The holiday season can be filled with presents and family and parties and chaos. For many people, the holidays can also be a time of reflection and nostalgia and TRAVEL! My kids are teenagers now and using them as an excuse to enjoy Christmas lights is no longer valid. It’s time for me to admit that at 41 years old, I still find holiday light displays as magical and romantic as a night sky full of starlight. And adding a few nights away from home even adds to that romance!
There are spectacular light displays found all over the US during this time of year, but closer to home for us is America’s most dazzling holiday light festival Celebration in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park. My parents brought me there as a kid. And now with my own kids being harder to entice for family outings due to their age, I realized that now is the perfect time to experience the romantic side of the holidays with my husband.
New Orleans is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and of course one of our favorite places to sneak away to for a quick getaway. In addition to all the traditional things to do in the city during the holidays, travelers can be assured that Celebration in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park can provide some added sparkle to a relationship.
The famous City Park oaks are draped in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights with romantic corners dotted around the 25 acres here to escape the crowds for a quick smooch. The traditional Who Dat tree and the Cajun Night Before Christmas are yearly favorites, but for couples, the newly added Bubble-lights in the Anseman Oak tree is the piece de resistance for after strolling grounds filled with the fairytales in Storyland and enjoying a few of the amusement park rides like kids again.
If you are planning a New Orleans holiday escape, be sure to include this magical holiday light experience in your itinerary.
* Weeknights are the best nights for couples as the park is less crowded. Also, going later in the weekend evenings after little kid bedtime offer a roomier park for romantic strolls.
* Park on City Park Avenue near the corner of Victory and Anseman. It’s free to park and the walk to the gates provides a quieter pathway with holiday lights along the route.
* For an upscale night at Celebration in the Oaks, dress to the nines and enjoy a wonderful dinner across the street from the Carousel Gardens entrance at Ralph’s on the Park.
* Skip the crowds at the ticket booth and purchase event tickets online.
Where: New Orleans Botanical Garden, Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, and Storyland
Hours: 2014-2015 season November 28 – January 3
Sun – Thurs 6-10pm, Fri-Sat 6-11pm
Closed: 12/1 thru 12/4; 12/24 and 12/31
Cost: Tickets $8/person (children under 3 years of age and Friends of City Park get free entry)
Train Ride: $4
Amusement Park Rides: $3 single ride ticket (excluding train) or $17/unlimited ride band (includes train)