After spending an amazing few days in New Orleans for Mardi Gras last week, I have to spread the word. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a bucket list must! My hope is that the weather will be perfect like this past year, but if not you will still experience a beautiful celebration.
When is the best time to go?
Mardi Gras is usually celebrated over multiple weeks in January and February with the culmination happening on Fat Tuesday. There are parades and weekend celebrations throughout (click here for the schedule and routes), so anytime during January and February is worth a visit. However, the biggest parties happen the weekend prior and through Fat Tuesday. I highly suggest arriving the last Saturday before and staying through Tuesday.
Where to stay?
There are a couple of different areas I recommend staying in to get the most out of the celebration. If you would like to be right in the action then I suggest staying at a hotel in the French Quarter. Be prepared that it could be loud during the nights because this area hosts all the popular bars.
Another option is the downtown area which is on most parade routes and will save you in UBERS since the French Quarter and Garden District aren’t far.
The Garden District is absolutely beautiful and more family friendly in my opinion. You can find unique hotels and Airbnbs in this higher end area.
Another option is to stay in Mid-City in an Airbnb. It’s a great walkable residential area with tons of yummy restaurants and a quieter vibe. Except for the Krewe of Endymion on the Saturday night of Mardi Gras weekend. Mid-City is the perfect spot to be since the parade route starts in this area. Residents line up early and tailgate all day long. This was one of the best experiences of my Mardi Gras trip. Don’t plan on doing anything that Saturday, you will be stuck in this area due to the parade schedules but it’s so much fun that it’s no big deal! Ubers are relatively easy to get in this area but during the big celebration days it might take longer to get around to the other areas in New Orleans. Costs of the rides can rise during this time too due to high demand, so take that into consideration for your budget.
Which parades/krewes do I go to?
The parades are called Krewes, which refer’s to the organizations that stage the parades and events. The most popular and historic ones not to miss are:
What should I eat?
These dishes are must haves while in New Orleans! Stay tuned for a Where to Eat in New Orleans guide coming soon.
What are your best safety tips?
Don’t go alone! Always have a friend/friends with you at all times whether you are watching the parades or hanging out on Bourbon Street.
Watch your drinks and don’t stay out past midnight.
I recommend not bringing a purse around Bourbon Street. Opt for a small cross body bag at most and keep it in front of you.
Wear closed toed shoes that you don’t care about getting dirty.
Now that you have decided this is it, this is the year I’m attending Mardi Gras here are a few more tips. Don’t forget to book hotels, Airbnbs and plane tickets early! I recommend no later than October for the best deals. Bring an exciting/funny/sparkly costume! Anything goes on the actual day of Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, so share your individuality with the world 🙂
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