Things To Do

2019 Holiday Happenings

From shopping to making your days merry and bright, jingle your way through this season of cheer with some of the many amazing holiday happenings around Louisiana. We’ve tracked down a sleigh-full of options for you and your little reindeer to enjoy as you make another year of memories. Happy holidays from all of us at Baton Rouge Parents Magazine!

Red River Express to the North Pole
Through December 22. Shreveport Aquarium
This boat ride provides an enchanting journey to the “North Pole” and will help you believe in the spirit of Christmas. The 45-minute experience includes hot chocolate, cookies and a visit with Santa, and each child receives a silver sleigh “Believe” bell.

Noel Acadien au Village 2019
Through December 23. LARC’s Acadian Village
Half a million lights, new animated displays, carnival rides, photos with Santa, live nightly entertainment, local cuisine and holiday shopping await at this annual experience.

Santa at the Mall
Through December 24. Mall of Louisiana
Meet and take photos with the big guy himself with your friends and family.

Santa’s Wonderland
Through December 24. Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop
Get a free photo with Santa while you shop at these outdoor recreation supply stores. or

Baton Rouge Zoo Lights
Through December 30. BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo
Enjoy more than 50 illuminated display sculptures of animals and traditional holiday themes on a mile-long trail winding through the zoo.

Holiday Lights at Baton Rouge General
Through December 31. Corner of Bluebonnet Boulevard and Picardy Avenue
Each night, the lawn transforms into a twinkling display complete with more than 100,000 lights synchronized to music. Family nights add real snow, Santa Claus, food trucks and more to the fun.

Celebration in the Oaks
Through January 1. New Orleans City Park
The magical winter spectacle draws more than 165,000 visitors each year to see City Park’s famous oaks swathed in more than a million twinkling lights and other breathtaking light displays. 

Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights
Through the New Year. Shreveport-Bossier, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe, Natchitoches, and Alexandria/Pineville
A tradition for 30 years, this trail spans I-20 and I-49 in north Louisiana. Visitors are encouraged to see the brilliant lights along the route, dine at local restaurants, dance at the festivals, shop and play in all eight festive cities.

Creole Christmas and Holiday Fair
December 1 from 1-6 p.m. BREC’s Magnolia Mound
This annual event features seasonal decorations in the historic house, local school children singing traditional songs in French and Spanish, period demonstrations, folk crafts and an annual bonfire to welcome Papa Noel.

Kansas City Southern’s Holiday Express
December 1 at 4 p.m. KCS Yard
A festive, six-car train brings Santa Claus and his elves to communities throughout the Kansas City Southern’s U.S. rail network. Train guests can visit with Santa and walk through three cars filled with holiday displays.

Las Posadas: Children’s Christmas Event
December 1 at 3 p.m. Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center
Families accompany a shepherd on his search for the Holy Family. After hearing the shepherd’s story, visit with St. Nicholas, Bubbles the Camel, animals in a petting zoo, and take a pony ride.

Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s Land of the Sweets Nutcracker Tea
December 1 at 2 p.m. Lod Cook Alumni Center
This fun-filled festivity will feature dancing, crafts and photo opportunities with favorite characters from The Nutcracker: A Tale from the Bayou.

Audubon Zoo Lights
December 1, 6-8, 12-15, 19-23, and 26-30. Audubon Zoo
The Audubon Zoo will be transformed into a wild, glowing wonderland with lights, holiday crafts and merry performances on select nights.

The Doo Wop Project Holiday Show
December 2 at 7:30 p.m. Manship Theatre
This new holiday show brings the album Merry Christmas from The Doo Wop Project to the stage with holiday favorites recreated and reimagined.

Jazz Listening Room Presents: Bill Grimes Swings into the Holidays 
December 3 at 7:30 p.m. Chorum Hall
Jazz musician performance. 

Holiday Wreaths at White Star Market
December 4 at 6:30 p.m. White Star Market
Decorate a beautiful evergreen holiday wreath with Bubbles + Blooms Botanical Bar. All supplies are included.

Hospice of Baton Rouge’s Trees of Light 2019
December 5 at 6:30 p.m. Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center
Help support the only nonprofit hospice in the greater Baton Rouge area by attending its Trees of Light Annual Holiday Gala. The gala will feature food, libations and live music from The Tip Tops Band.

