This time of year breaks the bank already. Between the parties and the shopping, it seems like a never ending flow of money. And while Holiday events like Celebration in the Oaks and NOLA Christmas Fest are amazing and fun, they also cost a lot of money to attend as a family. They are special and not something you can do all the time. To help you save money and still have some holiday fun we put together this list of FREE Holiday Events In New Orleans this holiday season.
Holiday Tree Lightings And Light Shows In New Orleans
CANAL STREET CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING
Get into the holiday spirit with the annual Canal Street Tree Lighting at the Astor Crowne Plaza on November 20th from 5-7 pm. Lights get turned on at 5:30 and there will be entertainment by The Voices of Peter Claus and a special appearance by Santa.
Miracle on Fulton St.
Hourly snowfall, lights, and a gingerbread display in the hotel lobby can be seen daily from 11 am – 10 pm starting November 30th through December 26rd. Live music and Santa every Friday and Saturday night starting at 6pm.
French Market Christmas Tree Lighting
The tree lighting starts at 5:30 pm at Washington Artillery Park and Moonwalk followed by a concert by Kermit Ruffins and fireworks on November 30th.
GRETNA CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING
Meet Santa and sing Christmas Carols after a Santa Parade at 6 pm on December 2nd. Tree lighting is at Huey P. Long and 2nd Street by the Arch.
This one of a kind light display with lights, art and technology in Lafayette Square with lighted art on Fulton St and projections on Gallier Hall happens night from December 6th-9th. This year’s display will celebrate the New Orleans Tricentennial with projections on Gallier Hall every hour on the hour from 6-10pm.
Holiday Hotel Lobbies In New Orleans
See the holiday decorations, listen to the Victory Belles and visit with Papa Noel at the Holiday Ribbon Cutting Reception on November 20th at 11am in the Ritz-Carlton 3rd Floor Lobby. The decorations will be up throughout the season and are a must see.
The lobby of the hotel transforms into a winter wonderland with tons of lights starting on November 27th through Christmas. The Lobby Lighting Ceremony will be on November 27th from 5:15-5:45pm.
Magical gingerbread display in the Lobby starting November 30th.
Stop in throughout the season to see the hotel’s holiday decor including their dazzling arcade of real trees.
Stop by the hotel’s lobby to see the 19 1/2 foot tree decorated with 25,000 mini lights.
Free Holiday Concerts In New Orleans
St. Augustine Church Christmas Concert Series
Free holiday concerts with local New Orleans musicians from 4-5pm on various dates throughout the season.
- Philip Manuel – December 1st
- Kim Che’re – December 8th
- Lawrence Cotton Legendary Experience – December 15th
Christmas at Loyola
December 2nd from 3-4 pm at Holy Name Of Jesus Catholic Church. Choir, strings, brass band, sing alongs and fun.
Holiday Performances at the Royal Sonesta
Performances from local school choirs at NOON on weekdays in December in the hotel lobby.
- Kehoe France – December 3rd
- St. Ann – December 4th
- St. Clement of Rome – December 5th
- Christian Brothers – December 6th
- Archbishop Chapelle – December 7th
- St. Philip Neri – December 10th
- St. Pius X – December 11th
- St. Dominic – December 12th
- Clearwater Junior High – December 13th
- St. Peter Claver School – December 14th
- Memorial Baptist – December 17th
- Academy of Sacred Heart – December 18th
- St. Andrew’s Episcopal – December 19th
- Andrew Jackson Middle School – December 20th
St. Louis Cathedral Christmas Concert Series
Free holiday concerts with local New Orleans musicians from 6-7pm on various dates throughout the season.
- Magnolia Sisters – December 3rd
- Leroy Jones – December 4th
- Harpist Rachel Van Voorhees – December 5th
- Lyle Henderson and Emanuel – December 6th
- Shannon Powell – December 9th
- Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony – December 10th
- The Iguanas – December 11th
- Shades of Praise – December 12th
- Christmas Organ Spectacular Featuring Emmanuel Culcasi – December 13th
- St. Louis Basilica Annual Christmas Concert – 5:30pm on December 16th
Holiday Performances at Windsor Court
Local school choirs will perform in hotel lobby throughout the season.
- Metairie Park Country Day – 10am on December 6th
- Isidore Newman Upper School – 1pm on December 6th
- Holy Cross School – 10am on December 7th
- Isidore Newman Middle School – 1pm on December 7th
- St. Paul’s Episcopal School – 10am on December 14th
- St. Andrew’s Episcopal School – 1pm on December 14th
- Trinity Episcopal School – 10am on December 18th
- Andrew Jackson Middle School – 10am on December 21st
Caroling in Jackson Square
December 16th at 6:30 pm in Jackson Square. Sing your favorite Christmas carols by candlelight in Jackson Square. Gates open at 6:30 pm and caroling begins at 7 pm.
Free Santa Events In New Orleans
LAKESIDE SHOPPING CENTER
Santa arrives on November 17th with activities, crafts and a parade from 8-10am (parade at 9:45am).
SANTA AT THE RINK
Santa will be at The Garden District Book Shop (2727 Prytania) from 10am-1pm on December 1st for pictures. Bring your own camera.
Santa at Metairie Bank
Take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 5:30-7:30pm on December 5th. Free gifts for the kids, free raffle for adults, refreshments and more at the Metairie Bank Main Office Lobby (3344 Metairie Rd.).
