Celebration in the Oaks :: The Most Spectacular Holiday Lights Festival in the Country

Disclosure :: New Orleans City Park sponsored this post, but every year, this is by far one of the most popular giveaways that we host. We are absolutely thrilled to bring New Orleans families the chance to attend the Preview Party and Celebration in the Oaks.

The 2016 season is Celebration in the Oaks’ 30th anniversary!

Celebration in the Oaks in City Park is one of the most spectacular holiday lights festivals in the country, with more than 165,000 visitors pouring into the park to see the magical winter spectacle. City Park’s famous oaks are swathed in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights and breathtaking light displays are scattered throughout 25 acres of the Park, including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens.

cnbc-photoNew Orleans’ mild winter weather and City Park’s stunning natural landscape, with its oak groves, moss-covered cypresses, and meandering lagoons, make Celebration in the Oaks a truly unique holiday event. This beloved annual celebration is fun for all ages and has become an enduring holiday tradition for families, who come to Celebration in the Oaks to ride the train or carousel every year. Visitors are treated to a wide range of attractions, from light displays to the walkways lined with dozens of Christmas trees decorated by local school groups. Perennial favorites include the two-mile train ride through glittering light exhibits, the animated Cajun night before Christmas display, and of course, New Orleans’ iconic snowman Mr. Bingle – a holiday character beloved by generations of New Orleanians.

The 2016-2017 Celebration in the Oaks Season

Dates & Times ::

  • November 25, 2016 through January 1, 2017 (Closed 11/28 – 30 and 12/1, 12/24 & 12/31) 
  • Sunday – Thursday: 6pm -10pm // Friday & Saturday: 6pm -11pm
  • Admission is $9/person (children under 3 get in free, and Friends of City Park get in free)
  • Last entry to event is 30 minutes prior to closing.


  • Train Ride: $5/person
  • Amusement Park Rides: $4/single ride ticket (excludes train)
  • $18/unlimited ride band (includes train, must be purchased at the event)

Train tickets sales on-site will stop one hour before closing. At one hour before closing, you will not be able to get in the train line (only before that time). This also may happen with other amusement rides. Individual train tickets may be used in place of any single ride tickets for any other ride in Carousel Gardens.

Due to the immense popularity of this holiday attraction, we strongly recommend buying and printing tickets in advance HERE to avoid waiting in ticket lines. Saturdays are the most heavily attended nights. You will find smaller crowds on weeknights, and we encourage you to visit Monday through Thursday nights. Your tickets are good for any night of the event that we are open in the current season. There is no refund due to rain, power outages, and other unforeseen conditions.

Minor Escort Policy: All minors age 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older. Anyone 21 years or younger should be prepared to show a driver license, state ID or passport before purchasing a ticket for entry.

Please use #iheartcitypark#CITO2016, and #CelebrationInTheOaks when sharing your photos on social media.

Celebration in the Oaks Preview Parties

Join us in opening the Celebration in the Oaks season. The parties are always a blast and you get to view all the traditions you’ve come to know and expect as well as see what’s new before everyone else!

*Tickets for Celebration in the Oaks and Preview Parties are on sale now!

**Tickets for these events tend to sell out before the event date. Don’t wait to get yours. Only a certain number of tickets will be sold, and once sold out, no tickets will be sold at the door.

Preview Party :: Friday, November 18 (a fancy dress party for ages 21+)

One of the premier parties of the holiday season in New Orleans, this dazzling soiree kicks off the annual lights display. Guests get the first glimpse of the lights and are given exclusive access to the Botanical Garden and on the Train Route. Naturally, because this is New Orleans, food, music and adult beverages are available in abundance. Two live music stages feature the best local musicians, and guests
are treated to a tantalizing array of foods from 50+ local restaurants and caterers. Must be 21 or over to attend. Holiday cocktail attire required (no jeans).

celebration-in-the-oaks-jingle-bells-party-logo-4Jingle Bells & Beer (Presented by Abita Brewing Company) :: Saturday, November 19 (A casual party where you get to ride the Amusement Park rides and sample craft beers!)

Please join us for our holiday event created just for young adults – and those young at heart! Jingle Bells & Beer will be so much good fun you’ll land on Santa’s Naughty List! In casual attire (we’d love to see your holiday wear or ugly Christmas sweaters!), guests can experience all the rides within City Park’s Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, under the beautiful lights of Celebration in the Oaks. Craft beers will be available to sample throughout the Amusement Park, and “munchies” will be provided by local food vendors. Must be 21 or over to attend.

celebration-in-the-oaks-family-party-logo-4Family Party :: Sunday, November 20 (A party for the whole family – this year with Star Wars Troopers & Jedis, a Sugar Plum Fairy, a Christmas Tree Stilt Walker, and an Elf Juggler!)

