Planning to spend Thanksgiving in New Orleans? Well, you hit the jackpot (and not just because the casinos are open)! What could be a better setting for a holiday that celebrates gratitude and great food than the city known around the world for Carnival and cuisine? Visitors have the option of either a spin on the traditional holiday—a Thanksgiving steeped in centuries of New Orleans’ history and heritage, or the opportunity to hit the streets and enjoy a parade, a party, or both.
Traditional Fare With Trimmings
Eating and drinking are two of the best things to do in New Orleans. Many French Quarter restaurants celebrate the holiday by serving sumptuous Thanksgiving Day feasts with local flair. You can sample delicacies like Smoked Rabbit and Andouille Gumbo with Herb Roasted Turkey at The Bombay Club Bar & Restaurant, located at The Prince Conti Hotel, 830 Conti Street. The Vacherie Restaurant & Bar at the Hotel St. Marie (827 Toulouse Street) offers a Thanksgiving buffet from noon to 4 p.m. with Roasted Turkey and delicious Creole holiday dishes including Candied Yams with Toasted Pecans, and Slow-cooked Collard Greens with Pork Belly.
Several exciting foodie destinations across the city offer tasty alternatives to traditional Creole and Cajun Thanksgiving meals. Among several standouts in the Marigny, just a short walk downriver from the Quarter, are Maritza (Royal at Dauphine) for exquisite Italian in a superb modern setting, and Paladar 51 (Royal at Mandeville) with incredible, inspired fare for brunch or dinner. Explore and indulge!
Parading, Festivities, & Things to Do
The Quarter is bustling all Thanksgiving weekend with annual November holiday events around New Orleans. The season-opening at the Fairgrounds racetrack on November 19 is as famous for the hats as the horses. Southern University and Grambling University celebrate their age-old rivalry during the four-day fest that culminates with the Bayou Classic football game and the Battle of the Bands at the Superdome. The Frenchman Street Festival, Small Business Saturday, and other holiday events also happen Thanksgiving weekend. If you’re planning to dine in the Quarter, plan ahead: call the restaurant you’ve chosen to be sure it’s open, and make a reservation if possible.
One great way to discover boutiques and eateries to try at Thanksgiving is to take one of our Two Chicks Walking Tours through the Quarter. We recount the city’s risqué history in full local color to relaxed, intimate groups. You can ask your tour chick (or rooster) about any spots you see along the way and add the good ones to your list of vacation bites and bargains in the Big Easy! We also tour the Garden District and Storyville. Contact us to book your spot or to arrange a private tour!