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.
Using travel site Skyscanner, we’ve sifted through the cheapest flights between Chicago and New Orleans, including some popular hotel options and other highly reviewed local attractions. (Prices and availability are current as of publication and subject to change.)
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Flight deals to New Orleans
Currently, the cheapest flights between Chicago and New Orleans are if you leave on July 5 and return from Louisiana on July 10. Spirit Airlines currently has tickets for $186, roundtrip.
If you fly out of Chicago on July 5 and return from New Orleans on July 9, Spirit Airlines can get you there and back for $220 roundtrip.
Top New Orleans accommodations
To plan your accommodations, here are some of New Orleans’ top-rated hotels, that we selected from Skyscanner's listings based on price and customer satisfaction.
The Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.)
If you're looking to treat yourself, 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.)
If you're looking for an inexpensive place to stay, try 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.
Featured New Orleans food and drink
If you're looking to snag a bite at one of New Orleans' many quality eateries, here are a few popular culinary destinations from Skyscanner's listings that will help keep you satiated.
Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur St.)
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 408 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.
"This place is open 24 hours but is always super packed," wrote visitor Monica. "It is worth it though ... also not super expensive."
Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave.)
If you're looking for a local favorite restaurant pick, head to Commander's Palace, with 4.8 stars from 93 reviews.
"Jazz brunches are a tradition here in the garden room overlooking the courtyard," wrote reviewer Michelle. "The traditional place in New Orleans to celebrate a special occasion and the staff goes over the top to make you feel like a king or queen for the event."
Jacques-Imo's Cafe (8324 Oak St.)
Also worth considering is Jacques-Imo's Cafe.
Not your typical New Orleans restaurant — Jacques-Imo's Cafe has become one of the hottest food tickets in town, known for its eclectic mix of Creole and Cajun specialties, at reasonable prices.
"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."
Featured local attractions
Not sure what to do in New Orleans, besides eat and drink? Here are a few recommendations, provided by Skyscanner.
The French Quarter (501 Basin St.)
First up is The French Quarter, 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. Countless restaurants and bars reside here, and finding jazz is as easy as catching multi-colored beads.
"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."
Jackson Square (700 Decatur St.)
Jackson Square is another popular destination.
The pleasant green square located near the waterfront of New Orleans serves as the home of the statue of Andrew Jackson. Bars and restaurants border the park, and the legendary Cafe Du Monde is just across the street. Carriages stop near its entrance, marked by four striking light pillars.
Audubon Park (6500 Magazine St.)
Lastly, consider checking out Audubon Park .
This breezy northern New Orleans park features ancient live oaks, a tranquil 1.8-mile jogging path, a lagoon, picnic shelters, playgrounds, tennis courts and soccer fields.
"Take a ride down Magazine to the park," wrote visitor JJ. "Walk, run, bring the kids ... It's a big park with a lot of space to enjoy the outdoors. Enjoy some peace and quiet away from the Quarter."
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.