How to Experience Mardi Gras like a Local
Popular among the locals as the “Greatest Free Show on Earth,” the larger than life carnival of Mardi Gras will enthrall you with its colors of bliss. Brought to the US shores way back in 1699 by the French sailor Jean Baptiste, Mardi Gras has now shaped into one big extravaganza in New Orleans featuring parades, music, picnics, floats, and excitement. Revelers dressed up in Gold, green and purple with long beads present a pretty picture while parading through the streets of New Orleans. Although the carnival parades can be viewed for free from the public streets and boulevards, there is nothing like finding a great viewing spot and enjoying them as the locals do.
Here, we have enlisted a few stellar options where you can enjoy the festivities to the hilt while getting access to great food, drinks, and music in New Orleans.
The Mardi Gras Grand Stand
Sit right on the parade route and savor all that Mardi Gras has to offer from the lovely grandstand. Get to see all of the floats, maskers and marching bands while being seated comfortably on bleacher seats. Grand Stand packages start as low as $5 and include great food, beverage, and restroom access. This will be ideal if you have brought your family along.
Bourbon Street Balconies
Although a tad pricier than other options going around, the Bourbon Street Balconies will give you a chance to be a part of the parade than be a spectator. You can throw beads on the crowds marching below while gulping down on your glass of fine liquor from the balconies.
The Bourbon Heat balconies offer day, evening and night packages while a flat rate of $229.25 applies on the last day irrespective of the time of the day. The three historic Rue Bourbon Balconies namely 201, 400 and 240 Bourbon keep you close to the action in addition to their open bars and lip-smacking snacks. The two great balconies at Olde NOLA Cookery are known to serve some of the best Cajun and Creole dishes.
Hotels along the parade route give you the added advantage of a comfy stay while enjoying the best of Mardi Gras. Hotel Provincial is an intimate boutique hotel with lush tropical courtyards located a stone’s throw away from the Bourbon Street where all the action takes place. The Mason Dupuy is another luxury boutique hotel located right at the heart of the French Quarter. The Hi New Orleans Hotel is a pocket-friendly hostel featuring a communal kitchen which is best for singles and young couples. Most of these hotels offer complimentary drinks packages along with your stay.
Restaurants and Bars
The Court of Two Sisters is famous for its jazz brunches and New Orleans-style dinners which can be gorged on during downtime between parades. The interiors are designed to help you relax away from the crowds while you dine and recharge yourself to gather that much-needed energy. The Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar are the places to be if you enjoy seafood. The festive drinks served along with the food make it a memorable dining experience while you enjoy the colorful parade vistas below.
Margaret Wilson is a travel blogger. Margaret is currently working as a travel Writer at MyFlightSearch.com. She is an adventurous backpacker, she has been to over 70 countries all around the World. She writes about food, culture and her travel experiences and has been featured in multiple travel magazines and blog sites.