Natchitoches christmas lights

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Start your holiday celebration by heading over to Natchitoches and experiencing the brightest festival of lights in the city. This family-friendly, fun-filled light festival is loaded with hundreds of thousands of fairy lights, twinkle lights, curtain lights, and twinkle light trees. You will also have a mesmerizing fireworks display along the downtown riverbank.

This light exhibition has been a huge part of every local’s life since 1927 and is also enjoyed by many tourists. Once the blinking Christmas lights are on, they light up the Natchitoches evening and bring magical moments. The riverbank area is lined with food vendors and kids’ activities. You will also see holiday set pieces across the river.

Natchitoches christmas lights
Festival highlights

Natchitoches Lights 

You will find a horse-drawn carriage that you can rise along the festive streets for a fee. For last-minute gift purchases, you will find craft vendors. You can invite your friends and family to experience a different way to celebrate the holiday season. This Christmas light show is for everyone, from kids to adults.

Natchitoches Lights Dates (2023-2024)

Natchitoches Lights event has started as a one-day festival, and now, it is already a six-week-long celebration. You can experience various Natchitoches traditions during the festival weeks, including carriage tours, fireworks displays, Northwestern State University Christmas Gala, live entertainment, Christmas Tour of Homes, and many more.

This Christmas light show starts Saturday before Thanksgiving and ends on Epiphany, January 6th. As you join this grandest holiday event in Natchitoches, you will witness more than 300,000 lights alongside over a hundred of set pieces every night at dusk. 

Since the Christmas light show runs for six weeks, you have the best chance to ensure you can attend the event. Finding the perfect date to experience a magical night is easy, no matter how busy you are. 

This year, the wonderful Christmas lights festival will be celebrated from November 18, 2023 to January 6, 2024, inviting everyone to enjoy the holiday season with dazzling Christmas lights and displays.

Where It’s Located and How to Get There 

Thousands of twinkling and inviting lights are waiting for you in Natchitoches. During the six-week light exhibition, you can enter a world of happiness and fun.

This Christmas light show happens in Natchitoches, situated in north-central Louisiana. The festival venue is exactly at 781 Front Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457. It is a short drive from large metro areas and south-central states.

I-49 runs five miles west of the Historic Landmark District. You should take exit 138 of I-49. Then, you will reach the site of festivities and lighting displays for the Natchitoches Lights. 

If you liked this festival, you might want to check out these other wonderful lights festivals as well:

Lewis Ginter Lights

Mission Inn Festival of Lights

Festival Hours 

Natchitoches Lights offers a family-friendly environment with beautiful LED lights, decorations, Christmas trees, tasty holiday treats, Christmas characters, and more.

Below is the festival schedule:

  • Saturday November 18, 2023 – 10:00 am to 7:15 pm
  • Sunday November 19 – 4 pm to 8:30 pm
  • Friday November 24 – 3 pm to 9 pm
  • Saturday November 25 – 9 am to 7:15 pm
  • Wednesday November 29 – 7 pm to 8:30 pm
  • Thursday November 30 – 7 pm to 8:30 pm
  • Friday December 1 – 6 pm to 10 pm
  • Saturday December 2 – 7 am to 5 pm
  • Tuesday December 5 – 7:30 pm
  • Thursday December 7 – 5 pm to 8 pm
  • Friday December 8 – 3 pm to 9 pm
  • Saturday December 9 – 10 am to 9 pm
  • Thursday December 14 – 5 pm to 8 pm
  • Friday December 15 – 4 pm to 9 pm
  • Saturday December 16 – 10 am to 9 pm
  • Friday December 22 – 3 pm to 9 pm
  • Saturday December 23 – 10 am to 7:15 pm
  • Saturday December 30, 2023 – 6 pm to 8 pm

How Much It Costs to Visit Natchitoches Lights 

Natchitoches is transformed into a winter wonderland with hundreds of thousands of lights twinkling downtown and beautiful decorations during the Christmas season. Locals and tourists gather together in the festival venue to enjoy Christmas lights and explore the National Historic Landmark District. 

You can also watch the spectacular fireworks display over Cane River, browse gifts, decorations, jewelry, and Christmas crafts, and join the Candlelight Tour of Homes and Christmas parade.

If you plan a holiday trip to Natchitoches and experience the festival of lights, here are the ticket prices:

  • Free 
  • $1 to $5
  • $6 to $10
  • $11 to $15
  • More than $15 

Festival armbands cost $10, while children 6 and under are free.

Note that the ticket price varies depending on the festival category you wish to join. For the latest updates on ticket prices, visit the festival’s official website.

Weather and What to Wear 

Natchitoches is named after a native tribe in America and the Louisiana Purchase Territory’s oldest permanent settlement. It is also home to one of the country’s oldest community-based holiday celebrations. If you plan to spend your holiday vacation in Natchitoches, it is advisable to get familiar with the place’s weather and what you should pack.

The light festival begins in November, and you will experience balmy weather. Temperatures often hover around the low 20s C (high 60s F) during the day. At night, temperatures generally dip into single digits C (low 40s F). You can pack jeans or pants, long skirts, standard footwear, socks, a light jacket or fleece, long sleeve blouses or shirts, dresses, a wind-resistant umbrella, a rain jacket, and a waterproof phone bag or luggage.

