2017 Guide to Holiday Events in and Around New Orleans

It's the most wonderful time of the year. In New Orleans and its surrounding areas, there is a host of activities to help you get into the holiday spirit and create memories with your loved ones. From festive lighting ceremonies, Christmas parades, Mr. Bingle appearances and teddy bears at tea, there is no shortage of things to do and see during the holiday season. Check back for updates as we get them.

Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland

Now – January 7

A new festive lights display makes its Louisiana debut this holiday season. Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland brings two miles of custom-made displays to the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La. starting on Friday, Nov. 17. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect.

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Celebration in the Oaks

Now – January 1

Breathtaking light displays adorn New Orleans City Park for the annual Celebration in the Oaks. The Botanical Gardens, Storyland and Carousel Gardens come alive with festive holiday lights. This year Celebration in the Oaks celebrates Mr. Bingle’s 70th birthday and will feature “snow” in the amusement park.

Photo courtesy: New Orleans City Park

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Photo courtesy: Visit Jefferson Parish

Kenner Christmas Village

Now – December 30

The Kenner Christmas Village relocates to Kenner City Park this year. The festive holiday village illuminates the area with lights and animated scenery. There’s also local entertainment, ice skating, a Santa’s workshop, food vendors, shopping and a Biergarten. The village opens Wednesdays through Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. It opens Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Christmas Village admission is free.

Photo courtesy: Visit Jefferson Parish

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Teddy Bear Tea at the Roosevelt Hotel

November 26 & December 2-3, 9-20, 16-24

The Roosevelt’s Teddy Bear Tea presents delicious food, specialty teas, tasty pastries, sparkling wine and mimosas for adults and a keepsake Roosevelt Teddy Bear for each attendee. Pictures with Santa will be available for purchase. Mrs. Claus will share some of her favorite holiday stories, and special North Pole visitors will parade through the ballroom. General reserved seating is priced at $67.38 for children ages 3-10 and $94.33 for all older than 11, including adults.

Photo courtesy: The Roosevelt Hotel

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Photo courtesy: The Roosevelt New Orleans

Lobby Lighting at the Roosevelt Hotel

Now – December 31

Each holiday season, the Roosevelt Hotel’s lobby comes to dazzling life. The annual tradition brings locals and visitors out for the perfect photo op. Plus, while you’re there, make it a date night and stop over to the Sazerac Bar.

Photo courtesy: The Roosevelt New Orleans

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Christmas at the Complex

December 1

St. Bernard Parish invites the public to their tree lighting at Sidney Torres Park. Festivities include photos with Santa, train rides, cookies and hot chocolate while listening to sweet sounds of children caroling.

Photo courtesy: St. Bernard Parish

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Photo courtesy: Harrah's New Orleans

Miracle on Fulton Street

Now – December 23

Harrah’s Hotel and Casino transforms Fulton Street into a winter wonderland. Miracle on Fulton features a daily “snow” fall, twinkling lights and live entertainment. Santa makes an appearance for photos every Friday and Saturday through Christmas Eve.

Photo courtesy: Harrah’s New Orleans

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Christmas in Lafreniere Park

Now – December 31

This holiday exhibit at Lafreniere Park sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights and displays like a 60-foot sea serpent and the gingerbread man. Admission is $5 per vehicle. Enter the park from the West Napoleon Avenue access gate. The Children’s carousel will be open nightly for $1 per child. This exhibit is open Sunday through Thursday from dusk until 9:45 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from dusk until 11:45 p.m.

Photo courtesy: Visit Jefferson Parish

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Photo courtesy: City of Slidell

Christmas Under the Stars

December 1 – 2, 8 – 9

Slidell gets decked out for the holiday season with this annual holiday celebration. See twinkling lights, holiday decorations and life-size Christmas cottages each night in Griffith Park in Olde Towne Slidell from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Photo courtesy: City of Slidell

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St. Louis Cathedral Holiday Concerts

December 4 – December 17

The iconic St. Louis Cathedral hosts this free holiday concert series as part of “Christmas New Orleans Style.”  Local favorites like Ellis Marsalis, The Boutte family, Robin Barnes and others will play your holiday favorites.

Photo courtesy: French Quarter Festivals, Inc.

