The ULTIMATE First-Time New Orleans Mardi Gras Guide

I live for a destination that provides culture shock, which is why international travel has always been my priority; but experiencing Mardi Gras in New Orleans is as much culture shock as ever without having to leave the US, especially for someone like me who isn’t from the South. You’ll quickly find out why in this first-time New Orleans Mardi Gras guide.

Like all destinations on this blog, I like to approach my trips with cultural relevancy (whatever that may mean for that place) yet elevated and in style. I don’t mind getting into the thick of things (and usually seek those experiences out) as long as I have a nice place to return to at the end of the day.

My philosophy for celebrating Mardi Gras in NOLA was no different. As fun and festive as this holiday is, it can feel a little off-the-cuff and even downright raunchy at times in the tourist areas (hello boobs for beads?) Embracing all parts of the Mardi Gras experience from local digs to the deep corners of Bourbon Street is the best way to delve into the festivities and I encourage you to do the same–except maybe boob flashing Mardi Gras strangers– but if you want to I won’t judge 😉  

Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see my Disclosures page.

First-Timers New Orleans Mardi Gras Guide

Mardi Gras, which means “Fat Tuesday” in French, is a carnival celebration that takes place in many parts of the world, but is especially famous in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The festival is held annually on the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. Despite its religious roots, Mardi Gras has transformed into a secular celebration for all; and is time of revelry, parades, and parties, with participants dressing up in elaborate costumes and masks, throwing beads and trinkets to the crowds, and enjoying traditional food and drinks. The celebration is deeply intertwined with the culture and history of the city of New Orleans, and is celebrated with unique and colorful traditions that continue to evolve and grow with each passing year, drawing visitors from around the world to experience its beloved festivities.

First, the basics. What you should know before planning your trip:

Carnival, Mardi Gras, and Fat Tuesday are often used interchangeably. Carnival is the season leading up to Mardi Gras, while Mardi Gras occurs on Fat Tuesday (but is referred to by locals as just Mardi Gras, not Fat Tuesday.) Lundi Gras is the Monday (the day before) Mardi Gras.

Carnival season can be as short as 28 days or as long as 63 depending on the year. It starts on what is known as 12th Night or King’s Day, as early as February 3rd or as late as March 9th.

Many big parades begin the week leading up to Mardi Gras, the weekend before, as well as the first week of Carnival season.

Prime hotels book up months (or sometimes close to a year) in advance, so plan early. Last minute openings can be found, but expect to pay a premium. Balcony rooms have years-long waitlists and often require a longer minimum-night stay.

Plan to stay in the French Quarter and don’t expect to leave much, if at all. Traffic will be a nightmare, as will trying to take Ubers and Lyfts. 

Bring comfortable walking shoes (that you don’t care about) and dress in layers. The weather is extremely unpredictable during this time of year. It can be freezing and raining, hot and humid, or some combination of all in one day.

Mardi Gras week is a marathon, not a sprint. Despite this lengthy guide, try not to overly plan and just go with the flow! 

Locals pronounce the city as New Or-lins, not New Or-leanz. NOLA (the abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana) and the Big Easy are both nicknames for New Orleans.

All About the Mardi Gras Parades

Parades are a big part (if not the main event) of the Mardi Gras/Carnival season, with the major ones leading up to Mardi Gras days. he parades are colorful and vibrant, with participants wearing flamboyant costumes and tossing out beads and other trinkets to the cheering crowds. The music and energy of the parades are infectious, and it’s impossible not to get caught up in the festive atmosphere. From the traditional Krewe of Rex to the all-female Krewe of Muses, each parade has its own unique flavor and style. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Mardi Gras veteran, the parades are an unforgettable part of the New Orleans experience.

Here’s everything you need to know about watching parades.

Mardi Gras Parade Tips & Things to Know:

Parades are free but you can buy tickets to a grandstand (bleachers) or a balcony if you prefer. A lot of locals like to line up on the sidewalk early in the morning to secure a spot, complete with their coolers full of booze and food.

Each parade is called a Krewe (i.e. Krewe of Morpheus) and people pay hundreds of dollars to ride on them. It is basically an association, with events and planning throughout the year.

The parade schedule can change, so check the website for times and routes.

Download the WDSU parade tracker app. It will be your best friend while you’re there!

Uptown St. Charles St is a less crowded, more family-oriented area to attend parades, whereas Downtown and the French Quarter are where all the madness is.

