The highly-anticipated Sugar Bowl game will take place on New Year’s Day in New Orleans. Sure you’re headed to NOLA for the game, but you don’t need to sacrifice your NYE because of it. Kick-off is at 8 pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to sleep off your New Year’s Eve antics before you head to the game.
Here are 8 ways to have a blast on your New Orleans New Year’s Eve, from relaxing to gluttonous to outright pandemonium. Take your pick.
1. Watch the official Sugar Bowl Parade
Spend your New Year’s Eve afternoon along the Allstate Sugar Bowl Parade route. You’ll witness themed floats, marching bands, and even get the chance to grab some throws (prizes). The parade begins at 2:30pm at the bottom of the Quarter and ends on Canal Street.
2. Enjoy some family fun
If you’re planning to bring the kids along, Louisiana Kids Museum and Audubon Zoo are both great options to enjoy the New Year in a child-friendly setting. Each venue with feature a countdown to noon complete with a massive balloon and confetti drop and a sparkling cider toast. Kids can also enjoy games, prizes and activities from morning to early afternoon.
3. Countdown in Jackson Square
Looking for an NYE countdown? Then head to Jackson Square in the middle of the French Quarter. Thousands of people will gather to ring in the New Year and witness a fireworks show over the Mississippi River. Afterwards, follow the crowd to Bourbon Street to continue the celebration into the early morning hours.
4. Eat everything!
NOLA is known for its gastronomy. It would be wise to experience as much New Orleans cuisine as you can while you’re there. Check out the best restaurants in New Orleans. From beignets to gumbo, there is no end to the excitement that your tastebuds will experience. It’s the best NYE celebration for your stomach.
5. Head to the famous Jazz clubs
New Orleans is known as the birthplace of Jazz music. You’d be remiss not to experience this genre in its native element. Between the classic tunes at Snug Harbor, the less-crowded Buffa’s Lounge and the vibrant scene at Siberia, you’ll have plenty of options to get your Jazz fix. You might even uncover some new artists while you’re at it.
6. Cruise down the Mississippi on a riverboat
If you’re worried about sold-out venues and over-crowded bars, grab a ticket for a riverboat cruise, where you can enjoy catered buffets, endless cocktails and music for a set price. You’ll also have a prime viewing area of the fireworks show on the river. Cruises last around three hours and dock early enough for you to continue the party on the streets of NOLA.
7. Participate as a spectator
If you’d rather live vicariously through the thousands of people roaming the streets of NOLA, grab a hotel room above Bourbon Street and watch the action unfold. Plenty of hotels are within an earshot of Bourbon Street or feature private balconies overlooking the main road so you can check out the chaos from the safety of your luxuriously-decorated quarters.
8. Stroll around the French Quarter
The French Quarter is easily the most lively place in New Orleans. If you’re not much of the planning type, you’re still guaranteed to have a great time at one of the hundreds of venues that line Bourbon Street or Frenchmen Street. Between swanky music venues, highly-rated restaurants, and packed nightclubs, you’ll have plenty to choose from.