Your Guide of Holiday Events for New Orleans Families

Can't miss these family friendly, holiday events around town!

By Lauren Ungar November 4, 2019


The Holidays are right around the corner and the Downtown Development District (DDD) would like to remind you to save the dates for this year’s Canal Street Home for the Holidays presented by the DDD and the Roosevelt Hotel.

Canal Street Lighting Ceremony  
Tuesday, November 26 at 5:30pm 
Astor Crowne Plaza, 739 Canal St. 

The DDD and the Astor Crowne Plaza, invites everyone to come out Tuesday, November 26 as we “flip the switch” at 5:30 pm, turning on more than 1 million twinkling lights on historic Canal Street and throughout Downtown NOLA. The Voices of Peter Claver and a special visit from Santa Claus will accentuate this year’s event! Kids who bring an unwrapped toy can decorate Holiday cookies with Santa! Click here to see all the fun from last year’s lighting ceremony!

Movies on the Mississippi at Spanish Plaza
Fridays - December 6, 13 and 20 at 6:30pm
Presented by the DDD and The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk
Friday, December 6 – The Grinch (2018 Version)
Friday, December 13 – The Muppet Christmas Carol
Friday, December 20 – Elf

Click here to see all the fun from last year’s outdoor movies!

Krewe of Jingle Parade  
Saturday, December 7 at 1:00pm
Presented by the DDD and The Roosevelt New Orleans
Catch Downtown NOLA’s Christmas Parade Saturday, December 7! The parade starts rolling at 1:00pm. Click here to see all the fun from last year’s parade!

Reindeer Run & Romp
Saturday, December 14 Registration 8:00 am; Race 9:00am - Begins and ends at Canal Place
Click here to preregister for this year’s Reindeer Run and Romp! The DDD is proud to present the annual holiday fun run for kids on Canal Street Saturday, December 14! Rudolph, Santa and friends will jingle their bells to signal the start of the race. After the race, participants “Romp” around … and enjoy healthy activities for kids and parents, music, games, crafts and more. Registration begins at 8:00am and the race begins at 9:00am!

Elf on the Shelf at the Mahalia Jackson Theater

For the first time, The Elf on the Shelf® Scout Elves will take center stage in a new live musical debuting this holiday season. Inspired by the beloved box set The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition, this touring stage production will give families an exclusive glimpse into the magical world of Santa’s North Pole through indelible song and dance numbers and a heartwarming tale about Christmas spirit. Don't miss this great show on November 19 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Click here for more information.

Audubon Zoo Lights

Select Nights ~ November 29 - December 30

Audubon Zoo Lights is a dazzling light display and winter dreamland packed with holly jolly activities for the whole family. Enjoy an exciting array of animal-themed light displays, nightly live entertainment, an Elves Workshop to write letters to Santa, and so much more. The signature attraction at Audubon Zoo Lights presented by Children’s Hospital New Orleans is silk-lighted replicas of some of the Zoo’s most popular animals, including a larger-than-life peacock. Children and those young at heart will enjoy interactive light displays including Gum Drop Hop and Light Bright. An Elves Workshop will be hosting crafts appropriate for all ages. Enjoy Santa photos and a 30' endangered species holiday tree. It's holiday magic in the heart of Uptown. More information here.

Celebration in the Oaks

November 29 - January 1

The 2019 season is the 33rd anniversary of Celebration in the Oaks!
Celebration in the Oaks has over a million lights! Celebration in the Oaks in New Orleans City Park is the most spectacular holiday lights festival in the country. City Park’s famous oaks are swathed in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights and breathtaking light displays are scattered throughout 25 acres of the Park, including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Get photos with Santa and don’t forget to ride the antique carousel and holiday train! 

Visit for details and tickets.

Christmas in the Park 

November 30 - December 30

Lafreniere Park sparkles for the holidays with thousands of twinkling lights and displays. The exhibit features LED lights with fantastic displays such as a lighted 60-foot Sea Serpent in the lagoon, a princess and her magical castle and the gingerbread man!  Old favorites include holiday characters, the beloved Lombardi Trophy between two Saints Players, the Teddy Bear Factory, and Snowman Island. The cost is $5.00 per vehicle - entrance on West Napoleon Avenue access gate of the park. You may drive through or park and walk. Children's Carousel open will also be open nightly and costs $1.00 per child. Sunday through Thursday Dusk (5:30pm) til 9:45 p.m. and Friday and Saturday Dusk (5:30pm) til 11:45 p.m. Free Night on December 25. Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Boulevard, Metairie, LA 70003.

Disney Junior Holiday Party! On Tour

December 10 

Disney Junior Holiday Party! is a dazzling musical wonderland where children and their families can sing and dance along to their favorite Disney Junior songs plus Holiday classics with their favorite Disney friends, including Mickey & Minnie Mouse, the Puppy Dog Pals, Vampirina and many more, plus a special visit from Santa Claus!

