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North Pole, Southern Style

New Orleans’ indoor Christmas festival will feature an expanded
ice-skating rink and a new gingerbread house exhibit this year.

Freezing temperatures are a rare occurrence in New Orleans, and snowfalls rarer still, but area visitors can herald the holidays this December in a winter wonderland at the annual NOLA ChristmasFest that includes an ice-skating rink.


Among the highlights of the festival are an ice-skating rink, a gingerbread house display, and a chance to visit with holiday characters, including Santa. NOLA ChristmasFest photos


In its fourth year, the festival has become one of the largest indoor holiday events along the Gulf Coast. Held at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, ChristmasFest will feature a host of activites and experiences that celebrate winter and the holiday season from Dec. 16–30.

Among the highlights will be New Orleans’ only ice-skating rink. At 52-by-140-feet, the rink will be double in size compared to last year. Skates, included in the general admission, will be provided.

Other fun activities during the 15-day festival will include carnival rides, giant themed inflatables, a life-size maze, the Kringle Carousel, a climbing wall, ice slide, and the chance to participate in a snowball fight with foam snowballs. Visitors also can meet Santa and his North Pole friends and take memorable photos with them.

New this year is the New Orleans-themed Gingerbread House Exhibit. An array of beautifully handcrafted gingerbread creations will delight visitors of all ages. Children will have the chance to tap into their own creativity in a craft-making area just for them.

To put everyone in the Christmas mood, thousands of dazzling lights and dozens of Christmas trees decorated by New Orleans businesses will adorn the convention hall. And outside, Convention Center Boulevard will be draped in holiday décor with more than 1 million mesmerizing lights.

NOLA ChristmasFest will be open 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily. Hours on Christmas Eve are 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and on Christmas Day the attraction will be open from 2–8 p.m. Admission tickets are $20 per person. The Ernest M. Morial Convention Center is located at 900 Convention Center Blvd.

Dennis R. Heinze is regional editor of the AAA Southern Traveler.

For additional information, call (855) 477-8756 or click on

November/December 2016 Issue

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