Wondering what to do in New Orleans when the weather turns chilly? Winter in The Big Easy is full of life, with Mardi Gras colors and festive street music. This article brings you the best winter attractions, from vibrant parades to cozy jazz clubs.
Keep reading – adventure awaits!
Top Things to Do in New Orleans During Winter
Experience the vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations, catch an exciting NBA game, and participate in holiday traditions such as bonfires, New Year's Eve festivities, and St. Patrick's Day.
Indulge in Kings Cake tasting and savor the Southern Christmas Eve vibe during your visit to New Orleans.
Mardi Gras celebrations in February
Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a dazzling spectacle that captures the essence of the city's vibrant culture. In February, the streets come alive with parades, music, and revelers dressed in elaborate costumes.
Floats decked out in bright colors roll through neighborhoods as crowds clamor for beads and trinkets. The air fills with the sounds of brass bands and the scents of delicious Cajun and Creole food being served up from street vendors.
Visiting during Mardi Gras means joining a long-standing tradition that embodies the joy and spirit of New Orleans. This carnival season peaks with Fat Tuesday, where everyone gathers to celebrate before Lent begins.
Be part of this unforgettable celebration; dance to live music on Bourbon Street or watch skilled performers in Jackson Square—it’s an experience not to be missed during your winter visit!
Holiday traditions (Bonfires, New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day)
Tourists can immerse themselves in New Orleans' rich tapestry of holiday traditions. These seasonal customs create warm memories despite the cold weather.
Witness the spectacular Bonfires on the Levee as a prelude to Christmas Eve. Locals light towering bonfires along the Mississippi River to guide Papa Noël, the Cajun Santa Claus.
Celebrate New Year's Eve in style with fireworks over Jackson Square and a festive countdown. Watch the Fleur de Lis drop as you toast to new beginnings.
Relish a slice of Kings Cake, a traditional sweet treat that makes its appearance during the winter festivities. Search for the hidden baby figurine inside for a year of good luck! We will dive deeper into this festivity.
Experience Southern Christmas Eve by attending Midnight Mass at one of the historic churches in the French Quarter. Marvel at beautiful decorations and joyous choirs.
Join locals and visitors alike during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with parades through the city streets. Enjoy marching bands, colorful floats, and catch beads thrown into the crowd.
Indulge in hearty winter dishes like gumbo and jambalaya at local eateries to keep you warm during your holiday explorations around Central Business District or Warehouse District areas.
Participate in Réveillon dinners, a Creole tradition with elaborate multi - course meals served in many restaurants throughout New Orleans during December.
Our Favorite Must-Try: Kings Cake tasting
Indulge in the delightful tradition of Kings Cake tasting during your winter visit to New Orleans. This colorful and sweet confection, adorned with purple, green, and gold icing, is a must-try during Mardi Gras season.
As you savor a slice of this delectable treat, keep an eye out for the hidden trinket or bean inside – finding it means good luck and perhaps even being crowned king or queen for the day! Embrace this local custom and experience the joyous spirit of Mardi Gras through this delicious and festive tradition.
Top Winter Events and Activities in New Orleans
Don't miss out on Celebration in the Oaks, a stunning holiday lights display at City Park, or the chance to do some holiday shopping along Canal Street. You can also enjoy ice skating at NOLA ChristmasFest and catch some holiday concerts and theater shows during your visit to New Orleans this winter.
One of the most anticipated events during New Orleans winter is the holiday parade. Thousands line the streets to watch stunning floats, marching bands, and dancers pass by in a colorful display of festive cheer.
The parade route winds through historic neighborhoods, showcasing the city's unique traditions and community spirit. Visitors can soak up the lively atmosphere while enjoying the sights and sounds that make this event a must-see experience.
Celebration in the Oaks
Visitors to New Orleans during the winter months should not miss the enchanting "Celebration in the Oaks" event at City Park. This annual holiday lights festival features breathtaking light displays, animated exhibits, and festive decorations throughout 25 acres of majestic oak trees.
Families can enjoy nightly entertainment, amusement rides for children, and delectable holiday treats while strolling through this magical wonderland. The event attracts both locals and tourists seeking a delightful way to embrace the festive spirit of the season.
