Christmas is fast approaching and we’re in the holiday homestretch. There’s still time to get swept up in the magic of the season. New Orleans is a great place to be during the holidays. We don’t let a lack of snow or cold weather dampen our Christmas spirit. No siree, you can find Christmas all around the city! Here are nine things to do to get in on the fun.
1. Holiday Light Display in the Ritz-Carlton Lobby
You’ll notice the brilliant lights the second you step off the elevator to the hotel’s third floor lobby. The display sparkles with the beauty of 100 unique blown-glass ornaments and 33,500 lights suspended from 500 hand-painted golden willow branches.
2.The Walk-Through Gingerbread House at the Ritz-Carlton
Just steps away from the lobby, don’t leave the hotel without walking through the life-size gingerbread house. It’s a re-creation of the city’s famous Wedding Cake House on St. Charles Ave. Created by the hotel’s bakers and construction crew; it features nearly 400 pounds of gingerbread dough, 134 pounds of fondant and 30 pounds of chocolate. Santa will love the cookies and milk left on the fireplace mantle. The kids will love the curio cabinet filled with colorful vintage toys made of gingerbread. Be sure to check out the gingerbread cookie and gumdrop trim throughout the house.
3. Miracle on Fulton Street
One word: SNOW! The Fulton Street pedestrian corridor holiday experience has a daily mini snowfall every hour from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The joy and wonder on the faces of the children as the snow falls is special to see! There’s a 30’ foot tree and on the weekend you’ll find live music and a holiday marketplace to browse and shop.
4. Harrah’s Hotel St. Louis Cathedral Gingerbread Display
A sweet homage is paid to the city’s iconic St. Louis Cathedral at Harrah’s Hotel. The 16-foot high gingerbread creation contains thousands of colorful candies which add great detail. The display is made from 200 pounds of gingerbread and 300 pounds of confectioners sugar.
5. Roosevelt Hotel Main Lobby
My mother used to bring me here as a kid; back then it was decorated with angel hair. Now days, thousands of sparkling lights beckon you. Dozens of decorated Christmas trees line the lobby and the display stretches the entire length of the hotel. I guess it’s hard not to get swept up in the beauty – I’ve seen a few engagement pictures from this magical spot on Instagram.
6. Canal Place Christmas Tree
If you like tall trees, the one in the lobby of The Shops at Canal Place will make you jump for joy! It’s 45-feet tall with 555 branches, 27,750 lights and 3,885 ornaments. It takes Santa’s elves six hours to assemble the display. Added bonus: You can finish off your shopping list while you’re there.
7. NOLA ChristmasFest
This holiday festival is great for the whole family. It boasts the city’s only indoor ice skating rink and there’s plenty to keep the kids busy including a carousel, carnival rides, arts and crafts, dozens of decorated Christmas trees and holiday characters. It runs daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Click here for more info and tickets.
8. Windsor Court Holiday Display
You won’t be able to miss the nearly 20’ Christmas tree as soon as you enter the Windsor Court. It’s decorated with 25,00 mini lights and over 1500 feet of gold magnolia garland. Be sure to look below the tree to watch the classic toy train chugging around the base.
9. Celebration in the Oaks
I already wrote about my visit to Celebration in the Oaks at City Park. Click here for the story.
These are just a few of the holiday happenings around town. Canal St. is decorated and even the streetcars are draped in garland. The French Market is in full holiday mode and many restaurants throughout the city are offering a traditional New Orleans experience with nightly Reveillon Dinners. I hope you get the chance to experience the Holidays in New Orleans!