If you’re watching parades from the street, know where the bathrooms are. Some restaurants and bars will require you pay a fee to use their facilities.

The main parades do not go down Bourbon Street, but a few smaller walking parades do.

Parades that start in Uptown take at least 2 – 3 hours to reach Downtown. Sometimes longer, as floats are known to break down or not start rolling on time.

Each parade has sometimes upward of 20 – 30 floats, with marching bands and other entourage in between. If you want to watch a parade in its entirety, expect to be there for quite a while.

“Throws” (items tossed from the floats) are more than just beads. Certain Krewes are known for their specialty throws. For example Krewe of Muses throws decorated heels, and Zulu hands out their prized coconuts. Beyond cheap plastic beads, float riders will throw other small prizes of all kinds, from novelty plastic cups, footballs, light up trinkets, to glass beads, BIG Mardi Gras beads, and custom Mardi Gras beads personalized to the krewes. And no, you don’t have to bare any skin to catch them! 😉 But if you want to catch many throws, bring yourself a tote bag to carry them all!

Best Mardi Gras Parades:

The most popular/best parades and floats during Mardi Gras include:

  • Endymion
  • Bacchus
  • Zulu
  • Orpheus
  • Iris
  • Rex
  • Tucks
  • Muses
  • Morpheus

Choosing the best Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans is a tough task, as there are so many unique and exciting options to choose from. One of the most popular is the Krewe of Endymion, which is known for its massive floats and celebrity guests. The Krewe of Bacchus is another crowd-pleaser, with its colorful and creative floats and a celebrity king that changes each year. For a taste of the city’s history, the Krewe of Rex is a classic parade that dates back to 1872 and features ornate and traditional floats. The all-female Krewe of Muses is also a highlight, with its clever and humorous themes and coveted shoe throws. Ultimately, the best parade is the one that speaks to your interests and sense of fun, as each has its own unique charm and appeal.

Check the schedule parade schedule New Olreans to see what days and times these parades roll (and their routes) as they can change from year-to-year. And don’t forget to download the parade tracker app!

Tip: On Mardi Gras day, plan to catch Zulu at the last third of the route, and for something especially fun, head to the riverfront downtown. This is where Rex and Zulu meet culminating in a big party with lots of local music.

Where to watch Parades:

Downtown? Uptown? Grandstands? The Street? Canal? St. Charles? If you’re planning on staying downtown in the French Quarter, that’s probably where you’ll watch most of the parades, BUT it can get pretty busy around there.

If you feel like you need a break or a more relaxed area to watch the parades, *major key alert* I stumbled upon an amazing spot that I found myself returning to for nearly every parade.

By walking a few blocks up on St. Charles into the Central Business District (CBD), directly across the street from grandstands in front of PJ’s Coffee is a relaxed area where you can get pretty close to the barricades to watch the parades (or at least directly behind the people who have been camping out behind the barricades all day.) Get the exact pin location here, or type in 829 Saint Charles Ave into your map.

There are these green cages around the trees there that I was able to stand on, giving me about a foot and a half of height (I’m short!) to have a perfect view of the parades and even be able to catch throws from. If you’re short like me and unable to find a front-row spot, check this location out (and don’t forget to BYOB!)

Best Place to Stay for Mardi Gras

During Mardi Gras, (or any time you visit New Orleans, really) you’ll most likely be staying in the French Quarter. The French Quarter is the oldest and most historic neighborhood in New Orleans, and it is often considered the heart and soul of the city. Known for its colorful architecture, lively street performers, and vibrant nightlife, this iconic area is a must-visit destination for any traveler to the city. Strolling through the streets of the French Quarter, you’ll experience the unique blend of French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences that define the city’s cultural heritage.

For 5-star luxury hotels in the French Quarter, there are a few hotels I recommend.

If you want a place that’s a quiet retreat away from the craziness but still located steps away from the action, the Ritz-Carlton is the best option. They also have an amazing spa and indoor swimming pool — perfect for the much needed downtime.

If you want to be along the parade route and in the center of it all, the JW Marriott, which has a rooftop pool, or the Intercontinental offer the 5-Star experience right on the main parade route (but be prepared for it to be nosier.)

For 4-star options, Check out the Sheraton, which has their own parade viewing grandstands, or the Courtyard Marriott, which has balconies to view from.

For 3-star accommodations, Four Points or Holiday Inn Express are amazing if you want to be right in the middle of the madness. (But you may need ear plugs to sleep at night — if you plan on sleeping, that is!)

