Spending Christmas away from home can be a challenge. Certainly, it’s wonderful to see how other cities celebrate the holidays, but you can never be sure what will be open and where you can get that requisite holiday meal. Fortunately, although things do quiet down in New Orleans, Christmas Day is still a great day to get out and experience our city. Here’s how to spend Christmas Day in New Orleans:
Things to Do
Celebration in the Oaks — During the holidays, City Park’s famous oak trees are covered in glistening lights throughout twenty-five acres of the park. In addition to touring the lit-up bridges, lagoons, and groves, families can enjoy a two-mile train ride and access to the amusement park.
Ice Skating at the Convention Center for NOLA ChristmasFest — Open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Christmas Day, this indoor ice skating rink is fully decked out for the holidays. While you’re there, check out the other fun activities, including children’s crafts, a carousel, and a life-sized maze.
Jingle Through The Crescent Tour — Tour the city by motor coach with Gray Line’s Jingle Through the Crescent Tour. The coach departs from the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street and travels through the French Quarter, down Esplanade Avenue and to City Park. The tour continues on down St. Charles Avenue and into the Garden District for a view of the beautifully decorated, historic mansions. Finally, you’ll end up at the Roosevelt Hotel, for a view of the lobby lights.
Stroll Through the French Quarter — Christmas Day is a fabulous time to take a stroll through New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. Since there’s little commercial activity, you really have time to take in the architecture, holiday decorations and historic vibe. Walk through Jackson Square, past St. Louis Cathedral for the full experience.
Places to Eat
Reveillon Dinners are a special New Orleans Creole Tradition and a great way to try local holiday cuisine. Several New Orleans restaurants serve these special dinners throughout the month of December, while others offer an exclusive menu just for Christmas Day.
M Bistro — Tucked inside The Ritz-Carlton, M Bistro is elegant but approachable. Throughout the month, the restaurant will feature a four-course Reveillon menu that includes a strawberry Bûche de Noël for dessert. On Christmas Day, there’s a seafood buffet and a dessert buffet for those who simply can’t commit to a single dish.
Restaurant R’Evolution — Located inside Bourbon Street’s Royal Sonesta Hotel, Restaurant R’Evolution is a great place to treat yourself and your family for the holidays. Executive John Folse is a master at melding traditional Louisiana ingredients and flavors with inventive preparations.
Cafe Adelaide — Enjoy a special Christmas menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Cafe Adelaide on Christmas Day (it opens at 6:30 a.m.!). This family-owned restaurant is known for spectacular service and is sure to make you feel at home for the holidays. Make sure to order a Christmas cocktail from the connecting Swizzle Stick Bar.
Things to See
The Lights at the Roosevelt Hotel — Every December, the Roosevelt Hotel lights up its lobby in festive holiday style. In recent years, it has become a local tradition to visit the hotel and snap a photo with your loved ones under the lighted archways. While you’re there, stop into the Sazerac Bar for a holiday cocktail.
St. Charles Avenue Lights — Hop on the Streetcar and ride down St. Charles Avenue for a view of the holiday lights and decorations that locals have put out for all to see. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a stroll through the Garden District.
The Victory Belles’ “A Vintage Christmas” — Join the National World War II Museum’s Victory Belles in celebrating the holidays with their special Christmas show. They’ll sing favorites like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Nods to Burl Ives promise that old-time nostalgia in this brand-new production for 2016. Buy tickets in advance to reserve your spot.