Travel Updates:

Louisiana is currently in modified Phase III of the White House reopening strategy. Governor Edwards has issued a statewide mask mandate indoors and outdoors when 6 ft. social distancing is not possible. Indoor social gatherings will be limited to 50% capacity with a max of 500 people. Businesses including restaurants and bars, as well as places of worship, have no capacity limits. Many St....

Read more...

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 Louisiana 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 holiday 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 adorning the quaint streets, Tammany Trace trailheads and parks of St. Tammany Parish. A favorite Christmas carol has a place of prominence in West St. Tammany with lighted displays depicting the 12 Days of Christmas in Covington and Mandeville. Find them all, snap a selfie or belt the beloved carol on video to share with all those you'd love to be caroling with this holiday season. In Mandeville, go to the Tammany Trace Trailhead on Koop Drive for the 21st annual Holiday of Lights, this year a drive-through event, as is Slidell's Bayou Christmas and, new this year, Christmas on Front, with displays lighting your way along Olde Towne Slidell's Front Street from West Hall to Erlanger Avenue. And, catch the annual lighting of the Christmas tree event in Griffith Park at Christmas Under the Stars.

Royal Carriages tours, decked out for the holidays
2. Tour Old Covington by Carriage

Discovering charming Covington's historic areas just got a little easier with sightseeing company Royal Carriages, who brings their generations-long New Orleans carriage tours to the Northshore. Operating since 1941, Royal Carriages prides itself on the care it gives to its animals, with each mule receiving months of annual vacation. Sightseeing, guided historical tours run every weekend (Friday through Sunday) with 30 or 60-minute tours through downtown and Old Covington. Rides depart just south of the Covington Trailhead Museum in front of Marsolan Feed and Seed Store, 314 N. Gibson St.

Shopping, Mandeville, Christmas
3. '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. The Northshore's prolific arts scene gives ample opportunity to find one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts for that special someone, especially during Local Artists Week, when art galleries offer special sales. You'll want to shop and stroll the brightly decorated streets of Old Mandeville on December 12, too, for Shop Local Saturday.

Shop local for unforgettable treasures on weekends during the season--the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas--with Get Wrapped Up in Mandeville and Covington's Christmas in the Country, when boutiques and shops are transformed with bright decorations throughout the walkable historic districts. Be sure to make a stop at cozy Das Schulerhaus Gift Gallery & Christmas Boutique in Old Mandeville for an old world shopping experience. Or, if a veritable festival of shopping is more your speed, don't miss Louisiana’s annual three-day arts and crafts shopping event, Christmas Extravaganza Arts and Crafts Expo, where you can browse some 500 booths bursting with unique creations by artists from a multi-state area (and get fueled up by mouth-watering food booths and live music).
Pop-ups and other shopping events will be added to our event calendar as they are announced, so be sure to keep checking back!

Candlelight Caroling at Covington Trailhead, 2019
4. Sounds of the Season

From streamed performances to caroling, the Northshore has the sweet sounds of holiday music. The City of Covington will host two fun events for all ages with a concert by Benny Grunch and the Bunch and caroling along with the Northlake Performing Arts Society, Candlelight Caroling at Covington Trailhead on December 9. You can also see the NPAS chorale, along with Santa, holiday crafts and cookies for the kids, at Deck the Rails December 5. Catch NPAS in Mandeville at  their annual holiday concert, An Old Fashioned Christmas. Also in Mandeville, St. Timothy on the Northshore UMC presents its annual show-stopping holiday musical performances, Christmas on the Northshore, this year streamed to audiences on the church's website.
Those longing for the annual, season-ending concert at the Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall will get a special treat: concerts recorded at the historic, rural jazz hall, streamed on Facebook. Be sure to follow the City of Mandeville and Dew Drop Jazz Hall on Facebook so you don't miss the announcement!

Photo: Covington Office of Cultural Arts & Events (2019)

Lakehouse Tammany Taste of Summer
5. 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 restaurants offer a full dining experience for the whole family with special menus while others offer pre-order boxed dinners, ready to go on the big day. Or, for larger gatherings, turkey with all the trimmings and loads of side dishes, desserts and drinks by the pan, quart or gallon. You'll find special dining events, like The English Tea Room's annual Christmas High Teas through the first week of January, Réveillon Dining at The Dakota through the month of December and other special events.
With a little planning--most require advance registration or two days' notice on take-home orders--you'll have everything you need to bring a complete, delicious dinner to share with family and friends, whether it's their home, your hotel or a sunny park for a socially-distant good time. View our list of restaurants offering holiday dining options.

