New Orleans is a magical place to spend the holiday season. Caroling in Jackson Square, bonfires on the levee, and exciting sporting events fill the city with a festive, cheerful spirit.
But amidst all the wonderful holiday events that take place in the Crescent City, there is one in particular that always stands out.
The 32nd annual Celebration in the Oaks in City Park kicks off on November 23 and remains open until the New Year, and is a must-visit during your holiday trip to New Orleans. Read on for all the details on the most spectacular holiday lights festival in the nation!
What Is Celebration in the Oaks?
Celebration in the Oaks is a visual spectacle that takes place in New Orleans City Park, during which the park’s majestic oak trees are draped in hundreds of thousands of lights.
Breathtaking light displays take over 25 acres of the park, including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.
The festival began as a fundraiser for the park, but soon turned into a visual spectacle with the display of simple and affordable lighted ornaments like stars, balls, and diamonds that looked beautiful in the trees. Within a few years, the decorations had expanded to multiple sections in the park along with a driving tour that allowed visitors to view the sights from their cars.
According to the festival’s official website, “What started with some Christmas trees in a tent has grown into a celebration with nearly 600,000 lights…delighting more than 165,000 people a year. Celebration in the Oaks is a New Orleans City Park fundraiser that provides 13% of the operating budget of New Orleans City Park each year.”
Tips for Visitors
If you’re making it out to the festival this year, we’ve gathered a few tips from City Park’s official website to help you have the best time possible.
There are 2 sections of Celebration in the Oaks —
1) The Amusement Park: Lights, Christmas tree-lined walkways, Storyland, and 17 rides including the new Ladybug Roller Coaster, the antique wooden Carousel, and the train that takes guests for a 20-minute tour of the lights placed around the front of the Park.
2) The Botanical Garden: This is where visitors will see the majority of the beautiful lights. You’ll walk through half a million lights and see light installations such as The Cajun Night Before Christmas, the Dripping Snow Tree, Prancing Peacocks, and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree with a karaoke Santa.
In addition to exploring the festival, look out for nightly live music and entertainment in the entertainment tent.
Tickets & Admission Packages
General admission to Celebration in the Oaks is $10 per person. There is also a “Straight to the Gate” ticket offered at $28 per person, which provides admission as well as an unlimited number of train rides.
Train ride tickets are $5 per person, and amusement park tickets cost $4 per ride. There is also an unlimited ride band, which provides visitors with unlimited train rides, for $18 per person.
For more ticketing information or to purchase tickets, check out the official ticketing website.
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