Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras in the DC Area - Washingtonian (2024)

Things to Do

Live jazz bands, parades, dance parties, and more.

Written by Jessica Ruf | Published on

Photograph courtesy of the Wharf.

Laissez les bons temps rouler! While it’s hard to replicate the colorful revelry of New Orlean’s French Quarter, these DC Mardi Gras events promise good times:

Friday, February 9

Masquerade Party at Lost Boy Cider

317 Hooffs Run Drive, Alexandria

Don your best mask and head to the Alexandria cidery for an after-hours masquerade party with live music from the Not So Modern Jazz Quartet, light bites, and king cake. The $25 entrance fee includes a 12-ounce pour of the party’s exclusive cider release, the French Quarter, which has notes of sweet tea, olive, and honeysuckle.

Details: 9 PM to 12 AM; $25.

Mardi Gras Weekend on Barracks Row

8th Street SE

A Mardi Gras parade will fill the sidewalks of Barracks Row on Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, and again on Saturday night. Coinciding with the parades will be live music, beads, and food specials at local restaurants—such as Lola’s, where you can pair jambalaya with a “purple haze” martini, and Ambar, which will shake up sazerac co*cktails.

Details: Food and drink specials from Friday, February 9 through Tuesday, February 13; parade on Friday at 6 PM and on Saturday at 2 PM and 7 PM; free.

Saturday, February 10

Mardi Gras at The Wharf

35 Sutton Sq SW

Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras in the DC Area - Washingtonian (1)

District Pier Bar will be shaking up Hurricanes, a classic and fruity New Orleans co*cktail, on the District Pier at 3 PM before a spirited parade of stilt walkers, jugglers, and bead throwers march down Wharf Street at 3:30 PM. Beginning near the Anthem and ending near Hell’s Kitchen, the hour-long parade will feature the Eastern High School Marching Band, the Too Much Talent Band, and The Racing Presidents.

The revelry continues with live music from bands on four different stages and Mardi Gras food specials at restaurants along the Wharf. Milk & Honey will be steaming King Cake lattes while Hank’s Oyster Bar will be ladling Jambalaya, among other specials found under FAQs here. Stay until 6:30 PM for fireworks.

Details: 3 PM to 7 PM; free.

Mardi Gras at Dauphine’s

1100 15th Street NW

The New Orleans-inspired restaurant Dauphine’s is embracing Carnaval season’s over-the-top attitude with its third annual Mardi Gras party. For $165 per ticket, guests can order up Sazeracs and Hurricanes from four open bars, including an outdoor “Absinthe Garden,” while enjoying live music, dancing performances, and getting dressed up in festive face paint and jewels. Also included in the ticket is access to food stations dishing up gumbo, jambalaya, veggie étouffée, and caviar—along with King Cakes and beignets from pastry chef Joy Razo.

Details: 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM; $165-$200.

Bourbon to U Street Bar Crawl

1102 U Street NW – Multiple Venues

Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras in the DC Area - Washingtonian (2)

See U Street transformed into Bourbon Street for a day during the second annual Mardi Gras Bar Crawl, featuring seven bars—including District Alley, Alice, Cloak & Dagger, and Pure Lounge—each with its own DJ playing a different genre ranging from “grown folk music” to “NOLA bounce and twerk.” Drink specials include $5 Fat Tuesday shots and $7 hurricanes.

Details: 2 PM to 10 PM; $10-$20.

Children’s Mardi Gras Party with Alliance Française

2142 Wyoming Avenue NW

The language and cultural center Alliance Française de Washington, DC is hosting its first-ever children’s Mardi Gras celebration, during which kids can learn about the holiday’s traditions, make their own music shakers or masks, listen to carnaval-themed stories, and enjoy a slice of king cake.

Details: 3:15 PM to 4:30 PM; $7-$9.

Fat Tuesday, February 13

Mardi Gras at Due South

301 Water St SE

Po boy sliders, gumbo, jambalaya—and, of course, king cake—will fill the Cajun buffet at Due South’s Mardi Gras dinner party on Fat Tuesday. For $40, you’ll have access to the all-you-can-eat buffet, plus a complimentary pint of Louisiana’s Abita beer (other New Orleans classics, like Hurricanes and Sazaracs, will be available for order). Entertainment includes live music from Dream City Brass and a face painter who’ll fashion you a Mardi Gras mask.

Details: 5 PM to 10 PM, $40-$45.

Mardi Gras Soiree at The Ven

2015 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Dress up and swing dance to live New Orleans jazz performed by Spicy Hot Dixie at The Ven at Embassy Row Hotel’s Fat Tuesday soiree. For $35, beginner dancers can get the hang of swing via a lesson prior to the start of the evening, along with a complimentary glass of champagne. Regular admission to the dance, which starts at 8 PM, is $25.

Details: 7 PM, $25-35.

More: Fat TuesdayMardi GrasThe Wharf

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Jessica Ruf

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