The Christmas season is a great time to visit New Orleans. With temperatures in the low 40s to mid-60s, it’s chilly, but still mild enough to enjoy being outside. During December, the city really dresses up, from festive hotel lobbies to holiday events and caroling.
If you can’t afford to stay at some of the more upscale hotels, swing by their lobbies and bars to check out the Christmas decorations. Every year the staff at the Ritz-Carlton decorates a gigantic tree in its courtyard, and they make a real, life-sized gingerbread house that you can walk through. The W Hotel boasts beautiful modern décor and free petit fours and hot cider. The Hotel Monteleone and the Windsor Court are festive spots, and the Fairmont Roosevelt is known for its elaborate decorations.
Though it probably won’t be a white Christmas, there are plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit. Try an eggnog daiquiri at New Orleans Original Daiquiris or enjoy the special Revellion menus at many of the restaurants throughout the city. Free holiday concerts are held in St. Louis Cathedral, or you can go caroling in Jackson Square. Historical characters and “Papa Noel” roam the French Quarter on the weekends, and there are many holiday-themed dance and theater performances. The boutiques along Magazine Street or Royal Street allow for unique gift-shopping opportunities. And for the real estate lovers, head out on a holiday homes tour, which will take you through some of the breathtaking historic homes of the French Quarter and Garden District.
Perhaps one of the biggest holiday celebrations in New Orleans is Christmas in the Oaks, where City Park turns into a wonderland of lights and music, and the small amusement park Carousel Gardens stays open late. For those who don’t celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah at the Riverwalk lights the largest Menorah in Louisiana and entertains with Jewish music, the dreidel game, and free latkes. If you’re not religious at all, don’t worry. Most bars and restaurants stay open on Christmas Eve and even Christmas Day, so New Orleans is a great place to feel festive, no matter how you want to celebrate!