Winter Spots (Places) and Activities To Enjoy When In Louisiana (2022)
As winter days start coming to light, festivities in Louisiana take the front seat. December is one of the most magical months in Louisiana with events, festivals, lights, and basically celebrations all around. While air grows crisp and days become shorter, every small and big town in the State begins a new celebration. As soon as Thanksgiving starts showing its glimpse, the winter fun in Louisiana starts taking its speed. And this all goes until the grandest Mardi Gras event comes into life in the month of March.
Be it Christmas celebrations, light shows, or winter hunting opportunities, there’s so much to do during winter in Louisiana. You can enjoy the best of the local cuisines, drink the choicest beers and hop on unique cakes. No matter where you visit or what you do, winter experiences in Louisiana will fill you with memories of a lifetime.
Winter Spots (Places) and Activities to Enjoy When in Louisiana
And with that said, read out Louisiana’s winter itinerary below and get a taste of the holiday season:
1. Natchitoches Christmas Festival
Natchitoches is a small town in Louisiana that hosts one of the best Christmas festivities in the State. It’s been nearly a century (since 1927) that this event became an integral part and identity of Natchitoches. Starting as one one-day festival, it eventually turned into a six-day festival. It usually begins from the Saturday before Thanksgiving and goes until 1 Saturday of January. Every night, the event features 300,000 lights and 100 plus illuminated pieces glowing the Historic Downtown Landmark District and the scenic Cane River Lake. As soon as it turns Saturday, Natchitoches turns into musical entertainment, arts, craft, and magical firework all around. Celebrating Christmas in the oldest city of Louisiana is actually worth it.
2. Enjoy the Mardi Gras Carnival Events
Mardi Gras is the most popular event in Louisiana, which happens every year in March. Though its Carnival season usually begins from King’s Day that is 6th January. These Carnival festivities go from January through March until the grand Mardi Gras actually comes to life. Mardi Gras parade happens on Fat Tuesday, which is a day before Ash Wednesday (dates change every year). However till then for the entire two months, New Orleans transforms itself into a party place. This season is known for its grandness, from street parties to lively parades and the best food and drinks in town. King Cake, typically made with brioche dough, is a dessert you won’t find other than the Carnival and Mardi Gras season.
3. Attend the Zoo Lights in Baton Rouge
The BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo host an annual ZOOLIGHT event. The event is about a mile-long trail featuring over 50 illuminated sculptures of animals and other traditional holiday displays. It is basically a holiday tradition that begins from 27th November and goes through 30th December. The display may include over 30 ft tall Lions, Tigers, Gorillas, Rhinos, and Elephant illuminated sculptures. Along with that, Safari Photo Booth and other animated displays add and increase the charm. The light show begins from 5:30 in the evening and goes till eight at night. If you are with kids in Baton Rouge, this is definitely a place to visit.
4. Go For Deer Hunting In The Union Parish Wildlife Management Area
While summers in Louisiana are famous for fishing opportunities, winters, on the other hand, opens gateways for hunting. Louisiana is rich in the deer population, mainly large, healthy herds thanks to the lush woodlands. Especially in the rural areas of north Louisiana, one can go out for whitetail deer hunting during winters. The Union Parish Wildlife Management Area is reportedly one of the best areas for the same, providing easy hunting opportunities. It is also one of the top deer-producing areas in the State, offering low-effort hunting. So, if you are into hunting, winter is when you must head to the Union Parish Wildlife Management Area.
5. Celebration In The Oaks
New Orleans welcomes nearly 2 lakh visitors every year simply to its City Park. But, do you know, most of this crowd comes during the annual celebration in the Oak. It is basically about a month-long light show in City Park. The show features hundreds of thousands of colorful lights and illuminated outdoor displays in the spirit of Christmas festivities. This isn’t any other winter light show but one of the most extravagant in the State. Families and other visitors are called for riding a fully decorative miniature train.
This train takes you through a two-mile-long trail passing underneath lit-up holiday displays. One can even ride beautiful hand-carved flying horses or see the New Orleans skyline from the Ferris wheel. The celebration begins from a day after Thanksgiving and goes through 29th December (except 1st to 4th December and on 25th December).
6. Attend the “The Nutcracker: A Tale from the Bayou” Event
The Nutcracker: A Tale from the Bayou, a highly anticipated holiday performance, is a popular window activity in Louisiana. The event gets organized every year during the third half of December at the River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Baton Rouge. Nutcracker is basically a ballet featuring over 300 dancers and local community members. The performance takes you into the magical world of the Cajun Clara, which is more amazing than ever described. Depending upon the seating, you can buy tickets ranging from $25 to $45. When in Louisiana, this holiday classic is surely a must-watch.
7. Attend the Opelousas Gumbo Cook-Off
If you are a foodie, you cannot miss attending the Opelousas Gumbo Cook-Off in Louisiana. Opelousas is a small city in Louisiana which is hosting one of the trendiest cook-offs for over 15 years now. The event takes place at the January end or February starting welcoming World-class chefs, home cooks, and foodies from all across the places. Participants have to pay a $50 entry fee while spectators can enter the event for free. The winning participants (1st, 2nd, and 3rd position holders) are awarded excellent prizes and Gumbo Cook-Off Champ Paddle. Anyone who has an appetite and taste for trying out new things can attend this wonderful event in the Acadia Parish.
8. Louisiana Winter Beer Festival
The Louisiana Winter Beer Festival is an event truly dedicated to craft beer. The festival takes place right after the Mardi Gras event attracting folks from all across Louisiana. The event features over 100 different craft beers imported down from the popular breweries in America. To attend the event, you can head towards the Historic Calcasieu Marine National Bank Building. While the exact dates change every year, it usually happens during or near the first Sunday of March. Within the price of an entry ticket, visitors can try beer samples, munch on a variety of local food, and enjoy live music.
9. Ride the Polar Express
Powered by Amtrak, the Polar express offers an immersive experience for families, especially for kids. The express departs from the Union Passenger Terminal in New Orleans. Inside the train, a cast of professional actors brings the beloved Christmas story to life. Along with displaying classical stories, dancing chefs serve hot chocolate and a delicious cookie to the passengers. Each guest receives a Christmas gift from Santa on board. Guests can keep a keepsake, sleigh bell, and golden ticket as souvenirs and memory of the trip. Ticket prices for the same range from $38 to $68.