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How To Spend New Year’s Eve In New Orleans 2024

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New Orleans is one of the best places in the world to ring in the new year. With its music scene, from the best, most flavorful creole cuisine, and endless parties, the Big Easy really knows how to celebrate.

If you want an unforgettable New Year’s Eve, then New Orleans is the place to be.

Start planning early if you want to do New Year’s Eve in New Orleans right.

The city books up fast for NYE, so you’ll want to make reservations by early October at the latest. Lock in your hotel and buy tickets for special events or dinner reservations before Halloween.

New Year’s Eve is on Tuessday, December 31st this year and I suggest making sure your reservations are sonner than later.

If you want to celebrate the spirit of New Orleans, go to a cocktail bar, neighborhood bar, dive bar, or 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.

Short Summary:

When To Start Planning: Book your hotel and buy tickets for special events or dinner reservations before Halloween.

Where To Stay New Orleans: For a splurge, stay at one of the city’s iconic luxury hotels like The Roosevelt, Windsor Court, or The Ritz-Carlton. Just make sure to reserve your room before October 1st.

The links in this post may be affiliate links.  That means that if you click them and make a purchase, this site makes a commission.  It will have no impact on the price you pay or the experience of your purchase.

NYE Dinner Reservations: Some of the best restaurants like Commander’s Palace, Arnaud’s, or Brennan’s require reservations weeks or months in advance. Make your dinner plans for 8 or 9 pm so you still have time to attend parties later.

Top New Year’s Eve Parties: Register for Royal Sonesta or Loews New Orleans hotel parties. Other popular NYE parties and balls include the 1920s-themed Gatsby Gala at Generations Hall and the Big Night New Orleans bash at Mardi Gras World.

Best Bars on NYE: Bar hop on Frenchmen Street, where you’ll find jazz, blues, and funk music. Other top bars are Latitude 29, Carousel Bar, and Napoleon House. Arrive early to avoid long lines and enjoy drink specials.

NYE Fireworks on the Mississippi River
At midnight, head down to the Mississippi River for the best view of the Crescent City’s incredible fireworks show over the water.

Here are some of my top picks for what to do on New Year’s Eve in New Orleans.

pinterest graphic with a picture of a biegnet

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 at 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

Patrons can enjoy an open bar, a 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 the river but would instead 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 we recommend getting down there early if you want to join the crowd. 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 evening party is 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 MoĂ«t Masquerade features champagne from MoĂ«t and Chandon and a six-course meal care of M Bistro, so come hungry! Jeremy Davenport will perform live at 9 p.m., followed by a champagne toast during the countdown. The event starts at 8 p.m.

The National WWII Museum is a 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. Opt for a New Year’s Eve with entertainment from Spencer Racca, Elizabeth Floyd, and the Victory Swing Orchestra and a midnight chocolate buffet.

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 can 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 most oversized balconies.  There is no better time to spend three 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 occurs 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 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 8:30 p.m.
  • City Park at 9:30 p.m. 
  • Uptown at 10:30 p.m.

Residents and locals can see the fireworks from their homes in their respective neighborhoods. Be on the lookout, and be a part of celebrating New Year’s Eve in New Orleans.  

me walking in New orleans with my family

Best Restaurants To Bring In The New Year

Port of Call

838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116 (504) 523-0120

Don’t let the Port of Call’s location or appearance 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 tiny, so if you don’t want to stand, you must get there early to grab a seat and have dinner.

Port of Call is the ultimate hole in the wall: Hang out with locals, enjoy one of their famous burgers or steaks and try their signature cocktail POC for only $10 bucks Be careful because it is POTENT and will knock you off 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. 

The lack of ambient lighting is helpful, especially for those requiring an upscale setting.

Pro tip: Don’t wait for a table; eating at the bar is part of the fun.

Commander’s Palace

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 reserve a table easily but to my surprise, I 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 you call in your chips after being a regular and recognized customer for 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.

My foodie friends… Commander’s Palace not only meets the expectations set forth by their numerous awards, it far exceeds them.

As often as I experience fine dining, I walked away genuinely impressed by the service level and the food quality at Commander’s Palace.

