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Tips for Attending Mardi Gras

One bucket list item for many people is visiting New Orleans during Mardi gras. But if you don’t have the insider know-how, the entire process can end up being a poor experience that lasts a short time.Eleven of the best Mardi Gras Tips that you should know if you want to have an amazing experience at in in New Orleans.

mardi gras tips

What makes this celebration famous is the wild parties and unruly revelers, but there is more to Mardi Gras than meets the eye. For the locals, it is about the elaborate parades, pageantry, food, masquerade balls, family and tradition. This time is for celebrating and bringing people from different backgrounds together and showcase the unique and wonderful things about the city.

During Carnival, the heart and soul of the city are on full display. When you go there, you are going to have a lot of fun while getting to learn more about the true essence of the city.

Below are some insider tips that will help you have a great experience during Mardi Gras;

  1. Flexibility

There is one thing you will always have to do, and that is to rest and have a peaceful sleep. There is a wide range of options when it comes to hotels and Airbnb offerings, meaning you will most likely find the right accommodation option for you. You should be prepared because you might have to pay higher rates and minimum-night stays, which is why it is important to be flexible about the neighborhood you are going to stay in. The French Quarter is where everyone loves, but the parades around the city make places like Marigny, Mid City, Uptown, and Bywater great options.

  1. Getting Connected

You will notice that most of the festivals tend to be concentrated within two weeks that lead to Fat Tuesday, which is the culmination of this season. There are many different parades every day, which can make it a little overwhelming when it comes to knowing the right place to start. The good thing is there are great apps such as WDSU Parade Tracker that makes it easier for people to navigate the chaos. You will get information such as traffic updates, parade routes, and other information that will help you follow the action and keep up with any delays or changes. The last thing to be during this time is stressed.

  1. Parking It

You don’t have to follow a lot of rules when it comes to Mardi Gras, except one: don’t drive after arriving.

There are road construction projects that are being done that have made the process of navigating the city even harder. Imagine now adding marching bands, giant floats, hordes of revelers, and many other drunk people having fun during the hot mess of Louisiana during this season, driving becomes a very big nightmare. You should opt to go with a streetcar if possible. It might be slow because it is crowded, but you will not be stressed since you aren’t the one driving. You will also have a lot of fun seeing the city. There are a lot of buses that serve neighborhoods serving the parade, and as the day progresses, they become rolling parties.

For people who are not fans of public transport, a great option is renting a bike. You will have an easier time moving between viewing locations. One important thing to keep in mind is a heavy-duty bike lock. A lot of bikes are stolen during this time. Elisa Smith is a photographer who takes photos of the festivals on her bike recommends routes such as Chestnut, Camp, or Baronne if you are traveling uptown.

  1. Having a Parade Plan

NOLA local Elise Smith advises people to hit the streets before the start of the daytime parade. Day parades tend to be more of a local and family scene when compared to the night parades that involve party parades. The day parades end up providing you with a chance of exploring and taking in the costumes and floats.

  1. Getting in the Spirit

You should not think that elaborate costumes and masks are meant for only float riders. You should employ a little creativity and get something that is both fun and outrageous, and the best colors are carnival colors like green, purple, and gold or even wearing some of these items from You will have an easier time making friends at the parade. There is a high chance you will get attention from float krewe members, and this means you end up getting more loot and more throws. One of the most entertaining sights during the Mardi Gras is when adults are clamoring for doubloons, flashing trinkets, and moon pies.

  1. Going Where the Party Takes You

This is the favorite time of the year for many locals, and they will pull out all stops for this. You will get some hosting parties during the day with a lot of music, drinks, and food. When you explore the streets of the parade route, you will get the chance of soaking the atmosphere of the neighborhoods and having friendly conversations, and in the process, you might be invited to a lot of parties.

  1. Dining out

Getting a restaurant during Mardi Gras can seem impossible, but it is not. The locals are busy going for house parties while the visitors have their entire day occupied with staggering along the streets, searching for their missing bikes, or dealing with booted tires. If you want to have a full experience of NOLA, then consider making a reservation at one of the famed restaurants in the city. Make sure you leave behind the costume you are going to wear for the parade.

  1. Cake is King

There will be a lot of craw fishing eating and drinking, which means you are going to need something sweet. King cakes will be able to do the trick. Give a try to the Vietnamese, French, and traditional versions. If you want a sugar fix, New Orleans is going to be the perfect place for you. If you choose to get the traditional cake, then know there is a baby inside. The person who ends up finding the prize will buy the next cake and/or throw the next party.

  1. Feeling the Rhythm

You will get a great intro to the music in New Orleans from the marching bands that are going to perform throughout the day. Make sure you have saved some energy so you can dance to live music at some famous clubs in the city. There is a wide range of options when it comes to music. Learn more about them and you will end up having a lot of fun with the music.

  1. Keep Going

One thing about New Orleans is that it is a city of excesses, and this is why you will find it normal for people to drink on the streets. Take a drink and make your way to the parade. In no time, you will end be back in the saddle.

  1. Taking Care of Yourself

Pacing yourself. There is a lot to do, and you can easily find yourself running the entire day and dancing the entire night. You should have pit stops that give you a chance to recharge, have good meals throughout the day, and always drinking water to remain hydrated. Get a refillable water bottle because it will make things easier for you.


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