The holiday celebrations are in full swing here in New Orleans. Lights blanket the stately oaks on St. Charles Avenue, tinsel twinkles on the iron balconies of the French Quarter, and holiday jazz music flows out of the swinging doors of Frenchmen Street bars. Even though the month is halfway over and earlier holiday gatherings have come and gone, there are still plenty of great holiday events to experience before we welcome in 2018.
Caroling in Jackson Square
This New Orleans tradition brings locals and visitors together for an evening of candle-lit caroling inside Jackson Square. Rest your vocal chords and head to the epicenter of the French Quarter on Sunday, December 17, to belt out Christmas classics with thousands of your closest friends. The gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the singing begins at 7:00.
Holiday Concerts in St. Louis Cathedral
The United States’ oldest-running Catholic cathedral is the stage for this free month-long series. There are a few more performances taking place this week before the final celebration. Tuesday, December 12, will feature the gospel sounds of the Zion Harmonizers. Wednesday, December 13, will feature the Panorama Jazz Band, and Thursday, December 14, will feature the Christmas Organ Spectacular. If you can’t make any of the weekday performances, we recommend catching the Annual Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 17.
What started as a Creole Christmas tradition has transformed into a culinary custom hosted by New Orleans’ most iconic dining institutions. Originally, Creoles celebrated their Christmas “reveillon” (French for “awakening”) directly after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The late-night ritual ended the daylong fast held until Christmas Eve. Dozens of New Orleans restaurants participate in this annual observance with inspired set dinner menus. Diners can enjoy a festive holiday meal and keep the spirit of this great tradition alive throughout the month of December.
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center transforms into a vibrant and family-friendly Christmas village for NOLA ChristmasFest! This annual celebration is home to a ton of holiday attractions including an ice-skating rink, thrilling ice slides, a maze, and a snowball fighting area. Adults can enjoy seasonal cocktails and young ones can get their picture taken with the North Pole’s very own, Santa Claus! The festival takes place from December 21-31 and tickets are $20.
Tricentennial New Year’s Eve Events
What better way to ring in New Orleans’ 300th year than with a spirited New Year’s Eve party in the French Quarter? The new year marks the commencement of New Orleans’ Tricentennial Celebration, and there is no shortage of things to do on New Year’s Eve! Ryan Seacrest and the crew from Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve will be in Jackson Square for the Central Time Zone’s countdown to 2018. The Audubon Zoo, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and the Allstate Sugar Bowl all have New Year’s Eve events you can join before the clock strikes midnight. Want an even more unique New Year’s Eve experience? Hop on the Steamboat Natchez and watch the fireworks show from the Mighty Mississippi!
Use this guide to help you plan out a December to remember for you and your loved ones in New Orleans, and stay tuned for the latest updates on our hotel renovation!