New Orleans is known for its beignets, bayou tours, and jazz funerals; but what really draws people to NOLA is Mardi Gras! Mardi Gras in New Orleans is unlike any other holiday celebrated in Louisana, or in the U.S. for that matter! People come from far and wide to stroll the French Quarter in their beads and masks and partake in the Mardi Gras traditions. Mardi Gras starts on January 6th and ends after Fat Tuesday. We’ve put together a list of the best things to do during Mardi Gras in the Big Easy.
The parades are plenty during the months of Mardi Gras celebrations. The parade schedule varies in New Orleans, starting at 12 pm, 1 pm, 4:30 pm, 6 pm, etc. Parades on Fat Tuesday begin early around 8 am. Throughout the parade, you can catch beads thrown by the krewes, enjoy the jazz music playing and feast your eyes on colorful floats and costumes.
Take a riverboat ride down the Mississippi River and celebrate Mardi Gras in a whole new way! The City of New Orleans Riverboat offers a Mardi Gras brunch and ride where you can experience the beauty of the riverfront while chowing down on delicious creole inspired brunch and making a few fun stops along the way.
The history of New Orleans and its holiday traditions are encaptured at the museums in the city. We’ve listed a couple of our favorites you’ll want to be sure to check out during your stay.
Explore the French-made costumes, gowns, and masks worn during Mardi Gras Carnival. Open daily from 4:30-10 pm and free to the public.
If you’re looking for an exhibit filled with Mardi Gras history, be sure to stop at the Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Lousiana at The Presbytère. Climb aboard old floats, gaze at the intricate costumes, and learn what the festival was like during the Middle Ages! Tickets are $7 for adults and free for children 6 and under. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 4:30 pm.
The cajun and creole food is bar-none in New Orleans and there are endless options on where to grab the best nosh, you really can’t go wrong. We’ve made it a little easier by listing a few of our favorites.
Café du Monde is a must when you’re visiting New Orleans! Grab one or two of their famous beignets and a rich café au lait to sip while you enjoy your powdered sugar treat!
K-Paul’s restaurant shuts down during Mardis Gras and Chef Paul Prudhomme whips up some of the most delicious NOLA staples and serves them right from the dining room window. In year’s past whole fried po-boys have been served with red beans and rice in plastic bowls to patrons in the French Quarter.
If you’re looking for the best Cuban food in New Orleans, come to Que Rico! This is the perfect spot to get away from some of the hustle and bustle of Bourbon Street and grab a mouth-watering pressed Cuban sandwich.
Of course, what would Mardi Gras in NOLA be if you didn’t step foot on Bourbon Street? One of the best ways to experience the festivities on Bourbon Street is from one of its historical balconies. Many Bourbon Street Balcony packages are available during Mardi Gras including the Bourbon Heat package where you can have the best view on the street, access to open bar, and VIP restrooms.
Don’t break the bank by staying at an expensive downtown hotel. InTown Suites offers affordable weekly hotel rooms that oftentimes beat the cost of a downtown nightly rate. Not to mention, you get the comforts of an apartment like more space, in-room kitchen, and more!