The rich history, deep culture, and vibrant lifestyle of New Orleans really shine during the holidays. Celebrate the season in traditional New Orleans style with these favorite holiday activities.
Bonfires on the Levee
An authentic Cajun Christmas isn’t complete without a roaring, crackling bonfire. New Orleans warms things up with a riverside celebration at Algiers Point in early December, and the real fun takes place on Christmas Eve about an hour west of New Orleans in Saint James Parish. It’s not unusual to see 100 bonfires or more, towering up to 20 feet above the river. According to legend, settlers built the fires to guide and direct Santa.
Christmas on Fulton
Lined with historic remodeled warehouses and home to some of the area’s trendiest restaurants, Fulton Street turns into an enchanting winter wonderland during the month of December. It’s always snowing on Fulton, although the white stuff is usually artificial, and local live music acts perform each weekend. Special events, such as Reveillon dinners and champagne strolls, take place throughout the season.
Running of the Santas
Thousands of Santa-clad men and women congregate in the downtown warehouse district each December for the annual Running of the Santas. This festive pub crawl features live entertainment, drink specials, and costume contests. A portion of the proceeds goes to charity.
Garden District Home Tours
New Orleans’ French Quarter and Garden District showcase some of the city’s most magnificent residential architecture. These historic remodels are even more majestic when they’re decked out for the holidays. Self-guided holiday tours are held on specific dates in both districts and participating homeowners typically grant access to their indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Situated between the warehouse district and the sprawling Mississippi, the New Orleans Convention Center serves as a family-favorite destination for the holidays and offers nearly two weeks of fun, including special hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The festival features an indoor ice skating rink with real ice, two miles of indoor and outdoor holiday lights, carnival rides, and an assortment of ticket options.