Central’s Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 6 at 6:30 p.m. Central
This annual event will be at the corner of Sullivan and Hooper kicks off the holiday season.

Downtown Festival of Lights
December 6 from 4-9 p.m. Downtown Baton Rouge
Experience the magic of the start of another holiday season with the lighting of the 35-foot Christmas tree in North Boulevard Town Square, fireworks, free ice skating, a snow village, face painters, performances, a balloon artist and of course a visit from Santa.

LSU Museum Store Holiday Trunk Show
December 6 from 4-8 p.m. LSU Museum Store
At this 15th annual event, you can shop local artists’ handmade jewelry, pottery, woodmaking and paintings while enjoying refreshments and free gift wrap.

Reindeer Run and Jingle Bell Jog
December 6 at 7 p.m. Downtown Baton Rouge
This annual event features both a 5K and a one-mile fun run. Online registration is open until December 5, with entry fees from $20-45 depending on which race and whether purchased in advance.

On Pointe
December 6 from 6-8 p.m. Pointe-Marie 
Free music series sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. Tonight’s performers are the Theatre Baton Rouge Carolers.

Reindeer Ride
December 6 from 5:30-8 p.m. BREC’s Farr Park Equestrian Center
Mix in a healthy activity with the inevitable cookies and cocoa by taking part in this unique nighttime family bike ride up the levee to the Downtown Festival of Lights.

Christmas Under the Oaks of Sulphur
December 6-7. Heritage Square
The lighting of the Christmas tree takes place at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, and the event will feature food booths, a carnival, and bands. Plus a 100 percent chance of snow! or (337) 527-4500

Michael McDowell’s Christmas Spectacular
December 6 at 7 p.m. Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
A unique fixture of Baton Rouge’s holiday season, pianist Michael McDowell will once again improvise on some of his favorite holiday tunes.

St. Francisville’s Christmas in the Country
December 6-8. St. Francisville
Events include lighting of the Christmas tree during a welcome reception with fireworks, views into Holiday Homes, concerts, community prayer breakfast, a Christmas on the Run race, breakfast with Santa, fresh wreath sales, Polar Express train rides, a community sing-a-long, and a living nativity.

Playmakers of Baton Rouge presents Frozen Jr.
December 6-15. LSU Reilly Theatre
Elsa, Anna and the magical land of Arendelle are brought to life onstage featuring all the animated film’s memorable songs plus five new songs written for the Broadway production.

Theatre Baton Rouge’s Christmas Carol 2019
December 6-15. Theatre Baton Rouge
The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future lead miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.

Baton Rouge Arts Market
December 7, 14 and 21. 5th and Main Street.
The arts market includes a variety of hand-made art for sale, perfect for gifting or treating yourself. Stop by the concurrent Red Stick Farmers Market to grab produce for your holiday meals.

Broadmoor Christmas Parade
December 7 at 2 p.m. Broadmoor Neighborhood
The Broadmoor Residents’ Association hosts an annual parade and collects canned goods and other food donations for the less fortunate.

Christmas in Central Parade
December 7 at 11 a.m. Central
The 33rd annual parade will roll from Joor Road.

Christmas in The Swamp Festival
December 7 at 8 p.m. Culture Club
Jose Xavier presents the first annual festival featuring thesmoothcat and The 9th Life, Alexander The Gee, Caleb Brown, Bombay Gino, Cul-Der-Sac, and Madi Swan.

Christmas on Caddo Fireworks Festival
December 7 from 3:30-8 p.m. Earl G. Williamson Park, Oil City
This free event will feature a variety of food and art vendors, children’s activities and live music. At 6:30 p.m., Pyromania Fireworks, LLC will light up the skies above Caddo Lake with a gorgeous fireworks display.

Christmas on the Boulevard
December 7 from 6-8 p.m. Mall of Louisiana
Includes Santa’s arrival and the annual tree lighting.

Christmas Movie Night
See a Christmas movie while spending time with your children.

Christmas Tour of Homes
December 7. West Feliciana Parish
Tour contemporary homes in West Feliciana Parish.

Krewe of Jingle Parade
December 7 at 1 p.m. Canal Street
The highly anticipated parade will kick off the holiday season in the Crescent City. Wear your best holiday attire for this family-friendly event featuring festive floats, marching bands, stilt walkers, and throws.

