Wondering what to wear in New Orleans in December? No matter what season you’re traveling there, New Orleans is a city that is full of personality, culture, and with plenty to do. You’ve shied away from New Orleans in the past because of its reputation for hot and muggy weather in the summer months? December might be the best time for you to visit. In December, the Crescent City won’t be as humid and unbearably hot as it is the rest of the year. You can take advantage of the milder weather in December. You can still take in all of the art galleries, street performers, and live music that you can fit into your trip.
Keep reading to find out what you should have on your packing list for your trip to New Orleans this holiday season and some fun things to do when you are there!
Our Travel Capsule for New Orleans in December
Things to Think About When Packing for New Orleans in December?
What kind of weather can you expect in the Big Easy in December?
During this time of year, the average high in New Orleans is around 64 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 50 degrees with an average of 6 days / 2.04″ of rain. One thing that’s great about traveling to New Orleans in December is that you’ll avoid those high temps that you can encounter in the summer. You’ll also avoid some of the extra costs associated with popular festivals like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, which take place in the springtime.
Although the average temperatures will be much lower than they are in the summer, I still highly recommend checking the weather forecast ahead of arriving in New Orleans. It won’t be snowing like it is in many other cities in the United States, but you may run into some rain during your trip. As long as you’re prepared for the weather, you’re sure to have a good time while visiting New Orleans.
Average December Temperature in New Orleans
Hi Temp: 64° FData Source: https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/usa/new-orleans/climate
Lo Temp: 50° F
What is there to do in New Orleans in December?
Aside from strolling around Bourbon Street and Frenchman Street, there are also a lot of cool local events that you can check out while you’re visiting. Frenchmen Street is better for late-night fun, but if you want to experience New Orleans like a local, check out some of these seasonal favorites to see if they’re happening when you’re in town.
- Réveillon Dinner is a long-standing tradition in New Orleans that dates back to when the city was predominantly Catholic. These dinners were late-night Christmas Eve meals for Creoles, but these days, many restaurants in New Orleans use them as a way to showcase their best food. Commander’s Palace serves a multi-course Reveillon Dinner in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
- The Celebration in the Oaks is another great thing about New Orleans in December. This event is a festival of lights that takes place in City Park and features food, music, amusement rides, and more. The Celebration in the Oaks is a great time for kids or people who just love Christmas festivals and markets.
- Christmas Eve Bonfires are another Creole and Cajun tradition in New Orleans. This particular tradition comes from the days when Père Noël needed helping to find his way on the twists and turns of the Mississippi River. Families lit bonfires along the river to help guide Père Noël, and it’s a holiday tradition that still carries on to this day.
- Luna Fête is a contemporary art festival that takes place each December in Lafeyette Square. This free festival is a showcase of historic architecture combine with light and other technology
- If you’re in need of some holiday cheer, caroling in Jackson Square is the perfect place to get some! Hundreds of people of all ages show up every year to sing together and celebrate the season. There’s no better way to get in the holiday spirit.
- If you have enough time, spend New Year’s Eve in the French Quarter. This New Year’s celebration is a unique experience that you shouldn’t miss. Instead of the ball dropping as it does in Times Square, New Orleans drops a baby (similar to the ones found in king cakes). After midnight, New Orleanians party like only they can. If you want to start your new year on a high note, the heart of the French Quarter is a great place to be.
- Experience the cuisine of New Orleans. It does not have to be December for this, but a visit to Cafe du Monde for beignets, and Commander’s Palace is always a good idea.
More packing tips for your trip to New Orleans
Once your itinerary for New Orleans is finalized, you can start getting your travel capsule wardrobe together. If you’ve read my posts on She Packs Lite before, you know I’m a huge proponent of the travel capsule wardrobe. In the cooler months, packing light can seem a little more daunting because of all the bulky sweaters and coats. Luckily, the cooler months in New Orleans aren’t as cold as other places, so you’ll have no problem packing light and looking stylish.
