There's a magical array of activities falling around the New Orleans skyline as we delve deep into the holiday season. All across the city, Southern Belles and Papa Noels are preparing to rekindle the flame of nostalgia. With soft glowing lanterns, blissful jazz flowing into the warm evening air, it's hard not to become wrapped up in the romance of the Vieux Carré – our very own taste of Paris.
Here is a guide to some of the best holiday activities to enjoy in and around New Orleans:
Caroling in Jackson Square
Capture the traditional holiday cheer with the very merry Jackson Square Caroler’s. The event is free of charge and all ages are invited to come down on the Sunday before Christmas and sing along with classic carols.
It's also the perfect time, to admire the festive light decorations that adorn Jackson Square. You can join visitors and locals alike as they share a relaxed atmosphere, a round of hot chocolate and beignets from the world famous Cafe Du Monde. Bask in the melodies of the live street musicians, artists, and entertainers. There are even tarot card and fortune readers who may hold the key to your coming year.
Free Holiday Concerts
There is no such thing as a silent night in New Orleans. Free concerts are held throughout the city to celebrate the holiday seasons, most notably the St. Louis Cathedral. Family-friendly market places with a stream of live entertainment from both local and larger names, artisan arts and crafts, amusement rides, food vendors and fully licensed bars spring up across the city throughout the season. They are a great place to bag last minute and unusual gifts.
Horse Drawn Carriage Ride
What could be more piquant than riding in a horse-drawn carriage through the French Quarters? In true New Orleans style, there is always something to see every step of the way. From beautiful architecture, such as the Saint Louis Cathedral, the Cabilido or the ornate inner streets of the Quarters, you will be sure to find something to admire as you travel back in time.
Also recommended is an idyllic walk, hand-in-hand along the Mississippi Moon Walk as the old fashioned steam boats trawl up and down the river playing jazz from times gone by. And if you happen to walk far enough to stumble upon a ferry – hop on board! Foot passengers ride free to Algiers and back on what is assuredly the best view of the New Orleans skyline.
Celebration in the Oaks
An event you don't want to miss is the Celebration of the Oaks in the regal New Orleans City Park, where over two million lights decorate one hundred-year-old oak trees – truly a majestic sight. Horse drawn carriages are available to hire, or you can even travel by car. For the full experience, you can also tour through the park by foot.
The Roosevelt Hotel Lobby
The Roosevelt New Orleans continues the tradition of offering a spectacular display of New Orleans holiday wonderland decorations, as luxurious and memorable as the historic property itself, for locals and guests to experience during the holiday season. As you enter the hotel lobby, you can walk through the wonderful display of holiday lights and decorations unlike any other New Orleans hotel this time of year.
And if you can find a seat, take off the chill at the Sazarec Bar with one of their famous New Orleans drinks.
And if you are still around the city after the holidays, New Year's Eve in New Orleans is one not to miss – so make sure you ring in the New Year on Bourbon Street, where the party never ends! With every type of bar, tavern and club, you will be sure to find something to suit your taste and party requirements. Bourbon Street also hosts fantastic dining opportunities, such as the Oyster Bar, for the more adventurous, and plenty of window shopping with traditional New Orleans memorabilia.
Whatever you choose to do over the holiday season, may your blessings be bright, and may you have a safe and prosperous New Year!