Wondering where to watch the Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans? Keep reading for the best locations!
If you’re visiting Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you’ll definitely want to witness some of the incredible Mardi Gras parades. And finding the best places to watch the Mardi Gras parades should be on your priority list!
Luckily, we’ve put together a list of where to watch the Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans, so you can watch the amazing parades from all the best viewpoints.
So let’s get into it, and where to watch the Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans.
Here’s where to watch the Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans…
It’s tricky to figure out where to watch the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, as not all spots are suitable for every need. However, one place that always comes out on top is Lee Circle. This traffic circle offers an excellent view of the parades that head down St. Charles, and you’ll get a largely unimpeded vantage point.
You’re likely to get caught up in crowds and may find that kids struggle a bit in this area, but if you’re happy to stake out a spot in advance, you’ll get great views of the festivities.
Read more about visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras: 14 things to do during Mardi Gras in New Orleans
We understand that this is pretty vague, but when it comes to figuring out where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, getting well above street level is a great idea.
Not only will it separate you from the large crowds of partygoers, but it gives you a great overhead view of the floats that you just don’t get on the ground.
The Holiday Inn Express and Courtyard by Marriott are both close to the parade routes, and if you request a room with a view of the parades, you should be in luck.
When deciding where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, be aware that you may only catch moments of the parade from hotels as your vantage point will be blocked by surrounding buildings and you’ll be limited to what you can see from your particular balcony.
If you want to be as close to the action as possible but don’t want to stand in crowds, then booking into one of the grandstands is an excellent idea.
When it comes to figuring out where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, you won’t be surprised to learn that the grandstands are highly popular.
Because of this, you’ll need to book your seat months in advance. You’ll get a great view from the grandstands, but you’ll pay a premium for the privilege, so keep this in mind when you’re deciding where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans.
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Canal Street Parade Stands
All floats will head down Canal Street on their regular route, so if you’re figuring out where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, be sure to keep this area on your shortlist.
There are usually stands available for guests outside the Sheraton, but you’ll find people creating makeshift arrangements for a better view down the entire street.
It isn’t a crazy spot crowd-wise, so if you want to know where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans with a more relaxed vibe, then this is a great option.
There’s no risk here, and you’ll have access to dedicated restrooms and bars that those outside the stands won’t.
Read more about visiting New Orleans: 105 fun things to do in New Orleans
Lafayette Square at St. Charles
If you’re wondering where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans from stands but haven’t had much luck with our previous spots, then give Lafayette Square a try.
Each stand is elevated, so you should get decent views without heads and shoulders getting in your way!
We’d say that this is one of the best places to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans for families with kids, as you can easily keep an eye on little ones without taking them away from the excitement of the carnival.
What’s more, they have a decent chance of catching doubloons from here which is a major plus!
Polymnia & St. Charles
Those wondering where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans for maximum impact should head to the Polymnia & St. Charles area.
Be warned that this place is intense and certainly not for the faint of heart. It’s not that risqué, but it’s busy and can get rowdy as revelers get drunk.
You’ll find the ever-popular Avenue Pub in this area as well as other popular restaurants. So, if you’re feeling weary or worn out at any point during the carnival, pop in for a cold brew and take the edge off.
Napolean and St. Charles
If you don’t know where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans and don’t want to pay for stand seats, then Napolean and St. Charles is a good alternative.
One of our favorite Mardi Gras bars (Superior Seafood!) is located here, and you’ll be able to grab a bite to eat as you watch the parades rolling by.
Should you prefer to catch things in all their glory, we recommend ordering a bite to eat at Superior Seafood and finishing your dishes just before the parade starts. You’ll be close enough to the action to grab a good spot, but you won’t have to wait outside until the last minute. Score!
Tchoupitoulas and Gravier
Are you a fan of the Muses parade? If so, Tchoupitoulas and Gravier is the place to be to catch the best of it. The Windsor Court Hotel is the perfect place to stand as it’s right on the parade route.
The French Quarter
Okay, take our final suggestion with a pinch of salt.
The French Quarter is a fantastic place to be during Mardi Gras as it’s one of New Orleans’ most popular spots. However, if you’re wondering where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans with kids in tow, you need to avoid this area as it’s simply not family-friendly.
You’ll spot barely-dressed carnival-goers, risqué behavior, and plenty of frivolity in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras, making it a veritable adults-only zone.
Where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans: do I need to book in advance?
If you’re choosing a spot that’s off the parade route or in the stands, you’ll certainly need to book in advance.
There will be thousands of people trying to figure out where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, so you need to pip them to the post and scope out a spot before they do!
Mardi Gras will always be one of the most popular events in New Orleans, so don’t wait around. Instead, book a spot and breathe a sigh of relief when that all-important confirmation comes through. Otherwise, you can live life on the edge and head to one of the popular on-street spots.
Plan out which parades you want to watch by checking in with the parade schedule. This is a super useful website that lists all the Mardi Gras parades and where and when to find them.
When does Mardi Gras take place?
Mardi Gras takes place around March of each year, and the main festivities usually occur in New Orleans during the two-week lead-up.
Read more about Mardi Gras: How long does Mardi Gras last?
You may think that Mardi Gras would be something of a local holiday that falls on the same date each year – but you’d be sorely mistaken! As it’s technically a religious date, it cycles with the moon and will fall on a slightly different date each year.
However, it’s typically during February or early March, so as long as you book some much-needed holiday around this time of year, you’ll be all set.
The main parades take place on Shrove Tuesday each year (as we’ve mentioned, this exact date varies depending on the year), so we recommend staying in New Orleans for a few days before the main event to ensure you can soak up the best of what the city has to offer.
Hopefully you have a great idea now for where to watch the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans!
If you’ve got other questions about Mardis Gras in New Orleans, be sure to check out our other articles!
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