Best Mardi Gras celebrations outside of New Orleans

Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of the Carnival season and globally, it's known as one of the most over-the-top days to party.

In the U.S., New Orleans is the center of the all-you-can-eat, drink and party action. But there are plenty of parades, festivals and fun times to be had across the country for those who love to get their groove on before Ash Wednesday.

So get a slice of king cake, grab some beads and head out to find some Mardi Gras mayhem in your town.

1. Mobile, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama, USA - February 24, 2014: Empty Dauphin street in historic district is ready for Mardi Gras celebrations in the evening.


Known as the birthplace of Mardi Gras, Mobile has some of the country's most colorful celebrations. The streets of downtown Mobile are filled with live marching bands, colored floats and crowds of parade goers. The parades will run from Feb. 10 to Feb. 28.

2. St. Louis, Missouri

Part of the annual long July 4 weekend celebration in St. Louis, Missouri.  Fireworks shot from a barge in the Mississippi River.


The 2017 theme for this Mardi Gras grand parade is “Soulard Celebrates Cinemal.” The celebrations will take place in the historic Soulard district with events for all ages from Jan. 6 through Feb. 28. Some events include the Missouri Lottery Run For Your Beads 5K, the Beggin’ Pet Parade, a Weinger Dog Derby and, of course, the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Ball.

3. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, FL, United States of America - December 6, 2012: a Sunset at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando


Festive floats and performers parade through the streets every night at Universal Orlando from Feb. 4 through March 25. This theme park party lasts 50 nights and even welcomes big-name performers like Trace Adkins, Fifth Harmony and Jason Derulo.

4. Galveston, Texas

Galveston, USA - February 18, 2017:  Galveston Island Brewery celebrates by tossing necklaces from a decorated bus during the Mardi Gras parade.


The celebration in Galveston, Texas is known to be the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the U.S, offering revelers a chance to experience the beach while also enjoying parades. The Island’s 106th Mardi Gras celebration will be held Feb. 17 through Feb. 28. Over 300,000 people are expected to attend over 30 concerts, 22 parades, 20 balcony parties and five masked balls. There is certainly something here for all the party people to enjoy.

5. San Diego, California

Downtown San Diego Gaslamp sign over moving traffic


San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter  welcomes Mardi Gras lovers of all ages on Fat Tuesday. The nationally recognized celebration includes over-the-top floats, live music and plenty of colorful beads. San Diego is expecting crowds over 20,000 strong enjoying the party with three stages of entertainment.

6. Mississippi’s Gulf Coast

Biloxi, Mississippi, USA - April 6, 2012: Nighttime view of the Biloxi strip including the Hard Rock and Beau Rivage casinos


With over 20 parades and around 450,000 people in attendance, the party in Mississippi just gets bigger and bigger every year. The festivities on the Gulf Coast kick off with the Ocean Springs Carnival Association Night Mardi Gras Parade.

7. Portland, Maine

Portland, ME, USA - October 8, 2015: Cobbled Street Lined with shops and Pubs in the Old Port District at night. Portland’s Old Port is one of the most successful revitalized warehouse districts in the country. Seamlessly connected to the waterfront, the Old Port is both a working waterfront and a local shopping, dining, residential, and entertainment district.


Think all the Mardi Gras madness is relegated to the Southern states? Think again. If you live in the Northeast, check out the largest Mardi Gras celebration north of Boston. The Annual Mardi Gras Ball features live music with Sylvain’s Cajun Aces and Louisiana-style food like Cajun dips and Po’Boy appetizers. There will be bead contests, giveaways and plenty of fun prizes handed out throughout the festival. The ball takes place on Feb. 28 in the Portland Club Ballroom.