Donna Plaia from Das Schularhaus at Christmas Past, Mandeville LA
6. Shop Holiday Markets

Area farmers and art markets take on a holiday theme at this time of year, including the Olde Towne Slidell Christmas Market, the Covington Holiday Art Market and farmers markets with crafts vendors, and Shop Local Saturday in Mandeville on December 12 at businesses on and around Girod Street. Enjoy artist pop-ups outside of local businesses, live Christmas music, special holiday deals and more.

Christmas at the Southern Hotel features a Holiday Sip-n-Shop event on December 9, noon 'til 7pm, with 30+ vendors offering unique gifts, clothing for ladies and kids, fun stuff for your furry family members, as well as spa services and treats by local sweet shops.

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

Santa Claus can be sighted at a select few places across Northshore during the holiday season, including pictures with the kiddos. There's the all-outdoor Merry Madisonville, the drive-thru light display plus Santa pics at Slidell's Bayou Christmas, and Santa pays a visit to the Jean Baptiste Lang House on December 12 for pictures by the beloved old fireplace with Santa at the Lang House. Bring your own camera and your family (pets welcome!).

Entertain the kiddos with Santa and holiday treats at Pelican Park's Breakfast with Santa, Mandeville Social with Santa Brunch & Pics, the sweet Princess Brunch at Restaurant Coté, or the English Tea Room's Brunch with Santa on Christmas Eve. Enjoy holiday goodies while supporting good causes with the Youth Service Bureau's Your Santa Breakfast, WYES' Holiday Par-Tea or the Mande Milkshakers' fundraising Merry Mande Holiday Tea.

Those looking for a live Nativity can visit St. Timothy's on the Northshore United Methodist Church on December 20, at New Zion Baptist Church December 5-6 and Bogue Falaya Baptist Church December 11-13. If a "fun run" is more your speed, don't miss the Q50 Santa on Trails 5K Run/Walk in Fontainebleau State Park, where you can witness a flurry of red caps and white beards bobbing by as runners cruise through the park in full Santa suits.
Find more holiday fun in our event calendar.

 

Christmas Shopping
8. Gifts for the Crew...and You

Whether your ideal holiday shopping experience is at a bustling retail center with top national brands or small, owner-operated stores with one-of-a-kind finds, shopping in St. Tammany has you covered. In Covington, you'll find antique and fine gift shops, clothing and home décor boutiques, and art galleries like Marianne Angeli Rodriguez Gallery, whose brightly painted, Columbia Street storefront is a work of art in itself. Southwest of town, there's Nord du Lac and River Chase centers, and dozens of shopping plazas along Highway 21.

Further west, in Mandeville, you'll find more great retail shopping along Highways 190 and 22, from Premier Shopping Centers 1 and 2 and numerous stylish boutiques, spas, and service stores. In Old Mandeville, on Girod Street, you'll find cute shops with handmade goods and fine art, like The Wild Osprey, Mae Antiques, Cameo Boutique or The Book and The Bean.

On the east side of the parish, Slidell's Olde Towne area offers several shops with antiques, fine crafts, Louisiana-themed gifts and Saints and LSU merchandise like those found at Three Divas and a Sugardaddy and The Who Dat Shoppe.  Don't forget treats and toys for your furry family members at Café du Bone Dog Bakery & Boutique. St. Tammany's largest city also offers shopping of popular brands interspersed with familiar restaurants at the ever-expanding Fremaux Town Center.

Ballet Apetrei presents just three performances of The Nutcracker.
9. On the Stage

Settle in for a show; the Northshore has numerous theaters throughout the parish that create a spectacular experience for all. Talented local performers present a broad spectrum of well-loved Christmas classics and new debuts for the whole family to enjoy.
Check out Playmakers Theater, Slidell Little Theatre, Cutting Edge Theater, 30 by Ninety Theatre and Cafe Luke Dinner Theatre for their holiday show schedules. In Covington, at the Fuhrmann Auditorium, catch the 54th annual, narrated dance performance of A Joyful Noise unto the Lord by Dancescape Studio. And, if it's just not Christmas until sugar plum fairies are dancing in your head, be sure to catch Nutcracker, The Kingdom of the Sweets by Ballet Apetrei, the Northshore’s own resident ballet company. You can also catch the beloved holiday tale and at Slidell Auditorium with Southern Youth Ballet's The Nutcracker.

Photo courtesy: Ballet Apetrei

Christmas at the Southern Hotel
10. Stay Awhile

St. Tammany offers a range of accommodations to fit your style and budget, from familiar and convenient hotels to boutique bed and breakfasts to rustic cabins and waterfront camping. During the holiday season, lodgings also offer some sweet deals on stays, from Thanksgiving through New Year's 2021.