• Jackie Feble

Looking Beyond NOLA for Mardi Gras

Updated: Jul 12

It’s the most wonderful time of the year - based on the fact that it’s February, you know I am not talking about Christmas - It’s time for Mardi Gras! It’s time to pack your bags and make your way to the center of it all, NOLA. If you’re not into the chaotic nature of Bourbon Street, you’re in luck. New Orleans has a little bit of something for everyone, especially this time of year. Whether you’re into beads and partying or a history junkie, this is the city for you.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras dates for this year are from February 14 through February 25, 2020. This gives you just enough time to plan the perfect getaway. You could choose to do a standard vacation package or personalize your trip to your preference. However, if you travel as I do, you probably want to be frivolous and travel on a budget. Customizing your Mardi Gras experience allows you to save money and tailor the trip to your group's needs.

Travel Ideas

While the experience of Mardi Gras 2020 can be exhilarating, you may also want to explore other options during this time that are a little safer, but also unique.

  • If you’re into the paranormal and historical side of New Orleans, Groupon is offering an amazing deal for you to explore over 700 tombs. French Quarter Phantoms will take you to the grave of the infamous Marie Laveau. Who knows? If you’re lucky you’ll have a paranormal experience worth writing home about. The tour starts at $30 for 4 people and if you split the cost among your group, you’ll save on a very extraordinary experience.

  • The logistics of Mardi Gras are fascinating. This Groupon adventure lets tourists witness how Mardi Gras floats are constructed. Mardi Gras World is allowing participants to watch artists construct a float first-hand from start to finish. Customers will also get the historical background behind Mardi Gras and learn how this celebration came to be what it is today. Prices start at $19 per person and for obvious reasons, this deal is not valid on the day of Mardi Gras 2020.

  • Sometimes tours are better on water. Luckily, Groupon is offering a historic boat tour via Creole Queen. Customers will get a different view of the New Orleans port and narration from an on-board historian. Prices start at $32 per person. If you’re looking to save money, but still want an adventure on a boat; you should check out this other Groupon deal with the Louisiana Tour Company. The boat tour allows you to see the infamous swamps of Louisiana and a 2,000-year-old burial ground. For a group of 4, prices start at $55.

  • One of your must-dos on your trip to Mardi Gras 2020 is to taste the unique flavors of Creole cuisine. If you decide to save on your stay as well as your adventures, you should splurge on its unique flavors. You will certainly see unique items on menus such as alligator bites, jambalaya, and crawfish etouffee. If you want to try almost everything on the menu, Cafe Dauphine is offering a deal via Groupon. This unique experience lets visitors submerge themselves in Cajun flavors with 3 courses for 2 people starting at $32.

  • One of my favorite things to do in New Orleans is to visit the French Market. The bustle of Bourbon Street can easily grow tiring, so if you want a quick adult beverage and a fast bite to eat, you should check out the market. Not only does the market have various food options, but also all sorts of souvenirs. Vendors will sell one-of-a-kind hand-made items, I purchased a leather handmade journal, which I still cherish to this day. I still to date, have not seen another one like it.

Where to Stay

If you don’t splurge on your accommodations because you’ll be out all day, you should consider staying in a hostel. I created a search for two guests and used the Mardi Gras dates of February 25 through March 2nd on Hostelworld. If you’re bringing a bigger group for Mardi Gras 2020, you can adjust the search to accommodate all of your guests and preferences. Hostelworld is easy to use and gives you ratings based on previous travelers who have stayed in these hostels.

This historical upscale hostel is located less than a mile away from the French Quarter. Prices start at $85 per bed. Due to high demand, this listing is selling out fast.

If you’re concerned about safety, this is the hostel for you. According to their description, Atlas House received the safest hostel award. This listing is located close to the French Quarter as well and beds start at $60.

This hostel is close to the noise of Mardi Gras. Here you’ll be one block away from the Mardi Gras 2020 parade. Prices here start at $56.

If you’re bringing in a large group for Mardi Gras 2020 but aren’t into shared spaces, you may want to consider looking at Airbnb and splitting the cost among your group. I am using the same dates as listed above with the exception that I made the search for up to 10 guests (if you have that many friends).

  • This Airbnb is located just a few blocks from the French Quarter. This historical cottage gives you a modern, but also nostalgic feel. This stay is also close to all the touristy areas in New Orleans. The price starts at $299 per night, but once you split the cost, this is an affordable option.

Safety Tips

Usually when I travel, one of my biggest concerns is safety. New Orleans is a very highly trafficked city, especially this time of year. Mardi Gras can be chaotic especially due to the nature of the festivity this time of year.

Here are some tips you should follow:

  • Do not venture Bourbon Street alone and make sure you are close to your group at all times. Since there are a lot of crowds, there are many pickpockets and it can be easy to lose your group. Make sure you have a good accountability system and turn your location services on.

  • Do not pick beads up off the ground. Due to the lack of access to public bathrooms, try catching beads instead of picking them up on the street.

  • If you want to catch the festivities of Mardi Gras 2020, opt for a well-lit area for viewing the parade floats.

For additional safety tips, feel free to check out the Mobile Police Department website here.

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities to visit; it has a little bit of something for everyone, from crowds and chaos to stunning architectural designs to haunting cemeteries; if you’re a nerd like me and want to explore history while having a fishbowl, New Orleans is the right spot for you! Always be on the lookout for great deals on your next adventure, and if you’re opting for New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2020, I hope you find this blog particularly useful. Have fun and stay safe on your next adventures!