Coming in town over the holiday season? We got you covered. Besides the normal smorgasbord of places to see and things to do, there's a few great free treats in store for us locals and those lucky enough to be in town during the next few weeks…. here are a few of our favorite things!
Celebration in the Oaks | City Park It's a winter wonderland…minus the snow, of course! This wonderful light show celebrates and showcases our favorite park--City Park. Home to the largest stand of Live Oaks anywhere in the world, this perennial favorite runs from November 30th until January 4th.
NOLA's little elves have been busy stringing hundreds of thousands twinkling white lights and decorations across the Park's centuries-old live oaks. You'll find all the glittering lights close to the main park entrance of Esplanade and Carrolton Avenues, just behind the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). Attractions include the Botanical Gardens, Storyland and the Carousel Gardens, home to the famous century-old carousel, which operates throughout the celebration. As a family-friendly celebration, parents and children love the two-mile miniature train which circles beneath lighted displays.
You'll see the animated "Cajun Night Before Christmas" display; the "Who Dat Tree" and New Orleans' own iconic snowman, Mr. Bingle, much loved by generations of locals since the days when he hung from the window of the old D.H. Holmes department store (now the Hyatt Place French Quarter).
Tickets are $8 and children under three are admitted free. Rides are $3, the train ride $4, or you may purchase a unlimited ride wristband for $17 (includes train).
Celebration in the Oaks is open Sunday through Thursday, 6:00-10:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 6:00-11:00 p.m. (closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve). There is plenty of free parking or you can reach the park via streetcar from downtown and French Quarter hotels. See our Streetcar Line Map: New Orleans Streetcar Lines and Maps For more information visit: www.celebrationintheoaks.com
Christmas New Orleans Style 2013 Concert Series at St. Louis Cathedral | FREE Kicking off December 1st and continuing through December 22nd, these roughly hour-long performances begin at 6pm and are FREE! Hint: we love Amanda Shaw(Dec. 15th), that girl can play the fiddle…Here's the complete schedule: Sunday, Dec. 1: New Orleans Nightingales (jazz-variety) Monday, Dec. 2: Opera Creole (classical-opera) Tuesday, Dec. 3: Franklin Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir (gospel) Wednesday, Dec. 4: Zion Harmonizers (gospel) Thursday, Dec. 5: Harmonouche (jazz) Monday, Dec. 9: The Roots of Music (brass band) Tuesday, Dec. 10: The Melody Clouds (gospel) Wednesday, Dec. 11: Evan Christopher (jazz) Thursday, Dec. 12: Davell Crawford (gospel) Sunday, Dec. 15: Amanda Shaw (Cajun-folk-rock) Tuesday, Dec. 17: Musaica (classical) Wednesday, Dec. 18: Jeremy Davenport (jazz) Thursday, Dec. 19: Thomas Kientz French Organ Recital (classical) Sunday, Dec. 22: St. Louis Basilica Christmas Concert (cassical) For more info: fqfi.org
St. Nicholas Day Fair | FREE December 7, 10am-4pm | Dutch Alley, between Dumaine and St. Phillip streets Enjoy the holidays in the Historic French Market! From a petting zoo to miniature golf, there's plenty to do--including a second-line parade led by St. Nick!
Krewe of Jingle Parade | FREE December 7, 1pm New Orleans’ official holiday parade, the “Krewe of Jingle,” tromps down Canal Street with parade floats, marching bands, stilt-walkers and all sorts of "colorful" Christmas characters. Come out and join the fun!
Algiers Bonfire and Concert | FREE December 7, 5pm-9pm | Algiers Ferry Landing The official kickoff to the holiday season! Hop on the ferry at the foot of Canal Street for the short ride across the Mississippi to New Orleans' second-oldest neighborhood (right after the French Quarter) to enjoy live music, food and drinks. Like everything on the list, it's fun for the whole family. Santa uses the bonfire to light his way down the mighty Mississippi and besides, who doesn't like a nice, big bonfire?
St. Louis Cathedral Annual Christmas Concert | FREE December 22, 5:50pm | St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square The St. Louis Cathedral-Basilica Concert Choir and Orchestra present their annual Christmas concert. The Cathedral Concert Choir, soloists, and orchestra will perform Handel's Dixit Dominus and Vivaldi's Magnificat. This event is free and open to the public (lasting about an hour) and is followed by Caroling in the Square.December 22, 7PM | Caroling in Jackson Square | FREE
A holiday tradition, candlelight caroling is held the Sunday before Christmas in Jackson Square, directly in front of famous St. Louis Cathedral. Candles and song-sheets are provided. Care to sing some tunes?