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11 Things to do in New Orleans during Mardi Gras

things-to-do-new-orleans-mardi-gras

Mardi Gras also known as Fat Tuesday, is a carnival full of life and color celebrated in Southern Louisiana. It begins on or after the Catholic’s feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and ends on Ash Wednesday right before the Lenten Season. Originally meant to be as a last day of celebration, eating fatty food and lots of meat, before fasting during Lent! In modern day, Mardi Gras in Louisiana has little to do with the Lenten season, and more to do with drinking, and just partying in general. 

1. Visit the World War II Museum

I know what you’re thinking, I came to New Orleans to drink and partayyy why should I go to a museum? Don’t worry, I’ll let you know where to drink in a second. As I like to say, mix your alcohol with some knowledge, culture and history. It’s a museum that focuses on the United States’s contribution to their allies during World War II. It’s a somber place but definitely a great place to learn some history and the architecture is very cool! Get your ticket here

World War Two Museum in New Orleans ii
World War Two Museum in New Orleans!
World War Two Museum in New Orleans ii
World War Two Museum in New Orleans

2. Walk around The Garden District

This neighborhood is home to so many gorgeous villas. The Robinson House (1415 N Third St) is one of the most impressive ones with over 10,000 sq ft! It is currently on the market, for 8 millions dollars, in case you’re looking for a vacation home! I would also recommend walking down Magazine street, it’s full of boutiques, hand made jewelry stores, restaurants, and very cool coffee shops.

 

The Robinson Mansion in the Garden District New Orleans Louisiana
The Robinson Mansion in the Garden District, New Orleans, LA
A house decorate with the Mardi Gras colors in the Garden District at night.
A house decorate with the Mardi Gras colors in the Garden District at night.

3. Scroll through Saint Charles

Saint Charles Avenue is one of the most popular street on New Orleans, and I can definitely see why. It’s full of gorgeous architecture, reminiscent of the 19th century. It stretches from uptown to downtown passing through the Garden district. And for $1.25 per ride or $3 per day, you can ride the famous streetcar on Saint Charles!

Mardi Gras Parade 2017 New Orleans
Mardi Gras Parade 2017 on Saint Charles, New Orleans!
Mardi Gras Parade 2017 New Orleans
Mardi Gras Parade 2017, New Orleans!

4. Explore The French Quarter

If you heard anything about New Orleans, you’ve heard of the French Quarter, also known as, Vieux Carre. It is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans and full of beautiful homes. And around Mardi Gras, many of these homes are decorates for the festivities. Lalaurie Mansion, featured in American Horror Story Season 3, can be found here as well (1140 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116). Here I also found the absolute best Oysters I’ve ever had. ACME Oyster House is one of the few places that live up to the hype. Everyone told me to go there, so I thought it wouldn’t be so good, and I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. Order the chargrilled Oysters, they aren’t slimy at all, fully cooked, and will bring you joy and happiness. 10/10 would recommend every time.

lalaurie mansion american horror story season 3 torture ghost tour
Lalaurie Mansion in the French Quarter, New Orleans. 
acme oyster house new orleans
Life changing Oysters

 

5. Check out Jackson Square

Jackson Square is a historical site because in 1803, Louisiana was made US territory by purchasing the Land from France. It’s a beautiful park located in the French quarter near the Mississippi River but my favorite part was the street performers. Right in front of the park, street artist will perform one at a time, although unrelated performances. My favorite performance was from Marcus, an amazing acrobat from Seattle, and just really a funny guy. As odd as it may sound, I’d recommend spending a bit of time around here with some cash of course to tip your favorite performers. Support individual, self driven entrepreneurs with great talents!

acrobat new orleans street artist nola
He called this part of the show “La showing off”.
acrobat new orleans nola
He defied gravity the entire performance! 

6. Take photos on Royal Street

Royal Street is one of the most well known street in the French Quarter full of art galleries, antique shops, beautiful homes, and fancy hotels. Walking down this street I stopped over 10 times just to snap a photo.

Royal Street, French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
Royal Street, French Quarter, New Orleans, LA

7. Shop at the French Market

The French Market was one of my favorite finds in the French Quarter. It is a great place to shop for souvenirs, clothes and FOOD! I had a Muffulettas sandwich, and although the name sounds funny, it was so good! And then I also had a praline beignet and it was completely out of this world. Make sure to find the stand with the PRALINE beignets and thank me later. And for souvenirs, I found a stand (A124), a woman that is so very talented paints using oyster shells as canvas, and nail polish only. She was also so warm to talk to and not pushy with her sells whatsoever. Even if you’re just going to admire the art, you’ll enjoy it. She’s there on Saturdays only!

The Muffulettas Sandwich, French Market New Orleans
The Muffulettas Sandwich, French Market, New Orleans.
praline beignets French Market, New Orleans
Praline Beignets, French Market, New Orleans
Alligator heads souvenirs, French Market New Orleans
Alligator heads souvenirs, French Market, New Orleans.
Unique art on Oysters shells, French Market, New Orleans
Unique art on Oysters shells, French Market, New Orleans

8. Pray at the Saint Louis Cathedral

Saint Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the United States, also located in the French Quarter. It is quite a beauty inside and out. It is an architectural beauty, and I know this might be the 100th time I’m saying this, but truly it is. It’s so very simple, but yet gorgeous. I went inside for a short meditation and was able to appreciate this place more.

