Mardi Gras New Orleans 2024

8:00am 09 Feb - 11:30pm 13 Feb, 2024

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Plan for Mardi Gras New Orleans 2024

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New Orleans, Louisiana

Mardi Gras 2024: Don your purple, green and gold during “The Greatest Free Show on Earth” 

Experience a whole new level of excitement during your holidays when you get to the Mardi Gras 2024 New Orleans festival in Louisiana, USA. With fascinating music, parades and picnics, it guarantees a holiday worth not forgetting. The music, picnics and all the fun in New Orleans has been around since 1718 and was established by Bienville. 

The Mardi Gras celebration today is one of the 8 best festivals in New Orleans and has evolved significantly from the time it began and thousands travel from all over the globe to attend the parade. Mardi Gras is known to treat all the visitors and locals of New Orleans with parades with high drama, color and non-stop action as revelers dance, twist and primp. 

What lights up the whole event are the parades, but on the other hand, what would the Mardi Gras parade be without the gorgeous dance crew and marching clubs that join annually.

On the other hand, what are parades without some really great floats? Some floats are funny and satirical while others are beautiful and elaborate. Many crews have a theme to their parade every year and the floats are created to reflect those themes and a huge investment is made on these floats to yield that final product. Krewes then work on these creations at secret places around the city during parade time, the well-crafted floats are taken by dozens of krewe members to ride. 

If you think the fun isn’t enough, then try trapping the fun with your family at the Family Gras, which is a well-known celebration of carnival in Metairie with outdoor concerts by both sensational national artists and Louisiana’s own.

‘Mardi Gras is the most fun you ever have dressed up and dancing in the street. Period.’

Your experience at Mardi Gras New Orleans

If you find yourself on Canal Street with a bunch of beads and a strong cocktail you are definitely in the thick of the festival. But here at Rad, we like to go off the beaten path and seek out the local perspective of places to go and things to do. So the best advice we can provide is to take an adventure away from Bourbon Street where you will be able to dive into a diverse NOLA culture. 

There really isn’t a dress standard and pretty much anything goes so feel free to get creative on a Walmart budget or spend a hefty penny to have the best costume out there. Don’t get tricked into buying a ticket for the parade because it’s free of charge. If you are going to buy anything, think about admission into one of the several Carnival Mardi Gras Krewe Balls where the parade leads to an epic grand party such as the Louisiana Superdome. 

Make sure to pace yourself for this festival. It’s a big-time drinking event but you also want to be standing by the time Fat Tuesday hits. On the day before Ash Wednesday you are going to see the most authentic parades filled with color, costumes and bumping music on every corner. Everyone is there to let the good times roll! 

Best views of Mardi Gras

To be apart of all the action just join the crowds of people on the streets. If you want a bit of a view of everything check out the grandstand seating on the parade route. You will have bleacher seating and portable restrooms as well as food and beverage options. 

What to wear

Don’t be afraid to get creative and wear your most decked-out costume. You will notice hundreds of people wearing masks, flashing beads and other clothing flare. Whatever you choose, just make sure to wear clothes you can easily take off as the humidity and alcohol will leave you drained!  

What to pack

If there’s one thing to pack it would have to be comfortable shoes. You are going to be bar-hopping and walking a ton so it’s important to be comfy. Bring summer clothes and a few layers for brisk nights. Anything you own that is green, gold or yellow should be at the top of your list as well! 

Buy tickets

Mardi Gras is known as “the Greatest Free Show on Earth” as the parades are free to view. Organizers do offer special packages with private rooms and balconies to watch the party and include food and drink options as well. Packages start at $5. 

Mardi Gras 2024 Schedule

Check out the full schedule for Mardi Gras 2024 here which runs throughout the carnival season. Family-friendly fun can be found at Family Gras which is a free celebration of carnival in Metairie. 

Top Tips

Watch the colors: Don’t forget to wear purple, green and gold

Take warm clothes: Bring a warm layer of clothing for cooler nights

Prepare for the event: Download the Mardi Gras app to track the parade and make plans

Learn about the event: Check out the Backstreet Museum in the Treme community to learn about the history of the festival and see epic Mardi Gras Indian costumes

Mardi Gras History 

Mardi Gras is a tradition that dates back thousands of years and represents the pagan celebrations of fertility and spring. Once Christianity took over Rome, leaders decided to add these local traditions into the new faith rather than abolishing them completely. The Mardi Gras season eventually became a prelude to Lent and was spread to other countries like France, Spain, Germany and England. The name means “Fat Tuesday” and traditionally meant that merrymakers would binge on all the rich foods in their homes before their fast.

NOLA’s first Mardi Gras took place in March of 1699 when Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville landed in the area. Their small celebration was held at the landing spot Point du Mardi Gras. After the celebration was banned for several years it was revived once again after a group of students wore colorful costumes and danced in the streets during 1827. Years later, organized marching bands and floats flooded the streets and transformed the event into a public celebration as we know it today.

Things to do in New Orleans

During your time in New Orleans, you’ll definitely find out that the history of New Orleans is quite unique due to its creepy and spookiest places. Most people just like exploring around just to find out why the city is one of the scariest in the United States. There are quite some places which are there for checking out, like the house of shock which is one of the famous attractions in the city. The city is also legendary for its music scenes like jazz and blues. 

You can also take a stroll along the well-known Bourbon street to get a taste of the amazing local music scene and discover some amazing New Orleans bars. Things to do in New Orleans are countless really, it’s up to you to have a look around.

What to eat in New Orleans

NOLA is home to some of the best food in the south. The classic seafood jambalaya dish is a must-have. Gumbo, crawfish etouffee and beignets are all food items you will see as a hit. And for good reason! 

If you are looking for some under-the-radar watering holes check out our list of NOLA’s best underground bars. 

Photo credit: Nomtastic Foods

How to get there

Most visitors will be flying in, so it’s important to get on your airfare tickets early! The Louis Armstrong International Airport is probably your best bet. Express buses run from the airport to downtown NOLA for only $2. Uber and taxis are also available to and from the airport for a direct haul.

Where to stay in New Orleans

During your stay in New Orleans, you will find several hotels near the parade routes which will make sure that your time of stay is well catered for. Head to the map for the best hotel deals and Airbnb in New Orleans.

How to get around

During the entire event, public means of transport such as buses and streetcars are considered difficult to use because routes change. It’s always advisable to get a map of the city so as to know some of the places that you’ll be visiting.Bicycles provide a convenient means of transport also since they save you some walking around, you just have to be cautious in the big crowds and it is highly recommended that you bring a chain to lock up your bike.

Do you enjoy parades and costumes? Check out Trinidad Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago or what about the Winter Carnival in Quebec, Canada?

Photo credits: New Orleans Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras New Orleans, Picture This by Bobby Mims

United States Travel Tips:

Plan ahead: Book your perfect trip with our United States travel guide and destination information. Does United States require a visa? Check the visa requirements before you get caught up during your travel.

Spend money wisely: Take public transport and dine in from time to time are common saving tips during traveling. How to spend money wisely in United States? Make use of technology. There’s an app for everything.

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