Now in its 26th year, New Orleans’ annual Celebration in the Oaks in City Park is an event looked forward to by adults and children alike every holiday season. Located in the Mid-City neighborhood, City Park is transformed each December into a magical winter wonderland full of striking light designs and sculptures.
From the day after Thanksgiving—this year, November 23rd—until New Year’s Day, Celebration in the Oaks keeps City Park aglow long into the night with innumerable lights in a variety of colors and designs. Some strands wrap the majestic branches of the park’s live oak trees, and others wrap the Christmas trees that are sprinkled throughout the area.
You can take walks through the Botanical Garden, Storyland—the fairy tale-themed children’s theme park—and Carousel Gardens, an area of amusement rides. All of the park’s normal attractions will be specially decorated for the holidays, and the area will be filled with different animals, stars, icicles, and other picturesque shapes. You can also enjoy a Cajun rendition of the Night Before Christmas classic, complete with blinking lights, colorful characters, and a wonderful story perfect for your little ones.
In addition to the gorgeously lit tours of the park, there are several vintage rides for kids and adults alike, including a Ferris Wheel, a Tilt-a-Whirl, and the ladybug rollercoaster. There’s also a mini-train that children can ride around the park, which is also specially decorated for the celebration.
If you’re planning a trip to Celebration in the Oaks, tickets are available for $7.00 per person and children under three get in for free. Tickets for the train are $4.00 per person, and rides are $3.00 per single ride ticket and $17.00 for an unlimited ride band, including the train. The event is open from November 23rd through Jan 1st, but is closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Sundays through Thursdays the celebration is open from 6 till 10pm, and from 6 till 11pm on Friday and Saturday evenings.