Looking to spend 3 days in New Orleans? New Year’s Eve in New Orleans is the perfect time to spend a long weekend celebrating the beginning of a new year by enjoying parades, good food and great company in the Big Easy.
Spending New Year’s in New Orleans can be celebrated by having a quiet and intimate dinner with friends and family or you can hang out all night in the French Quarter or my favorite Frenchman District.
New Orleans has something from everyone whether you are looking for all-inclusive party, hotel-hosted parties, to live music celebrations, or daytime family-friendly events for the entire family.
If you’re planning to be out and about for New Year’s Eve in New Orleans you should be making reservations like yesterday because the hotels, restaurants and parties sell out fairly quickly.
New Year’s Eve is on Thurssay, December 31st this year and I suggest making sure your reservations confirmed ASAP!
If you really want to celebrate the spirit of New Orleans, go to a cocktail bar, a neighborhood bar, a dive bar or a music club.
There’s always good energy, fun and it doesn’t require a tuxedo or a ton of money to enjoy yourself on New Year’s Eve.
Here are some of my top picks for what to do on New Year’s Eve in New Orleans.
What to do on New Year’s Eve in New Orleans
Celebrate on the River in New Orleans
Ring in the New Year with a cruise on the river. Steamboat Natchez hosts a New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise beginning at 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
Patrons can enjoy an open bar, holiday-themed dinner buffet, and musical entertainment by a live dance band. Board at the Toulouse Street Wharf and watch the fireworks from your seat on the boat.
For those who love the view of river but would rather remain landlocked, the city hosts its annual fleur de lis drop at midnight with an accompanying fireworks show on the riverfront.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information on the evening’s happenings as the evening approaches, check out the Crescent City Countdown Club.
Back in its fourth year is Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast live from New Orleans, including a concert beginning at 9 p.m. on the Riverfront.
The free show will be broadcast on ABC, but if you’d like to be a part of the crowd, we recommend getting down there early. Celebrations conclude with fireworks at midnight, ringing in the new year.
Best Places To Bring In The New Year In New Orleans
Several upscale venues in the city host huge parties that include food, beverages, and live music. (Adults 21 and older only).
The biggest party of the evening takes place at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Loyola Avenue in the CBD. Aptly titled Big Night New Orleans, this event provides a late-night celebration with live music, open bars, and a buffet.
The New Year’s Eve Countdown at the Westin Hotel, located in Canal Place, between Canal Street and the French Quarter.
This also an all-inclusive party which gives way to a view of the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display. This year, the Bucktown All-Stars will be performing live.
The New Year’s Eve Moët Masquerade features champagne from Moët and Chandon and a six-course meal care of M Bistro, so come hungry! Jeremy Davenport will perform live starting at 9 p.m., followed by a champagne toast during the countdown. The event starts at 8 p.m.
The National WWII Museum is great place to ring in the new year. Head to BB’s Stage Door Canteen for New Year’s Eve celebrations beginning at 9 p.m. With entertainment from Spencer Racca, Elizabeth Floyd, and the Victory Swing Orchestra, and a midnight chocolate buffet, opt for a New Year’s Eve.
Landry’s Seafood House in the French Quarter is ringing in the new year with an unforgettable party! In the heart of Jackson Square, you’ll have the chance to dine, dance, and party with a breathtaking view of the Riverfront fireworks.
If you want to celebrate in the French Quarter, Bourbon Vieux hosts a New Year’s Eve party and features one of Bourbon Street’s largest balconies. There is not a better time to spend 3 days in New Orleans than New Year’s Eve!
The party ticket is all-inclusive, but be warned – Bourbon Vieux promises a wild night of celebrating. Bourbon Cowboy also offers VIP balcony access and an open bar from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Family Friendly Things To Do In New Orleans
If you are celebrating the new year with kids don’t worry there are plenty of family friendly events for families that will be bringing in the New Year in New Orleans.
The annual Zoo Year’s Eve event at the Audubon Zoo kicks off at 10:30 a.m. and lasts until 12:30 p.m. The event takes place at the Capital One Stage and Field in the Audubon Zoo.
