10 FREE Holiday Light Displays In and Around New Orleans
One of my most favorite memories of the holidays as a child is when my parents would pile us into the car, pack some cookies and hot cocoa and we would drive around to see the Christmas lights around town. We would drive out to Metairie to stop by Al Copeland’s house and view his display and then head to Woodlake in Kenner where there I think I recall a house with a giant Christmas Village in the window. Then, if we had time, we would head to City Park for Celebration in the Oaks and take the car tour. For some reason, the memories of riding in the blue 1981 Bonneville in my pajamas while listening to the Twelve Yats of Christmas often come flooding back as soon as I start seeing yards adorned with holiday light displays. This is one of the traditions I couldn’t wait to carry down into my own family when I had my son.
Instead of focusing on neighborhood light displays, our tradition includes making a special field trip downtown to get our holiday light fix. We start with taking a streetcar along Canal Street among the festive lights then walking throughout some of our favorite downtown hotels and ending at Fulton Street with a few stops for treats along the way!
If you are looking to start a tradition with your own family, here are 10 holiday light displays that should bring some holiday fun and joy to your family!
The Roosevelt Hotel (130 Roosevelt Way) Starting November 29th, the lobby of the Roosevelt will twinkle with lights that cover an entire block. This tradition has been around for 80 years and features 44 Birch trees, over 22,000 twinkling lights, and scores of festively decorated Christmas trees.
Miracle on Fulton Street (Fulton Street, Downtown) From November 22nd – December 24th there will be fun for all ages! The Miracle on Fulton Street is a winter wonderland on the pedestrian walkway that features a 30’ Christmas tree, twinkling lights, live entertainment, visits from Santa and the most exciting: snow falls during intervals throughout the day near the gazebo!
Ritz Carlton Hotel (921 Canal Street) The lobby will be trimmed with giant wreaths, hundreds of feet of garland and dozens of individual Christmas trees! The Ritz Carlton holiday decorations will also include the hotel’s gingerbread display which includes a gingerbread house that looks like the “New Orleans Wedding Cake House.”
Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal Street) Beginning the week after Thanksgiving, Hotel Monteleone will light up the 200 block of Royal Street as it officially turns on the holiday decorations to mark the start of its holiday season. The large windows along Royal Street will be outlined with beautiful white lights and the interior will be transformed into a winter wonderland as it brightens up the lobby with its majestic Christmas tree and special holiday décor.
Rivertown Christmas Village (2020 Fourth Street, Kenner) Head to Kenner from November 26th through December 20th for the Annual Kenner Christmas Village at Kenner Heritage Park in Rivertown. Heritage Park is transformed into a festive holiday village with beautiful Christmas lights and animated scenery, overlooking the tranquil pond on weekends from 5:30-9pm. The event also features visits from Santa, “snow” and vendors from around the area with food and gifts for everyone on your list.
Tammany Trace Holiday of Lights (21490 Koop Drive, Mandeville) During the first two weekends in December at the Trailhead on Koop Drive, visitors can enjoy live entertainment, visits with Santa and kiddie rides till 8:30 in the evenings amongst oodles of twinkling holiday lights. For the rest of the month, the light display remains illuminated until the end of December from 5-8pm and has a new feature display added every year so guests can enjoy both the new and old.
Outlet Collection at Riverwalk (Spanish Plaza) From now until the end of December, you can see the 50’ Christmas Tree in Spanish Plaza that will surely light up your kids’ faces. Also, throughout the month of December, the Riverwalk features holiday movies, live entertainment, and other events for the family at the plaza that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit!
Slidell Christmas Under the Stars (333 Erlanger Road, Slidell) For the first two weekends in December, you can head to Griffith Park in Olde Towne Slidell for Christmas Under the Stars, an event that features visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus who arrive on an antique fire truck, a Parade of Trees, and a life size Christmas cottages and Nativity Other highlights include Santa’s Magical Mailbox and the Freedom Veteran’s Exhibit. The lights, decorations, Parade of Trees, Slidell’s Nativity and the life-size Christmas Cottages will remain on display every night through Sunday, January 3, 2016.
Slidell’s Bayou Christmas at Heritage Park (1701 Bayou Lane, Slidell) From December 15th to 25th, take in over 80,000 twinkling lights and animations at Slidell’s Bayou Christmas presented by the Boys and Girls Clubs. There will also be live entertainment, food vendors, a craft market, rides for the kids and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. As part of the festivities, there will be family movie nights at the park. Also, the streets of downtown Slidell will be decorated for the Spirit of the Season decorating contest!
Royal Sonesta Hotel (300 Bourbon Street) From the Lighting of the Balconies on November 30th, and throughout the month, head to the Royal Sonesta where the lobby is adorned with lights and evergreen trees! Also, on weekdays at noon, choirs from schools across greater New Orleans area will spread holiday spirit in the main lobby.
Do you know of any other unique free holiday light displays around town? Please share with us in comments!