25 Entertaining New Orleans Holiday Gift Ideas

Top 2017 tickets, from Cirque du Soleil to Bruno Mars.

What better gift to give loved ones this holiday season than an entertaining evening of song, dance, theater, comedy or other performances? Here are some of the best shows coming to New Orleans in the coming year that would give the gift of unforgettable memories.

Indoor kites, 28 acrobats, a boomerang specialist and a 15,000 square-foot stage: Cirque du Soleil has once again raised the bar for performance art with its new show, "Toruk—The First Flight," which pulls into the Smoothie King Center Feb. 1-5, 2017.

In "Toruk" (which previewed in Bossier City, La. in 2015 before its Montreal premiere), the high-flying acrobatics of Cirque combine with the world of Pandora, the fictional moon that’s the setting for director James Cameron’s blockbuster film “Avatar.” With a storyline that centers on overcoming cultural differences for the good of the planet, the production deals with modern-day themes light-years in the future.

Set a thousand years before the movie, the story follows three Na’vi (the 10-foot-tall, blue-hued, humanlike inhabitants of Pandora) as they set out to save the sacred Tree of Souls. Huge, human-powered puppets bring viperwolves, woodsprites and other exotic creatures to life, while massive inflatable screens and high-definition projectors add depth and transform the stage into a mythical galaxy far, far away. Even audience members get in on the act via a downloadable app that turns smartphones into part of the lighting design.

Cirque du Soleils "Toruk" (©Youssef Shoufan)

Looking for an out-of-the-box holiday gift idea? You’ve found it. Want more? Below are 24 more upcoming productions and events in 2017 we’d like to find tickets for under the tree:

Jan. 1-29: The Lion King

The Lion King (©Matthew Murphy)

Jan. 10: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Feb. 10: Billy Joel

Feb. 15: Dave Chappelle and Chris Tucker

Feb. 22: Sting


Feb. 19: NBA All-Star Game

Mar. 4: Norah Jones

Mar. 7-12: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Mar. 15: Stevie Nicks

Mar. 16: Brian Ferry

Mar. 25-26: Chris Rock: The Total Blackout Tour

Mar. 30 The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers (©The Avett Brothers)

Apr. 7: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

Apr. 11: Ariana Grande

Apr. 28-May 7: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazzfest (©Shawn Fink)

May 2: Neil Diamond 50th Anniversary Tour

May 5: The Weeknd

May 9-14: Finding Neverland

May 18: Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey

May 18: Julianne and Derek Hough

May 21: Sigur Rós

May 25-28: Bayou Country Superfest

Blake Shelton (©Bayou Country Superfest)

June 6-11: Mamma Mia!

Oct. 21: Bruno Mars