Light Up the Lake Christmas Festival
December 7 at 3 p.m. Lake Charles Civic Center
Kick off the Christmas season with a day-long event featuring Movies with the Mayor and a lighted boat parade along the Lake Charles Civic Center Seawall.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Very Merry Christmas Breakfast
December 7 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Raising Cane’s River Center Ballroom
Santa will welcome families to a delicious breakfast buffet. Enjoy Christmas stories, carolers and special appearances from some of PBS Kids’ favorite characters.

Nottoway Christmas Bonfire Festival
December 7 from 5-9 p.m. Nottoway Plantation & Resort
Take a trip to Iberville Parish for the 10th annual festival at an 1850s sugarcane estate. The event includes food, music, Santa, fireworks and bonfires.

LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden’s Christmas in the Garden and Poinsettia Sale
December 7 from 9 a.m.-noon. LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden
Enjoy pancakes and pictures with Santa during the annual poinsettia display and sale.

December 7 at 7 p.m. Upstage Theatre Black Box
This production is performed by youth in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas.

StoryTime in the Garden (Christmas at Burden)
December 7 from 9 a.m.-noon. LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden
Children ages three to eight can hear a story and enjoy imagination-themed, hands-on craft activities every half hour.

Walker Christmas Parade
December 7 at 2 p.m. Walker
See the wonderful floats in this parade through Walker.

Zachary Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade
December 7 at 10 a.m. Zachary
With a theme of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the sights and sounds of Christmas will come alive during this annual parade through the heart of town.

Zachary Christmas in the Village Celebration and Christmas Light Show
December 7 from 6-9 p.m. Zachary Historic District
The village comes alive with synchronized light displays, performances, music, tours of decorated historical homes, arts and crafts booths, gourmet food trucks, and visits with Santa.

Rural Life Christmas
December 8 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. LSU Rural Life Museum
Musicians, demonstrating artisans, storytellers and costumed re-enactors will set the holiday mood at the event, which will conclude with a bonfire and a special visit from Papa Noel.

Donuts with Santa
December 8 from 8-11 a.m. Louisiana Art & Science Museum
Admission is $28 for everyone older than six months and provides access to unlimited food, beverages and sweets.

Downtown Christmas Pilgrimage
December 8 at 5:30 p.m. Starting at Mt. Zion First Baptist Church
Journey from church to church in the downtown area in this beloved annual tradition. Hear a wonderful assortment of music celebrating the season and join your voices in song as well.

Home for the Holidays Concert
December 8 at 7 p.m. Istrouma Baptist Church
Mezzo-soprano Amy Bouchard will make her Baton Rouge debut, and The Greater Baton Rouge Interfaith Ensemble led by Everrett Parker returns for another year.

Zachary Christmas in the Village Lights Display
December 8-January 3. Zachary Historic District
Wind your way through a magical wonderland featuring thousands of twinkling lights synchronized to holiday music.

An Evening of Holiday Jazz with George Bell and Friends
December 9-10. Manship Theatre
Enjoy this eighth annual holiday jazz performance. The two evenings will be full of music and fellowship.

Holiday Brass
December 19 at 7:30 p.m. St. Joseph Cathedral
This special concert will feature the full Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra brass and percussion performing brass renditions of holiday favorites.
New Orleans The Polar Express
December 9-January 1. New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal
All aboard! Trains will be departing New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal for a magical one-hour trip. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they are whisked away on The Polar Express. Once on board, your car host will punch your golden ticket before dancing chefs serve you hot chocolate and a delicious cookie.

Disney Jr. Holiday Party!
December 10 at 6 p.m. Saenger Theatre
This dazzling musical wonderland allows children and their families to sing and dance along to their favorite Disney Junior songs with their favorite Disney friends.

Livingston Parish Library’s Teen Yule Ball
December 10, Denham Springs-Walker Branch; December 17, Watson Branch; and December 19, Main Branch in Livingston
Celebrate a magical night at this Hogwarts-inspired ball. Teens can enjoy dancing, games and refreshments inspired by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Livingston Parish Library’s Christmas PJ Party
December 12 at 6 p.m. Denham Springs-Walker Branch Library
Wear your best holiday jams and get into the Christmas spirit. Drink hot chocolate, munch on Christmas cookies and popcorn while watching The Polar Express.

