The 5 Best Christmas Displays in New Orleans

A Devastated New Orleans Copes With Holiday Season
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

If you're planning a trip to New Orleans during the holiday season, you won't want to miss the many holiday displays throughout the city. From Thanksgiving through December, lights and decor festoon the city's oldest and most well-known parks. Inside the lobby of the historic Roosevelt Hotel, you'll be treated to an extravagant scene of twinkle lights and trees—a not-to-miss New Orleans tradition. Whether it's a festival or a solo stroll through one of NOLA's decorated quarters, the city has many a festive spectacle to witness.

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Celebration in the Oaks

Celebration in the Oaks

Infrogmation of New Orleans / CC / Flickr

Celebration in the Oaks began as a small fundraiser for the New Orleans Botanical Gardens, but it has since evolved into one of the area's most magnificent holiday light displays. This extravagant celebration kicks off on Thanksgiving and lasts until January 3, 2021. It funds part of City Park's annual budget and draws more than 165,000 visitors annually. With century-old oak trees as the backdrop, the display includes attractions like an antique wooden carousel and miniature train park tours. This season, group tours have been replaced by a self-driving tour.

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Roosevelt Hotel's Waldorf Wonderland

Roosevelt Hotel lobby, New Orleans

Infrogmation of New Orleans / CC / Flickr

Those who grew up in New Orleans probably have fond memories of walking through the Roosevelt Hotel's lobby in December. The lobby itself runs the length of an entire city block and, years ago, the ceiling was adorned with angel hair and colored lights. Today, the more modern decor still evokes a sense of wonder, as thousands of white lights cover the lobby and twinkling birch trees line the entryway. If you plan to visit on Christmas Day, the hotel serves a noteworthy Christmas brunch. Reservations fill up quickly, though, and prices reflect the luxuriousness of the hotel.

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NOLA ChristmasFest

Santa giving out Christmas gift

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Located in the New Orleans Convention Center, NOLA ChristmasFest is a multi-day, indoor festival featuring ice skating, snowball fights, rock climbing, ice sliding, and other family-friendly activities. The event traditionally takes place during the last two weeks of December, and Santa makes an appearance during the first week. In 2020, however, the in-person event has been canceled and replaced with a host of online programming—holiday crafts, baking, dance classes, nightly book reading with iconic characters, and more.

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Canal Street Holiday Celebration

Trolley and Lights

Erik Larson / CC / Flickr

Canal Street's Home for the Holidays event offers a series of family-centric activities for visitors throughout the month of December. Canal Street—a wide expanse that separates the French Quarter and the American Sector—is beautifully decorated every year. Activities typically include a Christmas parade, outdoor movies, a block party, and themed races like the Reindeer Run and Romp and Eggnog Jog. The event is held by the Downtown Development District. In 2020, it's been canceled.

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Miracle on Fulton Street

Miracle on Fulton Street

black.stilettos / CC / Flickr

Fulton Street—located in the Warehouse and Arts Districts of New Orleans—is a pedestrian-friendly mall lined with restaurants and shops. During the holidays, this street comes alive with beautiful decor, featuring faux snow, a Christmas tree, a holiday boardwalk, and a visit from Santa. Dates are released on their website each year, including the best time to view the lighting display. In 2020, however, Miracle on Fulton Street has been canceled.

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