Traditionally, Mardi Gras is celebrated in Louisiana. The party kicks off two weeks before Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday. You won’t want to miss this annual opportunity to party without inhibition. Major parades are held each day and the most elaborate of these are during the last days of the holiday. Parades are not the end of it, though, as there are masquerade balls all around southern Louisiana and in other party locations all over the U.S.
Here are some of our favorites:
If you’re looking to experience Mardi Gras, then New Orleans is your first port of call. Hundreds of thousands of partygoers flock to the city, draped in beads shoulder to shoulder with guests from all over the world enjoying the streets of New Orleans. Mardi Gras is considered the biggest free party on the planet and New Orleans is home base for the kind of fun and frivolity that makes it the most popular location to experience the celebration. No other city compares when it comes to parties, masquerade balls and street parades alongside the classic strings of colorful plastic beads, wrapped candies, coins, toys, and other memorable trinkets. If you could only go to one place to celebrate Mardi Gras, New Orleans would be it.
Baton Rouge boasts a more family-friendly atmosphere, complete with a dog parade. The Community Center Carnival Parade, held in the center of Baton Rouge is the oldest Mardi Gras parade outside of New Orleans. Considered the most important and revered celebration outside of the New Orleans, Baton Rouge presents a toned down alternative where you and your date can party the night away and enjoy everything the area has to offer.
You might not think Lake Charles when you think of Mardi Gras, but you should. There is no shortage of parades and glitzy flowing costumes that make the splendor and mystique you would come to expect from one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in Louisiana. The perfect destination for foodies, you won’t want to miss the Gumbo Cook-off during the final week of the celebration.
Deep in the heart of Cajun country, you can find masquerade balls, festivals, and all of the other things you have come to expect from Mardi Gras. With a plethora of parades, nearing twenty in total, great food and an authentic Mardi Gras atmosphere.
If you are looking for something a little bit more family friendly, complete with a parade specifically for children, then this cultural crossroads in northwest Louisiana might be what you are looking for.
Heading southwest from New Orleans, you can find the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana. It has dozens of parades that go throughout the holiday season and boasts hundreds of thousands of visitors, which contribute that party atmosphere Mardi Gras is known for. Houma presents itself as real alternative to the classic New Orleans Mardi Gras, particularly for those on a budget.
Perhaps you are looking for a Mardi Gras celebration outside of Louisiana. You can’t beat sandy beaches and a rich cultural history that has a vibrant Mardi Gras tradition that extends back to 1874. You can expect masked partygoers, beads, and plenty of parades––everything you would want from Mardi Gras.
Who doesn’t love Universal Studios? While it can be fun for the whole family, Orlando also has live concerts, musical acts, an incredible Mardi Gras parade, street performers, authentic Cajun food, and as many beads as you can handle. Plus, you can spend some time enjoying the park as well!
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and this popular celebration along the Gulf Coast attracts hundreds of thousands of people. Two dozen parades, concert performers, a handful of masked balls, art exhibits, family activities, and sporting events, this holiday destination has been celebrating Mardi Gras for over a century.
We couldn’t have a list without including an event on the Golden Coast! One of the most spectacular Mardi Gras events in California, San Diego only began an official celebration a little more than a decade ago, but you will not be disappointed by the parades, exotic balls, and dance parties that are a part of the San Diego Carnival Mardi Gras season.
Head over to the MissTravel Instagram to follow the festivities and partake in our Mardi Gras giveaway!
Which Mardi Gras destination would you like to take a trip to?