So you’re in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, what else is there to do besides partying it up on Bourbon Street? Last year I visited New Orleans the week before Mardi Gras to explore this vibrant, historic city filled with jazz music, colorful walls, and authentic Louisiana cuisine.
We partnered up with Maggie Convert – local NOLA native and resident, and illustrator of Walking Man Studios who created this beautiful map of New Orleans documenting our trip. Maggie was so kind to show us around and illustrate our trip in this map featuring the best of NOLA to help other tourists (and locals) find the best places to visit when in town!
When is New Orleans Mardi Gras 2020?
Mardi Gras Day is February 25, 2020. Here is the Mardi Gras parade schedule.
#1. New Orleans Mardi Gras: EAT KING CAKE
If you’re in NOLA for Mardi Gras, king cake is mandatory. Feed your sweet tooth with king cake macarons from Salon by Sucré, king cake donuts at District Donuts, Babka king cakes at Petite Amelie, Valrhona caramelized milk chocolate and espresso king cake at Willa Jean, and “Mardi Foie” kingcake dish at Kingfish. For old-fashioned king cake, visit Cochon Butcher, Shake Sugary, La Boulangerie, ManhattanJack, Tartine, and of course, Manny Randazzo.
#2. New Orleans Mardi Gras: BEIGNETS & CAFE AU LAIT AT CAFE DU MONDE
Café Du Monde is an essential stop in New Orleans for heavenly beignets and pipping hot cafe au lait. It’s been open since 1862 as the original French Market coffee stand. The Decatur St. location serves cafe au lait and beignets 24 hours daily if you’re hungry after bar hopping at 3am.
*Multiple locations, cafedumonde.com
#3. New Orleans Mardi Gras: SIP HURRICANES AT PAT O’BRIENS
When in New Orleans, drink up on hurricanes. You can even get these boozy fruit bombs to-go in a Pat O’Briens souvenir cup.
718 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116, patobriens.com
#4. New Orleans Mardi Gras: GO BIKING IN THE GARDEN DISTRICT
Get away from downtown New Orleans and bike through New Orleans’ beautiful historic Garden District.
Garden District, neworleanscvb.com/visit/neighborhoods/garden-district/
#5. New Orleans Mardi Gras: TWO WORDS: CRAWFISH BOIL
Mardi Gras is also conveniently crawfish season in New Orleans (early March through mid-June is peak season) so get yourself a plate of hot and spicy mudbugs. Crawfish bowl spots include Bevi Seafood Co., Mid-City Yacht Club, Cajun Seafood, and Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar. Check out Eater New Orlean’s Where To Eat Crawfish in New Orleans Right Now.
#6. New Orleans Mardi Gras: ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BRUNCH AT COURT OF TWO SISTERS
Brunch is served every day at Court of Two Sisters with live jazz in the courtyard. You can try all of the iconic dishes of New Orleans for only $29: turtle soup, creole jambalaya, veal grillades and gravy, shrimp etouffee, and bananas foster.
613 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, courtoftwosisters.com
#7. New Orleans Mardi Gras: DONUTS AT DISTRICT DONUTS
The best donuts I’ve ever had. Pillows of sweet goodness from the heavens. I’d say try every flavor because I did.
2209 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130, donutsandsliders.com
#8. New Orleans Mardi Gras: RIDE A STREETCAR ON ST. CHARLES AVENUE
All aboard NOLA’s streetcars to experience New Orleans’ past on the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world! These streetcars have been in operation since 1835 with the original mahogany seats, brass fittings, and exposed ceiling light bulbs. Each ride is only $1.25.
#9. New Orleans Mardi Gras: GET LUNCH & DINNER AT A LOCAL SPOT
NOLA is home to a lot of great restaurants like Cochon Butcher, Willa Jean Bakery, Pêche Seafood Grill, Sylvain, and Drago’s in Metairie. For more traditional New Orleans fare, try Galatoire’s and Commander’s Palace.