The Gatlin Brothers Country & Christmas
December 12 at 7:30 p.m. Manship Theatre
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers will bring a holly jolly mix of Christmas music and gospel with country roots.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
December 12-22. Ascension Community Theatre
Join the gang from the beloved comic strip with the adapted stage version of the 1965 classic animated TV special.

Pineville Christmas Parade
December 13 at 7 p.m. Main Street at Napoleon Boulevard, Pineville
An annual tradition featuring marching groups, drill teams, bands, floats and throws in true Louisiana parade style.

Festival of the Bonfires
December 13-15. Lutcher Recreational Park
This weekend-long annual festival in St. James Parish features great food, live entertainment, crafts, Santa’s Very Merry Forest, and carnival rides. Each night ends with a single bonfire lighting, a prelude to the famous Christmas Eve bonfires.

Lauren Daigle: The Behold Christmas Tour
December 13-15. Saenger Theatre
Lauren Daigle will close out 2019 with three special performances in her home state of Louisiana. The tour will feature some of Lauren’s jazz-flavored seasonal favorites from her best-selling Christmas album, Behold: A Christmas Collection.

Christmas in the Bluff
December 14 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Moss Bluff Recreation Complex
This free family Christmas event features a craft market, food vendors, live entertainment, story time and pictures with Santa for $5, a sweet shop, and fun activities for kids.

Cenla Christmas Spectacular 2019
December 14 at 7 p.m. Lagniappe Theatre Company, Alexandria
In its 12th year, this show brings yuletide entertainment completely homegrown in central Louisiana. Featuring performances by the theatre company and Cajun radio hosts Dirty Coutille and Jean “the Clod” Claude, it promises to lift your Christmas spirits and tickle your funny bone.

Jingle Bugs
December 14 from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
Enjoy festive activities and treats for the entire family during your visit. Regular admission applies.

Cortana Kiwanis Christmas Parade
December 14. Downtown Baton Rouge
This year’s parade will roll through Baton Rouge with more than 80,000 people watching live. The parade includes about 80 entries, including marching bands, celebrities, decorative floats, dance troupes, nonprofits and local businesses.

Denham Springs Christmas Parade
December 14 at 2 p.m. Denham Springs
The Kiwanis Club of Denham Springs presents “Christmas on the Bayou!” as this year’s annual parade theme.

Dimensions of Christmas
December 14 at 7 p.m. Manship Theatre
This eclectic journey of original arrangements and Christmas holiday classics are sure to delight.

Holiday Horse Show
December 14 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. BREC Farr Park
Kick off the 2019-2020 show season with Baton Rouge Horse Shows. Free for spectators.

Mandeville’s A Christmas Past Festival
December 14 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Mandeville
Featuring more than 100 artists and crafters from across the greater New Orleans area, the event includes live music, a food court, a Children’s Village with arts and crafts and train rides, and horse and carriage rides.

Photos with Santa 
December 14 from 1-3 p.m. Robert A. Bogan Baton Rouge Fire Museum
Make a unique memory and take a photo with the museum’s Fire Station Santa and a gentle Dalmation dog mascot next to vintage fire engines. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. (225) 892-6891

Reindeer Run & Romp 
December 14 at 9 a.m. Canal Place
The New Orleans Downtown Development District will present the annual holiday fun run for kids. Santa, Rudolph and friends signal the start of the race with jingle bells. Following the run, racers enjoy healthy activities, music, games, and crafts.

Wild Ponies, Rod Picott & Amy Speace Holiday Show
December 14 at 8 p.m. Red Dragon Listening Room
A great way to spend the holiday season with the Nashville duo Wild Ponies and singer-songwriters Rod Picott and Amy Speace.

The Nutcracker: A Tale from the Bayou
December 14-15. Raising Cane’s River Center Arena
The annual ballet brings together internationally acclaimed guest artists, local children, professional and amateur performers, and the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. Tickets start at $22. 

Carols at the Rowe
December 15 at 3 p.m. Perkins Rowe
This free one-hour sing-along is led by music director Jude Wilson with song sheets and background music provided.

Princess Holiday Tea
December 15 at 2 p.m. Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel
Grab your finest attire for a visit with Santa, a Christmas craft, princess glam makeovers, singing and dancing with Anna, Elsa and Ariel.

