You don’t have to brave cold temperatures to see a winter wonderland during your holiday getaway. Louisiana during the winter offers warm temperatures and spectacular holiday light displays reminiscent of the North Pole. See the twinkling lights in the city parks of New Orleans, or watch as the city of Baton Rouge celebrates the season with the Cortana Kiwanis Christmas Parade. Get in the Christmas spirit with live entertainment in downtown Alexandria, or relax in the city of Monroe and witness fireworks illuminate the sky. Book a stay at one of many incredible Louisiana vacation rentals today. Plan your winter getaway in Louisiana to see bright lights and beautiful cities.

1. Baton Rouge

Make Baton Rouge your vacation destination during the holidays to take part in the Festival of Lights on North Boulevard. Families gather to see thousands of lights twinkling in the downtown area and around the downtown shops. Find the perfect gift for your family members when strolling through the Mistletoe Market that boasts more than 120 merchants and offers light displays and exhibits in the evenings.

Louisiana State University lights up the sky with the annual LSU Christmas tree lighting Thanksgiving weekend celebration and hosts several holiday performances in the Student Union Theater, so you can hear your favorite holiday melodies. See more lights decorate the city the second weekend in December when the Cortana Kiwanis Christmas Parade rolls through downtown. From marching bands and dance troupes to lighted floats from local businesses, this event is a great way to get in the holiday spirit within minutes from your Baton Rouge vacation rental.

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2. Alexandria

Embark on a winter wonderland and safari when making a stop at the Alexandria Zoo to see the light displays and animals. Tens of thousands of lights fill the zoo grounds, and vendors set up shop offering homemade sweets and hot chocolate for this festival in December. Take the kids on a train ride to see Santa, and move your feet to the sounds of live entertainment each weekend.

Beginning in mid-December, you can see twinkling lights inside historic homes in Alexandria’s Garden District. The Garden District Neighborhood Foundation hosts a holiday home tour with expert guides sharing tidbits about the architecture and history of each residence. When you’re craving a bit more history, go see the lights and the artifacts at the Louisiana History Museum or holiday-themed artwork at the Alexandria Museum of Art.

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3. Monroe

The sister cities of Monroe and West Monroe transform into a winter wonderland, as this Louisiana area is part of the state’s Trail of Lights. See the sky light up at the fireworks show during Thanksgiving weekend, following two parades complete with candy, Santa, and lighted floats. Treat the kids to an evening at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum to see more lighted displays and interactive exhibits before heading to Santa’s Christmas Village in downtown Monroe for a little retail therapy.

Monroe’s Antique Alley is the perfect spot to find that perfect gift, then savor some Southern cuisine at Kayla’s Kitchen or Doe’s Eat Place Of Monroe. The holiday season is also one to celebrate freedom with the annual lighting of the Freedom Trees at the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum, located in close proximity to Monroe and West Monroe vacation rentals.

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4. Minden

The quaint town of Minden lights up with more than 100 life-size nutcrackers during the holiday season. This northwest Louisiana city breaks out thousands of lights for the Old Christmas Lights Spectacular that features a downtown festival complete with storefront displays and Santa’s workshop on the brick-lined streets. As part of the North Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights, Minden decorates the historic residential district with lighted wreaths that are visible at the Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes.

Enjoy a holiday dinner with an Italian twist at Roma Italian Bistro or Louisiana fare at Geaux Fresh before retreating to your small-town vacation rental in this historic city.

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5. New Orleans

New Orleans is the city that never sleeps year-round, but during the holidays, Canal Street turns into a festival of lights. Stroll along this historic street to see the lighted displays before heading to Rivertown Heritage Park to see the Christmas Village of lights where you can enjoy a visit with Santa Claus, listen to the carolers, and treat the kids to a storytelling workshop along the banks of the Mississippi River.

Lafreniere Park offers one of the most beautiful light shows in the city with a 60-foot sea serpent right in the lagoon and a teddy bear factory for the kids. A vacation rental in New Orleans puts you in close proximity to the New Orleans City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks. The 25-acre park comes alive with hundreds of thousands of lights and a two-mile train ride through an animated display in December. When you need to get in some holiday shopping, head to New Orleans’ Christmas in the District for handmade crafts from local vendors.

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