New Orleans’ steamboat tours are one of the most relaxing and quaint ways to spend an evening, so why not float on down the Mississippi River with jazz music, plenty of cocktails, and a full buffet to close out the year? There are a number of options available on both New Year’s Eve and Day, from brunch trips to evening dinner cruises, but better book a ticket in advance, because it’s about as appealing to everyone else as it sounds to you right now.
Staying up partying past midnight isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re raising a family. Thankfully, the Louisiana Children’s Museum has you covered with its Noon Year’s Day party, which rings in 2020 a bit earlier. The museum will host a number of activity stations alongside multiple second line parades through their gardens after the noon “countdown.” Come with the family for a wholesome alternative to New Orleans’ otherwise debaucherous celebrations.
Cost: $10 for museum members, $20 for non-members
Look, we get it, some years are much harder to last until midnight than others. Doubly so if little ones are involved. New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo provides a novel solution to this all-to-common holiday problem. Zoo Year’s Eve takes place a full 12 hours earlier than most of the city’s other events, allowing families to ring in the New Year at noon with games, music, and prizes. Outside food and drinks are allowed, with concessions also available within the zoo.
Cost: Free for Audubon members, or with standard price of zoo admission
Lower Garden District
The legendary funk-jam band has thrown down on NYE for years now, and 2020 will be no exception. Galactic’s concert at Tipitina’s (the equally legendary venue now owned by members of the band) is one of your best bets for a helluva good time if you’re on the lookout for drinks, dancing, and seriously good party music. Basic tickets will get you into the show, but the VIP option looks like a pretty good splurge, with food from Jacque-Imo’s, an open bar, a champagne toast, reserved balcony section, and signed Galactic merch.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Fritzel’s European Jazz Club on Bourbon Street provides a scene and sound you really just can’t get anywhere else in town these days. The old-school, intimate lounge area hosts some of the city’s best musicians every evening, and New Year’s Eve will be no exception. But, if you want to kick things up a notch, grab a ticket and head to the back of the building for Potions’ Lounge, a kind of vampire-esque speakeasy that’s as decadent and sexy as it sounds. This year’s NYE party theme is Ghosts of the Silver Screen, so show up dressed your best in the (literal) spirit of your favorite Hollywood legends.