Escape from Austin to New Orleans for Essence Festival

While New Orleans is known year-round as a melting pot of music, food and culture, the Crescent City raises the bar each Fourth of July weekend with the annual Essence Festival, the "party with a purpose."

Spread over a main stage and four "superlounges," the Essence Festival is the largest celebration of African American culture and music in the United States. Marking its 25th anniversary this year, the festival features a conversation with former first lady Michelle Obama, and headline music acts including Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, Nas and Pharrell Williams.

Events are scattered across the city, so the Essence Festival also offers a chance to take in the sights and sounds of New Orleans. The festival runs July 4-7.

Whether you’re ready to book your trip now or just wondering what it would cost, take a look at these forthcoming flights between Austin and New Orleans, which we pulled from travel site Skyscanner.

We've also included popular hotels, restaurants and attractions in New Orleans to showcase the range of local amenities that travelers will find there. (Prices and availability are current as of publication and subject to change.)

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Cheapest New Orleans flights

The cheapest flights between Austin and New Orleans are if you leave on July 5 and return from Louisiana on July 7. Spirit Airlines currently has tickets for $208, roundtrip.

Top New Orleans accommodations

Regarding where to stay, here are some of New Orleans’s top-rated hotels, according to Skyscanner, that we selected based on price, proximity to things to do and customer satisfaction.

The Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking to splurge on top quality, consider The Hotel Monteleone. The hotel has a 4.7-star rating on Skyscanner, and rooms are currently available for $179.

The Hotel Monteleone stands in the French Quarter within four blocks of Jackson Square, the Canal Street Shops, Harrah's New Orleans Casino, Cafe du Monde and lively Bourbon Street. Dining options include Le Cafe, serving buffet-style breakfasts and cooked-to-order selections.

The Columns Hotel (3811 St. Charles Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking for an inexpensive place to stay, there's The Columns Hotel, which has rooms for $100/night. It overlooks St. Charles Avenue, and you can watch the famous streetcar go by ⁠— or ride it to the French Quarter.

The Hampton Inn & Suites Convention Center (1201 Convention Center Blvd.)

A third option is The Hampton Inn & Suites Convention Center. The 4.6-star hotel has rooms for $99/night. It's just across from the Ernest Morial Convention Center, the site of many Essence Festival events.

Local restaurant picks

If you're looking for a popular spot to grab a bite, New Orleans has plenty of excellent eateries to choose from. Here are a few from Skyscanner's listings to help you get started.

Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Let's start with the essentials: where to get beignets. For a popular option, check out Cafe Du Monde, which has an average of 4.6 stars out of 407 reviews on Skyscanner. This 24/7 French cafe (only closed on Christmas and during hurricanes) serves its patrons a mean cup of dark-roasted chicory coffee. Complement your cup of Joe with one of its famous beignets, gratuitously topped with powdered sugar and occasionally filled with fruit.

Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking for a local favorite restaurant pick, head to Commander's Palace, with 4.8 stars from 93 reviews.

"I cannot recommend this famous restaurant enough," wrote reviewer Michelle. "There is a dress code and reservations are highly recommended."

Jacques-Imo's Cafe (8324 Oak St.)

Also worth considering is Jacques-Imo's Cafe, which is known for its eclectic mix of Creole and Cajun specialties.

"One of the busiest and smallest cafes in town because the food is wonderful and plentiful," wrote Cindee. "This is a neighborhood restaurant that is warm and friendly."

Lilette (3637 Magazine St.)

Finally, there's Lilette.

"Chef and owner John Harris’ dream restaurant, dubbed by Travel and Leisure magazine as 'the sexiest dining room in New Orleans' features a menu that boasts such items as bone marrow toast, marinated anchovies and passion fruit butter Alaskan crab cakes," wrote reviewer Justin. 

Featured local attractions

Not sure what to do in New Orleans, besides eat and drink? Here are a couple of recommendations, provided by Skyscanner.

The French Quarter (501 Basin St., New Orleans)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First up is The French Quarter, which is the heart of New Orleans as far as tourist attractions go. The iconic Bourbon and Royal streets run parallel here, offering a rambunctious nightlife at the former and unique boutiques at the latter. The waterfront features the New Orleans Aquarium, the legendary Cafe Du Monde and views of Algiers.

"The place for nightlife, social scene and overall fun," wrote visitor Kay. "When in New Orleans, go to the French Quarter. The French Quarter is always full of life and good vibes."

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (1427 Washington Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Lastly, consider checking out Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.

"It's an interesting place to get a glimpse of the macabre side of New Orleans," wrote visitor Morgan. "It's free and there is no tour guide needed."

This story was created automatically using flight, hotel, and local attractions data, then reviewed by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.