It’s free with paid zoo admission and free to zoo members. Festivities include a toast and lots to explore from onsite exhibitors.
For those who prefer to stay closer to downtown, the Children’s Museum’s New Year’s Eve Countdown to Noon kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Perfect for kids, this party includes a countdown to noon with the Count from “Sesame Street” that ends with a confetti toss and balloon release.
Kids will make their own noisemakers and party hats to wear for the countdown.
This year, in addition to the fireworks display on the Riverfront (mentioned above) the city will close out its Tricentennial year with fireworks celebrations in three locations:
- New Orleans East at 8:30p.m.
- City Park at 9:30p.m.
- Uptown at 10:30 p.m.
Residents and locals will be able to see the fireworks from their homes, in respective neighborhoods. Be on the lookout, and be a part of celebrating the New Year’s Eve in New Orleans.
Additional Places To Bring In The New Year
Port of Call
838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 523-0120
Don’t let the location or the appearance of Port of Call deter you. Port of Call is located just off Bourbon street and you are not looking for this bar you will walk by as it’s rather inconspicuous.
It’s also very small, so if you don’t want to stand you will need to get there early to grab a seat and have dinner.
Port of Call is the ultimate hole in the wall: Hangout with locals, enjoy one of their famous burgers or steaks and try their signature cocktail POC for only $10 bucks so be very careful because it is POTENT and will knock you off of your feet.
Once you’ve wolfed down a cheeseburger and a fully loaded spud, you’ll make Port of Call your New Year’s Eve destination moving forward.
The lack of ambient lighting is helpful, especially for those who normally require an upscale setting.
Pro tip: Don’t wait for a table; eating at the bar is part of the fun.
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 899-8221
If you want upscale dining for New Year’s Eve in New Orleans Commander’s Palace is considered one of the ultimate fine dining establishments in New Orleans.
I called Commander’s Palace to make reservations for NYE in late October thinking I would be able to easily reserve a table but to my surprise, I actually received the last reservation for the evening.
New Year’s Eve is the busiest night of the year for Commander’s Palace. This is the night when you call in your chips after being a regular and recognized customer during the rest of the year.
Commanders Palace has been named Best Restaurant in New Orleans for three years straight; they’ve received the title of Most Popular Restaurant in New Orleans by Zagat for 18 years; their Executive Chef, Tory McPhail, won the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef South”.
The restaurant received the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Award; and they also won the Wine Spectator Grand Award.
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Executive Chef Meg has wasted no time putting her stamp on the kitchen at Commander’s Palace with a few new dishes! Have you tried the Dirty Duck Confit served with a sweet citrus and sour orange pepper jelly over Louisiana heirloom pumpkin au gratin, roasted apple salad, white bean crisp and “dirty” andouille duck jus?
817 St Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (504) 478-0796
Avilais a welcome addition to the Starlight bar, nestled off Bourbon in a nearly 240 year old townhouse that retains old school elements like pocket doors and chandeliers suspended from rosettes.
Owned by husband-wife duo and native Venezuelans Harold and Monica Angola, it follows the trend of pop-ups getting a proper glow up with brick and mortar real estate at least five nights a week.
In Avila’s case, the kitchen stays open Tuesday through Sunday, dishing out arepas and appetizers like tequeños and empanadas with late night service that runs until 4am on Fridays.
Expect a possible menu expansion, as Avila’s begun branching out and offering specials like patacón — hearty shredded beef sandwiches that swap bread for fried plantains.
620 Chartres St., New Orleans, 504.267.3500
This French Quarter steakhouse seemed to unearth a previously unseen class of high-end diner when it opened in a former beer-and-a-shot saloon in 2013. Part of the attraction is the horseshoe bar jutting out from the open kitchen.
800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, 504.528.9393
The bar is the first thing you see when you walk in the door of Emeril Lagasse’s flagship restaurant. When it opened, in 1990, when the Warehouse District still had warehouses in it, the welcoming bartenders and chalkboard wine list must have been something to see. They still are.
