Pack the kids up in the car, turn up the holiday music, get a go-cup of hot cocoa, and check out the amazing light displays NOLA has to offer. Some neighborhoods have some larger than life lights displays that are worth a detour and a later-than-normal bedtime.
2017 Guide to Holiday Lights in New Orleans
Celebration in the Oaks (November 24 – January 1, closed November 27-30, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) :: An annual favorite in New Orleans City Park 31 years running, this seasonal event is fun for the whole family. Featuring hundreds of thousands of lights, caroling, a giant poinsettia tree, food and general merriment, this is a do-not-miss holiday event in New Orleans. Be sure to take your photo with the giant Mr. Bingle! There are also private preview parties held before the opening each year. Insider tip :: buy tickets online ahead of time to avoid long lines at the gates.
French Market’s Annual Tree Lighting & Shop Away In the Vieux Carre (November 16 | 5:00pm – 6:00pm) :: The French Market features holiday activities daily. Enjoy shopping, holiday decorations, costumed characters and even strolling carolers. On November 16th from 5-6, the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park will play and then the countdown to the lighting of the 27 foot fleur-de-lis topped tree begins! Caroling and a second line will follow the tree lighting.
Canal Street Lighting (November 21 | 5:00pm – 7:00pm) :: Canal Street will light up with millions of twinkling lights for the holiday season. The lighting will take place in front of the Crown Plaza Hotel at 5:30PM. After the lights turn on, stop by the hotel’s Grand Ballroom for special activities including entertainment by The Voices of Peter Claver and Santa! Kids who bring an unwrapped toy for donation can join Santa to decorate holiday cookies.
Lighting of the Balconies at Royal Sonesta New Orleans (November 29 | 6:00pm) :: With a ceremonial “flip of the switch,” two young patients from Children’s Hospital will experience the thrill of illuminating the hotel’s elaborate wrought-iron balconies with thousands of twinkling lights. The ceremony takes place street-side outside the hotel’s main entrance at 300 Bourbon Street complete with a full lineup of musical performances. With special appearances from some of your favorite holiday characters including the Royal Teddy Bear and Santa Claus, this special season opener is a must-do experience for the entire family. Remember to mark your calendars and plan to join in the fun of this heartwarming annual celebration that is free and open to the public!
Ponchatoula Downtown Lighting Ceremony (December 1 | 6pm) :: Stroll the streets and enjoy the official lighting at 6:00pm. The Mayor will be flipping the switch to light up the town. Get into the holiday spirit with lots of food, fun, and hot chocolate. Santa will be on the steps of Collinswood Museum with candy canes for the kids. The train will run every Friday (2nd, 9th, 16th) from 6pm – 9pm and every Saturday and Sunday from 5pm – 9pm. The last day for the train is December 18th.
Roosevelt Hotel Lobby Lighting (November 28 | 5:15pm) :: Join locals and international guests as the 80+ year tradition continues at the annual lighting ceremony. The magical lobby display features 44 Birch trees, more than 22,000 twinkling lights, and scores of festively dressed Christmas trees.
Light Display at Lafreniere Park (December 1-28) :: The park sparkles for the holidays with thousands of twinkling lights and displays. $5.00 per vehicle – you must use the entrance on West Napoleon Avenue access gate of the park. The Children’s Carousel will be open nightly – $1.00 per child. You can also park and walk to see the lights for no extra charge. Sunday-Thursday Dusk til 9:45 pm and Friday-Saturday Dusk til 11:45 pm.
Kenner Christmas Village (November 25-December 17 | 5:30pm – 8:30pm) :: The Kenner Christmas Village will light up the Rivertown historic district. Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays feature various festivities, including caroling, costumed holiday characters, and appearances by Santa, along with craft and food vendors and entertainment by local school and dance troops. Christmas Village admission is free.
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Lights at the Lake (December 9 | 2:00pm -8:00pm) :: The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation will hold its annual Lights at the Lake and Holiday Bash celebration at the New Canal Lighthouse. Enjoy food, craft beer, holiday cocktails, kids’ activities, an ugly sweater contest, and caroling by local schools, all with a front row seat to view the West End Boat Parade! Admission is free and the event supports the LPBF’s mission to restore and preserve the Pontchartrain Basin for the benefit of current and future generations.
The Ritz-Carlton’s Holiday Ribbon Cutting Reception (November 21 |11am) :: Hotel guests and locals are invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by none other than Papa Noel himself. Join us as we unveil the hotel’s ornate holiday decorations, including the centerpiece: a life-sized gingerbread house replica of the famed New Orleans ‘Wedding Cake House.’ Join us as we light up the season.