New Orleans

Listen to toe-tapping jazz and blues until sunrise.

Jazz, blues and zydeco spill into the streets at night -- providing a colorful soundtrack for those strolling Frenchman and Bourbon streets. Add seasonal spirit to the musical adventure by attending one of New Orleans' evening cathedral concerts. They feature Christmas carols and gospel favorites.

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Enjoy special events for the holiday season.

New Orleans tantalizes the senses with holiday-inspired events this November and December. The city's early Christmas gift: Many of these events are free. On Dec. 19 at 7 p.m., join carolers in Jackson Square, where singing by candlelight the Sunday before Christmas has been a moving tradition since 1946.

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Feast on Creole-inspired Reveillon dinners.

Enjoy a Creole culinary tradition with roots in France: the Reveillon dinner. These multi-course holiday feasts are a time to gather with family -- while enjoying delicacies such as absinthe oyster soup, smoked duck breast and pecan bread pudding. More than 30 restaurants will offer special prix fixe menus through December, starting at $28.

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Catch the Super Bowl champs this winter.

The Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints symbolize the underdog spirit and resiliency of this city. Watch the hometown heroes fight for a playoff berth at the Louisiana Superdome, or join the cheering section at a local bar. The city also hosts a college football classic: the AllState Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4.

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Pick up Mardi Gras-themed stocking stuffers.

Start with coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde, then head to America's oldest public marketplace to load up on colorful holiday gifts. The French Market, located in the colorful French Quarter, is a goldmine for New Orleans treasures such as Mardi Gras masks, voodoo dolls and folk art.

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