Kids get the royal holiday treatment at their own Celebration in the Oaks Family Preview Party and – bonus! – parents can enjoy this family experience without lifting a finger. Your little ones will feel like the kings and queens of the ball at this fun-filled party. Please note: we know it can be a nightmare stuffing them into dress-up clothes, so give yourself and the kids a break. This is one holiday party where casual attire is recommended.

  • Early Admission: 5pm – 8:30pm (tickets: $40/person in advance)
  • General Admission: 6pm – 8:30pm (tickets: $30/person in advance)
  • Friends of City Park members: $25/person in advance

All sales are final – no refunds or rain checks are given. There is a $1 processing fee per online ticket, and you must present your printed ticket at the gate for entry. Tickets are valid during current season only.

You can get all the details for each party as well as buy tickets at this link.

We are so excited to offer you all TWO amazing chances to win. Enter below to win 3 “Early Admission” tickets to the Celebration in the Oaks Family Preview Party, a value of $120 (2 lucky families will win), as well as 5 tickets for general CITO admission, a value of $45 (6 lucky families will win)! 

Also see our FULL GUIDE to 2016 Holiday Events in New Orleans!


CITO Family Preview Party

5 General Admission Tickets for Celebration in the Oaks

100 Responses to Celebration in the Oaks :: The Most Spectacular Holiday Lights Festival in the Country

  1. Marion November 11, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    This looks so much fun

  2. Loni Mahan November 11, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    We always decorate the he house like a gingerbread house, complete with a gingerbread train!

  3. Alex November 11, 2016 at 10:00 am #

    I love going to this every year!

  4. Amanda l November 11, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    I’d love to take my kids good luck to all

  5. Sonya Janssen November 11, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    We love CITO! Thank you for this awesome giveaway!

  6. Kim Platt November 11, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    I really hope I can take my kids this year! They’ve never been and would love it!!

  7. AMY-LYNN ADAMCEWICZ November 11, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    we enjoy the lights each year….merry christams

  8. Michelle Shear Kerner November 11, 2016 at 10:31 am #

    I haven’t been to Christmas in the Oaks in a bunch of years I would love to see how it has grown.

  9. Anna Austin November 11, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    Seeing all the beautiful lights, this is our first year here so I’m not sure yet which is my favorite.

  10. Erin G November 11, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    Love Celebration in the Oaks!

  11. Madeline November 11, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    I don’t decorate the outside too much, but decorate inside.

  12. Madeline November 11, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    Going to see the lights around town.

  13. Amy November 11, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    I like to look at the light displays, where ever they may be!

  14. Kristen Stanley November 11, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    What a wonderful time of year, magical in the eyes of all who get to enjoy this.

  15. Kristen Stanley November 11, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    I love Christmas lights !! Never to old for that !! Love the kids reactions, such joy !

  16. Jennifer mccormack November 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    Love CITO

  17. Angie Brian November 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    We LOVE Celebration in the Oaks!! ♡

  18. Kimberley November 11, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    I’m so excited for the city park lights!!!!!

  19. Kimberley November 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    We decorate Dec 1.

  20. Karlie Bonstaff November 11, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    My little girl loved this last year! I hope I can bring her again this year 🙂

  21. Dina Carbello November 11, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    My 5 year son has never been to Celebration in the Oaks I would love to take him this year.

  22. Eileen B November 11, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    I know my 3 month old will enjoy the lights!

  23. Cheraine Agoff November 11, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    We try to go every year. It’s just beautiful.

  24. Lila Hochron November 11, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    We saw the pirate ship turn on in the lagoon yesterday and are so excited to see more!

  25. Ashley Bock Christy November 11, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    This is our favorite family tradition! We would love to win 🙂

  26. Heather Doles November 11, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    So excited they are such a great sponsor!

  27. Crystal Davis November 11, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    We don’t typically do holidays in New Orleans, but I’ve always wanted to see Celebration in the Oaks and I KNOW my boys would LOVE it.

  28. Crystal Davis November 11, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    This will be our first year to decorate anything beyond a tree. Normally I let my kids do the actual tree decorations so that they are so proud that they leave it mostly unmolested. It’s worked three years running for us.

