Fat Tuesday is Feb. 25 this year, and — even though we are a full 6-hour car ride away from New Orleans — Houston does it big with events, brunches, special menus, etc. and even our own 2-weekend Mardi Gras in Galveston.
Scroll down to learn about Houston Mardi Gras events, but first…
Here’s everything you need to know before you go to Mardi Gras in Galveston.
- The two-weekend festival is Feb. 14 & 15 and Feb. 21 & 22 this year. There are parades at various times and a big concert each evening.
- Get your tickets in advance — they do sell out for some of the packages and balconies. You can get your tickets online here. You can buy 2-day and 5-day tickets and even upgrade yourself to balcony options.
- There are different options for the balconies — they seem pretty cool and definitely handy for the concert — the crowd is huge. Plus you get to throw beads during the parades!
- BRING CASH. Everything (aside from the restaurants) is cash only. We did not plan accordingly and many dollars were spent on ATM and bank fees.
- The good news is drinks are very cheap. $5 beers and, if you find the right spot, you can even get $5 seltzers. There are some bars with very standard beer options then there are tourist gift shops on the Strand that just operate as bars. These spots have a greater variety we found.
- Dress up — the more ridiculous the better. Fun makeup, wigs, and all the purple, gold, and green! Everything flies during Mardi Gras! Even if you didn’t dress up, it’s only a matter of minutes before you stumble upon a parade and someone hurls some beads at you.
- Check the weather — a duh, but gah it was unexpectedly cold.
- Tickets have in-out privileges. We learned this when we went back to the car for more layers thanks to unexpected chill.
- Park on the street and pay by phone. It was $10 for the whole day to park on the street, and I think garages might be a bit more expensive. If you get there early enough, you might snag a spot!
- It’s definitely a night thing. We went at around noon/1 pm. We went to the Zaniest Golf Cart Parade, which was fun! But then there was about nothing going on until 4 or 5 when things started getting set up for the concert at 6. I will say it was kind of crazy — it’s like we blinked and there were tons of people there!
- This brings this to another idea: Make a staycation of it! It felt a little ridiculous paying for a hotel when we were just a 45-minute drive home! But it felt even more ridiculous leaving to drive home at a decent hour — the party kept going!
- Eat and drink! There aren’t too many bars and restaurants within the ticketed area, but we liked Stuttgarden Tavern and Yaga’s for food (there was a long wait at Yaga’s because it’s RIGHT in the square with everything going on. Later, we went to Murphy’s Pub (dive and laid-back) and then Tsunami (young and fun).
The TLDR of Mardi Gras Galveston is: go at night, plan a safe ride home, bring twice as much cash as you think you’d need, and have a blast!!
Where to celebrate Mardi Gras in HOUSTON!
Not up for a full weekend of Mardi Gras? Check out these events closer to home in H-town!
Mixers and Elixirs: Mardi Gras at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Thursday, Feb. 20, 7 to 10 pm. Click here for more.
Mardi Gras Parade in Downtown Houston. Saturday, Feb. 22, starting at 1 pm. Click here for more.
4th Annual EaDo Mardi Gras Pub Crawl. Saturday, Feb. 22, starting at 3 pm. Tickets start at around $3. Click here for more.
Brennan’s Mardi Gras Brunch. Sunday, Feb. 23, 11 am to 2 pm. Click here for more.
Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil at Revival Market. Fat Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2 to 6 pm. Plates are $25 and beer specials from $3. Click here for more.
Mardi Craw at The Rustic. Fat Tuesday, Feb. 25, starting at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $50. Click here for more.
Feast Before Sacrifice – A Mardi Gras Dinner and Art Show. Fat Tuesday, Feb. 25, starting at 6 pm. Tickets are $125. Click here for more.
Fat Tuesday at Jax on Shepherd. Fat Tuesday, Feb. 25, starting at 6 pm. Click here for more.