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How to Spend Christmas Day in New Orleans

Editor’s Note: This post may be outdated. Head to for the latest on what’s open and how to safely enjoy New Orleans right now.

Christmas decorations in Jackson Square
Christmas decorations in Jackson Square (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Spending Christmas away from home can be tough. 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 holiday meal. Although things do quiet down in New Orleans, Christmas Day is still a great day to get out and experience our city. We did all the research for you, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. And there’s plenty more where that came from. Visit our Holidays, New Orleans-style website for endless ideas on how to spend the season in New Orleans this year, or go inside the winter wonderland in the Roosevelt Hotel in our GoNOLA video below. In the meantime, 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 25 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. Celebration in the Oaks is open from 6-9 p.m. on Christmas night.

NOLA ChristmasFest — Open from 2-7 p.m. Christmas Day, this indoor Christmas extravaganza is fully decked out for the holidays. While you’re there, check out the ice skating rink, ice slide, and other fun activities, including children’s crafts, bounce houses, a carousel, and a gingerbread house display.

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 Gray Line Lighthouse Ticket Office (Toulouse Street @ the Mississippi River in the French Quarter) and travels through the French Quarter, down Esplanade Avenue and to City Park. The tour continues 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 spectacular lobby lights.

Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral, all dressed up for the holidays (Photo: Paul Broussard)

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, and marvel at the holiday decorations. Walk through Jackson Square past St. Louis Cathedral for the best sights.

Where to Eat 

Réveillon Dinners are a New Orleans Creole tradition and a great way to indulge in 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. Here are a few of our picks for Christmas Day dinners:

M Bistro — Tucked inside The Ritz-Carlton, M Bistro is elegant but approachable. Throughout the month, the restaurant will feature a four-course Réveillon menu that includes Gingerbread Soufflé with Mulled Wine Sauce 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 Chef John Folse is a master at melding traditional Louisiana ingredients and flavors with inventive preparations.

Fountain LoungeThe Fountain Lounge inside the Roosevelt Hotel offers you a chance to view the beautifully-decorated hotel lobby before sitting down to enjoy your four-course meal. Enjoy crispy duck breast, sage and caramel roasted apples, and other holiday dishes with their Christmas Day menu.

The spectacular Roosevelt lobby during the holidays. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
The spectacular Roosevelt lobby during the holidays (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Things to See

The Lights at the Roosevelt Hotel — Every December, the Roosevelt Hotel lights up its lobby in holiday wonder. 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 by 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 on display for all to see. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a stroll through the Garden District.

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