Thinking about ringing in the New Year in New Orleans? Between the food, music, and midnight celebrations, the options are endless for a festive soiree. There are even celebrations for the little ones during the day. If you’re in need of plans for the holiday, you’ve come to the right place; here are seven reasons why New Orleans should be on your New Year’s Eve bucket list. 

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Attend a New Year’s Eve celebration

New Orleans is a place where people come to have a good time, and New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest party nights of the year. Big Night New Orleans returns for its 10th anniversary with music from Big Freedia, Tank and the Bangas, Choppa, and more. Head to the AllWays Lounge for Kapow: Burlesque with a Bang! New Year’s Eve Extravaganza featuring some of the best burlesque, drag, and variety act performers in town. Check here for more information on New Year’s Eve parties, and make sure to dress to the nines before heading out. 

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Rebecca Todd

See the Fleur de Lis drop and fireworks on the river

Every New Year’s Eve, tourists and locals alike gather at Jackson Square for the Fleur de Lis drop. Comparable to the ball drop in New York City, this annual tradition is fun for all ages, with fireworks once the clock strikes midnight. Hop aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen or Steamboat NATCHEZ for a different vantage point. There’s no better way to ring in the New Year, New Orleans-style. 

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Paul Broussard

Enjoy New Year’s Eve activities for kids

New Year’s Eve is a celebration for all ages in New Orleans, and there are a few great daytime events you should know about. Zoo Year’s Eve at the Audubon Zoo is a family favorite, with music, games, prizes, and a countdown to noon. Louisiana Children’s Museum’s “Noon Year’s Eve” features a countdown to noon that culminates in an explosion of colorful confetti and bubbles. With these fun celebrations, your little ones won’t bother trying to stay up till midnight. 

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Cheryl Gerber

The annual Allstate Sugar Bowl returns for its 89th edition on New Year’s Eve as top teams from the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 Conference come head to head in the Caesars Superdome. The whole weekend is filled with family-friendly events, including a parade and the Caesars Sportsbook Tailgate Town. Even if your team isn’t in the game, there’s still plenty of fun to be had. Learn more about the Sugar Bowl here.  

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Photo credit: Denny Culbert

Make a dinner reservation

Prefer a quieter celebration? Enjoy a dinner reservation at one of many New Orleans restaurants open on New Year’s Eve. Some have special menus, themed courses, and both early and late dinner reservations slots. The Réveillon dining tradition of multi-course meals during the holidays continues through New Year’s Eve. Enjoy a prix-fixe menu at Jewel of the South or a swanky French-inspired soiree at cocktail lounge Bar Marilou. Check back here for our restaurants open on New Year’s Eve, and make those reservations quick!  

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Justen Williams

Ring in the New Year at a concert

Some of the best live music can be found in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve. Galactic New Year’s Eve presented by Tipitina’s features performances from Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, Galactic, and Pimps of Joytime as they countdown to midnight. The Civic Theater plays host to DJ Soul Sister’s 20th Annual New Year’s Eve Soul Train. Bluegrass musician Billy Strings is playing the UNO Lakefront Arena on New Year’s Eve and, boy, does he put on a good show. BB’s Stage Door Canteen New Year’s Eve is dinner and a show with live music from the Victory Swing Orchestra and a chocolate buffet at midnight. Check the WWOZ Live Music Calendar and find a show that appeals to you. 

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Justen Williams

Enjoy the mild weather

If there’s one positive thing about celebrating New Year’s Eve in New Orleans, it’s that you’ll never be freezing! Expect cool, dry weather and clear, pleasant temperatures on New Year’s Eve. Take advantage of the ideal weather by exploring our parks and public spaces during the daytime hours and hopping from one celebration to the next at night. Ring in the New Year the NOLA way.