Cool Winter Nights, Hot Jazz
December 17 at 7:30 p.m. Manship Theatre
Enjoy this eighth annual performance featuring Brian Shaw, Fr. Greg Daigle, Sasha Masakowski Bill Grimes and Willis Delony in a program of new arrangements and holiday favorites.

A Christmas Story: The Musical
December 17-22. Saenger Theatre
This musical brings the classic 1983 movie to hilarious life on stage. Set in 1940s Indiana, a young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams.

Angelina Ballerina: The Very Merry Holiday Musical
December 15 at 2 p.m. Manship Theatre
Angelina and her friends are planning the best holiday dance pageant in all of Mouseland, but when a mix-up prevents the pageant from going on, Angelina and her friends must save the show and discover the true spirit of the holidays along the way.

Movie in the Park: The Grinch
December 18 at 6 p.m. Forest Community Park
Wear your ugly Christmas sweaters and enjoy an evening of holiday crafts, games, cookie decorating, and hot cocoa.
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis’ Holiday Shindig
December 20 at 7:30 p.m. Manship Theatre
As part of the Red Dragon Songwriters Series, join this power couple of the Austin music scene for their annual holiday show. Opening will be Baton Rouge’s own power couple Clay Parker and Jodi James.

Opera Louisiane’s Christmas and Carols
December 20 at 7:30 p.m. First Baptist Church
The annual event includes Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti, a joyous Christmas tale about a young boy’s transformation after encountering the three magi on their way to see baby Jesus. After the performance, join the cast for refreshments and a traditional carol sing-a-long.

West Baton Rouge Christmas Fest
December 20-21 from 5-10 p.m. West Baton Rouge Tourist Information & Conference Center 
Pop across the river for the this new festival with live music, visits from Santa and a free treat for kids. Ride the trains through the grounds and be dazzled by the Christmas lights.

Christmas Eve Buffet
December 24 from 4-8 p.m. Nottoway Plantation
Enjoy a Christmas Eve meal in Iberville Parish. Walk off those holiday calories with a stroll through the beautifully decorated grounds.

A Houmas Holiday Special Concert
December 22 at 4:30 p.m. Houmas House Plantation and Gardens
Visit the historic plantation for a special edition of Holiday Brass. The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra brass and percussion players perform traditional holiday favorites and some custom arrangements.

Christmas Eve Celebration
December 24 at 7:30 p.m. Steamboat NATCHEZ
Enjoy a delicious holiday dinner buffet, reserved seating and live music on this festive cruise. Reservations are required and holiday attire is requested.

Ice Skating on the River
December 20-January 5. Raising Cane’s River Center
Bring your little ice dancers downtown when the arena is transformed into a skaters’ paradise for the entire school break.

Home for the Holidays
December 26 at 7:30 p.m. Manship Theatre
The annual show brings singer-songwriters from Louisiana together to celebrate their successes and preview what’s coming next in their careers.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
December 27 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saenger Theatre
With world-class artists, more than 200 dazzling costumes, stunning sets, towering puppets and soaring birds, this show will be an early gift your family will love.

New Year’s Eve Extravaganza
December 31 at 10:30 p.m. Steamboat NATCHEZ
The cruise features delicious holiday menu, premium open bar, party favors, reserved seating and live music by Nadja Cole dance band.

Red Stick Revelry
December 31 from 9 p.m.-midnight. Downtown Baton Rouge
Head downtown for Baton Rouge’s official New Year’s Eve celebration featuring live music on the Galvez Stage and two laser light shows. Ring in 2020 with fireworks over the Mississippi River once the Red Stick drops in the North Boulevard Town Square at midnight.

Red Stick Rising 
December 31 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Downtown Baton Rouge
Skip the late bedtime and bring your little party animals to this annual celebration to watch the Red Stick rise into place at noon above the North Boulevard Town Square.

New Year’s Around the World
January 2. Knock Knock Children’s Museum
Pop into the museum to celebrate 2020 and explore New Year’s traditions from around the world.

Zoo Year’s Eve
December 31 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Audubon Zoo
Ring in 2020 in wild style with music, games and prizes. Party hats and noisemakers, Pepsi drinks for toasting and a countdown at noon make this a perfect pick for the littlest revelers.

Occasionally the date or location of an event may change after publication. Always phone ahead or check online to confirm important information.

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