Explore New Orleans

6 Things You’ll Love About About Christmas in New Orleans

Where to get your holly jolly on.

The Crescent City pulls out all the stops come Christmastime. From the blazing bonfire along the Algiers riverfront at the beginning of December (designed to help guide the way for Papa Noël and his gator-pulled pirogue) to the dueling fireworks display over the Mississippi on New Year’s Eve, you’ll find bright spots and festive fun all over town all month long.

Where to begin? We wrapped a few of our favorite things just for you.

Celebration in the Oaks

This massive holiday lights spectacular transforms City Park into a winter wonderland with wow-worthy displays like the Dripping Snow Tree with its 42,000 LED lights. Traditionalists find what they’re after in the towering Poinsettia Tree, created from 500 live plants.

City Park New Orleans
Celebration in the Oaks’ picturesque Poinsettia Tree. (©Paul Broussard/NOCVB)

Gingerbread Displays

The Windsor Court, the Roosevelt, the Sheraton: Step into just about any hotel lobby, and you’re greeted by the scent of the season and giant gingerbread displays, from Harrah’s, where you’ll find a gingerbread Superdome, to the Ritz-Carlton, which this year features a life-size St. Charles streetcar. Hungry for more? Get thee to NOLA Christmas Fest.

Ritz-Carlton New Orleans
You’ll spot famous New Orleanians, from Louis Armstrong to Drew Brees, aboard the Ritz-Carlton’s gingerbread streetcar. (©Ritz-Carlton Hotel)

Cajun Kringle

Not a gingerbread fan? What about king cake? Locals will tell you king cake season doesn’t start until Jan. 6 (Twelfth Night), but Haydel’s skirts the rules with its similar-looking holiday season must-have. Each year the beloved bakery turns out more than 20,000 of the buttery pastry rounds loaded with praline filling and topped with caramel icing and pecans. 

Haydel's Bakery New Orleans
Though less dense than king cake, Haydel’s Cajun Kringle is just as delicious. (©Haydel’s Bakery)

Roosevelt Hotel

The Roosevelt’s block-long lobby decorations have been enchanting guests since the 1930s. What was once a riot of angel hair and flocked trees (under the Fairmont’s then-ownership) is now an elegant alley lined with lacquered birch branches accented with hand-blown ornaments, Fraser firs and thousands of white lights.

Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans
Simple decorations are key to the Roosevelt Hotel’s simply stunning holiday lobby. (©Roosevelt Hotel)

Holiday Homes

From the French Quarter to the Garden District, the riverfront to the lakefront, Uptown to down, the local passion for pageantry is on full display during the holidays. Nobody does it better than homeowners along stately St. Charles Avenue, whose jaw-dropping, decked-out digs slow traffic to a crawl. Instead, grab a seat on the streetcar, and take in the show for just $1.25.

St. Charles Avenue New Orleans
Crews begin work on this St. Charles Avenue showstopper (at Cadiz Street) in October. (©Paul Broussard/NOCVB)

Santa’s Quarters

Crab-shell St. Nicks. Check. Red pepper string lights. Check. Glittered crawfish, oyster shells and hot sauce bottles. Check, check and check. Christmas New Orleans style is on display year-round at this well-stocked holiday shop. Scope out the Mardi Gras section...’tis almost the season.

Santa's Quarters New Orleans
Searching for daiquiri, wine or beer ornaments? You’ll find them all—and then some—at Santa’s Quarters. (©Shawn Fink)