The food was absolutely delish from the turtle soup to the pecan crusted gulf fish and lastly, the bread pudding melted in your mouth.

Avila

817 St Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (504) 478-0796

Avila is 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 4 am on Fridays.

Expect a possible menu expansion, as Avila’s begun branching out and offering specials like patacĂłn — hearty shredded beef sandwiches that swap bread for fried plantains.

Doris Metropolitan

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. The horseshoe bar jutting out from the open kitchen is part of the attraction.

Emeril’s

800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans504.528.9393

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, the welcoming bartenders and chalkboard wine list must have been something to see. They still are.

Felipe’s

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 in order-at-the-counter restaurants – neither are the margaritas, made with fresh squeezed Key limes.

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.

Houston’s

1755 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, 504.524.1578

If you’re shocked by this choice, you either haven’t been or don’t adequately appreciate the serenity where hushed lighting and (often) live jazz conspires with precision service and remarkably consistent American bar and grill fare. 

food from various restuarants in New Orleans: BBQ shrimp, onion rings, beignets and wine

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 the grown folk hanging 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, 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 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 three 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 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 significant 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.

French Quarter

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 in the city, particularly the Spanish influences that defy the neighborhood’s historical name.

Bourbon Street may be the destination for many French Quarter or New Orleans tourists. Still, this area offers much more than the bars and strip clubs that sometimes dominate tourism marketing materials.

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 coinciding with NYE.   

The parade starts around 2:30 pm 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’s famous Frenchmen Street Entertainment District. The hotel is in a great location and is a 10-20 min walk to all the bars, restaurants, and clubs.

The hotel exemplifies history and meets modern elegance.

The property was beautifully restored and renovated in 2017; the Creole Mansion features 16 guest rooms and suites, a stunning courtyard, a beautiful event space, and Frenchmen Street’s only craft cocktail bar.

The Live music is fantastic, and the band makes a point of interacting with guests and taking requests. 

The bar makes excellent cocktails, and the bar staff will go out of their way to ensure their guests are comfortable and your cocktail is 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 includes a complimentary breakfast with grits, eggs, and oatmeal.   

If you are looking to spend New Year’s Eve in New Orleans but are not interested in Bourbon Street’s rowdy crowds, I recommend this hotel as the perfect alternative.

The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

With a prime location on Canal Street, The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans blends classic Southern heritage with modern luxury.

This elegant hotel features accommodations decorated in neutral tones with walnut furnishings that exude contemporary and antique styles.

The luxurious marble bathrooms include deep soaking tubs, perfect for relaxing after a day exploring the city.

The Ritz-Carlton boasts some of the best dining options in New Orleans. M Bistro provides creative Cajun cuisine from Chef Ray Basso in a chic yet cozy atmosphere.

Also on-site is the lively Davenport Lounge, where you can enjoy lobster truffle mac and cheese or banana cream pie while listening to live jazz music.

After a delicious meal, relax at the spa or dip in the heated outdoor pool surrounded by lush tropical landscaping.

The hotel’s prime location places you steps away from the action of the French Quarter as well as boutiques and art galleries on Canal Street.

With sophisticated accommodations, world-class service, and easy access to top New Orleans attractions, The Ritz-Carlton is one of the finest luxury options in the Big Easy.

Henry Howard Hotel

Debonair townhouses are a stock in trade of this part of the Lower Garden District. Still, 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 impressive service levels.

The front parlor’s Italianate detailing and decadent gold trim promise a hard place to leave after early evening aperitifs.

Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans 

Experience contemporary Southern luxury at the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans.

Situated right on the Mississippi Riverfront with sweeping river views, this five-star hotel boasts an enviable downtown location steps from the vibrant French Quarter.

Guest rooms and suites feature Italian marble bathrooms, deep soaking tubs, and furnished balconies where you can relax and enjoy river views.

The decor combines modern aesthetics with Southern charm using textured fabrics, walnut woodwork, and artwork celebrating New Orleans culture.

