Can’t make it to the legendary Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans this year? No need to fret – there are countless events, festivals and celebrations throughout the Northeast for you to get your jambalaya fix on or around Fat Tuesday (Feb. 25).
Here are five celebrations that will have you on your dancing feet, catching beads and partying the night away, just like you would on Bourbon Street!
Attending a party at a historic hotel seems like the perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras, and you can do just that at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. The hotel is said to have many ghosts living there – a common theme in New Orleans, as well. Don’t worry – they’re said to be friendly!
The Mardi Gras celebration takes place Feb. 21 with a New Orleans-inspired feast featuring crawfish etouffee, chicken and shrimp gumbo, beignets, shrimp and grits and so many more notable Southern dishes. And bring your dancing shoes to dance the night away with live Louisiana dance music from local band Zydeco-a-Go-Go.
The South Street Diner brings Bourbon Street to Boston with its all-day Mardi Gras celebration on Fat Tuesday. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., you can expect that authentic New Orleans feel at the diner with an all-you-can-eat jambalaya feast, along with a full Louisiana-style Mardi Gras menu. Think crawfish boil, alligator sausage and shrimp po’boys. Our advice? Bring your appetite! Authentic king cake straight from the source – Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans – will also be served.
The atmosphere will make you feel like you’re right on Bourbon Street! Employees, dressed head-to-toe in traditional Mardi Gras garb, will hand out beads to patrons. New Orleans’ zydeco music will be playing on the jukebox all night, so this is definitely the way to celebrate Mardi Gras if you’re Boston-based.
Big Daddy’s, aka the home of Southern food, knows how to celebrate Mardi Gras. A father-and-son duo run the Long Island restaurant that specializes in foods from New Orleans. So you can expect to get some authentic gumbo and an oversized Hurricane (they import the drink mix from the original, Pat O’Brien’s, in New Orleans).
The restaurant will celebrate Mardi Gras Madness Week Feb. 19-25, with nightly specials and live music. The Mardi Gras celebration kicks off with a crawfish boil, 2-for-2 oysters and live music. The biggest night will be on Fat Tuesday, with a traditional buffet, live music and party favors. Don’t forget your beads!
Celebrate Mardi Gras Philly-style with an epic party featuring 16 Philadelphia Mummers String Bands. The Mummers are dressed in elaborate costumes from head to toe and put on two lively performances at Xfinity Live!, a massive venue in South Philly on Feb. 23. You can expect to be a part of a lot of merriment and dancing!
This family-friendly event has booths with activities to fill the day: You can try on a costume and snag a photo with a Mummer in the open-air photo booth for a souvenir. Or try your hand at the “Build an Umbrella” station to make a bejeweled Mummers umbrella with sequins and feathers. There’s even a “bull-riding” contest to raise money for the bands. And of course, no Mardi Gras celebration is complete without some delicious food and drinks. This venue does not disappoint, with a laundry list of restaurants and vendors throughout the location.
In recent years, The Wharf, a popular waterfront neighborhood in Washington, D.C., has become a hot spot for events and celebrations. On Feb. 22, it will host an extravaganza featuring an animated parade, dance party with live music and a spectacular fireworks finale for the biggest Mardi Gras celebration in the city. The parade features custom-designed floats from local businesses with bead-tossing galore, all with a gorgeous view overlooking the water.
The best part? The event is totally free (po’boys not included, but they’re worth the extra buck!). Neighborhood restaurants will serve up New Orleans-style specials and there will be a multitude of activities and craft for kids, including delicious s’mores-making at the Capitals Campfire at Camp Wharf.
How do you celebrate Mardi Gras? Tell us in the comments.
If you couldn’t make it to NOLA this year, you can still start planning for next year! Book your trip with AAA Travel.