Mardi Gras is approaching, and with it come many festivities. Take a New Orleans vacation to experience the rich history of Mardi Gras and celebrate like never before. This beautiful and exciting Louisiana city is also home to numerous other attractions, from architecture to family fun to music and nightlife. Enjoy delicious cuisine and an intriguing culture with influences from Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, and more in New Orleans.
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, takes place on February 17 this year—the parades, however, began on January 31 and continue until Mardi Gras. Typically, parade days feature several parades booked back-to-back, so you’re sure to catch one no matter where you are in the city. And don’t be afraid to don a costume, especially on Mardi Gras! Find out this year’s full parade schedule.
While there is a lot of talk about the parties on Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is actually a family-friendly occasion. Most parades don’t take place in the French Quarter (not necessarily a kid friendly area), but rather through residential neighborhoods like Uptown and Mid City. St. Charles Avenue between First Street and Napoleon Avenue is a great parade spot for families.
In addition to parades, families can enjoy Mardi Gras activities like eating king cake, masking, and music. Kids will love the Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and Storyland at City Park. Go for a ride on the St. Charles Avenue or Canal Streetcar. You can even visit Mardi Gras World, the largest float designing and building facility in the world, to take a tour and learn about the traditions surrounding Mardi Gras parades, balls and music, and the intricacies of designing and building floats. There is plenty of entertainment for families visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
You’ll find that The Big Easy offers much more than simply Mardi Gras celebrations.
The French Quarter is the perfect place to enjoy regional cuisine, home to local delicacies, unique flavors, and renowned cocktails at every meal. Class it up at Antoine’s Restaurant, which has set the standard for New Orleans since 1840 to make it one of the greatest dining centers in the world. Keep it more casual at a comfort food establishment like Backspace Bar & Kitchen, which serves up everything from burgers to waffles.
When you’re good and full, make your way over to the French Market, the oldest public market in the country featuring shopping, dining, and music. You can also catch a show at Le Petit Theatre, which dates back to 1916 and is the country’s oldest continually operated theatre. If it’s the strange and mysterious that intrigues you, visit the Voodoo Museum. You can explore inside the museum or participate in haunted cemetery walking tours through downtown.
Although it may feel far-removed from the lively Bourbon Street, the two-block-long entertainment district of Frenchman Street is mere walking distance from the French Quarter. This is where the locals gather to enjoy live sounds and a diverse selection of music. You’ll hear anything from jazz to Latin to blues to reggae—along with everything else. Frenchman Street is a hidden gem, featuring a dozen music clubs (most of which are free to enter) and offering cheap drinks. Nearby are many late-night eateries, where you can grab a bite after working up an appetite at a show.
Get some fresh air without having to leave the city in one of New Orleans’ charming parks. Audubon Park is home to pretty oak trees, lagoons, and large green space perfect for picnics, walking, running, and cycling. Enjoy Louisiana’s natural beauty at Big Lake at City Park, where you can float through on a pedal boat or rowboat. At the Louis Armstrong Park, you’ll walk through the iconic, arched entrance to view sites like Congo Square (a historic meeting place for slaves in the 180s), sculptures, duck ponds, and lots of open spaces for relaxing.
You and your family will experience an unforgettable Mardi Gras along with an abundance of culture, entertainment, and fine cuisine when you visit New Orleans. Are you ready to plan your escape to this vibrant city? Check out our available New Orleans timeshare rentals today.