There's no place like home for the holidays. Whether you've lived in the New Orleans area for your entire life or just moved, there's an air of festiveness that beckons you to join the party. Here are some activities you won't want to miss this season.
Singing Christmas carols is a big deal in New Orleans. The 200-year-old St. Louis Cathedral holds weekly concerts. There are also caroling cruises on local riverboats, as well as nightly caroling by candlelight in Jackson Square. Bring your hot cocoa and join in!
This tradition dates back to the mid-1800s, when residents enjoyed special meals after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at the St. Louis Cathedral and again on New Year's Eve. These special dinners are held at some of New Orleans’ finest restaurants every night in December and meals are a combination of Creole cuisine and contemporary dishes.
Celebration in the Oaks
Seeing the millions of lights at City Park during this event is a holiday tradition you won't want to miss. Take the Canal Street streetcar to the park, and while you're there you can also enjoy a walk through the poinsettia display in the Botanical Gardens and ride the miniature train. The event runs from November 27 to January 2, 2016.
Christmas Eve Bonfire Express
Louisiana has a tradition all its own: the lighting of bonfires along the levees of the Mississippi River on Christmas Eve. This guided tour by Gray Line New Orleans takes you by motor coach to see all the bonfires, leading up to a grand conclusion of a visit from Papa Noel.
The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra annual holiday concert will surely put you in the spirit of the season. This musical event is held at three different locations throughout metro New Orleans area, including a performance on December 6th at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium, which is just over two miles from Springs at Fremaux Town Center.
NOLA Christmas Fest
Held December 18-27, this family-friendly activity has everything you expect for a magical holiday celebration, including ice skating, more than a million lights, a visit from Santa Claus, tree decorating, and a children's lantern parade. There are special activities here, too, like the Kringle carousel and carnival rides.
The Running of the Santas
Bring in the holiday spirit on December 12th with the 5th annual Running of the Santas in the New Orleans Warehouse District. This four-block fun run starts at the "South Pole" (The Rusty Nail) with live music and holiday drinks, and ends at the "North Pole" at Generations Hall. Join an expected 4,000 other people, all of whom will be dressed in their most creative holiday-themed costumes like Santa and Mrs. Claus, elves and reindeer.
With all the holiday activities going on in the area, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy. So get in the holiday spirit and join in the fun!