5 Tips For Having the Best Mardi Gras Experience, According to Locals
Learn everything you need to know to make the most of your time in New Orleans
In New Orleans, there is always a reason to celebrate. After all, locals and visitors will attest there is an eclectic vibrancy of the "Big Easy” that connects the community through every pull of a trombone, every doughy morsel of a beignet and every curve of detailed ironwork that wraps around the city’s gallery balconies.
If you plan to visit during Mardi Gras, Loews New Orleans Hotel shared their tips, so you can experience the best of Carnival like a local.
1. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” John Cooper, Sales Manager
Mardi Gras can be a blissful, carefree experience, as long as you pace yourself. Parades start early and last late into the evening, and then you start again the next day. Remember to enjoy the excitement of the city in moderation to keep the good times rolling during your entire visit to the Crescent City.
2. “Create a plan to see one of the ‘Super Krewe’ parades.” Robert Reso, Director of Sales
Each Mardi Gras parade is thrown by a “krewe,” and each has its own history and traditions worth learning and seeing up close. Super Krews are those who take their parade to the next level – quite literally, with towering multi-level floats, spectacular design and a large number of krewe members riding along in costume. Some must-see parades are those of Endymion, Bacchus and Orpheus. Lundi Gras on Spanish Plaza takes place on the Monday before Fat Tuesday, where two krewes – Rex (Latin for “King”) and Zulu – meet and the mayor symbolically relinquishes rule of the city for Mardi Gras Day. Learn the Mardi Gras parade routes in advance and plan where you will watch the excitement.
3. “The best place to watch Mardi Gras parades is St. Charles Avenue (uptown or downtown). Uptown is more family-friendly, with restaurants and bars along the route to access drinks, food and bathrooms. Downtown has the option to purchase tickets to private stands, and those are well worth the experience.” - Jill Bookbinder, Sales Manager
Loews New Orleans Hotel is one of the best locations during Mardi Gras, because it places you close enough to the action (roughly three blocks from the best parade viewing location), but far enough away to easily walk into the lobby without revelers crowding the hotel’s sidewalk. To ensure the ideal location for you, connect with the hotel concierge for suggestions or support purchasing tickets in private stands along the parade route. Plus, the floats always pay special attention to grandstanders and you'll likely get some great throws.
4. When the floats come by, yell ‘throw me something mister!’” - Jill Bookbinder, Sales Manager
Mardi Gras “throws” come in all shapes in sizes, though some are more sought-after than others. The most popular Carnival souvenirs undoubtedly include the ZULU Coconut, Muses Shoe, the glittered Nyx purse, Krewe d’Etat’s flashing skeleton bead and the Rex doubloon. Only keep the beads and throws that you catch. If you try and pick them up from the ground, your hand may get stepped on.
5. “King Cake for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. Keep your plastic utensils in the bag for ease of enjoyment.” - Genevieve Fulton, Catering Manager
New Orleans is consistently regarded as one of the best food destinations in the world, and was most recently ranked #1 in the 2023 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best. One of the city’s famed delicacies is King Cake, a sweet brioche-like dessert with cinnamon, topped with an icing glaze and sugar crystals in purple (representing justice), green (representing faith) and gold (representing power). King Cakes have become more elaborate over the years, featuring every kind of topping, filling, and variation of cake bread. Every local has their favorite version, but our Loews New Orleans Hotel’s top picks are Randazzo's, Dong Phuong and New Orleans Cake Cafe & Bakery.
Immerse yourself in the excitement of Mardi Gras and find your New Orleans adventure when you book your stay at Loews New Orleans Hotel.