Mardi Gras is the ultimate party in America, but it’s not just Fat Tuesday, the last day before Lent. Mardi Gras is a celebration that spans more than 10 days with extravagant parades—as many as 12 in one day!—outrageous parties, and voracious behavior. To celebrate Mardi Gras in the mecca New Orleans, you need to know the basics, and we are here to help you experience nothing but good times.
Know Where to Stay
Are you looking for a mature party that doesn’t end when the sun goes down? Then the French Quarter is the place for you. This is the wild scene you imagine when you hear the words “Mardi Gras.” Of course, Mardi Gras is a family event, too, at the right place and right time, so families will want to stay in the Garden District by St. Charles Avenue. This is close to the parade routes, and you’ll get a tamer Mardi Gras that is still exciting and enjoyable for everyone.
Know When to Go
Mardi Gras holds a variety of events, and if you don’t want to miss a specific one, make sure to do your research. From February 6th to February 8th, “Family Gras” will take place at the Veterans Memorial Boulevard and will include free concerts from famous performers and the Flambeau Food Court which serves Louisiana favorites like jambalaya, crawfish pasta, and gator-on-a stick. However, two of the biggest parades, Bacchus and Endymion, navigate the streets on the Saturday and Sunday before Mardi Gras and the Zulu Lundi Gras festival parties the Monday before the big day.
Know When to Book
Many hotels already began booking Mardi Gras’s attendees in August, so get on the horn to your travel agent now! Yes, you’ll want to use a travel agent, especially if you’ve never been to the festival before. Travel agents know the right hotels, the right prices, and the right people to get you where you want to be. Of course, they can’t do anything about the four- or five-night minimum stay requirement, so be prepared to have a long, boisterous weekend.
Know What to Do If You Miss Out
Mardi Gras isn’t called “The Greatest Free Show on Earth!” for no reason, and you’ve missed it. All hotels are booked because you gambled and lost. So now what? Plan for following year! Fat Tuesday will be February 9, 2016, so put on an Outlook reminder to book your hotel next August. And if you must attend a Mardi Gras, head down to Orlando for Universal Studios Florida® Mardi Gras. With parades, live concerts, French Quarter food, and a Universal CityWalk® after party, you’ll get the feel of Mardi Gras if not the true experience.