Ice skating at NOLA ChristmasFest
Lace up your skates for a delightful experience at NOLA ChristmasFest. Glide across the ice at this indoor skating rink located at the New Orleans Ernest N.
Morial Convention Center. Enjoy a fun-filled time with family and friends, reveling in the winter wonderland atmosphere. Listen to cheerful music as you twirl around on the smooth ice, creating unforgettable memories amidst enchanting holiday decorations.
Experience an exciting activity that perfectly complements the winter season in New Orleans. Let loose and have a great time while indulging in this classic wintertime pastime.
Holiday concerts and theater shows
Catch the festive spirit in New Orleans with a variety of holiday concerts and theater shows during the winter months. From classical performances to modern renditions of holiday favorites, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Feel the magic of the season as you experience live music, dance, and theatrical productions that capture the essence of New Orleans' holiday traditions.
Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of New Orleans through captivating performances that showcase local talent and internationally acclaimed artists.
Top Winter Dining and Festive Treats
Indulge in traditional dishes like gumbo and jambalaya, experience the Réveillon dining tradition, take holiday home tours, admire the beautiful holiday lights, and join in on Hanukkah and Kwanzaa celebrations.
Gumbo and Jambalaya
Savor the flavors of New Orleans winter with traditional dishes like gumbo and jambalaya. These iconic Creole and Cajun recipes are perfect for warming up on cooler days, with their rich blends of spices, meats, and seafood.
Gumbo, a hearty stew typically made with okra or file powder as a thickening agent, offers a taste of the gulf coast culinary heritage. Meanwhile, jambalaya entices visitors with its combination of rice, meat (such as sausage or chicken), and seasonings.
Embrace the city's culinary traditions by sampling these soul-warming creations while exploring the festive atmosphere of New Orleans in winter.
Réveillon dining tradition
Indulge in the rich culinary tradition of Réveillon dining during your winter visit to New Orleans. Immerse yourself in a lavish feast that honors the Creole holiday customs. Savor sumptuous multi-course meals featuring traditional dishes like gumbo, oysters Rockefeller, and roasted duck with fig glaze, accompanied by festive wines and spirits.
Experience the city's renowned restaurants as they offer special Réveillon menus, showcasing the best of New Orleans' gastronomic heritage in a warm and celebratory atmosphere.
In addition to delighting your taste buds with gourmet delights, partake in this centuries-old tradition that celebrates community and generosity while embracing the true spirit of the holidays.
Holiday home tours
Explore the charm and history of New Orleans by taking a holiday home tour. Marvel at the stunning architecture and festive decor as you stroll through beautifully decorated historic homes.
Immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant holiday spirit with these guided tours, offering insight into the traditions and stories behind each elegantly adorned residence.
Experience the magic of the season as you visit lavishly decked-out homes, each uniquely showcasing their yuletide splendor. Admire timeless decorations, including elaborately trimmed trees, twinkling lights, and enchanting seasonal displays that capture the essence of holiday warmth and cheer.
The city comes alive with festive illuminations, from the dazzling displays at Celebration in the Oaks to the enchanting light shows along historic streets and public spaces.
Stroll through the stunning French Quarter, where charming balconies are adorned with twinkling lights, and vibrant decorations create a magical atmosphere. Revel in the warmth and sparkle as you discover this captivating side of New Orleans during the winter season.
Immerse yourself in the dazzling brilliance of holiday lights throughout New Orleans while experiencing a truly enchanting atmosphere. Delight in beautifully decorated streets and parks adorned with an array of sparkling lights that transform this vibrant city into a winter wonderland.
Hanukkah and Kwanzaa celebrations
Amidst the twinkling holiday lights and festive decorations, New Orleans also hosts vibrant Hanukkah and Kwanzaa celebrations. Visitors can join in the festivities as local communities gather to light menorahs, exchange gifts, and enjoy traditional foods during the eight nights of Hanukkah.
Additionally, tourists have the opportunity to participate in Kwanzaa events that include storytelling, music, dance performances, and reflective discussions highlighting African heritage and principles such as unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima).