Lastly, I need to mention the Ace Hotel in the Warehouse District. It is a great option if you want to be outside of the French Quarter where it is more relaxed, but still within walking distance to it as well as to the CBD, Garden District, and Uptown. It is a great in-between spot and super convenient, especially if you want to watch parades from the quieter location I pinned and recommended above.

The French Quarter Bars

I’ve created an interactive map of the best bars in the French Quarter, so you can use it during your visit and locate the ones closest to you when the desire for a strong drink hits. I’ve also broken down the popular bar areas in the following sections.

Tip: You can expand the map into another page by clicking the square icon in the upper right-hand corner.

Bourbon Street

Many locals will tell you that you don’t want to be on Bourbon Street for more than 15 minutes, as it’s a place for only tourists and school (college) kids. The only exception to this is Mardi Gras morning, where you’ll find many locals wandering about in their costumes. But guess what? We are tourists, and Bourbon Street is iconic for a reason.

Yes, it is super wild, crazy, crowded, chaotic, and all that comes with those descriptives, but that is part of the fun for many. I’m not going to sugarcoat it — you’ll know before visiting if you’re the type of person that wants to spend a lot of time on Bourbon Street or not. To me, it is worth at least checking out.

Here is the best of Bourbon St. and how to make the most of it whether you are visiting during Mardi Gras, or not!

Start at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar at the end of Bourbon street and make your way up, or plan to end there, then continue on to Frechman Street. Lafittes Blacksmith (not to be confused with Lafitte’s in Exile which is an [also very fun] gay bar down the street,) is the oldest structure in America used as a bar and lit up only by candle light. Dating back to the 1700s, it is said to be one of the oldest continually operating bars in the United States.

Get the iconic purple drink and visit at night to get the full ambiance. If there’s one bar on Bourbon you visit, Laffites should be it! The crowd is fun and diverse with people spilling out into the street dancing late into the night.

Another iconic bar on Bourbon Street that shouldn’t be missed is Patrick O’Briens. It’s a multi-room Irish pub with a great courtyard and famous for their dueling pianos. The staple drink here is the Hurricane! So make sure you don’t leave without one.

Hurricane from Pat O’s

Along the way other good bars to check out are: Oz – another fun gay bar for the LGBTQ-friendly crowd, Saints and Sinners, Razzoo, Famous Door, Olde Absinthe House, and Le Booze.

Bourbon Street is perhaps the most iconic destination in New Orleans, known for its lively and colorful atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, and historic architecture. This famous street in my opinion is a must-visit for any traveler to the city, offering a diverse range of bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues that cater to all tastes and preferences. From live jazz music and burlesque shows to local delicacies like gumbo, po’boys, and beignets. Mardi Gras or not — Bourbon Street is a site to see. Whether you’re looking to party the night away or simply soak up the unique and festive ambiance, this bustling thoroughfare is a quintessential New Orleans experience that should not be missed. While it can be crowded and noisy, especially during Mardi Gras season, Bourbon Street’s energy and spirit are infectious, making it a highlight of any trip to this dynamic and captivating city.

A Balcony for Mardi Gras – Best Balconies in the French Quarter

Getting on a balcony is a great way to enjoy Mardi Gras away from the crowds. Some bars and restaurants have balconies that you can get on, but others hold ticketed balcony parties that include food/drinks/buffets in the ticket price, and some even include beads to throw. Of the most popular balcony parties Bourbon Vieux comes highly recommended.

Tip: This is probably my favorite insider tip of all. Looking for a FREE balcony on Bourbon Street that's also easily accessible/not too crowded!? The second floor of the Cat's Meow Karaoke bar. You're welcome! Don't forget to bring your beads to toss at passerbys below! 

Frenchman Street

So where do the locals go to hang out during Mardi Gras if not Bourbon Street? Enter Frenchman Street — a much more relaxed alternative to Bourbon Street with a local flare and plenty of live music.

Frenchman St. is short, so you can easily walk all of it. Start at The Maison, which offers live music and draws in crowds of all ages, and work your way down, stopping by d.b.a. which is one of the top live music venues, 30/90, an all-night club that closes at 6:00 AM with live music downstairs and a DJ upstairs that entices a younger crowd, and The John (to see why it has that name.)