The rain amount in Natchitoches during December can reach several centimeters. Temperatures average in the single digits C (low 50s F) to high 10s C (low 60s F) during the day, while night temperatures dip into the single digits C (low 30s F). it is recommended to pack light gloves or mittens, fleeces, coat or jacket, socks, warm pants or jeans, standard footwear, and socks. You should also bring a rain jacket, waterproof footwear, a windproof umbrella, and a waterproof phone bag or luggage cover. 

Hotels near by the Natchitoches Lights festival

Undoubtedly, attending Natchitoches Lights is an exciting activity for the whole family. It gives you a chance to spend time together and have fun. So, ensure to find a perfect place to stay and sleep after long adventures.

Here are the top accommodation options near the festival venue:

Super 8 Hotel Natchitoches

This hotel is about 1.4 miles from the light exhibition site. It offers free continental breakfast and some smoking rooms. This pet-friendly hotel also has free Wi-Fi and free parking.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Natchitoches

This smoke-free hotel is around 4.5 miles from the Natchitoches Lights venue. It has an exercise room and outdoor swimming. The hotel also features free parking, free Wi-Fi, and a free hot breakfast buffet.

Days Inn Natchitoches

Travelers who want to save money from the accommodation will appreciate Days Inn Natchitoches. This pet-friendly accommodation offers an outdoor swimming pool, free Wi0Fi, free parking, and free continental breakfast.

Comfort Suites Natchitoches

This accommodation is close to the Natchitoches Lights site, around 4.6 miles away. It is a smoke-free accommodation with free Wi-Fi, a free hot breakfast buffet, and free parking. Plus, the staff are professional and friendly.

Hampton Inn Natchitoches

This inn is around 4.9 miles away from the festival site, and guests will enjoy an exercise room and an outdoor swimming pool. This smoke-free hotel has a free hot breakfast buffet, free Wi-Fi, and free parking.

Where to Eat (near the fest) 

The food offered by Natchitoches reflects its rich culture, tradition, and history. The place is more than just a lights festival and attractions; it delivers food flavors that you would not forget. 

Here are the top restaurants that will make you come back to Natchitoches over and over again:

Merci Beaucoup 

This restaurant serves seafood, gluten-free options, and vegetarian and vegan options. All these foods are available during brunch, lunch, and dinner hours. The staff is very friendly and offers excellent service.

Lasyone’s Meat Pie Kitchen

You can visit Lasyone’s for a delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Crawfish pie and meat pie are some of the popular food options here. The atmosphere is very cozy, and all foods are delicious and made from fresh ingredients.

Mariner’s 

Mariner’s serves American food, seafood, and vegetarian options. You can visit it during lunch, dinner, and late at night. It has a full bar and serves a variety of alcohol. The service staff is well-trained, attentive, and polite.

More Things to Do in the Area 

Natchitoches is Louisiana’s oldest city, and it offers many things to do aside from joining the Christmas light exhibition. It provides history, recreation, culture, and unique creole cuisine. 

National Historic Landmark District

This attraction has over 100 historical structures that serve as dining and shopping sites. Visitors can take a horse-drawn carriage tour and explore the elegant old homes with wrought-iron balconies. 

Cane River National Heritage Trail 

The fertile banks of the Cane River have many plantations that create a trading hub and a thoroughfare. The trail reflects a unique mixture of Native American, African, Creole, Spanish, and French influences. It stretches from Los Adaes’ Spanish Presidio to the Natchitoches Parish’s southern tip.

National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

This tourist destination is home to various fish species, such as recreational fish, freshwater mussels, alligator snapping turtles, and alligator gar. 

Grand Ecore Visitors Center 

This attraction played a critical role during the Civil War. It served as a Confederate outpost that guarded the Red River against Union advancement. 

Roque House 

Yves, a freed slave, constructed the Roque House. It is a perfect example of French Creole architecture. It also served as a museum and became the Cane River National Heritage Area Commission’s headquarters.

FAQ

1. Where Can We Park?

Parking can be a bit of a challenge due to the festival’s popularity. There are designated parking lots, and street parking is also available. Plan to arrive early to snag a spot.

2. Is Smoking Permitted?

Smoking is generally not allowed within the festival area to maintain a comfortable atmosphere for all attendees. Designated smoking zones may be available; check the festival map for locations.

3. What’s the Pet Policy?

While we all love our furry friends, pets are not allowed within the festival grounds for safety and comfort reasons. Service animals with proper identification are welcome, however.

4. What Types of Light Displays Will There Be?

You’re in for a treat! The Natchitoches Christmas Lights Festival boasts a wide range of lighting installations—from twinkling fairy lights on trees to elaborate light displays that tell a story.

5. Are Food and Drinks Available?

Absolutely! You’ll find an assortment of food vendors serving a variety of tasty options, as well as beverages to keep you warm and hydrated as you explore the lights.

6. Is the Festival Family-Friendly?

Yes, the festival is designed to be enjoyable for people of all ages. Activities for children are typically part of the program, making it a perfect family outing.

7. Can We Take Photos and Videos?

Feel free to capture the magic with your camera or smartphone. Photography and videography are encouraged—just be mindful of others enjoying the spectacle.

8. What Are the Restroom Facilities Like?

Restrooms are available throughout the festival area. These are typically portable units that are regularly cleaned and stocked.

Sources:

https://natchitocheschristmas.com

https://facebook.com/NatchitochesChristmas/

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