Dining at the hotel is divine, with the elegant Chemin Ă  la Mer restaurant serving finely crafted Louisiana cuisine.

Enjoy an expertly mixed cocktail at the spirited Wiki Bar. Or experience an authentic New Orleans jazz brunch on weekends with delicious Creole dishes and live music.

The spa offers rejuvenating treatments and a scenic outdoor saltwater pool.

When you’re ready to explore, the hotel can arrange exciting excursions like airboat swamp tours or private cruises down the Mississippi on an old-fashioned paddlewheeler.

With its mix of contemporary style, Southern hospitality, and downtown location, the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans is a luxurious home base for experiencing the best of the Big Easy.

Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery

Not every day, 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 Roosevelt New Orleans

Step back to the early 20th-century grandeur of The Roosevelt New Orleans. This iconic hotel drips with storied history and elegance just steps from the lively French Quarter.

Guest rooms and suites feature lavish decor inspired by the hotel’s golden era with rich fabrics, chandeliers, and custom-made furnishings.

Sip an expertly crafted Sazerac at the famous Sazerac Bar, the birthplace of the original cocktail. Enjoy freshly shucked oysters and creole cuisine at the award-winning Domenica restaurant.

Unwind with a relaxing treatment at the Waldorf Astoria Spa or dip in the rooftop pool with views of downtown New Orleans. In the evenings, wear your finest attire for nightly live jazz performances in the blockbuster lobby.

With its ornate decor, impeccable service, and prime location, The Roosevelt New Orleans offers a truly luxurious bi-level hotel experience.

Here, you can surround yourself with the glamour of a bygone era while still enjoying modern comforts and amenities. It’s an iconic New Orleans hotel stay.

Staying Safe and Getting Around New Orleans

With so many people and parties, staying safe on NYE is essential. Stay alert, stick with your group, and don’t walk alone at night.

Uber or Lyft are recommended for getting around, as parking is limited in the French Quarter. The crowds also make public transportation unreliable.

The Weather on NYE

The weather in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve is generally mild, with average lows around 48°F and highs near 63°F.

There’s a chance of rain, so bring a lightweight rain jacket just in case. Otherwise, you can comfortably dress up and show your New Year’s style as you dance through the night!

This past NYE was unseasonably warm, so check the weather before packing.

Conclusion of The Best Things To Do In New Orleans For New Year’s Eve

New Orleans is a vibrant city full of music, food, and culture just waiting to be explored. With proper planning, you can pack the perfect three-day weekend that hits all the highlights of the Big Easy.

Start your trip by arriving early on Friday to enjoy a delicious Creole lunch before taking a historical streetcar tour. Listen to lively jazz on Frenchmen Street at night and feast on Cajun classics like jambalaya and gumbo.

Saturday, get an early start to beat the crowds at the French Market and Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee.

Wander through the beautiful Garden District admiring the antebellum mansions before dining at Commander’s Palace and joining in a raucous second line parade. End your night on funky Frenchmen Street.

On your last day, explore the bayou on an airboat tour and see the voodoo temples of Treme. Have a hearty New Orleans brunch before stocking up on souvenirs and local treats at the French Market.

With incredible food, music, and culture around every corner, New Orleans will charm and delight you during a quick three-day weekend!


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Travel Guide

ADDITIONAL TRAVEL ARTICLES

15 Best Luxury Hotels in New Orleans

Memphis To New Orleans via Amtrak

How To Get From Lafayette to New Orleans

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Corner of Bourbon street. new years eve in New orleans


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10 Comments

  1. The food looks like so delicious. I’ve been to New Orleans to visit family several times, but have never had the pleasure of dining at Commander’s Palace. I will definitely have to put it on our agenda to visit for our next trip to NOLA.

  2. Loved the pics and info.NOLA is prob the most unique city in the lower 48. This article captured the flavors that make their cuisine world famous. Never been there on NYE but I now have this article as a guide. Merci

  3. When we went to New Orleans I was going to take my husband to Commander’s Palace for his birthday dinner, but I opted for somewhere else because I heard the food wasn’t as good as it used to be. But, the food you posted looks great! Thanks for sharing.

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