Long gone are the days when Thanksgiving was reserved for just eating - in New Orleans, Thanksgiving combines food, family, AND fun. From turkey trots to a trip to the movies and everything in between, get inspired by this list of things to do on Thanksgiving Day.

Paul Broussard, NOTMC

Catch a Movie

How does dinner and a movie sound? Unwind after your Thanksgiving feast and catch a flick at the Broad Theater or head Uptown to Prytania Theatre. Make sure you save a little room for popcorn!

Head to the Fairgrounds

Head to the Fairgrounds for the 99th annual Thanksgiving Classic, a derby that will kick off the racing season. Dress up in your best attire (complete with hat or fascinator) and let the mint juleps fly back on a day at the track. 


On Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., head to Easton Park in Mid-City for some family fun. The Human Horse Races are a fundraiser where people dress as horses and race each other, all while raising money for a horse sanctuary. There will be live music and trophies for all winners of races, and eight gift baskets for people who enter the raffle.

Pick out a pie

Leave the baking to the pros and pick up a pie from a local shop for Thanksgiving Day. Windowsill Pies specializes in all sorts of varieties, including Gingered Pumpkin Tart, Amaretto Pear & Dried Cherry, and Vanilla Bean Bourbon Pecan available for Thanksgiving preorder. Another great bakery to check out is La Boulangerie - they’re already taking pre-orders for Thanksgiving with menu items key lime pie, apple pie, chocolate cream pie, and pecan pie.

Paul Broussard, NOTMC

Go for a Turkey Day Run

If you’re looking for a way to work off those Thanksgiving calories then look no further than the NOAC Turkey Day Race, a fundraiser for Spina Bifida of Louisiana. Held at New Orleans City Park, you can choose to run a five-mile or half-mile race. This turkey trot has been running for over 100 years now - there’s no better time to join in on the fun. 

Grab a Bite, Don’t Cook

Take the hassle out of your holiday and dine out at one of the many restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day in New Orleans. From the Bywater to the Central Business District, you can find anything from traditional New Orleanian staples to international cuisine to appease your taste buds this Thanksgiving.

Have a Sweet Treat

Ditch the pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies and try something new this Thanksgiving. Make your way down to the French Quarter and enjoy the most perfectly powdered pastry in New Orleans - beignets! There’s no better place to get them than Cafe du Monde, where they’re serving them every day, even on Thanksgiving.

Have a Craft Cocktail and Premium Cigar

Whiskey & Sticks is a Bayou Road favorite, perfect for relaxation. Grab a friend and celebrate the holiday with one of their specialty fall craft cocktails paired with a premium cigar while you unwind on Thanksgiving Day.


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Don't miss the Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Day Parade in New Orleans! Led by the Grambling Marching Tigers and Southern Human Jukebox, it marches from Superdome to French Market. Enjoy floats, marching bands, military units, alumni groups, and the historic Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, New Orleans’ oldest predominantly Black Mardi Gras parading organization.


Friday, November 24, 2023

On Friday before the Bayou Classic, the Grambling State and Southern University bands compete in the annual Battle of the Bands – an event almost as exciting as the game itself. Because of the prestige and popularity of these schools’ two bands and their fabulously choreographed moves, the Battle of the Bands has become one of Crescent City's favorite traditions. There will be entertainment, food and drinks for sale, and musical performances at the event.


Saturday, November 25

Celebrate the Bayou Classic, an annual tradition where Grambling State and Southern University go head-to-head in an epic match. Formed from a historic football rivalry, The Bayou Classic is now one of New Orleans' grandest sporting events. Thanksgiving weekend brings parades, bands, and the big Bayou Clash at Caesar’s Superdome, and the game follows the weekend after. Join the excitement citywide, even at local bars and restaurants for viewing parties. Check out our guide to the Bayou Classic to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the excitement!