Celebrating Mardi Gras can be lots of fun. You can attend parties, throw a party, or simply eat a king cake and see if you get the hidden treasure in your piece. I prefer to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The entire city comes to life. People from all over the world arrive to have a good time. The tourists and the locals mingle. And you can learn a lot about the cultures and traditions of this exuberant city. Plus, you can see the sights in between Mardi Gras celebrations.
When you arrive in New Orleans, you will want to be prepared for a lot of people. The streets of New Orleans get quite crowded. Especially when the parades are held. And at night when the bars are open, and people are celebrating.
A little prep work will ensure you don’t miss a minute of the excitement. And you won’t get lost in the crowd.
Normal vacations in New Orleans usually have you traveling via car, bus, or taxi. You may even decide to hop on a streetcar to reach a destination in New Orleans.
During Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you will spend much of your time walking. This is why it is so important to choose a hotel near all the action. Or at least the action you want to be a part of.
You can also try to rent a bike to make it a little easier to get around.
Yes, you can still use public transportation during Mardi Gras. Simply be prepared for service interruptions. And the fact you may need to walk if you need to be in a certain area at a specific time.
Not surprisingly, there are parade trackers for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Download the parade tracker of your choice before you arrive.
Not only will you know when the parades are taking place, you will also know how the parade is progressing. Super important for those times you need a restroom or a drink, but don’t want to miss any action.
It can be difficult to find a spot to watch the parades during Mardi Gras. The locals always have their favorites and will head to them every year.
I recommend finding a spot near a restroom. This means you will need to arrive early for those prime locations.
Set up your chairs if you have them. Keep everything at least six feet from the curb. Then settle in, meet your parade neighbors, and get ready for the party.
The locals always dress up for Mardi Gras. If you want to fit right in, wear a costume while celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
There are plenty of options to choose from for your costume. Consider a bright colored wig, sequined shirts, or a tutu. Or go the simple route and wear a mask.
It doesn’t really matter what you wear. One item, or a full costume, will get you into the Mardi Gras spirit!
There are quite a few Mardi Gras traditions you will want to be aware of during your visit. If you want to catch all the beads like a local, you need to know what to say. So, call out, “throw me something, mister” and watch the beads fly towards you.
Other traditions include the Mardi Gras doubloon, flambeaux carriers, balls, and king cakes. You can read about those traditions, and others, here.
Celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a marathon not a sprint. You will need to pace yourself if you want the full experience.
It is important that you eat regularly, stay hydrated, and get some sleep. This will ensure you are ready for the next round of parties and parades the next day.
There are so many things to do while celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans. You know you won’t be able to do them all. But make sure you check these items off your bucket list.
The local marching bands are always the highlight of the Mardi Gras parades. Have fun while dancing alongside them, as they march down the road.
The Greasing of the Poles is the kickoff to Mardi Gras weekend in the French Quarter. The support poles of the Royal Sonesta New Orleans are greased to prevent anyone from climbing up them to the balcony.
This was a basic thing when it started years ago. Nowadays, this event is filled with music and celebrity sightings.
A doubloon is a coveted Mardi Gras coin. They are thrown into the air from floats during the parades. Catching one is considered to be lucky.
Other lucky items include a Zulu coconut, plungers from Tucks, and a muse’s shoe.
Catching beads can be fun during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. However, tossing them from a balcony on Bourbon Street is even better. If you want to check this activity off your bucket list, you must plan early. The only way you can do it is by booking a room at one of the hotels on Bourbon Street.
There are at least thirty different dance groups that perform on the streets during Mardi Gras. The favorites include the 610 Stompers, Merry Antoinettes, Roux La La, and the Storyville Baby Dolls.
Dog parades are a thing during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The dogs are all in costumes. You can shake any of the dogs’ paws. However, shaking paws with the king is even more special.
The Bourbon Street awards have been given out for more than fifty years now. You should go to see which drag queen is considered the most fashionable.
Eating king cake is one of the best things to do while celebrating Mardi Gras. You can pick up a king cake from any bakery in New Orleans. I recommend trying cakes from at least three different bakeries. This way you can join in on the conversations of who offers the best version.
This is pretty much what you need to know to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Your entire vacation in New Orleans during Mardi Gras will be an adventure you will never forget. The good news is that many of the Mardi Gras celebrations are family friendly. Especially if you spend most of your time out of the French Quarter. This means you can easily visit for your next family vacation.
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