6215 S. Miro St., New Orleans, 504.309.2776; 301 N. Peters St., New Orleans, 504.267.4406; 411 N. Carrollton, New Orleans, 504.288.8226; 176 Town Center Parkway, Slidell, 985.288.1210
This mini-chain of taquerias was early to embrace tequila and mezcal. The inviting bars are pleasantly not what you would expect to find in order-at-the-counter restaurants – neither are the margaritas, made with fresh squeezed Key limes.
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High Hat Cafe
4500 Freret St., New Orleans, 504.754.1336
One of High Hat’smore welcome updates to the New Orleans neighborhood restaurant form is its bar. Its drinks program includes seasonal lemonades (I’m partial to watermelon) and fresh fruit cocktails.
1755 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, 504.524.1578
If you’re shocked by this choice you either haven’t been or you don’t adequately appreciate the serenity that occurs where hushed lighting and (often) live jazz conspire with precision service and remarkably consistent American bar and grill fare.
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Best Neighborhoods In New Orleans To Bring In The New Year
When the clock strikes twelve in New Orleans, the Frenchman Street neighborhood is where you will find all of the grown folk hang out.
Make your way straight to Marigny’s where you will find Neon blinks, a trombone slides, and crowds gathering for another impromptu concert on Frenchmen Street.
If you are looking for an alternative to Bourbon Street then Frenchmen is where you need to be because it is less crowded than Bourbon Street but yet it is still buzzing and vibrant.
The bars on Frenchman Street offer an array of live performances ranging from traditional jazz to blues to reggae and rock and they attract audiences from all over the world.
Frenchman Street is by far my favorite neighborhood in New Orleans and whenever my bestie and I plan to have a girlfriends getaway or long 3 day weekend in New Orleans we hang out on Frenchman Street.
Lower Garden District/Irish Channel
On the opposite side of the French Quarter/downtown area resides the Lower Garden District and Irish Channel neighborhoods, which can sometimes overlap depending on the map.
The architecture in this area is distinctly different from other areas of town, with 19th-century mansions and cottages that tower over side streets and major commercial strips such as St. Charles Avenue, Prytania Street, and Magazine Street.
Window-shop for vintage clothes and antiques on Magazine St., or grab a pint and some grub from New Orleans-style Irish pubs such as Parasol’s and Tracey’s before hopping on a streetcar to your next destination.
Last but not least, no list of not-to-miss New Orleans neighborhoods would be complete without mention of its most famous—and infamous—neighborhood, the French Quarter.
Here, visitors will find some of the oldest architecture still existing in the city, particularly the Spanish influences that seem to defy the neighborhood’s historical name.
Bourbon Street may be many tourists’ ultimate destination in the French Quarter, or New Orleans in general, but this area offers a great deal more than the bars and strip clubs that sometimes dominate tourism marketing materials.
From strolls along the Mississippi River and guided ghost and cemetery tours to restaurants both modern (SoBou, Restaurant R’evolution) and historical (Antoine’s, Galatoire’s), the French Quarter always has something exciting and inviting to behold.
NYE’s Family Event In New Orleans
Allstate Sugar Bowl Parade: For 85 years the Allstate Sugar Bowl is one of the nation’s second-oldest college bowl game which just happens to coincide with NYE.
The parade starts around Things 2:30 pm with at the corner of Decatur Street followed by top music acts in the JAX Brewery parking lot.
Jackson Square: The Crescent City Countdown Club’s annual NOLA New Year’s Eve celebration culminates at midnight with the dropping of the fleur-de-lis from the top of JAX Brewery and the ultimate firework display over the Mississippi.
Best Hotels in New Orleans For New Year’s Eve
After all the celebrating, dancing, eating, shopping, and strolling up and down either Canal Street or Frenchman street you’re going to need a place to get some rest so you can do it all over again the next day or if you are old like me a place to hydrate and rest.
Whether you’re looking to stay in the French Quarter, the Garden District, Downtown or somewhere off the beaten path I have listed a few of my favorite hotels in New Orleans.
Looking for Luxury, Romantic, Family-friendly, Historic, Modern, Ghost and Gobbins, or a Balcony right on Canal Street? I’ve got you covered.
Royal Frenchman Hotel
The Royal Frenchman Hotel sits on the edge of New Orleans world famous Frenchmen Street Entertainment District. The hotel is in a great Location and is with 10-20 min walk to all of the bars, restaurants, and clubs.
