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essence festival survival guide
Photo by Sandra Alphonse

Essence Festival will draw close to 500,000 people to the city of New Orleans for the largest (and arguably most fun) summer party in the NOLA. Our first pro tip is that you shouldn’t miss it. Read on for the rest of our tips and survival guide for this year’s Essence Fest.

(Read: Essence Festival Event Guide)

1. Get the festival app

The days will be full of activities and events. Make sure to download the Essence Festival App for iPhone and Android to keep up with it all.

2. Book your hotel, yesterday

Do not wait until the last minute to book your hotel. You will regret it. Check out the Essence Festival Guide for places to stay in New Orleans, or check here. Do it now!

3. Experience NOLA before the chaos

Get to New Orleans a day early or stay a day after the festival. This will give you a chance to enjoy the city without the heavy crowds. NOLA has its own special magic with and without Essence Fest.

4. Keep it cute and comfy

Pull out the comfy shoes. Traffic is inevitable, so you’re better off staying close by and walking. Between the commute and the convention, you’ll be on your feet for hours.

5. Prepare for tricky weather

New Orleans is hot to say the least, so dress accordingly, but also be prepared for the random rain storms.

6. Know who you want to see ahead of time

A lot of shows will be occurring at the same time in different locations. Check the festival app for the concert schedule so you don’t miss the artists you want to see.

7. Party responsibly

If you know of a particular party you really want to attend, grab tickets early because they always book up and the prices will go up.

8. Party spontaneously

That being said, there are SO many parties happening that weekend, so don’t feel pressured to pick one right away. You are guaranteed to have plenty of options.

9. Check out Bourbon Street

After the concerts, head to the unofficial after party on Bourbon Street. Even if you don’t have tickets to any events, you’re still guaranteed a great time.

10. Head to the exclusive areas

If Bourbon Street is a bit too hectic for you, grab a cab and head over to Frenchmen Street, which is equally fun, loaded with bars and restaurants, but much less crowded.

11. Enjoy the cuisine

Eat everything. Seriously. Make it a priority to check out all the great New Orleans restaurants.

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