Saint Louis Cathedral, the oldest one in the USA
Saint Louis Cathedral, the oldest one in the USA!
Saint Louis Cathedral, the oldest one in the USA inside
Inside Saint Louis Cathedral, the oldest one in the USA!

9. Drink on Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is arguably the most popular street in New Orleans. If you want to be drunk, be surrounded by drunk people, and see madness and mayhem, this street is for you. It is legal to drink on the street in New Orleans but do NOT have glass bottles because you will get a $50 fine! Personally, bourbon street was a bit much for me, I felt like the only remotely sober person around and did not enjoy the madness. I’m glad I walked through it to see what all the hype is about, but I couldn’t get myself to enter any of the bars or clubs.

A fellow solo female traveler from Brazil, posing on Bourbon Street
A fellow solo female traveler from Brazil, posing on Bourbon Street!

10. Party on Frenchmen Street

If you love live music, jazz, a good time, or all three, you’ll love Frenchmen Street! In my opinion, it’s 100 times better than Bourbon Street and unarguably cleaner. It is located in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, right next to the French Quarter. You must pay to enter most bars but it’s well worth it because these musicians are extremely talented. Also, unlike bourbon street, people aren’t overly drunk, and it’s a spot where locals hang out! You can find specific event here.

Street Art on FrenchMen Street New orleans LA
Street Art on Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA!
Beads Beads Beads everywhere, Frenshmen Street, New Orleans.

11. Watch the Parades

You absolutely can not go to Mardi Gras and not attend a parade. And for your convenience, there are parade all day nearly every day  starting the first Friday of January until Mardi Gras Day (Fat Tuesday). So if you want to sleep in, go ahead, but you must go check out one of the many parades later. The parade schedules for 2017 can be found here. I loved watching different floats pass by and playing a one way game of catch for beads! Bring some snacks, drinks, and enjoy!

parade new orleans saint charles
I enjoyed the parades thoroughly!
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16 Comments

  1. Sheena

    LOVE Your Post. In My Bucket List 😊

    25 . 02 . 2017
    • gettykasole@gmail.com

      Thanks!! I’m glad 🙂

      28 . 02 . 2017
  2. Kyntra Strickland

    Love NOLA, I’VE never been during mardi Gras, but am definitely planning to one day. Thanks for Sharing.

    25 . 02 . 2017
    • gettykasole@gmail.com

      You should! It’s fun! Mardi Gras celebration is definitely one to experience 🙂

      28 . 02 . 2017
  3. Sky

    New Orleans is a city I’ve always wanted to visit and I think I might finally make it there this summer. I know it won’t be during Mardi Gras but I think most of these things will still be worth doing! Bourbon street might not be as wild but I’m sure it’ll still be fun!

    25 . 02 . 2017
    • gettykasole@gmail.com

      Hey Sky, Yes you can definitely do many of these things in the Summer! There is a Mardi Gras Museum in Baton Rouge about an hour from New Orleans if you really wanted to learn that part of their story! And according to locals, Bourbon is always crazy! lol

      28 . 02 . 2017
  4. AlLisoN

    Great read. You have so much character in your writing btw. I love it. I’ve only been to New Orleans as a kid (for an N’Sync concert) haha. I’ve always wanted to go back, especially for Mardi Gras. When do you suggest buying flights? They always get super expensive.

    25 . 02 . 2017
    • gettykasole@gmail.com

      Hey Allison! Thank you!!! And hahaa N’Sync concert? No worries this is a no judgement zone :). Depending on where you’re coming from, I’d recommend buying flights and hotels weeks or months earlier. Also the Mardi Gras celebration experience starts in full force weeks before Fat Tuesday! It’s usually cheaper to celebrate the weekend before the official one (Which is what I did and it was awesome).

      If you want further assistance buying flights, just email me!

      28 . 02 . 2017
  5. Kiara gallop

    I would definitely be snapping way too many photos on Royal Street too! And frenchmen Street sounds like the perfect place to head for a night out 🙂

    26 . 02 . 2017
    • gettykasole@gmail.com

      Yes I had my head up and turned everywhere! And yep Frenchmen street is definitely the best party street for me 🙂

      28 . 02 . 2017
  6. Bizarre Globe Hopper

    Thanks for reminding me of Mardi Gras! NOLA has been on my bucket list for years, thanks for the tips.

    26 . 02 . 2017
    • gettykasole@gmail.com

      I’m glad!! Thanks for reading 🙂

      28 . 02 . 2017
  7. Lindz @ I've Been Bit!

    I never really realized how much there is to do other than attend the parade & have a few drinks at Mardi Gras! Love this post, keeping it in mind if I’m ever down there for it! 🙂

    26 . 02 . 2017
    • gettykasole@gmail.com

      Hey Lindz, I’m glad this could be informative!! I also didn’t know very much on things to do there until I visited! Beautiful and fun place definitely!

      28 . 02 . 2017
  8. Madi | Restless Worker

    Having a drink on Bourbon street would definitely be a must for me! Love this list. I’ve wanted to visit NOLa for so long 🙂

    28 . 02 . 2017
    • gettykasole@gmail.com

      Yes I also had a drink on Bourbon, most of it ended on my clothes because it was THAT crazy hahaa. But I do think everyone should experience Bourbon at least once! It’s a NOLA must! haha

      10 . 03 . 2017

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