For a more authentic and local experience than the tourist-heavy Bourbon Street, Frenchman Street is the perfect destination for travelers visiting New Orleans. Located in the heart of the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, this lively and vibrant street is lined with jazz clubs, art galleries, and eclectic bars that cater to a hip and artistic crowd. Here you can listen to live music in small and intimate venues, enjoy craft cocktails, and discover unique and one-of-a-kind works of art. The atmosphere on Frenchman Street is relaxed and bohemian, with a strong sense of community and creativity that is truly infectious. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away to the sounds of jazz, explore local art and culture, or simply enjoy a drink with friends in a laid-back and friendly environment, Frenchman Street is a must-visit destination in New Orleans.

More French Quarter Bars

For the best bars in the Quarter that are not on Bourbon or Frenchman Street, check out: Erin Rose – a must-visit Irish dive bar famous for their frozen Irish coffees (delicious!) Make sure to get one along with a po’boy from the Killer Poboys popup in the back.

More bars to check out in the French Quarter are: Carousel Bar (it rotates!) Chart Room, Fahy’s, The Alibi, The Upper Quarter, Toulouse Dive Bar, Three Legged Dog, and The Saint.

Don’t forget to check the map I provided while you’re out and about to see which bars are closest to you!

Beignets, Mardi Gras Delicacies, and More – Where to eat during Mardi Gras

Naturally, you’ll be wanting to eat in and around the French Quarter as getting around is difficult during this high-traffic week. Luckily, you’ll find some of the best food in the city here. When traveling, I like to stick to the destination’s own unique cuisine, so while you can find just about anything in New Orleans, I’ll be recommending what the city is most known for — Cajun, Creole, soul food, and seafood, along with the must-try staples. Here are some of the best of the best:

Tip: If you're visiting during Mardi Gras week, reservations booked well in advance are a must!

Cafe Du Monde – Did you even go to New Orleans without eating a beignet (or 3) and a cafe au lait from Cafe Du Monde!? (Pictured above.) Expect long lines especially at peak hours during this 24-hour world-famous beignet bakery.

Some locals will say that Cafe Beignet is just as good with shorter lines! After trying both, I would say Cafe Du Monde is a small step above in my opinion. 

Kings Cake – A specialty cake served all over during Mardi Gras season consisting of a round cake in Mardi Gras colors with a small toy baby inside. The custom goes whoever gets the slice with the baby in it has to bring the cake to the following year’s celebration!

GW Fins – In a city known for its seafood, GW Fins is one of, if not the most famous place in NOLA for all things fish. This upscale restaurant’s menu changes daily to accommodate for only the freshest catches, offering innovative takes on seafood dishes. If there’s one place you’re going to eat, GW Fins should be it. (Photos below)

Pêche Seafood Grill – Another standout seafood option, but in a more casual atmosphere. Definitely recommend.

Irene’s – I polled locals for their top 3 restaurants in the city and 9/10 of them included Irenes, a charming Italian restaurant. So even though it doesn’t fit the standard profile of NOLA cuisine, I had to include it!

Killer Poboys – You’ll find some of the best po’boys here including options for vegetarians and vegans. They have their own location, but i recommend visiting their pop-up in the Irish Bar Erin Rose to pair your poboy with the famous frozen Irish coffees.

Fritai – A newer, trendy Haitian restaurant with some amazing mixology.

Sneaky Pickle – Bar Brine – Two different menus depending on the time of day at this casual neighborhood restaurant that has many options for vegetarians (which can be hard to come by in this city!)

Kosher Cajun Restaurant

Willa Jean – A trendy-casual spot that puts a fresh take on NOLA classics, perfect for lunch.

I-Tal Garden – For the strict vegans who would like a taste of NOLA, I-tal offers plant-based, organic soul food loved by vegans and non-vegans alike.

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz– Sno-balls are another NOLA sweet treat that is reserved for the warmer months. While there are several places in the city to snag this NOLA style shaved ice novelty, the James Beard Award-winning Hansens is a must. They are only open seasonally, so you’ll want to double-check before visiting.

Note: Eating on Mardi Gras day (Fat Tuesday) - Many restaurants will be closed! If you know where you'd like to eat on Mardi Gras night, make sure to make a reservation! Some restaurants I recommend that are open on Mardi Gras are Curio, 3rd Block Depot Kitchen and Bar, Justine,  and Oceana Grill. 

Breakfast & Brunch

A jazz brunch is a unique dining experience every visitor should have. They are a quintessential New Orleans experience that combines two of the city’s greatest pleasures: music and food. This unique dining experience typically features a live jazz band playing traditional New Orleans tunes while guests enjoy a leisurely brunch of local specialties. Here are some of the best:

Court of Two Sisters – Unlike the others which are only offered on weekends or Sundays, Court of Two Sisters offers an exceptional jazz brunch buffet every single day of the week. Highly recommended!