Photos with the Grinch
Take pictures with the Grinch in Santa’s sleigh on December 6th from 6-7:30pm at the Velvet Catcus (6300 Argonne Blvd).
Free Photos With Santa
December 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th from 6-9pm at Deanies Seafood in the French Quarter. Cocoa, cookies, and free photos with Santa.
CHRISTMAS ON THE BAYOU
Starts with Mass at 6pm at Cabrini High School on December 8th. Following mass there will be a living nativity, performances by the Cabrini Cheerleaders and Eclipse Dance Team, and candlelight caroling from the Cabrini Chamber Ensemble to welcome Santa who will arrive by boat on Bayou St. John. After Santa arrives there will be hot chocolate, treats and Santa pictures in the gym.
STORYTIME WITH SANTA
Storytime and Santa pictures at Courtney Gulledge State Farm (2020 Dickory Ave, Harahan) on December 8th from 10am-NOON.
Holiday Parade In New Orleans
Krewe of Jingle Parade
December 1st at 1pm. New Orleans’s very own Christmas Parade. Parade Route
Hammond Christmas Parade
Rotary Club of Hammond 60th Annual Christmas Parade Saturday, December 1, 2018 starting at 5:30pm. This year’s theme is “A Louisiana Christmas”. Parade starts and ends at Friendship Circle at SLU.
Norco Christmas Parade
December 2nd at 2pm in Norco. This year’s theme is “Santa Celebrates Our Local Sports”. Parade Route
Folsom Horse and Wagon Parade
December 8th at 1pm in Folsom, this year’s theme is “Winter Wonderland”. Parade Route
Ponchatoula Christmas Parade
December 8th at 5:00pm in Downtown Ponchatoula. This year’s theme is “Christmas on the Bayou”.
Jingle Down the Boulevard
December 15 at NOON. This is the first year for this parade rolling through New Orleans East. Parades on Crowder Blvd, turns on to Haynes, then on Read and ends at the Lake Forest Plaza.
Harahan Christmas Parade
December 15th at NOON. Starts at Jefferson Hwy and Hord St, goes down Jefferson Hwy to Folse Ave.
Free Holiday Events In New Orleans
Kenner Christmas Village
Lights, snow, live entertainment and fun Friday – Sunday from 6-10pm starting November 24th until December 30th. While visiting the Christmas Village is free, there are some activities that have a $1-5 fee. Ice skating is $5 for 30 minutes.
Movies on the Mississippi
Holiday movies shown on a 26 ft. screen at Convention Center Plaza on Julia St.
- Friday, November 30 – The Star
- Friday, December 7 – The Santa Claus
- Friday, December 14 – Elf
Algiers Bonfire and Concert
December 1st from 5:30 to 8 pm at the Algiers Ferry Landing. Light the way for Papa Noel with New Orleans’s only bonfire and a concert.
Harry Potter Yule Fest
Celebrate Yule and Harry Potter with this party at the Jefferson Parish Eastbank Regional Library on December 2nd from 1-4pm. Games, trivia, magical creatures, entertainment crafts and more. Pre-registration required. Register here
Let It Sneaux
December 4th from 6-8 pm at Loyola University outside the Marquette Building and Horseshoe. Santa, characters, hot chocolate, cookies, crafts, and more.
Krewe de Voix Christmas Concert
December 7th at Trinity Episcopal Church, New Orleans and December 8th at Marigny Opera House from 7-8pm. Listen to — A Tudor Christmas: Carols and Motets of the English Renaissance.
Holiday Open House
December 10th from 6-8 pm at Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana. Take a tour of our House and meet our staff and guests while enjoying food, drinks, and entertainment!
Lights at the Lake Holiday Bash
December 15th from 4-8pm at the New Canal Lighthouse. Christmas boat parade, music from school choirs, activities, and more.
Winter Solstice Labyrinth Walk
December 21st from 6:30-7:30 pm at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans. Quiet contemplative service of silently walking the candlelit labyrinth in the darkened sanctuary.
Holiday Markets In New Orleans
OLD METAIRIE HOLIDAY MARKET
Shop for presents while visiting with Santa at St. Francis Xavier School on December 1st from 9am-2pm.
Enjoy live music, refreshments, arts and crafts, pictures with Santa and shopping at Ursuline Academy from 10am-12:30pm. Register Here
CHRISTMAS IN LA
Shop with over 50 vendors, enjoy some music, and take a picture with Santa at the Crowne Plaza New ORleans Airport on December 8th from 11am-4pm. Free admission but you must have a ticket.
HOLIDAYS ON HARRISON
Enjoy local school choirs, trolley rides, snow, kids activities and Santa on December 12th from 5-8:30pm at the Harrison Ave. Marketplace.
Free Hanukkah Events In New Orleans
Hanukkah at the Riverwalk
December 2nd from 4:30-6:30pm. Public Menorah lighting with Kosher food, music, children’s activities and more.
Chabad-Mobile Menorah Parade
December 8th from 7:30-9:30pm. Krewe of Chanukah rides from Chabad Uptown down St. Charles through the CBD, French Quarter and Marigny returning Uptown with special Chanukah throws and Jewish music.
Community Chanukah Celebration
December 9th from 4-6 pm at the Uptown Jewish Community Center. Light the Menorah, eat fried chicken and lakes, and live music by NeFesh Mountain.
Did we miss a FREE Holiday event in New Orleans? Let us know in the comments!