Top 15 Mardi Gras and Carnival Parades in the USA
Mardi Gras, actually French for “Fat Tuesday”, refers to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent’s 40 days of repentance that ends on Easter Sunday.
Bringing out the wild side of people, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras as it is more commonly referred to, is filled with events to tempt the final moments of madness and self enjoyment in locals everywhere as they fill the streets with carnivals, parades, and masquerade
Here are the main 15 Mardi Gras and Carnival Parades in the US
Mardi Gras Events in Louisiana
Mardi Gras in the USA is unlike any other event in the world and a host of them are in the state of Louisiana.
LOUISIANA - New Orleans Mardi Gras
Fat Tuesday - late February - mid March
New Orleans, Louisiana
For two weeks, hundreds of thousands of bead-draped Louisianians and their guests from all over the world hit the streets of New Orleans for days of fun and frivolity at what is commonly referred to as “the biggest free party on earth”. In one of the most popular Mardi Gras and Carnival Parades in the USA, more than 60 parades complete with cheeky costumes to celebrate the naughtiest time of year during the two weeks before Fat Tuesday, and no two places in New Orleans celebrate Mardi Gras in exactly the same way. New Orleans will always showcase the gold standard for Mardi Gras. Popular free throws from the many floats vary from one Mardi Gras event to the other, but generally include strings of colorful plastic beads, wrapped candies, wooden or aluminum coins, stuffed toys and a host of cheap but fun trinkets.
For more information about Mardi Gras in New Orleans visit:
LOUISIANA - Baton Rouge Mardi Gras
early January - mid February
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Popular for its many Mardi Gras parades, some traditional, others unique – like the dog parade – the Baton Rouge Mardi Gras celebrations, many of which are family oriented, are generally considered to be as large and as important as those of the Mardi Gras held in New Orleans. The Community Center Carnival Parade, for example, is Louisiana's oldest Mardi Gras parade outside New Orleans.
For more information about the Baton Rouge Mardi Gras visit:
LOUISIANA - Lake Charles Mardi Gras
early January - early March,
Lake Charles, Louisiana
King cake, parades and glitzy flowing costumes of Mardi Gras splendor all add to the mystique of the 2nd largest Mardi Gras in Louisiana in Lake Charles. Mardi Gras kicks off with the Twelfth Night celebration early in January with the grand promenade of more than 60 krewes. Parades, Children’s Day, a Zydeco dance, a Gumbo Cook-off and other events pack the final Mardi Gras weekend. For the grand finale, the Krewe of Krewes Parade winds through four miles of Lake Charles tossing thousands of beads to cheering crowds.
For more information about Lake Charles Mardi Gras visit:
LOUISIANA - Lafayette Mardi Gras
Featuring more than 17 different parades, the Mardi Gras celebrations in Lafayette in the heart of Cajun country have become as popular as the Mardi Gras events in New Orleans and other cities in the USA. The Lafayette Mardi Gras also feature an abundance of balls, festivals and other cultural traditions.
For more information about the Lafayette Mardi Gras visit:
LOUISIANA - Alexandria-Pineville Mardi Gras
late February - early March
Taking place at the same time as the New Orleans Mardi Gras in what is known as the "cultural crossroads" of Louisiana northwest of New Orleans in the heart of the state, Mardi Gras in Alexandria and Pineville is famous for its family-friendly events and a parade specifically for children.
For more information about the Alexandria-Pineville Mardi Gras visit:
LOUISIANA - Houma Mardi Gras
early - mid February
Just 60 miles southwest of New Orleans, Houma claims to offer the second-biggest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana with a dozen parades running in the Carnival season. Houma celebrates Mardi Gras with ten of those parades attracting more than 150,000 visitors.
For more information about Houma Mardi Gras visit:
Mardi Gras Events in Florida
While the majority of the well known Mardi Gras events are in Louisiana, many can also be found in the state of Florida.
FLORIDA – Pensacola Mardi Gras
early January - mid March
Taking place along the beaches and through the historic areas of downtown Pensacola, the annual Pensacola Mardi Gras celebration, one of the top 15 Mardi Gras and Carnival Parades in the USA dating back to 1874, is one of the oldest in the United States and offers a host of family friendly events including parades full of elaborately decorated floats, fun masked characters on foot, and the usually expected beads, coins, and candies.