  29. Kristina Parrish November 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

    Would love to win, my Mom will be in town during CITO and she’s never been, would love to take her and my daughter for a girls night!

  30. andrea November 11, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    I love decorating my house and lots of lights outside!

  31. Jennifer November 11, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    This is our first Christmas here, we love decorating with lights and a tree and can’t wait to see the city for Christmas!

  32. Jen C November 11, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

    This is our first year in the city, but celebration in the oaks is looking to be the highlight for us this year

  33. Melissa November 11, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

    This would be so awesome to get.

  34. Emily D. November 11, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    I wait every year to take my daughter to see the lights at Celebration in the Oaks. I never miss a year!

  35. Katie Barron November 11, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    We decorate with a tree, garlands, heirloom ornaments and decorations passed down through the family, and outside lights of course! Can’t forget Mr. Bingle either.

  36. Jennifer Wedge November 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

    Favorite event is Christmas in the oaks

  37. Rachel Anthony November 12, 2016 at 12:10 am #

    We love celebration in the oaks! Beautiful place to go as a family

  38. Elvora November 12, 2016 at 5:59 am #

    My family loves Celebration in the oaks!

  39. Amanda Steele November 12, 2016 at 6:22 am #

    We put up lights everywhere, multiple trees, kid made crafts, and decorations on every surface!

  40. Jessica S. November 12, 2016 at 6:38 am #

    We put a string of icicle lights across the front of the house and a tree inside. I don’t decorate too much bc we have a 10 month old. When he’s older I’m sure I’ll go all out!

  41. Jessica S. November 12, 2016 at 6:49 am #

    My favorite holiday even in New Orleans is Celebration “Christmas” in the Oaks. I’ve been going since I was a child and I can’t wait to share it with my son!!!

  42. Ashlea Gearin November 12, 2016 at 7:18 am #

    Looks fun!

  43. Ashlea Gearin November 12, 2016 at 7:22 am #

    We are going to decorate our whole house!

  44. Alicia November 12, 2016 at 8:10 am #

    This would be so fun to win 🙂

  45. Lloyd Lonergan November 12, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    We like to go to The Celebration in the Oaks.

  46. Danielle B. November 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

    We are super excited to go check out this event. It will be my daughter’s first visit!

  47. Toni M. November 12, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

    Oh what fun! Love the Christmas lights. Thank you!

  48. Simone B. November 12, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    My daughter has never been before. It would be awesome to win!

  49. Franny Guillot November 12, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

    I hope we win!

  50. Ashley Tero November 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    We love to do Christmas in the Oaks as our New Orleans holiday tradition. We visit the oaks and then head to Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee. We also enjoy the lights at Lafreniere Park as well.

  51. Ashley Tero November 12, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

    We love to decorate and usually can’t wait until after Thanksgiving to get it done. We put up our tree, hang the stockings on the mantle and decorate it, then decorate our entryway table and after all that, we head outside to hang lights and put up our nativity scene. Then it’s time for a Christmas movie in our PJs

  52. Betty November 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

    We put pine garland and white lights on the porch railing and colored lights on our tree. Always a real tree! We are looking for a new house and can’t wait to figure out how we will decorate it.

  53. Betty November 12, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    Our favorite holiday event is Christmas Eve Mass at our church, but Celebration in the Oaks is our kickoff to the holiday season.

  54. Mistica November 12, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    This will be the first year my daughter will really understand what’s going on. We can’t wait to go!

  55. Megan Godfrey November 12, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

    My family loves Celebration in the Oaks!

  56. Dawn Goode November 13, 2016 at 3:48 am #

    Would love to go.

  57. Mandy McKee November 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    My daughter is almost 3 and is absolutely magical this Christmas season so far. Would love to take her!

  58. Beth Rogers November 13, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    We never decorate as much as I want to… we always run out of time, so I guess minimalist is our style haha

  59. Christina November 13, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

    We love the lights. Can’t wait for this year. I don’t do much, just decorate indoors.

  60. Maven November 13, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

    Would be great!

  61. Liz M. November 14, 2016 at 7:39 am #

    We would love to bring our kids this year. I remember going when I was little!

  62. Kim Crocker November 14, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    My children are grown but we, along with their significant others, always make a point to go to Celebration in the Oaks. It is an essential part of our Christmas season.

  63. Erica Howell November 14, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    The Christmas Parade!!!

  64. Jennifer B November 14, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    We usually are big on Christmas lights. Makes the house feel cozy!

  65. Beryl Molnar November 14, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    Celebration in the Oaks is our favorite holiday event. We have a huge Mr. Bingle collection that we decorate the house with every year.

