Mardi Gras is one heck of a party. There are times when it’s all too easy to get caught up in the parades, the music and the general revelry that sweeps through the city of New Orleans every February. While we know you come for the party and the culture, here at AllTheRooms, we want to make sure you don’t let the logistics fall by the wayside. But don’t think of these as chores! We want to show you that knowing where to stay and what to eat at Mardi Gras are two critical parts of the experience and can be part of the party if done correctly. Besides, what’s going to keep you going on those late nights and where are you going to rest your head when you’ve finally decided to hit the hay after the party? Look no further, our guide has you covered.
Where to Stay
These are our top picks when it comes to choosing a Mardi Gras basecamp. We threw in a little variety to match all budgets and preferences.
Business District Loft
This French Quarter modern apartment takes the cake for both style and location. The interior has a modern feel with high ceilings and creatively divided space. Although it’s a one bathroom one bedroom setup, the layout doesn’t feel cramped. As for location, you’re within walking distance from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. This means the heart of Mardi Gras is just a few blocks away but you’ll be able to take breaks from the madness and not feel totally surrounded. Previous guests give it five-star reviews. We’d say this option is tough to beat for a couple or a small group of friends looking to be close to the action.
Hotel Mazarin in the French Quarter
While the loft puts you close to the action, Hotel Mazarin puts you in the heart of it all. Located in the center of the French Quarter, this four-star hotel matches the neighborhood’s architectural charm and will have you recovering from the party in the most comfortable fashion. The comments section is flooded with rave reviews of the hotel’s breakfast. After a few too many the night before, nothing gets you back on your feet like a good breakfast. So consider that box checked!
A Place for the Whole Crew to Crash
This Central City 2,600 square foot home has room for everyone. Its five bedrooms and four baths mean you’ll have plenty of space to spread out after a full night running the streets with your friends. We like the location too. You’re further away from the center of the party than in the other options, but still well within striking distance. The owner claims that the house can fit up to 12 and from what we see, it’s the clear winner for larger groups looking to head down in February.
What to Eat
So we knocked off the most fundamental logistical question in where to stay. We would argue that food comes in at a close second place. New Orleans is famous for its unique cuisine. We’ve selected a few can’t-skip dishes and give you some suggestions on where to try them at their best.
Gumbo is a New Orleans classic and is a hearty option for fueling you through the Mardi Gras festivities. A mix of chicken, shrimp, and sausage served over rice in a thick broth, gumbo is mouthwatering and no city does it better than New Orleans. As far as finding the best in the city, we’re partial to The Pelican Club in the French Quarter. The chefs at The Pelican Club might consider gumbo creation as an art form as opposed to mere cooking.
A traditionally Creole and Cajun creation, Étoufée is a rice and shellfish dish not too far removed from gumbo. We chose to highlight it because it would be wrong to come down to New Orleans and not try the crawfish in some form. The small lobster-like creatures are common in freshwater rivers and lakes in the area and are a local delicacy. For the best Crawfish Étoufée in the city, we’re going to send you to Royal House, which is also located in the French Quarter. Prices aren’t too bad and the menu is loaded.
Let’s call it a French donut. A beignet is a type of fritter that comes covered in powdered sugar. Perhaps the culinary crown jewel of New Orleans, even the most sensitive health freak has to try one. Although one may very well lead into two. If you’re out to try the very best, it has to be at Cafe Du Monde in French Quarter. The cafe is somewhat of an attraction in and of itself so be ready for lines, but trust us, the beignets are worth it.
Although beignets are the crowned sweet of New Orleans, King Cake has a special place in Mardi Gras lore. You can recognize it by its icing and gold, purple and green Mardi Gras sprinkles. The filling can be chocolate or almond and nuts and spiced fruit are mixed in. Mardi Gras is a celebration and this cake fits right in. To sample a little King Cake (or a lot) we’re going to send you to Dong Phuong Bake Shop in New Orleans East which was voted as having the city’s best king cake this year. Hard to go wrong there.