Don’t expect to be sweating
I mentioned earlier in this post that the high in December in New Orleans is around the mid-sixties Fahrenheit. If you’ve never been to New Orleans before, you may be thinking of it as hot all year round. Luckily, this isn’t the case. December is the perfect time to visit because of those lower temperatures.
It’s not likely that you’ll need a super heavy coat while you’re in New Orleans. A light jacket and a pair of jeans are your best bet for walking around the French Market and Canal Street.
Plan on precipitation
December doesn’t fall in hurricane season, luckily, but you’re still likely to encounter some rain while you’re visiting New Orleans in the winter. Even if the weather forecast doesn’t show rain, you should still be prepared and pack a rain jacket and rain boots. If you need to duck out of the rain, get some cover at Café Du Monde. The beignets and coffee will warm you right up as you wait for the rain to pass.
Pack for the activities you’re planning
When you’re walking around the city, you should choose clothes that are going to be comfortable. It’s also a good idea to have a light sweater and breathable fabrics on so you’re prepared for all weather conditions, even if it rains.
However, if you’re planning on attending any Reveillon Dinners or holiday parties, you should have something a little dressier. The holidays are a great time to get a little dressed up and spend time with friends and family, and the seasonal festivities in New Orleans can be a great place to put your best outfits on display.
Take some fashion risks
If you’re ever going to make bold fashion choices, New Orleans is the place to do it. The city is a melting pot of a ton of different cultures and there’s no dress code for what you should wear during the day. As you’re walking through some of the streets, you’ll see influences from the French, African, European, Afro-Caribbean, and American cultures.
An easy way to spice up your outfits is to add a few different textures and patterns. A faux fur jacket will make your winter clothing a little more exciting. As an added bonus, a lot of faux fur jackets come in a variety of different colors, so you can easily add some color to your wardrobe.
Make sure you have comfortable shoes
One of the best ways to experience the rich culture of the Crescent City is to see it on foot. I always recommend packing comfortable shoes, even if you’re not planning on spending a lot of time walking because you never know when you’ll decide to take a stroll. A good pair of walking shoes is an essential part of any travel capsule wardrobe.
Luckily, there are a lot of different ways that you can style comfortable sneakers. A simple pair of white street sneakers can be dressed up or down, which is an important part of choosing shoes for your travel capsule wardrobe. We want to choose shoes that can be worn with multiple different outfits so that we’re saving space by not having a different pair of shoes for each day.
Use outerwear and shoes to accessorize
Accessorizing in the colder months can be challenging because some of the accessories you wear during the summer get covered up by different layers. An easy way to combat this is to use things like coats and shoes to spice up your outfits. Longer leather jackets that were popular in the 90s are starting to come back into fashion. If you’ve been holding on to your old leather jackets, you can create a lot of cute winter outfits with them. Another great thing about leather jackets is that they’re a lighter option, so you won’t get too hot walking around.
Shoes are also a place where you can add some color to your winter wardrobe. Jewel tones like emerald green and sapphire can easily be added to outfits that are neutral-colored for a little pop of color on a cloudy winter day in Louisiana.
FAQ: What To Wear in New Orleans in December
Is December a good time to visit New Orleans?
December can be a great time to visit New Orleans because festival season isn’t in full swing so the city isn’t as crazy and full of people as it is during Mardis Gras. There’s still plenty to do during December, but the city will be a bit more calm and you won’t have to spend a fortune on hotels.
How do people dress in New Orleans in December?
Unlike in the summer months, you won’t need to dress to beat the heat. The average high temperature in December in New Orleans is around 65 degrees Farehnheit, so you’ll probably want to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a light jacket that you can layer if the weather starts to get a little colder.
Is New Orleans nice in the winter?
Like a lot of different cities around the holiday season, New Orleans can be a magical place. When you visit the Crescent City in December, it will be full of holiday spirit, plenty of festivals, and unique Louisiana traditions that you can participate in.