Things to Do

Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras in Washington

Laissez les bon temps rouler at one of these Fat Tuesday events.

Photograph by Flickr user tibbygirl.

Mardi Gras is tomorrow, and if a trip to the Crescent City isn’t in the cards this year, satisfy your N’awlins cravings with a bayou-themed party or parade right here in Washington. And don’t forget to nibble on a king cake or a po’ boy while you’re at it.

Join the Louisiana Network as it brings Bourbon Street flavor to Club Liv on February 21. Come ready for a night of authentic food, drinks, dancing, beads, and more. Dress your best for the parade and costume contest. Grab tickets for $10 in advance (available here) or $20 at the door, which open at 6:30.

Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern is hosting its 15th annual Mardi Gras celebration through February 21. Celebrate in style with Cajun food, music, and brew, and on Fat Tuesday, gamble the night away (for charity’s sake). Try your hand at poker, craps, and blackjack, or show your skills on the dance floor. Enjoy special menu features all week long, such as Cajun popcorn, oyster po’ boys, and crawfish jambalaya.

March to the beat of the Batala Washington drummers during the 15th annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras parade on February 21. Festivities start at 8 PM; the parade route stretches along Wilson Boulevard from North Veitch Street to North Irving Street, and typically ends with a raucous gathering at a local bar.

Rage Cajun-style at Rumors’ 11th annual Bourbon Street Bash on February 21. Get the party started early with drink specials from 4 PM to close, including $5 Bacardi Hurricanes and $3 Blue Moons. Pair your libations with authentic New Orleans food, such as red beans and rice, jambalaya, and gumbo. Proudly display your eating prowess during the hot-wing-eating contest, and jam out to a live performance by Lethal Peanut. Cover is $5 at the door.

Rock out to the Junkyard Saints at Strathmore on February 24. The seven-piece band, performing at 9 PM, will give an ode to New Orleans with their eclectic sound, including zydeco, ska, swing, Latin, blues, funk, and R&B. Tickets are $10 in advance (buy here) or $12 at the door, which opens at 8 PM.

Roll along the mighty Mississippi at the United Way of Calvert County’s annual Mardi Gras bash on March 10. During the Mardi Gras on the Riverboat extravaganza, you can feast on a Cajun banquet, enter a raffle to win sparkling jewelry, participate in live and silent auctions, crown the king and queen of Mardi Gras, and dance the night away to music from Prime Time. Festivities are held at the Holiday Inn Conference Center and Marina in Solomons, Maryland, and start at 7 PM. Tickets are $135 and can be bought here.

Sip on a hurricane, munch on Creole specials, and watch the parade from Whitlow’s on Wilson for a Fat Tuesday celebration. Enjoy music from Matt Waller Trio after the parade around 9:30 PM.

Let the good times roll at Grillfish for an all-day bash on February 21. Snag free beads, guzzle half-price Hurricanes during happy hour, chill out to zydeco music, and find the baby in the king cake to be crowned king or queen of Mardi Gras.

Enjoy a day of family fun with arts and crafts workshops at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum on February 25. All attendees will be judged on their costumes, so dress to impress. The festive mood will be set with zydeco music, storytelling, prizes, and an adornment workshop. Free.

Soak up the Big Easy vibe all week long at the Mardi Gras headquarters Bayou. Experience the Bourbon Street atmosphere with live music, N’awlins-inspired cooking, hand-crafted Southern cocktails, and dancing. Stop in during happy hour every Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 and snack on $2 po’ boy sliders.

For a sophisticated Mardi Gras experience, stop by Central Michael Richard’s fifth annual Mardi Gras celebration. From 5 to 10:30 on February 21, enjoy live music from the Dixieland jazz quartet Laissez Foure, culinary dishes from New Orleans, custom cocktails, and complimentary festive beads.