destinations. Right now, they even have a yurt village where guests can enjoy their meals.

  • Watch the sunset from a restaurant on Lake Pontchartrain 

Seafood and sunsets. What more could you ask for? A bit off the beaten path from the traditional tourist experience, the Lakefront is a stunning locale for any outdoor activity. Personally, we just prefer to eat, drink and observe, but if activity is more your style, there’s plenty of that too. 

Grab a table at The Blue Crab or Felix’s on the Lakefront; they’re right next to each other, so the view will be the same. And while the restaurants don’t have the same exact menu, the cuisine at both will be similar. We love to sit on the bottom deck at Felix’s on a Thursday evening. All drinks are half off, but be careful not to drink too many strawberry limeades or else you’ll end up in the water. 

  • See the city from above

New Orleans hasn’t quite caught up to the rooftop bar movement happening across the world, but the ones we do have make up for it. Without question, the most elegant rooftop bar is the Hot Tin, located at the top of the Pontchartrain Hotel in the Garden District. The small rooftop deck provides expansive views and is complemented by an immaculately designed interior and some of the best cocktails in New Orleans (our favorite is the Lipstick on a Mule). We love Hot Tin because it’s outside the French Quarter, so you’ll have a view of the entire skyline.

There are also rooftop bars downtown, like the funky Monkey Board on top of the Troubadour Hotel or the chic and beachy poolside bar Alto in the Ace Hotel. One of the city’s newest rooftop bars is Rosie’s on the Roof at the Higgins Hotel, a perfect spot to recharge and relax after a few hours spent perusing the WWII Museum directly next door.

Check back next week to see what else made the list!