Arnaud’s – One of the finest jazz brunches in the city. The upscale Arnaud’s is great for dinner too, or a French 75 cocktail at their award winning bar, Arnaud’s French 75 Bar.

Brennan’s – Breakfast here is essential as it serves the most famous in all of NOLA. Home of the invention of the bananas foster which is made table-side (so make sure to order one!)

Top Things to do in New Orleans

If you have the time before, during, or after your Mardi Gras visit, or if you are visiting during another time, there are several must-do activities in New Orleans that come highly recommended. New Orleans is a city full of vibrant culture, rich history, and endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Here are some of the most popular activities in New Orleans:

Vue Orleans

Vue Orleans observation deck, located at the top of the Four Seasons hotel right along the Mississippi is the best place to catch 360 panoramic views of the city and learn about some of its history and culture through their interactive exhibit.

Steamboat Tour

If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the vibrant culture and rich history of New Orleans, a steamboat tour is an absolute must. Board one of these majestic vessels and let the gentle churning of the paddlewheel transport you back in time to the days of Mark Twain and riverboat gambling.

As you cruise along the mighty Mississippi, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the city skyline and the bustling port. Take in the sights and sounds of jazz bands playing on deck, sip on a classic cocktail, and indulge in delicious Creole cuisine.

But it’s not just about the scenery and the food – a steamboat tour is also a chance to learn about the fascinating history of New Orleans and its river trade. From the legendary battles of the Civil War to the bustling commerce of the modern era, you’ll get a glimpse into the past and present of this iconic American city.

Best Steamboat Tour

Swamp Tour

For those that like to go off the beaten path, a swamp tour in New Orleans is just the ticket. Explore the wild and mysterious Louisiana bayou, home to alligators, turtles, snakes, and a wide variety of bird species.

Hop aboard an airboat, flat-bottomed skiff, or kayak and glide through the murky waters, surrounded by lush vegetation and sounds of the swamp. Your expert guide will regale you with stories about the history and ecology of this unique ecosystem, and point out wildlife along the way. Beware of the alligators!

Plantation Tour

New Orleans is a city steeped in history, and no trip to this vibrant destination would be complete without a visit to one of its many plantations. These grand estates offer a glimpse into a bygone era of opulence and beauty, but also a dark and awful history of slavery and exploitation.

Take a tour of one of these properties and step back in time to the antebellum South. Walk the same halls as plantation owners and their families, and witness the intricate architecture and decor. Learn about the lives of those who worked the land, and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of slavery on American history. It’s important to remember that these sites are more than just tourist attractions – they are also reminders of a painful past. Take the time to reflect on the complex legacy of slavery in America, and honor the lives and struggles of those who were forced to work these lands.

Highly recommended swamp and plantation combo tour

Voodoo / Ghost / Cemetery Tours

Voodoo culture and the supernatural run deep in NOLA. These eerie and mysterious excursions offer a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past, with tales of paranormal encounters and macabre rituals.

Take a voodoo tour and learn about the spiritual practices of this unique religion, which blends West African traditions with elements of Christianity and Native American spirituality. Hear stories about famous voodoo practitioners like Marie Laveau, and explore the city’s most significant voodoo sites.

Or, delve into the city’s ghostly legends with a haunted tour. New Orleans is known as one of the most haunted cities in America, with ghost sightings and paranormal activity reported throughout its history. Visit the infamous LaLaurie Mansion or the historic Hotel Monteleone, both rumored to be haunted by restless spirits.

And no visit to New Orleans would be complete without a tour of its hauntingly beautiful cemeteries. Due to the city’s high water table, graves are often above ground, creating an eerie and otherworldly atmosphere. Visit the final resting place of voodoo queen Marie Laveau or pay your respects to jazz legend Louis Armstrong.

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, a voodoo, ghost, or cemetery tour is a unique and unforgettable way to experience the rich history and culture of New Orleans. So embrace the occult and mysterious, and let the spirits of the city guide you on your journey.

Recommended ghost / voodoo tour

Mardi Gras World Museum

Mardi Gras World is the perfect place to learn about the rich history and traditions of this festive celebration. Located in the historic French Quarter, this museum offers a unique glimpse into the colorful world of Mardi Gras.