  66. Racheal W November 14, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    I’ve been once, but my son was really young & we kinda had to run through. Would love to see it again!

  67. Andrea Reynolds November 14, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    Love Celebration in the Oaks! Can’t wait to go again this year!

  68. Racheal W November 14, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

    I love going all out with decorations, but I have a two year old that makes it hard, he likes taking down the decorations. I’ll have to make up for it outside this year.

  69. Haleigh B. November 15, 2016 at 7:18 am #

    My mom and I always string all of the Christmas cards we’ve received over our armoire. It’s a super cute way to remind us every day of all the people we love and are thankful to have. :}

  70. Jennifer November 15, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    Classic Red and Green

  71. Misty Roussa November 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    This has been our Roussa Family tradition for years! We love it!

  72. Lourdes November 16, 2016 at 12:44 am #

    CITO has been a tradition since the beginning!!! Look forward to it every year!

  73. Erica W. D. November 16, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    We have never been!! Can’t wait to check this out!

  74. Erica W. D. November 16, 2016 at 8:32 am #

    We love to decorate with lots and lots of lights – Griswald style 😉

  75. Annb November 16, 2016 at 9:47 am #

    Going for breakfast then cutting down our own trees

  76. Amber Stokes November 16, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    Love this event!

  77. Sarah Smith November 16, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    We decorate with blue lights and all of our favorite family ornaments!

  78. Kristin Tubbs November 16, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    Looking forward to Celebration in the Oaks this year, as well as the run/walk, have been doing this since I was a baby!

  79. Jill Y November 17, 2016 at 5:18 am #

    I can’t wait! It’s been several years since I have been due to living out of state. Now that I am back, we will definitely be going and bringing my 4 year old daughter for the first time!

  80. April A. November 17, 2016 at 8:10 am #

    We love Christmas in the Oakd! Good luck everyone!

  81. Johnny Laviolette November 17, 2016 at 8:13 am #

    Celebration in the oaks is my families favorite holiday event in the city

  82. Vanessa R November 17, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    Lots of lights outside & a tree with lots of little decorations inside.

  83. Jennifer November 17, 2016 at 8:30 am #

    Would love to win tickets!

  84. Chelsea gammon November 17, 2016 at 8:34 am #

    Would love to go to this!?

  85. Catherine McMillan November 17, 2016 at 8:35 am #

    We love Celebration in the Oaks! My little ones can’t wait!

  86. Rebecca Scott November 17, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    We love Celebration in the Oaks!

  87. Katie O'Leary November 17, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    Love Celebration in the Oaks! Such a great NOLA holiday tradition!

  88. Noele LaRosa November 17, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    We love driving around the neighborhoods seeing all of the lights!

  89. Amanda Aucoin November 17, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    Celebration in the Oaks is an Aucoin family Christmas tradition!

  90. amy Ostheimer November 17, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    My family loves Celebration In The Oaks!

  91. Linda Bauer November 17, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    I cant wait to take my son. He is 2 and this will be his first time.

  92. Lindsey November 17, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    Christmas in the Oaks is our favorite Christmas activity!

  93. Lesley November 17, 2016 at 11:05 am #

    We love Christmas in the Oaks! So many special memories have been made there, one being my engagement to my husband in 2004!

  94. Teniesha Marie November 17, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    My favorite holiday day event in New Orleans is walking through the Roosevelt and looking at the beautiful lights. As a new mom, I get to bring my twin girls this year!

  95. Kelly Lynn November 17, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    My children have never been! I haven’t been since I was in my early 20s. This would be a wonderful experience for me to share with my boys!!

  96. Kelly Lynn November 17, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    We decorate our house with a light up snowman and reindeer in the yard, and lights on the bush and front porch!

  97. Theresa N. November 17, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    We love going to Celebration in the Oaks!

  98. Melissa November 17, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

    My favorit’s has always been Christmas in the Oaks. I only wish that they would bring back the car tour and the horse drawn carriages.

  99. Stephanie Madriaga November 17, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    We moved here from the West coast late last year, and our baby was too little to be out and about around christmastime, so we haven’t really had a chance to experience the holiday season in New Orleans. Now that our son is a little older, we’re looking forward to taking him to Christmas in the Oaks for the first time. Who knows, it just might become our favorite NOLA holiday event!

  100. Jennifer Simoneaux November 17, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    We absolutely love Celebration in the Oaks!!
    Our tree goes up after Thanksgiving!!

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