The hotel exemplifies history meets modern elegance.
The property was beautifully restored and renovated in 2017, the Creole Mansion features 16 guest rooms and suites, a stunning courtyard, beautiful event space, and Frenchmen Street’s only craft cocktail bar.
The Live music is amazing and the band makes a point of interacting with guest and they also take request. The bar makes excellent cocktails and the bar staff will go out their way to make sure their guest are comfortable and your cocktail is exactly as you expected.
Never once will you have to get up to get a napkin, another cocktail or even bar food. They got you!
The stay comes with a complimentary breakfast which includes with grits, eggs, and oatmeal. If you are looking to spend New Year’s Eve in New Orleans but you are not interested in the rowdy crowds of Bourbon Street I would recommend this hotel as the perfect alternative to Bourbon Street.
These 18th-century Creole cottages are clustered around a swimming pool in a quiet stretch of the French Quarter (if you could imagine such a thing).
You’re not here to hang out at the hotel (besides the pool, there are no public spaces).
You’re here for the privacy; these room/cottages are some of the oldest buildings in the French Quarter, and the sense of privacy is unmatched.
Henry Howard Hotel
Debonair townhouses are a stock in trade of this part of the Lower Garden District, but the name of local architectural hero Henry Howard gives this hotel building an extra seal of approval.
It’s a relatively new property, but it’s already carving a name for itself thanks to the comfort levels of the rooms and the impressive levels of service.
The front parlor, with its Italianate detailing and decadent gold trim, promises a hard place to leave after early evening aperitifs.
The Pontchartrain Hotel
Attention to design details and value for money make The Pontchartrain Hotel a must-stay for anyone unafraid to bed down outside of the French Quarter.
There is a timeless elegance to the exterior—a style that hadn’t changed since the 1940s—which is carried through to the lobby, with its crimson and emerald overtones, defiantly analogue elevators, gilded mirrors, and gold leaf accents.
For unparalleled city views, head to the rooftop bar, Hot Tin, which is as busy with locals as guests (always a good sign).
Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
It’s not every day that you get to stay in a converted warehouse—but this daring, independent boutique hotel delivers just that opportunity.
Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, right on the edge of the CBD, is marked by a pleasing retro sign. Exposed brickwork and dark wood floors can feel run of the mill these days, but the thoughtful lighting and rotating exhibitions elevate the interior design scheme.
The hotel is home to Compère Lapin, a vaunted Caribbean brasserie.
The Catahoula Hotel
There aren’t too many 19th-century Creole townhouses in this part of the Central Business District, so it’s an immediate stand-out. The interior, though, is unmistakably modern—all striking contemporary art, polished wooden staircases, and black-and-white tiled floors.
The 35 rooms are all designed around the quirks of the building, and so differ notably (expect large windows and exposed brick wall with modern Louisiana Cypress fixtures).
It’s certainly for a younger, booze-heavy crowd: The lobby pisco bar has some charismatic bartenders who will steer you through the delights of a sometimes unfamiliar menu, while the rooftop bar is also one of the city’s best.
Lamothe House Hotel
The salmon-pink façade of the Lamothe House Hotel, which occupies a former townhouse, is striking, even on this particularly colorful block just outside the French Quarter.
With Corinthian columns, chandeliers, and oil painting–lined hallways, the interior reinforces the hotel’s grand, historic aesthetic.
Staying in a property that has retained its character for almost two centuries is a real treat—it’s easy to feel removed from the modern world here.
The Deluxe King, overlooks a courtyard, shiny pine floors and dark wood furniture that doesn’t look too jarring amid its historic surroundings.
Conclusion of The Best Things To Do In New Orleans For New Year’s Eve
The possibilities for having a great time on NYE in Nola are endless. Just keep in mind that you might want to explore and book your options early before some of the venues become too crowded or sold out.
New Orleans is a great destination no matter if it’s for a special occassion, hanging out with your girls or you and the hubby are in need of a long 3 day weekend in New Orleans to reconnect.
Ready to plan your trip, grab my FREE Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!
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