When you talk about Mardi Gras, there’s really only one place that comes to the top of your mind, but did you know that there are great Mardi Gras celebrations all over the world? Here are some of the top places to celebrate not only Mardi Gras, but the whole Carnival season.
1. New Orleans, Louisiana
Obviously, NOLA has made a name for itself as the number one place to join in the Mardi Gras revelry. The town even starts celebrating the Carnival season up to two weeks before the actual day of Mardi Gras. Save money by booking your trip a few weeks early.
2. Mobile, Alabama
The oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the U.S. is actually in Mobile, Alabama. The first known Mardi Gras celebration in the United States took place in the coastal Alabama town in 1703.
3. St. Louis, Missouri
One of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the U.S. is in St. Louis. The city’s Soulard Mardi Gras celebration starts in early January and continues all the way through Mardi Gras. It features a winter carnival, cajun cook-off, dog parade, 5K, and of course, the Bud Light grand parade.
4. Galveston, Texas
Everything’s bigger in Texas, right? Mardi Gras is no exception. Galveston has one of the biggest celebrations in the country. It features more than 30 concerts, 22 parades, 20 balcony parties and five masked balls. And while Galveston is the most popular Mardi Gras celebration in Texas, you can also catch parades and parties in Dallas and other major cities across the state.
5. Venice, Italy
Best known for its elaborate costumes, masks, and balls, the Carnevale di Venezia — the Carnival of Venice — is home to the first ever Mardi Gras celebration. If you’re planning to visit Venice during Carnevale, the last week of festivities is considered the best time to go. There’s still lots going on before the actual Carnevale date, you’ll avoid the biggest crowds but still enjoy the carnival atmosphere. Make sure to wear a costume or at least a mask yourself for the best experience.
6. Sydney, Australia
Sydney has one of the more unique celebrations of Mardi Gras. The city hosts one of the largest pride events in the world. The parties span multiple weeks leading up to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.
7. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
The celebration in Rio is considered the world’s largest Carnival, boasting over 2 million people a day. Rio’s celebration is marked by the performances of its Samba schools – neighborhood dancing and marching drumming clubs with elaborate colorful costumes and floats.
8. Nice, France
If you’re a fan of spring flowers, you can’t miss Nice’s annual Carnival celebration. The city is known for its traditional flower parades where floats are completely covered in petals and participants match in colorful clothing.
9. Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago holds what some call the Mother of all West Indian Carnivals. The celebration is known for bright costumes and exuberant celebrations. In addition to the costumes, there’s stick-fighting and limbo competitions. And don’t miss J’ouvert, a dancing street party that lasts from dark to light in the mornings leading up to Fat Tuesday.