A new year brings a new opportunity for lots of fun. That’s what you’ll find in New Orleans 24/7, 365 days a year. We celebrated the Tricentennial in 2018, but we’re keeping the party rolling into 2019 with a year full of exciting events. So go ahead and make your plans to come down and see us. We’ve got a taste of the year ahead with 12 things to do in New Orleans this January.
1. Ring in the New Year, New Orleans-Style
Jan. 1 falls on a Tuesday this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend the day doing something fun. Head to breakfast at one of our favorite spots or spend the day exploring a new neighborhood in New Orleans. Get a running start on those resolutions by spending the day literally running (or walking) one of New Orleans’ best trails.
2. Watch the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day
Tickets for the Allstate Sugar Bowl are going fast, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. Host a Sugar Bowl watch party or head to one of these sports bars to watch the game like a true fan. Even if you can’t be in the Dome to catch the game, you’ll see fans of both teams flooding downtown.
3. See the walking parade named for Joan of Arc
Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc parades annually on the birthday of Joan of Arc, Jan. 6. Catch the parade celebrating this French war hero as it runs through the French Quarter for its 11-year anniversary. The walking parade features a medieval-themed procession and is the first parade of the new year, so make sure you’re in your spot to catch the spectacle at 7 p.m. sharp.
4. Kick off Carnival Season with Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night, or the Epiphany, marks the official beginning of the Mardi Gras season on Jan. 6. The king cake debuts on this day, making its way into homes, offices, and parties until Fat Tuesday (March 5, 2019). Every year on Twelfth Night, the Phunny Phorty Phellows (or PPP) as they’re known locally, herald the arrival of Carnival with their “Carnival Countdown.” Afterwards, they pile up on a streetcar for a ride up and down the St. Charles Streetcar line. Locals gather along the route to cheer, wave and catch the first beads of Mardi Gras. When you see the Phunny Phorty Phellows, you know it’s officially Carnival season, y’all.
5. Visit France with Les Misérables
Broadway in New Orleans brings this musical to New Orleans Jan. 8-13, 2019. Les Misérables tells the story of a Jean Valjean in his quest for redemption in 19th century France. All performances are at the Saenger Theater.
6. Enjoy Classical Music and Young Talent
BBC Young Musician of the Year, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, brings his talent to New Orleans with two nights of music at the Orpheum Theater on Jan. 10 and 12. The young cellist was the first black musician to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year Award in 2016 and is most recognizable from his performance at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Relive the magic as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra joins him in concert.
7. See Macbeth at New Orleans Shakespeare Festival
The New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane brings the story of Macbeth to life in this production. Though most of the performances are limited to school groups, there will be a one-night only public performance on Jan. 11. Don’t miss your chance to see it this time around.
8. Jam out with Justin Timberlake
Dance along to Justin Timberlake’s biggest hits when his Man of the Woods Tour stops at the Smoothie King Center on Jan. 15, 2019. Whether you’ve been a fan since his days with NSYNC or you’re more familiar with his latest records, JT’s music catalog spans decades.
9. Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Whether you’re looking to volunteer or join in on community celebrations for MLK Day, we’ve got you covered. If you want to volunteer, participate in a Day of Service on MLK Day, Jan. 21, 2019. Head to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art for free all-day admission from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on MLK Day. In collaboration with the Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners Book Drive, you can receive two free museum admission passes if you bring four paperback books to donate while you’re there.
10. Watch Dance Excellence at an Evening of Stars
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New Orleans Ballet Association with an Evening of Stars. This special event featuring some of the world’s most distinguished artists will honor those who have made NOBA’s vision possible with a star-studded evening. Save the date for this performance on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts.
11. Try All of the King Cakes at King Cake Festival
Cream cheese-filled, bananas foster-style, or traditional – this festival has all the king cakes you can imagine. On Sunday, Jan. 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., head to Champions Square for the King Cake Festival, which benefits Ochsner Hospital for Children. If you can’t decide which to try, let the judges decide for you in the king cake competition featuring categories like ‘best non-traditional’ and ‘most likely to replace a meal.’ Come hungry. Until then, get your king cake fix at one of these spots in NOLA.
12. Take a Tour of New Orleans
With so many small, unique neighborhoods, there’s endless exploring to be done in New Orleans. This month we’re highlighting All Bout Dat Tours, a company that gives off-the-beaten-path, daily tours focused on the black history & heritage of New Orleans. Check them out here and schedule your tour today.