Are you wondering what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans? If so, you’ve come to the right place!
If you’re planning to visit Mardi Gras in New Orleans for the first time, you might be curious as to what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans?
If you’ve found yourself asking ‘what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans?’ you have come to the right place!
In our short, handy guide, we’ll fill you in on the top traditions that take place during Mardi Gras that you need to see this year.
Read more about Mardi Gras: How long does Mardi Gras last?
What happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans? The lowdown on what to expect.
Mardi Gras is all about fun, vibrancy, and celebration. All you need to do is look at some of the famous Mardi Gras photos to tell that!
But what actually happens during Mardi Gras in New Orleans?
The revelry takes shape in the form of music, parades, balls, picnics, floats, balls, and plenty of eating and drinking. It’s a time of year when the city of New Orleans feels electric. It’s a great time to visit because everyone wants to celebrate, get involved, and make friends.
Mardi Gras Parades
When it comes to what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you can’t miss the parades (here’s the parade schedule). The parades are at the very heart of Mardi Gras, and they’re a key part to experiencing the city at the time of year.
You’ll see plenty of bars and restaurants open around the parade routes that are perfect for celebrating Mardi Gras, as they offer a great base that often have stellar views of passing floats.
Speaking of parades, we’d say that this is one of the main things that happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Going back as far as the mid-1700s, these incredible displays feature intense color, amazing costumes, and larger-than-life energy.
Each year, you’ll see approximately 75 parades heading through the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and each is more ornate than the last until Shrove Tuesday – that’s when they truly pull out the big guns.
Parades are one of the biggest parts of what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and we could talk about what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans without mentioning them right at the top of the list!
You’ll notice loads of live music in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. In fact, we couldn’t really talk about what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, without mentioning music.
You’ll find live music in bars and restaurants (this is the city of jazz after all!) but you’ll also find live music on the streets, and during parades too.
The city is LOUD during Mardi Gras, but it’s the sweet sweet sound of jazz and local music. So who could possibly complain?
Music is a huge part of what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Read more about visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras: 14 things to do during Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Masks, beads, and doubloons
What happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans isn’t just about the parades and music, it’s also about masks, beads, and doubloons. Getting dressed up (or down!) is all part of the Mardi Gras experience and it’s a huge part of what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
One of the most treasured traditions in the Mardi Gras world involves masks, as the original festival-goers had to wear them to hide away from those who may not have approved of all the joyful revelry.
Top tip! You don’t need to wait for the festival to buy the famous Mardi Gras beads! You can buy them cheaply ahead of time from Amazon. Here’s a great option!
These masks gave them permission to talk to whoever they wished to, opening their social circles without fear of being shunned. These days, everyone on a float is wearing a mask to stay in line with traditional expectations.
If you’re on the ground, anything goes! This is a big part of what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Read more about visiting New Orleans: 105 fun things to do in New Orleans
Speaking of being on the ground, you’ll want to keep an eye out for special throws from the floats. When it comes to what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, this is something you can’t miss. What’s thrown from the floats can be anything from plastic beads to ‘doubloons’ that hark back to the 1960s.
Each Krewe in New Orleans will have its own beads and doubloons, and they’re collectible items that tourists love to gather during the festivities as a keepsake.
If you’re visiting with kids, it’s a great idea to see how many beads you can collect and gather them at the end to create your very own Mardi Gras treasure box.
Next on our list of what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it’s the King Cake. If you’re wondering what else happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, then you’ll want to learn more about the King Cake.
This is a special cake that’s sold every year during Mardi Gras, and it comprises puff pastry and a delectable almond cream that oozes out with every bite – delicious, trust us.
It’s a traditional thing that happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans that you need to do before you leave.
Mardi Gras Balls
You probably won’t be lucky enough to experience one of the famous Mardi Gras balls, but you should certainly learn more about them if you’re wanting to know what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, as they’re a big element of what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
These elite balls are strictly invite-only, and they are held by the various “krewes” that exist in New Orleans to represent different social groups throughout the city. They have always been a huge part of what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Along with typical revelry like eating and drinking, guests will also see debutantes presented to society, find a mysterious golden bean in a slice of cake, and be treated to endless entertainment in the form of live music, dancing, and parades.
These balls are an amazing sight to behold, but you’ll basically need to be in New Orleans’ top social circles to stand a chance of getting invited!
Read more about Mardi Gras: What happens at a Mardi Gras Ball in New Orleans?
What happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans? It’s all about celebration!
Overall, this time of year in New Orleans is a time for celebration. That’s the whole idea behind Mardi Gras!
To celebrate! The best way to enjoy Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the best way to truly understand what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, is to get out and experience it!
Read more about Mardi Gras: Top 12 best bars to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans
We hope that this short guide has helped to answer the burning question “what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans?”.
It’s impossible to cover absolutely everything that happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but we feel that these traditions and events cover the majority of what the festival has to offer.
So, what are you waiting for?
Now that you know what happens in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, aren’t you just itching to pay the place a visit? We know we are!