Harahan Christmas Parade

December 14 

Don't miss the Harahan Christmas Parade sponsored by the Harahan Police Department.  The parade starts at 12pm at Oasis Truck Stop, 6025 Jefferson Highway, and follows the traditional Westbound route on Jefferson Highway and disbands after turning onto Folse Avenue. Enjoy lots of floats, trucks, marching groups and lots of Christmas music. NOLA Pixie Dust is participating bringing character entertainment to the parade route!  This is a family event everyone will enjoy.
For parade group entry & route inquiries, contact the event organizer, Harahan Police Department. 504-737-4800

Breakfast with Baby Jesus

December 14

Celebrate the Christmas season with family and friends at St. Mary’s Dominican High School’s 22nd Annual Breakfast with Baby Jesus on Saturday, December 14th from 10 a.m. until 12 noon in Alumnae Hall.  Registration is $25 per family and includes up to three adults. There is a $5 fee for each additional adult. Advance registration is required. Register online before midnight Wednesday, December 11. Presented by the Alumnae Association, featured activities will include several Make A Craft stations for children of all ages, merry elves, holiday songs with the Dominican Choir, and a Living Nativity presented by the Dominican Drama Club.  Santa will be visiting for photos and photo packages will be available for purchase. Dominican President Dr. Cynthia Thomas will lead all in song before the cutting of the birthday cake. Please bring a gift offering of a non-perishable food item that will be distributed to a food bank during the holidays and New Year.

Nutcracker Tea Party Presented by Studio School of Dance and Nola Dance Project

December 14 and 15

Enjoy an enchanting afternoon that includes an elegant tea and luncheon. The Nutcracker Tea Party, presented by the Studio School of Dance and the Nola Dance Project, offers hands-on activities for youth that includes letter to Santa, the amazing creations from Balloonatics of Baton Rouge, as well as a visit from Santa Claus and more. NOLA Dance Project company dancers will perform excerpts from The Nutcracker and the family will have the rare opportunity to pose for photographs with members of the cast. This 3 hour family-friendly event is a delight for ballet lovers of all ages! The event takes place at Copeland Tower Suites. Tickets go on sale November 16. 

Brunch in Whooville at the East Jefferson YMCA

December 15

Join the holiday fun at the East Jefferson YMCA for pancakes, pictures with Santa and more. This event is a favorite and all are welcome. You do not have to be a member of the Y to attend. For more information, call (504) 888-9622.


December 20 - 31 

Nola ChristmasFest, a dazzling, family friendly seasonal event, offers another opportunity to get into the holiday spirit. Experience a real, indoor ice skating rink, ice slides, a carousel, carnival rides, inflatables, Santa and friends, gingerbread houses, decorated trees and more. Convenient parking nearby. Get your tickets here.

Luna Fete

December 12 - 15

An official New Orleans Tricentennial signature event, LUNA Fête 2019 will take place December 12 through 15 in Lafayette Square and along Lafayette Street to Fulton Street. This multi-day celebration is free and open to the public and features illuminated installations, digital sculptures, video-mapping projections, and art animated by technology – intended to engage and inspire audiences of all ages. Lafayette Square, 600 S. Maestri Street, New Orleans. 

Click here for more information.

Community Chanukah Celebration

December 22  •  4pm - 6pm

Celebrate the first night of Chanukah at the JCC! We’ll light the menorah, nosh on some fried chicken, latkes and more and enjoy The LeeVees. The “Hanukah Rocks” record is by far the best holiday/Chanukah record of the last 20 years according to Bob Boilen of NPR/All Things Considered. Formed in 2005 by Adam Gardner (Guster) and Dave Schneider (Zambonis), their intent was to write modern rockin’ classic Jewish songs about Chanukah, fun, food family and more. The band has been featured on many TV appearances and most importantly, played at a lot of JCC’s around the USA.
This event is free and open to the community on December 22, 2019 from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the New Orleans JCC - Uptown 5342 St. Charles Avenue.

Lights at the Lake Holiday Bash and Boat Parade

December 14  •  2pm - 8pm

The annual Christmas boat parade will glide down the New Basin Canal into Lake Pontchartrain as guests enjoy the best viewing party on the lakefront, on December 14 from 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Get into the holiday spirit enjoying performances by school choirs, food and drinks from local eateries, holiday cocktails, craft beer, book readings, an ugly sweater contest, your chance to Vote for the Best Boat, and much more! Admission is $5 (kids 12 and younger free), and the event supports LPBF's mission to restore and preserve the Pontchartrain Basin for the benefit of this and future generations. Event is located on the lakefront at 8001 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans, LA 70124. 

Click here for more information.


Christmas Eve Bonfires on the Levees

December 24  •  7pm

Take a kids on a road trip to St. John the Baptist or St. James Parishes on Christmas Eve to experience the centuries old tradition of lighting bonfires on the levees. Some say the tradition started to light the way for people attending Christmas Eve mass. Others believe it was our way of directing Papa Nola, or Santa Claus, on his annual journey. Either way, the bonfires are something every New Orleans family should experience together at least once. The synchronized lighting takes place along River Road in St. John the Baptist and St. James Parishes at 7 pm on December 24th. 

Click here for more information and directions.

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For more holiday events, visit our calendar here!