The most iconic place to find NYE parties in New Orleans is Bourbon Street. There you'll find the the Hand Grenade cocktail at the Tropical Isle bar, and just around the corner on St Peter you'll find the famous New Orleans Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's. Frenchmen street is lesser known, but also a popular street, and settle your evening with a more low-key vibe at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop that is tucked away at the very end of Bourbon Street. Don't forget to try some Cajun food at NOLA staple restaurants such as Royal House and Desire Oyster Bar.
New Orleans created a Four Phase Plan for bars and social gatherings. If New Orleans can stay in Phase Three of the plan at least, the opening of bars, restaurants and the size of public gatherings will continue to increase into the New Year.
One of the most traditional ways to celebrate NYE in New Orleans is on one of the many balconies in the French Quarter. It doesn't matter what time of the year it is, bars all up and down Bourbon Street are having balcony bashes of some kind, but these balconies tend to get full rather quickly. Many of the hotels such as the Royal Sonesta and Wyndham have rooms which include balconies overlooking Bourbon. These too can be hard to get if you don't reserve well in advance prior to a holiday. However, one company in particular locates and rents out balconies for private holiday parties. These parties usually come with bartenders and buffet tables, and the prices tend to start at $120.
Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve
Jackson Square has been the spot for the biggest New Year's Eve party in New Orleans for years. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve takes place across the street at Jax Brewery and has featured special celebrity appearances, fireworks, and the fleur-de-lis drop (the Big Easy’s version of a ball drop). Past live music performances have included Imagine Dragons and Walk the Moon. It's free and family friendly.
Zoo Year's Eve
The Audubon Zoo hosts an annual Countdown to Noon for the kids. It has featured games, music, and entertainment for the little ones. Admission prices vary by year.
Crescent City Countdown
The Crescent City Countdown is a free and public event that has featured a New Year's Eve Mardis Gras-style parade during the day, performances by headline acts, and a riverfront fireworks show at over the Mississippi river at midnight called the "Symphony in the Sky”. Watch the firework celebration from the East or West Bank of the Mississippi River.
Big Night New Orleans New Year's Eve Gala
The Big Night New Orleans is hosted at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, and is one of NOLA's biggest NYE parties. Partygoers in the past have danced in the New Year to music played by local bands like Cowboy Mouth, Amanda Shaw, Cha Wa, Brass-A-Holics and 610 Stompers. Ticket prices for the event vary based on package and time of purchase.
NYE Gala on the City Of New Orleans and Natchez
The Steamboats Natchez and City of New Orleans host an annual New Year’s Eve gala complete with a holiday dinner buffet and live entertainment. The riverboats cruise until shortly after midnight. Partygoers get a great view of the fireworks over from Mississippi from the boat. Tickets are typically $175 per person.
Fireworks Cruise aboard the Creole Queen
The paddle wheeler Creole Queen also puts on a New Years party cruise. It features hors d’oeuvres, a buffet, live bands and an open bar. The evening concludes with a champagne toast and festive party favors. Tickets are typically $189 per person.