Get on your purple, green and gold and head to some of the best Fat Tuesday celebrations around the U.S.
Why is Mardi Gras called Fat Tuesday? Traditionally, it’s the last chance to binge on rich, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. And, it’s a great cure for the winter blues with a festive celebration full of food, music, parades and a whole lot fun.
In New Orleans, Mardi Gras is truly a season – they have been celebrating for weeks! Things really kick into high gear this week through next Tuesday, March 4th. The “Crescent City” has more than 60 parades in total leading up to next Tuesday’s grand parade.
Should you even try to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras? Yes! It is worth it. Use Hotels.com’s mobile app while en route to see last minute hotel availability and deals or call them at 800-246-8357 for a little help navigating nearby communities. Your best bet may be to stay in outlying areas. Hotels do have last minute cancellations and there are waiting lists, so know that before you go. If you are persistent and flexible, you can find a place.
A few tips to remember if you are heading to New Orleans for Mardi Gras:
- Don’t depend on hotels to supply you with transportation to the French Quarter or to the parade routes during Mardi Gras.
- Ladders, grills and tents must be at least six feet away from the curb on all parade routes and such items cannot block sidewalks.
- Throwing back beads, etc. tossed from the floats is a $250 fine. Don’t do it.
Where else are the Mardi Gras celebrations in full effect?
St. Louis, MO
St. Louis celebrates its French heritage in the coming week with a Grand Parade on Saturday, March 1st at 11am at Busch Stadium, and the Light Up the Night Fat Tuesday Parade next Tuesday at 6:30pm, not to mention a whole lot of Cajun-style revelry at area bars and restaurants throughout the city, Check out www.stlmardigras.org for more details.
Did you know that Mobile was celebrating Mardis Gras 15 years before New Orleans? For the next week, the streets of Mobile will be filled with the sounds of marching bands, colorful floats, beads, and moonpies each and every day. There’s even a Mobile Carnival Museum worth checking out.
The city of Chicago will turn 177 years old this year and is throwing a Mardi Gras birthday party in Daley Plaza on Fat Tuesday.
Visitors to the Windy City can take part in Mardi Gras festivities all week long including an Indoor Bar Crawl at Navy Pier. Seven bars along the pier are celebrating Mardi Gras style Saturday March 1st from 2pm – 8pm.
- Chicago’s Commonwealth Tavern celebrates Mardi Gras, N’awlins style, with $7 Hurricanes and a Jambalaya with slow stewed Andouille sausage, okra, and seafood.
- The Nouveau Tavern’s (celebration kicks off Friday, February 28 and keeps going through Fat Tuesday with a series of Mardi Gras events in their “Bourbon Street Lounge.” The lounge, located in the back bar area at Nouveau Tavern will feature Nouveau’s “Flight of Hurricanes.”
Can’t make it this week but still want to get in on the New Orleans Mardi Gras fun? No problem. On Saturdays through May 31st, Universal Orlando’s will feature a Mardi Gras celebration complete with an elaborate Mardi Gras parade, dozens of colorfully costumed performers, authentic New Orleans bands, delicious Cajun cuisine, and live concerts.
Universal has really got it right this year with a Little Jester’s Parade Viewing Area, which has been set up just for kids. It is located next to the Terminator 2: 3-D attraction, opens one hour before the parade starts and is right next to the park exit to make it a little easier to leave with your kids once the parade passes.
Where will you be celebrating Mardi Gras this year? Share your plans and traditions here on TSB.