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New Orleans Attractions: Top Thanksgiving Events

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Thanksgiving in the Big Easy

New Orleans is a city known for its lively spirit and festive events, especially during Thanksgiving. When the autumn leaves start to fall, the city comes alive with parades, football games, races, and much more. It’s a time when the cool breeze carries the melody of jazz through the streets, and the aroma of Creole Thanksgiving dinners invites everyone to celebrate. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, delve into the top Thanksgiving events that make New Orleans a truly special place to be!

Join the 116th Turkey Day Race

New Orleans attractions

Get ready to lace up your running shoes for the 116th Turkey Day Race in New Orleans! Started in 1907 by Tad Gormley, this Thanksgiving tradition has a race for everyone – a Kids’ Half-Mile Race and a 5-mile race across the scenic City Park for the seasoned runners. Bright and early, the race kicks off at 7AM, leading up to an award ceremony at 10AM.

There’s more than just running; enjoy tasty food and refreshing drinks, with beer for the adults. While it’s a free event, donations are warmly welcomed. Proceeds from the run go to Spina Bifida of Louisiana, an organization that lends a helping hand to individuals and families affected by spina bifida across the state. This race isn’t just about the thrill of competition, it’s about coming together to support a noble cause while making fun Thanksgiving memories!

Catch the Bayou Classic Event

New Orleans Attractions Bayou Classic football game

The Bayou Classic is not just a football game; it’s a beloved tradition that lights up New Orleans every Thanksgiving! What once began as a friendly rivalry between two notable historically Black universities, has grown into a citywide festivity for over forty years. The excitement kicks off with a lively parade and a thrilling “Battle of the Bands” on Friday, November 24, where the marching bands from Grambling State and Southern University showcase their talents.

This annual celebration reaches its peak on Saturday, November 25, with a football face-off between the Grambling State Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars. Held at the iconic Caesars Superdome, the big game is the crown jewel of this multi-day extravaganza. Hence, the energy in the city is electric, as fans and families come together to enjoy the parade, music, and of course, the football game. The Bayou Classic Parade, rolling through downtown at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, is a spectacle you don’t want to miss! This rich blend of sports, music, and community ultimately embodies the heart and soul of New Orleans during Thanksgiving.

Participate in the Human Horse Race

New Orleans Attractions Human Horse Race
Photographer: Sophia Germer

Giddy up for a cause at the 4th Annual Human Horse Races in New Orleans! This whimsical event, held on November 23rd, 2023 from 11am to 3pm at Easton Park, is all about celebrating New Orleans’ style while supporting local animal sanctuaries and shelters. Imagine folks galloping to the finish line, but with a charitable twist! The festivity also offers live music, tempting food, and refreshing beverages.

Get in on the action by purchasing betting tokens to place donation bets on your favorite “horse” for the next round. Winners of the races bag cool prizes, and if you bet, you’re entered for a shot at a mega-prize! It’s a day filled with laughter, competition, and a hearty helping of goodwill, showcasing the fun, caring spirit of New Orleans. So come join the Human Horse Race, enjoy the tunes, and help make a difference for furry friends in need!

Have More Fun this Thanksgiving on a Walking Tour!

Discover the historic charm of New Orleans this Thanksgiving by embarking on a captivating French Quarter tour!  From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, this tour is a journey back in time that will enrich your Thanksgiving experience.

If you want to venture past Downtown New Orleans, consider extending your Thanksgiving adventure with a serene Garden District walking tour. As you meander through the picturesque streets lined with majestic oaks and stunning antebellum homes, you’ll feel the timeless elegance that defines the Big Easy. The lush scenery of the Garden District walking tour provides a peaceful retreat and a perfect contrast to the lively spirit of the French Quarter. Book your walking tour today and make Thanksgiving in New Orleans truly unforgettable! 

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours
French Quarter Tour  |  Garden District Tour  New Orleans Ghost Tour  |  New Orleans Cocktail Tour

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