New Orleans
Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, the city’s biggest events, take place in winter and early spring—that is, after hurricane season and before it gets too hot and steamy. Still, it’s worth considering a non-peak trip to avoid the tourist throngs and exorbitant hotel rates. August’s Satchmo Festival is a celebration of native son Louis Armstrong, while the holiday season brings bonfires, Reveillon dinners, and caroling in Jackson Square.