Your monthly guide to NOLA'S foods, drinks, music and more.
Please enter a valid email address

Mardi Gras FAQ's

What is the history behind Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras has an extremely rich history. Read all about it here.

Tell me more about the Mardi Gras Indians?

Mardi Gras: A Great Family Trip!

Tracing their roots back to a time when American Indians helped shield runaway slaves, the Mardi Gras Indians are among the most colorful and mysterious of New Orleans' cultural phenomena. You can read more about their history here.

What are Mardi Gras “Krewes”?

Mardi Gras: A Great Family Trip!

Mardi Gras Krewes are essentially private clubs/organizations that parade during Mardi Gras. Some krewes have elaborate floats, while others dress in costume and take to parade routes on foot. Read all about the big krewes here and Micro-krewes here.

Is Mardi Gras a family friendly event?

Of course it is! Our recommendation for families visiting during Mardi Gras is to hit the more family-friendly (and local) Uptown Parade route along St. Charles Avenue. Day parades are also a hit for families, and allow little ones to get in on the action before bedtime.

What in the world is a King Cake?

Mardi Gras: A Great Family Trip!
Mardi Gras: A Great Family Trip!

King Cake is the dessert that New Orleanians eat during Carnival Season. While you can buy them year-round, they’re most popularly consumed between January 6th and Mardi Gras Day. Click here to learn about New Orleans King Cakes, or here for some unusual king cakes you’ve got to try.

Why do the dates for Mardi Gras change every year?

See the explanation and the dates from now until 2027.

What’s the best way to get around during Mardi Gras? Will the streetcar be running?

The fastest way to get around during Mardi Gras is by foot! The streetcar does run during Mardi Gras season but with limited hours.

Where can I eat and drink along parade route?

Mardi Gras: A Great Family Trip!
Mardi Gras: A Great Family Trip!
Mardi Gras: A Great Family Trip!

There are a ton of restaurants located along (or near) the parade routes. There are also a number of food stands that pop up during the season, including food trucks. Try these helpful suggestions:Bars and restaurants along the parade route.

What is the meaning behind Fat Tuesday?

Click here to learn about Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras Day traditions.

What parades are a “must see?”

They’re all fun! Day parades begin two weekends before Mardi Gras Day and are great for kids. There are also a ton of weeknight parades beginning the Wednesday before Fat Tuesday that are popular with locals. Click here for the most famous Mardi Gras Parades.

What should be on my Mardi Gras bucket list?

Lucky for you, we made one for you: Mardi Gras Bucket List.

How early should I book flights and hotels?

ASAP. Flights and hotels fill up very fast and get more expensive closer to the date.

Is there restroom access along the parade routes?

Public port-a-potties are available for a small fee or for free all along the parade routes. You can also download the AirPnP app to find the closest restroom near you.

Warning: Public urination is illegal and Mardi Gras is no exception. Don’t do it. There are legal consequences that could ruin you’re experience.

Should I dress up for the parade? What should I bring with me?

People wear everything from casual t-shirts to elaborate costumes. Mardi Gras Colors (purple, green and gold) are encouraged. Click here for some inspiration.

So what’s the deal with the ladders?

Many families park their ladders along the parade routes so that their children can see the parades and catch beads.

Flambeaux, Lundi Gras, King Cake, Throws, Doubloons... what does it all mean?

Click here to learn the lingo of Mardi Gras.

Do I need tickets to Mardi Gras?

NO WAY. While you must buy tickets to attend a Mardi Gras Ball (note: not all are open to the public). Mardi Gras parades are all free to attend. You can buy tickets to viewing stands though.

Are there LGBT events during Mardi Gras?

Tons! Checkout out our Guide to Gay Mardi Gras and the Bourbon Street Awards.

How should I dress for parades?

Mardi Gras: A Great Family Trip!
Obviously it depends on the weather, but Mardi Gras parades are very casual. While some people decide to costume, you’ll always be fine in jeans and a t-shirt. If it’s cold, remember to pack layers, especially if you’re planning on catching both day and night parades. Close-toed shoes are also recommended. Also, if the weather has been rainy, boots or other waterproof shoes may be a good idea, since the parade route (especially on the neutral ground side) can get muddy.
Newsletter Signup

Your monthly guide to NOLA's foods, drinks, music and more


View Gallery

See More

Sign Up
close button

Get the LOCAL Perspective!

Get travel tips, find hidden gems, and get insider information from the Official New Orleans Newsletter


close button

Thank You For Signing Up!

You are now subscribed to our New Orleans e-newsletter and we'll send you the news each month. You can unsubscribe at any time directly from any mailing.

Thanks again for your interest in New Orleans and best wishes for a memorable visit!

Things to See & Do | Travel Tools | Accommodations | Calendar | Media Relations | About NOTMC | Contact Us
Site Map | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Site Search | Meetings, Conventions & Group Sales | Doing Business in New Orleans

The Official Tourism Site of the City of New Orleans:
All contents © 1996-2018 New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation unless otherwise specified herein. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED