New Orleans in the winter is a magical place. From holiday lights and unique traditions to sporting events and festivals, there is always something going on. While the rest of the country is hibernating, we are running the town, celebrating all things New Orleans. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite must-do winter activities below. Sub your snow boots for some dancing shoes…

Justen Williams, NOTMC

This New Orleans delicacy is the perfect way to warm up when the weather is cool. Served over rice, the warm stew is made with a variety of local ingredients, differentiating between various family recipes. See some of the best places to get gumbo here.

Devonte Williford

Many hotel lobbies decorate during the holidays, but every year, the Roosevelt’s breathtaking hallway stuns visitors and locals alike. More than 60,000 lights branch throughout and many holiday activities take place there, as well. 

Paul Broussard

From Thanksgiving to New Years, City Park is transformed with a holiday light show that is exciting for all ages. The festive display has everything from a Cajun Santa and the Saints to dinosaurs and sea life. For extra fun, children can ride the rides at the Carousel Gardens.

Rebecca Todd

A Creole Christmas means Reveillon Dinners. Dozens of New Orleans restaurants host special meals during the holidays to show off their culinary and cocktail creativity. Head to the official website to see who is participating this year.

Zack Smith

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, because it’s Saints and Pelicans season. Be a Who Dat or Flock Up during your trip. From Zion to Drew Brees, New Orleans has a lot to cheer about. See our tips for the ultimate game day here.

Cheryl Gerber

Think ball drop, New Orleans style. Head to Jackson Square to countdown 2020 with the dropping fleur de lis drop, followed by a firework display over the Mississippi River.

Rebecca Todd

You can’t come to New Orleans without hearing the trumpet blare and the drumbeat. Head to Frenchmen Street to hear live music all night long, from traditional jazz to reggae and rock. During the cooler months, dancing the night away sounds especially appealing.

Paul Broussard

Get in on the action at the College Football National Championship

In 2020, New Orleans is hosting the College Football National Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Numerous activities will coincide with the game around the city, but if you can score a ticket, go!

Zack Smith, NOTMC

There are plenty of bars around the city that are ideal during the winter. Sip on a signature New Orleans cocktail in an intimate setting, paired with a cigar or some dessert.

Zack Smith

Slurp oysters at their prime

Oysters are best in the months that have an “R”- meaning the winter months fit the criteria perfectly. Enjoy them in a variety of forms: raw, chargrilled or fried to name a few. Restaurants love to get creative with their oyster offerings. Some favorite spots include Acme, Drago’s, Superior Seafood and Seaworthy.

Justen Williams

Indulge in a cozy dessert

New Orleans has numerous decadent desserts that are especially appealing during the cooler months. Bananas Foster, Bread Pudding, Baked Alaska and Beignets are all served hot, and you can’t go wrong with some Cafe Brulot to finish it all off. The presentation of each of these New Orleans treats is also spectacular.

Photographer Rebecca Todd

Celebrate Vietnamese New Year on the grounds of Mary Queen of Vietnam Church. Indulge in báhn mí and pho, admire the dragon dance, and enjoy other authentic Vietnamese activities. The Vietnamese community is strong in New Orleans, and this is a great way to experience it firsthand.

Paul Broussard

Sample various king cakes at King Cake Festival

King Cake is the official food of the Carnival Season. Traditionally, it is a mix of a coffee cake and a cinnamon roll, served with purple, green and gold sugar or frosting. Bakeries add twists to the beloved dessert, making it a constant discussion for who has the best king cake among locals. Head to the King Cake Festival to try numerous options.

Cheryl Gerber, NOTMC

Mardi Gras kicks off every year on January 6, also known as Twelfth Night. For weeks following, parades roll to celebrate the Carnival Season. Attending a Mardi Gras parade should be on everyone’s bucket list (in fact, we even have a special Mardi Gras Bucket List to help you plan the ultimate Carnival experience), and can be family-friendly. Dance with the bands, catch some beads and experience the revelry. Learn about all things Mardi Gras here.