The Northshore Visitor Guide Fall/Winter 2023-'24

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10 Ways to Holiday in St. Tammany Parish

Whether you're craving an old-fashioned Christmas with Santa, the sweet sounds of a holiday concert or a dazzling display of twinkling lights The Northshore, St. Tammany Parish has plenty of ways to celebrate the season, just 40 minutes from New Orleans' French Quarter.

While some activities have been postponed this year, many producers have adapted their events to bring the festivities to the public. You'll find lots more to do in our events calendar, so be sure to have a look!

Olde Towne Slidell brightly decorated for Christmas.
1. Light Up The Town

Nothing makes your inner holiday joy shine more than the shimmer of twinkling lights, and St. Tammany Parish's quaint streets, lush parks and historic homes will be aglow throughout December. "Let your heart be light" with Christmas Tree lighting events, drive-through displays, walking tours and more. Read our blog to find the lights.

Santa Parade on the Mandeville Lakefront for Winter on the Water
2. Holiday Parades

Give your Yuletide spirit a boisterous boost and join in the fun of a Northshore Christmas parade! There's Mandeville's Winter on the Water Santa and Boat Parade along the Mandeville lakefront, Merry Madisonville along the Tchefuncte Riverfront, the Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Parade through the town's historic district, and in the heart of St. Tammany's horse country, the Folsom Horse & Wagon Christmas Parade. Or, parade yourself through Old Mandeville with the annual Sips of the Season Stroll.

Live Nativity at Pearl River United Methodist Church
3. Live Nativities

For many, no Christmas celebration is complete without spending some time thinking about the "Reason for the Season" and the birth of Jesus Christ. Several churches in St. Tammany Parish welcome congregants and visitors alike to view a Nativity scene, some featuring live animals and free refreshments. See where to find these events by clicking here.

Shopping, Mandeville, Christmas
4. 'Tis the Season to Shop

When it's the time of year to shop 'til you drop, our Northshore communities host cheerful events to make your excursions festive and memorable, like the annual Christmas Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Expo at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds. The Northshore's prolific arts scene gives ample opportunity to find one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts for that special someone (see our Holiday Markets section below) and on weekends from Thanksgiving through Christmas with Get Wrapped Up in Mandeville and Covington's Christmas in the Country. Dig in to shopping the Northshore this holiday season with our 10 Ways to Shop.

Candlelight Caroling at Covington Trailhead
5. Sounds of the Season

The Northshore has the sweet sounds of holiday music all month long. The United States Marine Forces New Orleans Reserve Band returns to Slidell's Harbor Center, and the historic Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall returns to hosting live music in its hallowed hall with The Lamarque Street Community Choir and Alicia Renee aka Blue Eyes. The popular St. Timothy on the Northshore Choir presents its annual free concerts, Christ Episcopal Church welcomes the Louisiana Christmas Brass for its annual Christmas concert, and the Northlake Performing Arts Society Chorale has a wondrous night. The Covington Concert Band also presents A Covington Christmas II, and the Northshore Community Orchestra performs its annual Holiday Concert at the Slidell Auditorium. See details on these and many more live music events on our blog and event calendar.

Tomato-basil soup at The English Tea Room
6. Tammany Taste Holiday Dining

Visitors to The Northshore know they'll find a great meal wherever they go, but what about on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's? Fear not, because several restaurants, casual and upscale, large and small, are there for their customers' holiday celebrations. Some are open for dine-in guests on those holidays. Some offer special menus. Others offer boxed dinners for one or two or enough to serve the whole family, including a ham or turkey with all the trimmings, desserts and drinks, like you'll find at Pyre BBQ, Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket, Honeybaked Ham, Copeland's of New Orleans in Covington and Slidell, the Jazz Fest favorite, Patton's Caterers, and many others. With a little planning, you'll have everything you need for a complete, delicious dinner to share with family and friends.

Merry Madisonville 2019 at Madisonville Town Hall
7. Jolly Ol' St. Nick and more...

Keep your eyes peeled for Santa Claus, you'll spot him all over the Northshore during the holiday season! The jolly old elf is spreading cheer throughout St. Tammany - walking in Olde Towne Slidell's Community Christmas Parade, mingling at Deck the Rails in Covington, riding his sleigh-boat in the Winter on the Water Santa Parade in Mandeville, hanging in Santa's Workshop at Merry Madisonville, and many other places. For more opportunities for a meet and greet, check out our Santa Sightings blog, or go to our event calendar.

Ballet Apetrei presents just three performances of The Nutcracker.
8. Classic Christmas Performances

Settle in for a show; The Northshore has numerous theaters where talented local performers create a spectacular experience the whole family can enjoy, including Playmakers, Inc. Community Theater in Covington, 30 by Ninety Theatre in Mandeville, and Cutting Edge Theater and Slidell Little Theatre in Slidell. Covington's Fuhrmann Auditorium also hosts two dance-focused events this season. Get the scoop on these and more on our Theater page.

Photo courtesy Ballet Apetrei

Shop Local on Girod Street
9. Shop Holiday Markets

Area farmers and makers' markets take on a holiday theme at this time of year, wherein those that usually host crafts vendors offer more goods and handmade items, as with the Mandeville Trailhead Holiday Markets, the Olde Towne Slidell Holiday Art Market, held at Green Oaks Apothecary, and Covington Art Market on the lawn of the old Covington Courthouse on Boston St. Meanwhile, local artists gather to sell fine crafts ideal for gifting, as with the Olde Towne Christmas Market, the Christmas at TerraBella Tree Lighting & Holiday Marketplace, and the annual Christmas Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Expo at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds. Some festivals also feature arts & crafts vendors, as with Slidell's Bayou Christmas.


Bogue Chitto Horse Rentals at Bogue Chitto State Park in Franklinton
10. Explore Horse Country on a Trail Ride

North of St. Tammany Parish, at Bogue Chitto State Park in Franklinton, you can explore horse country on horseback. The park has over 15 miles of dedicated horse trails among majestic hardwoods, pine forest and cypress swamps, all leading to the Bogue Chitto River. The park's Christmas Caroling Wagon Rides are sing-a-longs of favorite Christmas songs on 20-minute horse and wagon rides for the whole family. The park also offers one- and two-hour rides (private or public) and half day rides. Book online.