Explore elaborate floats, costumes, and masks, and learn about the significance of each element of the celebration. Discover the history and evolution of Mardi Gras, from its roots in medieval Europe to its current incarnation as a raucous and joyous street party.

But the Mardi Gras Museum isn’t just a collection of artifacts – it’s an immersive experience that will transport you straight into the heart of the celebration. See behind the scenes of the intricate design process for the floats and learn about the secret societies that organize the parades.

National WWII Museum

The well done interactive National WWII Museum is highly recommended for history buffs and novices alike. This museum offers a comprehensive and immersive look at World War II, from its origins to its aftermath from the American perspective.

Explore interactive exhibits, artifacts, and personal accounts from those who fought and lived through the war. Learn about the key battles and strategies that shaped the battles, and gain a deeper understanding of the political and social forces that led to the outbreak of war.

The National WWII Museum isn’t just a collection of historical facts however – it’s a moving and emotional tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed during the war. Though admittedly I felt there was a lack surrounding a tribute to the victims and survivors, which in my opinion needs to be a significant part of any World War II discourse. With exhibits covering everything from the war in Europe to the Pacific theater and the home front, the National WWII Museum offers a look at one of the most tragic and transformative periods in human history.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

The Pharmacy Museum in New Orleans is a fascinating look into the world of medicine and pharmaceuticals in the 19th century. Housed in a historic building in the heart of the French Quarter, this hidden gem offers an interesting glimpse into the world of medicine and pharmaceuticals in the 19th century.

As you explore the museum’s collection of antique medical instruments, vials, and pharmaceuticals, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the evolution of medicine over the centuries. From the earliest days of apothecaries to the modern era of prescription drugs, the Pharmacy Museum offers a comprehensive look at the changing nature of healthcare. But the Pharmacy Museum isn’t just a collection of medical curiosities – it’s also a window into the cultural and social history of New Orleans. You’ll discover the impact of epidemics like yellow fever and cholera on the city, and learn about the role of pharmacy in the development of jazz music.

Other Things to Know & Tips for Visiting New Orleans


It is fair to wonder if New Orleans is safe to visit, however a visit during Mardi Gras doesn’t pose many immediate threats. Like most major cities in America, exercising caution will get you far. The biggest concern is pickpocketers, which are unfortunately more abundant during the holiday season. Make sure to have as little valuables on you, and don’t keep anything in your back pockets. For men, phones and money should always go in the front pockets and women should carry a secure crossbody bag and wear it in the front.

Road Closures

During parades, many streets in and around the French Quarter will be closed. While parades are enroute, you may not even be able to get to the other side of the street without waiting or walking many blocks, so keep this in mind.

Weather in New Orleans during Mardi Gras

The weather during this time of year is highly predictable and can change day-by-day or hour-by-hour. I experienced 70s – 80s, humidity, and sunshine during my visit, but just days before it was cold and rainy. Some Mardi Gras have experienced freezing temps and rain throughout, while others were more pleasant like mine. Prepare for all types of weather and dress in layers.

Open Container Laws

Something fascinating to me as someone who is from Los Angeles is that you can openly drink alcohol almost anywhere on the streets of New Orleans. Not only that, if you don’t finish your drink at a bar or restaurant, you can ask for a “go cup” and enjoy your beverage on the go! Another fascinating quirk I enjoyed was the drive-thru daiquiris. That’s right, a drive thru for alcoholic beverages! (Just don’t drink and drive please.)

What to wear for Mardi Gras

Aside from comfortable shoes, anything goes for Mardi Gras attire! Feel free to get creative with costumes, wigs, tutus, masks, sequins, boas, glitter, corsets, or wear the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. Not into dressing up? No problem, plenty of people are in casual and comfortable street wear. Just know that if you plan to eat at some of the more fine dining restaurants such as GW Fins or Arnauds, collared shirts for men may be required so always check the dress code!

Watch Your Head

Lastly, Mardi Gras isn’t Mardi Gras without beads, and these things are flying around everywhere! Watch your head as you walk under balconies or near parades or you might get nailed. Some people also take catching throws very seriously, and can even get quite aggressive when trying to catch them! So be mindful of arms, elbows, and flying objects in order not to get hurt.

As a final note, never pick up beads and other throws off the floor. Not only do locals consider it bad luck, you don’t know what else you might be picking up with it!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored in part by Visit New Orleans. As always, all opinions are strictly my own. 
Click on the images below to Pin ❤️
For more adventures, follow @monacorona on Instagram.

Leave a Reply