When to Go

May through September is hot and humid— "double 100" days (100°F and nearly 100% humidity) aren't uncommon. Just mustering the energy to raise a mint julep to your lips can cause exhaustion. These long, hot summers may explain why things are less hurried down here. June through November may bring occasional heavy rains or even a hurricane. But if you visit during sticky July and August, you'll find lower hotel prices and plenty of tables at top restaurants.

Although winters are mild compared with those in northern climes, the humidity can put a chill in the air December through February. Nevertheless, the holiday season is a great time to visit, with few conventions in town, a beautifully bedecked French Quarter, and "Papa Noel" discounted rates at many hotels.

Perhaps the best time to visit the city is early spring. Days are pleasant, except for seasonal cloudbursts, and nights are cool. The azaleas are in full bloom, the apricot scent of sweet olive trees wafts through the evening air, and the city bustles from one outdoor festival to the next.

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