Ringing in the New Year in New Orleans
The average temperature according to the national weather service shows 51 to 60 degrees during the past new years eve days. So if you want a crisp new year without the snow, then come down to New Orleans! Experience the iconic Fleur de Lis Drop and indulge in the lively Frenchmen Street party. Savor cozy cocktails and desserts while immersing yourself in Vietnamese culture at Tet Fest, or catch some college soccer action at the Sugar Allstate Bowl.
Fleur de Lis Drop
The Fleur de Lis Drop is a popular New Year's Eve celebration in New Orleans, marking the countdown to midnight. Visitors can join locals at Jackson Square for this festive event, where a giant fleur-de-lis descends from a rooftop as the clock strikes 12.
The iconic symbol of New Orleans is illuminated against the night sky, creating an unforgettable experience for all who attend. As part of the celebration, there are live music performances and fireworks that light up the Mississippi River, making it an exciting and lively way to ring in the new year.
Attendees can enjoy delicious local cuisine from food vendors while savoring traditional holiday treats like beignets and hot cocoa. Winter tourists can immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere and join in on this unique tradition that captures the spirit of New Orleans' rich cultural heritage.
Frenchmen Street party
After ringing in the New Year with the Fleur de Lis Drop, tourists can immerse themselves in the vibrant and lively atmosphere of the Frenchmen Street party. This iconic street is renowned for its bustling live music scene, offering an authentic taste of New Orleans' musical heritage.
With a plethora of jazz clubs, bars, and restaurants lining the street, visitors can revel in toe-tapping tunes while enjoying local cuisine and specialty cocktails. The energetic ambiance and diverse crowd make this district a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable night out filled with music and culture.
Amidst freezing temperatures or snow fell across much of this city's winter season, tourists can experience warmth among locals through engaging activities like Frenchmen Street party.
Cozy cocktails and desserts
After enjoying the vibrant energy of the Frenchmen Street party, tourists can unwind with cozy cocktails and decadent desserts in New Orleans. The city's rich culinary scene offers a delightful array of warm drinks such as hot buttered rum, Irish coffee, and spiced mulled wine to savor on chilly winter evenings.
For those with a sweet tooth, indulgent treats like beignets, bread pudding, and pralines are perfect for satisfying dessert cravings amid the festive atmosphere. With an inviting ambiance and live music at many venues, visitors can relish these comforting delights while immersing themselves in the unique charm of New Orleans during wintertime.
Vietnamese culture at Tet Fest
Experience the vibrant Vietnamese culture at Tet Fest in New Orleans during the winter season. Immerse yourself in traditional music, dance, and exquisite cuisine as you celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Indulge in authentic Vietnamese dishes such as banh chung (sticky rice cake) and enjoy colorful parades featuring lion dances and martial arts demonstrations. Join locals and tourists alike in embracing this important cultural celebration filled with joy, family gatherings, and community spirit.
Embrace the opportunity to engage with the rich traditions of Tet Fest by participating in calligraphy sessions or trying your hand at making traditional crafts. Marvel at stunning floral displays symbolizing luck and prosperity while immersing yourself in a lively atmosphere full of warmth and hospitality.
Sugar Allstate Bowl and College Soccer
This annual event showcases top college soccer teams competing for victory on the field, creating an electrifying atmosphere that draws sports enthusiasts from around the country.
With New Orleans' mild winter weather adding to the enjoyment, this experience offers a fantastic opportunity for tourists to witness high-energy matches while soaking up the city's festive spirit.
As part of New Orleans' winter lineup, these thrilling sports events add another layer of excitement to visitors' itineraries. The Sugar Allstate Bowl and college soccer matches are a must-see for those who appreciate athletic prowess and spirited competitions against a backdrop of lively crowds and Southern hospitality.
Experience the magic of winter in New Orleans with vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations and traditional holiday traditions. Indulge in festive treats like gumbo and jambalaya while enjoying holiday events such as Celebration in the Oaks and ice skating at NOLA ChristmasFest.
Ring in the New Year with the Fleur de Lis Drop and cozy cocktails on Frenchmen Street for an unforgettable experience. Winter in New Orleans offers a unique blend of culture, history, and lively festivities for all visitors to enjoy.