Thanksgiving in New Orleans is a magical experience. From holiday lights and special traditions to festivals and historic landmarks, there is always something to see. For those who are thinking about making the trip, we decided to put together a list of the best things to do during November in the city. So, pack your puffer coat and prepare to rock your winter wardrobe. Thanksgiving is on its way and it’s time to get planning! With Go City, you can see more, for less.
Explore the City
With the cooler weather, November is a great time to stay indoors and visit some museums. Located in the historic Tremé neighborhood, the Backstreet Cultural Museum showcases the city’s African American parading traditions. Exhibiting an expansive collection of artefacts and elaborate suits worn by Mardi Gras Indians in previous years, the museum provides a fun and educational experience.
New Orleans is well-documented as the birthplace of jazz. For those who are interested in learning more about the city's significant contributions to American music, the New Orleans Jazz Museum seeks to provide a fun and educational experience. Through the institute’s interactive exhibitions, research facilities and vibrant live performances, visitors can fully explore one of the country’s most innovative art forms.
Since New Orleans is renowned for its captivating architecture, it’s no surprise that the Presbytère is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Facing Jackson Square and neighboring the equally beautiful St. Louis Cathedral, the Presbytère is easily one of the city’s most historic and recognizable buildings. Today, the landmark serves as a showcase for a fascinating array of Mardi Gras artefacts. Displaying memorabilia dating way back to the 19th century, this exhibit gives an in-depth look into the traditional Christian festival as it is celebrated today.
A must-see on most tourists’ itineraries, St. Louis Cathedral presents a phenomenal fusion of Spanish colonial and French Neogothic architecture. Situated in the heart of the city, this venerable building is the oldest continuously active basilica in North America. Visitors can take self-guided tours to see the beautiful stained-glass windows and learn more about the history of the building.
New Orleans is widely known for its thriving arts scene, so it's no surprise that the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is a popular tourist attraction. Standing out among the other world-class museums in the city, the establishment is comprised of two main buildings holding the largest and most expansive collection of Southern art in the world. With over 4,000 original pieces, there’s more than enough to see.
Some of the city’s best festivals celebrate film and the arts. Attracting as many as 500 filmmakers and 30,000 attendees each year, the New Orleans Film Festival is one of the biggest events of its kind in the South. At the event, you can catch unique screenings from around the globe and talk with some of the filmmakers. For those who are especially interested in learning more about cinema, the festival runs special events, masterclasses and seminars.
Attention all foodies: this festival needs to rank at the very top of your itinerary. Held annually in the French Quarter, the Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival seeks to celebrate the city’s rich culinary history. In addition to traditional gumbo, festivalgoers should be able to try other regional delicacies, as well as vegan alternatives. To top it all off, brass artists who hail from the historic Tremé neighborhood play at the festival every year. With past performances from the Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band and Tremé Brass Band, this event makes the perfect day trip.
New Orleans is regularly hailed as the gastronomic mecca of the South. Each November, Fête des Fromages brings the city together in celebration of... well, all things cheese! With over 100 gourmet cheeses and a wide range of wines, beers and ciders to choose from, the experience is nothing but luxurious. In addition, there are live performances and informational cheese and wine seminars for those who want to know more.
Experience Thanksgiving in New Orleans
Another one of our favorite things to do on Thanksgiving in New Orleans is heading down to the races. A favorite holiday pastime for locals, the Thanksgiving Derby is an engaging and unconventional way to spend the day. Whether you’re going to bet, or just to watch the excitement go down, this one is not to be missed. If you’re planning on joining in on all the fun, we strongly recommend turning up with an empty stomach, since the racetrack’s Clubhouse offers a traditional holiday dinner as well as a buffet to choose from!
For those who are travelling with kids, we recommend checking out Celebration in the Oaks. Stretching from Thanksgiving right through to Christmas time, this spectacular light festival in City Park is fun for all the family. With an enchanting display of over a million lights, this display is most definitely a sight to behold. In addition, there’s an amusement park offering 18 rides as well as a festive outdoor bar where visitors can enjoy seasonal treats under the twinkling lights.
If you’re looking to go down the less traditional route this Thanksgiving, we’ve got you covered. Each November, the Audubon Butterfly and Insectarium serves unconventional buggy twists on classic holiday family recipes. At the institute, visitors can try insect-infused dishes including turkey with cricket gravy, cricket pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce with waxworms. Those who are a little less adventurous will be relieved to find out that the establishment also offers all the good food without the waxworms—so everybody wins!
New Orleans has everything you’d expect from a big city: elite museums, beautiful architecture, and exceptional food, just to name a few. Thanksgiving is a great time to visit since the weather is not too hot and there’s still plenty to see. With Go City, you can make memories with your loved ones this holiday season whilst saving. For more details, make sure to connect with us on Instagram and Facebook.