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How to Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans

By Viator, January 2018

5 117 Reviews | Add your review

New Orleans' Carnival is justly famous around the world, but there's more to Mardi Gras than its rowdy reputation. Debutante balls, elaborate float-making, and Christian traditions lead the months of festivities leading up to Fat Tuesday. Here's what you need to know.

When to Go
Mardi Gras celebrations in the Big Easy take place throughout the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent), usually in February or early March. Things really get going on the Thursday before Fat Tuesday, when some of the best parades—those by Endymion, Zulu, Rex, and Bacchus Krewes—take to the streets of the city. The oldest and most influential Krewe leaders put on their shows on Lundi Gras, also known as Fat Monday.

How to Go
Visitors to New Orleans during this exciting time of year have several options for their Mardi Gras experience. Book tickets to watch the parades pass by from an exclusive viewing stand, take a tour of the city's famous parade routes and French Quarter party spots, or go behind the scenes at Mardi Gras World to learn about the hard work that goes into this colorful Louisiana festival.

Things to Know
  • New Orleans hotels sell out months in advance of Mardi Gras, so it's a good idea to book early.
  • Plan to visit during the first week of Mardi Gras to enjoy the parades and atmosphere without the crowds.
  • The French Quarter is closed to vehicular traffic during Mardi Gras weekend, so plan to arrive early or plan an alternate form of transportation.
  • Weather during Mardi Gras can be unpredictable, so dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes.

Tours & Tickets

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New Orleans Mardi Gras World Behind-the-Scenes Tour, New Orleans, null
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New Orleans Mardi Gras World Behind-the-Scenes Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 117 Reviews

Get a unique behind-the-scenes look at the makings of Mardi Gras with this all-access tour of Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. Perfect for the whole family, ...  Read more

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $22.00
Viator Exclusive: Mardi Gras Day Viewing Stand, New Orleans, Cultural Tours
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Viator Exclusive: Mardi Gras Day Viewing Stand

Get a true insider's view of New Orleans' Mardi Gras with Viator exclusive access to a viewing stand during one of the celebration's parades on Mardi Gras ...  Read more

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Duration: Flexible

From USD $128.00
New Orleans Mardi Gras Walking Tour, New Orleans, Cultural Tours
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New Orleans Mardi Gras Walking Tour

Mardi Gras is an experience that you do not want to miss! During this tour, learn about New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions. This tour includes everything from ...  Read more

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Duration: 1 to 2 hrs

From USD $28.00
Mardi Gras Celebration Tour in New Orleans, New Orleans, Cultural Tours
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Mardi Gras Celebration Tour in New Orleans

Visit the touchstones of Mardi Gras culture in New Orleans historic French Quarter on a 3 hour walking tour including museum admission to the Presbytere ...  Read more

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $35.00

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