A centerpiece of LGBT culture is the gift to choose our families. And the only thing better than being with family for the holidays is being with a family of your choosing.
Wherever you live, chances are your little group has a routine and a few go-to spots for celebrating year-round. But the holidays call for something special, right? Here in New Orleans, every day is an opportunity to celebrate, and the holiday season is just the exclamation point on the tail end of our year. Whether you’re a couple, a family, or single, there’s a holiday celebration for every member of the LGBT community — from big touring theatre productions to small, intimate local affairs. Plus, drinking for everyone!
The holiday season in New Orleans is world famous for its mild weather and abundance of things to do. We’ll help you plan your trip with this list of what you can’t miss in New Orleans. From parades to pub crawls to a “blue light special” on boys, we’ve got something for everyone this season.
big gay holiday to-do list
1. New Orleans Pride Pub Crawl
Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6:00 p.m.
Enjoy the ultimate night out like a local at 8 to 12 of New Orleans’ best watering holes. A $25 ticket includes a free shot at each stop and a t-shirt. Spaces are limited and this event is known to sell out.
2. Merriment on Magazine Street
Nov. 24 – Dec. 25
Lined with restaurants and retailers, Magazine Street is a year-round alternative to busy malls, but the holiday season makes it a reliable haven for shopping. Visit Magazine Street between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and enjoy a leisurely shopping experience away from the bustle of downtown. Get a buzz and get to browsing.
3. Krewe of Jingle Parade
Saturday, Dec. 3 at 1:00 p.m.
While not exclusively a “gay” event, Krewe of Jingle is still a great way to make the yuletide just that. A diverse crowd of locals and tourists gather in delight as Krewe of Jingle rolls through downtown on parade floats, horses, antique cars, stilts, and anything else lying around Santa’s workshop.
4. Arts Council New Orleans’ LUNA Fête
Dec. 7 -10 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Sure, you can drive around upscale neighborhoods in New Orleans looking at Christmas lights. Or, you can see LUNA Fête, a multi-day visionary event by Arts Council New Orleans. This whole thing is relatively new, but has gained serious local momentum in its short lifespan. Stand in awe of breathtaking light installations illuminate the city’s iconic architecture. The event is free and family-friendly. Plus, local art. Ho Ho Hooray!
5. Bourbon Street Classic
Dec. 9 – 11
This annual weekend-long, co-ed softball tournament brings together locals and visitors alike for plenty of fun on and off the field. Whether you’re an athlete or a spectator, it’s always an unforgettable weekend.
6. 2017 New Orleans Pride Pageant
Saturday, Dec. 10 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The brand new Valiant Theatre and Lounge on St. Claude Avenue will host the Paris-themed Pride Pageant this year. VIP seats are $10 and General Admission is $5. Come join New Orleans Pride and see who will be crowned Mr. and Miss New Orleans Pride!
7. Fleur de Tease presents “The Nutcracker”
Dec. 10 – 11
If you love burlesque and you love the classic holiday tradition of seeing “The Nutcracker” performed live, then you will love Fleur de Tease’s steamy reinterpretation, featuring a very curvy Nutcracker and sexy, striped candy canes. Clearly this might not be ideal for families, but what gal wouldn’t go nuts for this?
8. Baroque Christmas
Do you and your partner enjoy the finer things? Are you too bougie to pose with Santa at the mall? Well then, Baroque Christmas might be right up your chimney. Enjoy highlights from Handel’s Messiah along with Saint-Saën’s Christmas Oratorio with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, NOVA Masterworks, and renowned soloists.
9. Santaland Diaries and Season’s Greetings
Dec. 15 – 17
Everyone loves David Sedaris. One of America’s greatest gay humorists and essayists has penned some of the best short stories of all time. And now you see his holiday-themed work come to life in a little theatre right outside of New Orleans.
10. Saints Games & Pelicans Games
Various dates throughout November & December
Is your team on the sporty side? The New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans both have a handful of home games before the year wraps. So gear up and make some [joyful] noise inside the Superdome and Smoothie King Center.
Gay Bars In The French Quarter
Every day, All the time, Constantly
If your little squad of elves just wants to hang out and party, there’s no better place in the world for that. There’s always something to feel jolly about in the French Quarter, especially when you’re at any of our world-famous gay bars, including: Oz, Bourbon Pub & Parade, Good Friends, 700 Club, Rawhide, Corner Pocket, Lucille’s Golden Lantern, and more! Drink, dance, and be merry surrounded by your LGBT family. Just be sure to leave at a reasonable hour, or you might step outside on the first day of 2017.
For more information and news on the city’s LGBT community, sign up for New Orleans’ LGBT e-newsletter here.