Winter's a Winner
It's worth it to visit Lafayette, Louisiana, any time of year, but come December through February and you’ll be treated to a winter wonderland — with mild temperatures that barely fall into the 30s and 40s.
Use this guide to start planning your winter getaway to the Happiest City in America.
Cajun & Creole Christmas
The holiday season in Acadiana is filled with all things merry and bright, from twinkling light displays and holiday markets to concerts, foodie events, tree lightings, parades, carolers, and even a tour of homes. You can see a full list of November and December events here.
In the last decade or so, Cajun and zydeco music enthusiasts from all over the country have made Lafayette the place to be for dancing while ushering in the coming year. From the Wednesday before NYE through the big night itself, dancehalls are filled with the happy feet of both visitors and locals two-stepping and waltzing across the floor.
Mid-Winter Fair Rodeo
Celebrating its 70th birthday, Louisiana’s most famous and longest-running rodeo returns to the Blackham Coliseum January 5-8, 2023, and features the world's greatest rodeo competitors, livestock, and entertainers. Watch as the world’s best cowboys and cowgirls compete for cash prizes in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronco riding, calf and team roping, barrel racing, and bull riding.
Opelousas Gumbo Cook-off
If you find yourself with a hankering for some great gumbo on the last Saturday in January, get your fill at the annual Gumbo Cook-Off in Opelousas. It's $50 to compete, but free to watch and sample.
Then, dance it all off with a full lineup of live Cajun and zydeco music. The best part? All proceeds from the cook-off benefit a child whose family is burdened with medical-related expenses.
Cinema On The Bayou Film Festival
The 18th Cinema On the Bayou Film Festival is happening from January 25-February 1, 2023. Cinema on the Bayou presents U.S. and Louisiana premieres of more than 200 new, cutting-edge fiction and non-fiction films from around the world, laced with Cajun culture's unique cuisine and great music.
Between the official start of "Mardi Gras season" on January 6 (aka Twelfth Night) and February 21, revelers from all over the world come to participate in parades, balls, and beads. In the countryside, the unique and colorful rural celebrations such as the "courir," or Mardi Gras run, date back to the founding of the Cajun settlements.
In the days leading up to Mardi Gras, the area’s dancehalls and bars feature a plethora of Acadiana’s hottest Cajun and zydeco bands playing to packed dance floors of locals and visitors alike. Additionally, Lafayette’s answer to New Orleans’ famous Mardi Gras Indians parade and perform on Mardi Gras day in spectacular hand-crafted costumes, intricately festooned with beads and feathers.
Wintertime is fun time in Lafayette, and the festive spirit is everywhere. Red and green Christmas decorations give way to the purple, green, and gold of Mardi Gras, and the revelry continues. Come and join the celebration by planning your visit here.