I am beyond giddy as I write this itinerary. I haven’t been back to New Orleans since I moved last May and my heart has been aching to return! I will have two of my best friends, two lovely gentleman and my sister in tow. I can’t wait to introduce them to the amazing atmosphere of this city during Mardi Gras. I have yet to discover anything like it.
When it came to coordinating schedules, a visit from Thursday to Sunday made the most sense. I insisted on Thursday. It’s my favorite evening of parades and it gives you the last sense of what the local Mardi Gras feels like before the parades get insanely crowded by incoming visitors.
6 DINNER + PARADES // Walk to Juan’s Flying Burrito for dinner and grab a frozen mojito in a go cup before we head to Jackson and Magazine for the parades. Tonight is the all-lady Krewe of Muses, if you’re extra nice and can catch someone’s eye you may also end up catching a glitter high heel throw!
4 HISTORIC GARDEN DISTRICT // Explore the historical homes of the Garden District (see this walking tour for help) or maybe check out the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 across from the iconic Commander’s Palace that boasts 25 cent martinis with lunch.
2 PARADES ON PARADES // After brunch, I’ll get decked out for a full day of parades. Saturday is my favorite day to throw on an outrageous costume before hitting the streets. We’ll walk along St. Charles to catch the end of Iris and Tucks as we make our way towards Poydras and Tchoupitoulas (chop-a-too-las).
3 BAR HOPPING + GO CUPS // Along the way we will stop at Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s bar for a margarita because they’re delicious and they come with cute little plastic mermaids floating on the side. This bar always makes me nostalgic because I stayed at the hotel across the street when I first moved to New Orleans. If Lucy’s isn’t what you’re looking for, try W.I.N.O. or Barcadia. Don’t forget New Orleans has no open container laws so you can always ask for your drink in a go cup and enjoy it on the walk.
4 DINNER + BOURBON // Dinner? There are a ton of delicious restaurants like Emeril’s, Cochon and Peche in this neighborhood, but let’s be honest, by this point it’s highly likely I will be on a liquid diet. We will eventually catch the Endymion parade near Lafayette Square (even though it starts at 4:15 pm, it won’t make it to Lafayette Square for awhile… you can download the parade tracker app to stay informed). After the parade we will catch Rebirth Brass Band at the Howlin’ Wolf. Later we might even brave the crowds of Bourbon to sing a little karaoke at Cat’s Meow.
And this is where I leave you. I have work to get back to in DC and an unfortunate 5:00 am flight to catch! If you are lucky enough to stay for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday you can find the rest of the parade routes here. Most celebrations stop at midnight on Tuesday so don’t expect parades on Ash Wednesday.
Have you ever been to NOLA for Mardi Gras? Did I miss one of your favorite spots?
Heading to New Orleans on another weekend? Check out my New Orleans 3-day itinerary!
For an alternative itinerary that takes you exploring some of the lesser known and more debaucherous aspects of Mardi Gras, read this.
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