For more information about the Pensacola Mardi Gras visit:
FLORIDA - Orlando Mardi Gras
Saturdays and select nights – early February to late April
Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida
Claiming to be the best celebration of Mardi Gras beyond the absolute original in New Orleans, the Universal Studios Mardi Gras in Orlando features fun for the whole family, from live concerts and nationally renowned musical acts, a dazzling Mardi Gras parade, colorful street performers, authentic Cajun food like jambalaya and shrimp gumbo, and beads by the handfuls!!
For more information about the Universal Studios Mardi Gras visit:
Mardi Gras Events in Texas
While the majority of the well known Mardi Gras events are in Louisiana, some may also be found in the state of Texas.
TEXAS - Galveston Mardi Gras
Galveston Island – Houston, Texas
One of the most popular events along the Texas Gulf Coast, Texas’ largest Mardi Gras attracts more than 300,000 people with more than 24 parades, over 25 concert performances by national headliners, five elegant masked balls, art exhibits, special sporting events and special family activities. Mardi Gras! Galveston was first observed well over a century ago.
For more information about Mardi Gras! Galveston visit:
TEXAS - Dallas Mardi Gras Texas Style
Fair Park – Dallas, Texas
This one day event attracts more than 10,000 enthusiasts to enjoy the talents of more than two dozen Texas/Red Dirt & Country music stars showing off their talents on 5 stages all day long. Other attractions of the Mardi Gras include a wealth of Cajun food offerings from Mardi Gras pies to crawfish and jambalaya.
For more information about the Mardi Gras Texas Style visit:
Other Mardi Gras Events in the USA
While the majority of the well known Mardi Gras events are in Louisiana, other states also feature their own version of this event and they include Alabama, Missouri, California and Wisconsin
ALABAMA - Mobile Mardi Gras
Beginning in 1703 and now recognized as the oldest and most original annual Mardi Gras carnival celebration in the USA, Mardi Gras in Mobile comes complete with parades, marching bands and huge crowds of celebrators. What is unique about the Mobile Mardi Gras festival is the celebration of so many different cultures and religions including French, Spanish, British, African, Creole, American, and even Swedish heritages and both the Catholic and Creole faiths all of which toss fun trinkets like necklaces of plastic bead, doubloon coins, decorated plastic cups, candy, wrapped cakes or snacks, stuffed animals, and small toys, footballs, frisbees, and whistles to the crowds lining the routes.
For more information about the Mobile Mardi Gras visit:
MISSOURI - Saint Louis Mardi Gras
early January - late February
Saint Louis, Missouri
One of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations apart from those of Louisiana, the family oriented Mardi Gras events in Saint Louis, Missouri, attracts more than 200,000 people to a wide variety of events, most of which are centered in and around Soulard Park, and come to a head on Fat Tuesday with a large parade in downtown Saint Louis. Other Mardi Gras events include a wine tasting, Cajun cook-off, pet parade, wiener dog derby and more.
For more information about the Saint Louis Mardi Gras visit:
CALIFORNIA - San Diego Mardi Gras in the GasLamp
San Diego, California
Considered one of the best California Mardi Gras celebrations in the Golden State, even though it only really began in 2005, the San Diego Mardi Gras in the GasLamp Quarter offers two parades, a multitude of exotic and wild costumes, and plenty of dance parties including the San Diego Brazil Carnival Ball that is part of the San Diego Carnival Mardi Gras season.
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WISCONSIN – La Crosse Mardi Gras
mid to late Jauary
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Another family-oriented celebration uniting the families of La Crosse, the La Crosse Mardi Gras and surrounding communities included all the usual trapping in fun, food, and fellowship for a good cause. Since 1991, Mardi Gras in La Crosse has helped raise money for a host of Catholic schools, boy scouts, girl scouts, and the YMCA.
For more information about the La Crosse Mardi Gras in Wisconsin visit:
updated Top 20 Events USA pages do not include every single event on offer in each state or city in America – only those recognized as one of the top 20 in each location, elected by residents, tourists and visitors, the team of travel writers working for Top Events USA, and some officials of the relevant states and cities of the USA too.