New Orleans is known for being convivial, full of festive energy all year long. That said, New Year’s in New Orleans is its own extraordinary experience. The city’s varied and exciting New Year’s Eve traditions should not be missed, so below we’ve outlined plenty of fun activities that will ensure your New Year’s holiday in NOLA is unlike any other you’ve experienced.
New Year’s Eve Traditions: Music, Fleur-de-Lis Drop, and Fireworks
Jackson Square is the traditional spot in New Orleans to spend New Year’s Eve. Visitors will be entertained by live musical performances all evening as they eagerly await the Crescent City countdown to midnight. At the stroke of midnight, the traditional Fleur-de-Lis will drop before a spectacular fireworks show illuminates the Mississippi River.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise
Alternatively, take a special New Year’s Eve cruise aboard a Mississippi riverboat. The cruise features live entertainment, food, open bars, and incredible views of the fireworks over the Mississippi River. There are a couple different boats to choose from, each offering their own unique options for celebrating the New Year.
Nightclubs and Parties in the French Quarter
Before or preceding the city’s fireworks display, head to the French Quarter to celebrate the arrival of 2017 in one of the city’s electrifying clubs. A simple walk down Bourbon Street offers countless choices for all kinds of quality music and atmospheres. The open-air courtyards and balconies offered by many of French Quarter establishments will let you dance the night away while you take in the bright, colorful visuals of the fireworks above.
New Orleans boasts some of the most famous live music venues in the country, many of which will be welcoming visitors through the New Year’s holiday. Experience the city’s authentic jazz and blues music, or visit a venue with a contemporary DJ that is sure to get you moving out of your seat. Frenchmen Street features a number of jazz clubs and concert halls to check out–among them are Maison, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, Blue Nile, and The Spotted Cat Music Club, to name just a few.
A perfect option for foodies, these dinners feature specially-priced, multi-course menus at some of New Orlean’s top restaurants. Dinners average just $34 per person (though some added options will cost more). You can choose from a range of classic venues, or check out one of the city’s trendy new hot spots. Whatever you’re hungry for, remember to book your reservation early–New Year’s Eve seating fills up fast!
Allstate Sugar Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade
New Year’s Eve is a major holiday, so why not ring it in with a parade? The Allstate Sugar Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade is a Mardi Gras-style affair complete with floats, bands, and much more. Starting at 3:30 pm on December 31st at the intersection of Elysian Fields Avenue and Decatur Street, the parade proceeds through the French Quarter and finishes at Canal Street.
Allstate Fan Fest
Back for its eleventh year, this festival offers numerous pre-game events and celebrations in honor of the Sugar Bowl. Join in on the fun of pep rallies, marching bands, live music, and other football-themed activities. The festival is free and open to the public all afternoon at Jax Brewery in Jackson Square on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Looking for Family-Friendly Options?
Zoo Year’s Eve
Audubon Zoo hosts a kid-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. The event features music, games, and prizes. There is also a special countdown to noon to get those kids not old enough to stay up until midnight into the New Year’s spirit. The event is included with the price of Zoo admission and is free for Audubon members.
Louisiana Children’s Museum New Year’s Eve Countdown
Another fun event for kids, it features music, arts & crafts, and a different New Year’s countdown. Tickets are available for just $10 a person, and kids can enjoy themselves from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, making this a great way to spend the entire day.