January in New Orleans is unlike anywhere else in the world: while most are seeing the end of the holidays, we roll from one celebration to the next with the start of Carnival season on January 6. Indulge in a king cake (or two or three or six), check out the first parades of the season, ring in the new year NOLA-style, and catch a performance in the theater. Here are 10 things to do this January in New Orleans. 

Ring in the New Year, NOLA-style 

New Orleans is the perfect place to ring in the new year, with your pick of celebration on New Year’s Eve. Plan to dine out, attend a NYE celebration, jam out at a concert, or catch the Allstate Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Eve. See what’s going on during the holiday weekend here.  

Kick off the Carnival Season on January 6 

January 6 marks the official start to the Mardi Gras season, which lasts this year through February 21. What better way to kick off our favorite season than with not one, not two, but four parades? On January 6, see the Krewe of Joan of Arc as it passes through the French Quarter on foot and horseback followed by The Société Des Champs Elysée a few blocks away. Uptown on St. Charles Avenue, Phunny Phorty Phellows will parade via streetcar followed by Funky Uptown Krewe. Other festivities abound, including Amanda Shaw’s Twelfth Night Celebration at Tipitina’s.  

Credit @thebigbookofkingcake and @randypschmidt

Eat lots of king cake 

Whether you like it traditional or unconventional, king cake season is here in abundance starting January 6. It’s considered bad luck by some to eat king cake out of season, but luckily for you most of January is in the clear and we couldn’t be more excited to finally indulge in our favorite seasonal treat. Check out some of our favorite king cakes here, and be sure to visit the King Cake Hub at Zony Mash Beer Project once the season gets started. 

Go to Fan Expo 

Fan Expo returns to New Orleans from January 6-8 with all your favorite comic book characters, celebrities, and fan favorite events. Celebrities include Matthew Lewis from “Harry Potter,” Katee Sackhoff of “The Mandalorian,” Anson Mount from “Star Trek: Discovery,” and more. Click here for the full lineup and get your tickets today. 

Catch a Pelicans or Saints game 

The Saints football season wraps up in January, but there’s still time to catch the game against the Carolina Panthers on January 8. The Pelicans are in full swing with six games this month in the Blender.  

Photo credit: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade
Jesus Christ Superstar - Broadway in New Orleans

Head to the theater 

January is a great time to check out the performing arts scene in New Orleans with multiple productions occurring throughout the month. Jesus Christ Superstar comes to the Saenger from January 10-15 via Broadway in New Orleans. Le Petit Theater presents The Color Purple from January 12-29. Then there’s Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo visiting on January 28. Plan to patronize the theater this winter. View our Winter Theater Guide here.

Mark your calendars for Miss Universe 

For the first time ever, the MISS UNIVERSE® competition will be held in New Orleans. The competition will be held in the Convention Center on Saturday, Jan. 14 and feature almost 90 delegates from around the globe vying for the crown. There are a few events open to the public. Find more information and purchase tickets here.

Commemorate Martin Lutcher King, Jr. Day 

January 16, 2023 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. New Orleans typically has plenty of community gatherings and volunteer opportunities to commemorate the day. Participate in a day of service at New Orleans City Park. Enjoy the Ogden Museum's 6th Annual MLK Day Celebration with story time, performances, and free museum admission from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Catch an early season Mardi Gras parade 

The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is set to roll through the Bywater and French Quarter on Saturday, Jan. 28. This fun foot parade features different sub-krewes paying homage to science fiction, fantasy, and horror with signature throws and lots of lovable nerdiness. The Krewe of Nefertiti is another early season parade, set to roll through New Orleans East on Sunday, Jan. 29. 

Enjoy a bowl of piping hot gumbo 

Cozy up to a bowl of piping hot gumbo this January. During one of our colder months, this classic New Orleans dish will warm you right up. Enjoy a bowl from Neyow’s, Dooky Chase’s, or one of these gumbo spots.