People walking on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

If you are a fan of unique cultures, big parties and great food, then Mardi Gras in New Orleans should be at the top of your bucket list.

When is Mardi Gras?

The next Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, will be on Tuesday, February 21, 2023. Mardi Gras season starts every year on January 6, and ends 47 days before Easter Sunday.

What is there to do during Mardi Gras?

New Orleans is a great city to visit year-round, but a trip there during Mardi Gras season gives you the opportunity to experience things you won’t see the rest of the year. Here are some of the most popular things to do in New Orleans during Mardi Gras:

  • Watch parades: This is one of the most beloved Mardi Gras activities for both locals and visitors. The city has dozens of parades throughout the celebration, featuring colorful floats, marching bands, and costumed riders who throw beads, doubloons, and other items to the crowds.
  • Enjoy the music: Mardi Gras is a great time to enjoy live music in New Orleans, with jazz bands and street performers playing throughout the city. Music lovers should check out the New Orleans Jazz Museum.
  • Try the local food and drink: New Orleans is famous for its Creole and Cajun cuisine, and Mardi Gras is a great time to try dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, and beignets. Don’t miss grabbing a slice of King Cake, a traditional pastry-style cake that is traditionally only found during Mardi Gras season. New Orleans is also known for its 24-hour bars, serving unique cocktails like the popular Hurricane
  • Experience the cultural heritage: Mardi Gras is a celebration of the city’s French heritage, and many events highlight the city’s unique history and culture. Be sure to read up on the history of the krewes of any parades you plan to attend to learn more about their purpose and themes. 

What are the best Mardi Gras parades?

Most Mardi Gras parades and balls in New Orleans are hosted by local social organizations called “krewes”. Each krewe and parade offers their own twist to this weeks-long celebration. Some of the most popular and well-known krewes and parades are:

  • Krewe of Bacchus: Bacchus is one of the largest and most popular parades, known for its celebrity riders and elaborate floats.
  • Krewe of Endymion: Endymion is another large and popular parade, featuring a star-studded lineup of celebrity riders and elaborate floats.
  • Krewe of Zulu: One of the most famous parades, Zulu is known for its colorful costumes and throws, including the famous Zulu coconuts.
  • Krewe of Rex: Rex is the oldest and most traditional parade and is known for its elaborate floats, ornate costumes and the “King of Carnival”
  • Krewe of Orpheus: Orpheus is a popular parade, known for its celebrity riders and elaborate floats, as well as its music-themed parade.
  • Krewe of Muses: One of the most popular parades among women, known for its elaborate floats and throws, such as shoes, purses, and other themed items.
  • Krewe of Proteus: This a more traditional parade, known for its beautiful floats and costumes.
  • Krewe of Barkus: Known as the only Mardi Gras krewe for the canine population, this crowd favorite features dogs. 

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