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Photo courtesy: Arts Council New Orleans

Luna Fete

December  6 – December 9

This free four-day event by the Arts Council New Orleans blends lights and technology into an interactive art experience. Each night, Lafayette Square glows with illuminated installations, digital sculptures and projections from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Photo courtesy: Arts Council New Orleans

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Festival of the Bonfires

December 7 – 10

Rock band Zebra kicks off the Festival of the Bonfires with a performance on Thursday, Dec. 7.  The fest opens Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. with Cajun style music, crafts, cooking competitions, Santa’s very merry forest, carnival rides and of course, the bonfire lighting on the levee.  Bonfires are lit at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults.

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Holiday Movies on the Mississippi

December 8 & December 15

Enjoy free outdoor screenings of family-friendly movies to get you in the holiday spirit at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Plaza. Bring a blanket, lawn chairs, cocoa, and loved ones. Holiday classics will light up a giant 26-foot movie screen overlooking the water’s edge.

Friday, Dec. 8 – Polar Express | 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 15 – Elf | 6:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy: Downtown Development District

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Lights at the Lake Holiday Bash

December 9

Dozens of local boat owners decorate their vessels with wreaths and lights and holiday decorations and assemble at the New Canal Lighthouse for the West End Christmas Boat Parade on the water. Festivities at the Lights at the Lake Holiday Bash also include live performances by a gospel choir, Benny Grunch and the Bunch and a book reading Tracie Morris Schaefer. Food provided by the Bourbon House, Mother’s and Court of Two Sister’s is available for purchase. Admission is free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy: Save Our Lake

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Reindeer Run & Romp and Holiday Scavenger Hunt

December 9

Jingle along to this annual holiday fun run for kids and families on Canal Street. Participants will receive holiday goodies. Registration opens at 8 a.m., and the race starts at 9 a.m. The run begins and ends at the Shops at Canal Place. After the race, families can enjoy healthy activities, music, games, crafts and more.

Photo courtesy: Downtown Development District

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Running of the Santas

December 9

This “run” (a.k.a. festival and pub crawl) begins at Mannings at 3 p.m., where you can partake in drink specials and admire all the Santa costumes that participants are encouraged to wear. At 5:45 p.m., participants will run a few blocks to Generations Hall, where they can enjoy live music by Top Cats and Flow Tribe.  General admission is $20 and VIP admission is $75.  You must be 21 to participate.

Photo courtesy: Running of the Santas

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Magazine Street

December 9

On December 9 from 11am – 2pm families (including the four-legged kind) are invited to Santa’s FREE photo booth at 2000 Magazine Street.  Rumor has it Santa will also be at the fire station with an antique fire truck.  Shop, Eat, Drink & Be Merry! Photo courtesy: Magazine Street Merchants Association

Royal Teddy Bear Tea

December 10, 17, 21 – 23

It’s a winter wonderland at the Royal Sonesta where little princes and princesses will meet Mrs. Claus, sing-a-long with Rudolf and friends and have an opportunity to take a photo with Santa. Prices are $59 for adults and $34 for children.

Photo courtesy: Royal Sonesta

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Pancake and Pajama Breakfast

December 16

The Le Meridien Hotel hosts Papa Noel and his guests to a breakfast buffet.  Families are invited to indulge in delicious dishes while wearing their favorite pair of pajamas.  Kids will have a pancake and waffle station where they can customize their own dishes.  There will also be a cookie decorating station, pictures with Papa Noel, a reading of “The Cajun Night Before Christmas” and Christmas carols.  Photo courtesy: Le Meridien Hotel

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Caroling in Jackson Square

December 17

You know the holiday season is upon us when hundreds of carolers pack Jackson Square. A tradition since 1946, singers of every caliber grace Jackson Square with candles and songbooks to welcome the holiday season.  The event is free and open to the public.  Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Caroling begins at 7 p.m.

Photo courtesy: Patio Planters

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Irving Berlin's White Christmas

December 19 – December 24

The classic film is coming to the Saenger Theater for an eight-night run. The heart-warming performance will feature musical classics like “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Happy Holiday,” “Sisters,” “Blue Skies” and “White Christmas.”

Photo courtesy: Saenger Theater

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Photo courtesy: NOLA ChristmasFest

NOLA ChristmasFest

December 21-December 31

This family-friendly indoor Christmas festival at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center features festive lighting displays and decorated Christmas trees. Get filled with holiday cheer with this fest jam-packed with activities including an indoor ice skating rink, ice slides and carnival rides. Santa and all his friends also make an appearance.

Photo courtesy: NOLA ChristmasFest

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Slidell's Bayou Christmas

December 14 – December 23

This event features over 60,000 lights animated to holiday music in Slidell’s Heritage Park each night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Enjoy live entertainment, kids activities, photos with Santa and more.

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