One major thing to note about Mardi Gras is that the biggest U.S. celebration before the beginning of Lent takes place in a city filled with magic: New Orleans, Louisiana. Believed to be the most haunted city in America, New Orleans boasts a plethora of witches and Wiccans who flock to the city every year to practice their magical art, learn from the best, and thrive in a dark and brooding party scene.
But the magic doesn’t just exist in the Big Easy. In fact, there are aspects of NOLA’s party in several other cities that also host incredible bashes in February to commemorate the occasion. We’ve got five alternative trips for you to consider, all of which you can book right now.
5.) St. Louis, Missouri
One of the most fabulous Mardi Gras celebrations in the country actually happens slightly off center from the middle of the map, in St. Louis, Miss. The official parade route winds through the Soulard district – an enclave established by the French some 250 years ago – and displays more than 100 floats down city streets. And in case you’re looking for something to do with your pet, the weekend plays host to the most incredible pet parade you may have ever seen, boasting thousands of furry participants with more than 70,000 human owners.
If you’re not already tempted to stop by “The Gateway to The West,” i.e., the St. Louis Arch, don’t dismiss the city for being a flyover because there is so much to do. The St. Louis Zoo is one of the most sought-after in the Midwest. Recognized as one of the top in the world in the last decade, topping this list just last year, it’s located in the heart of the expansive greenery of Forest Park, which is a sight to behold in itself as the nation’s largest urban park. In fact, if you take the time to meander around the park – which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the official Mardi Gras festivities – you will find the Norman K. Probstein Golf Course if you’re interested in practicing your swing, the stunning beauty of Art Hill and the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Boeing Aviation Fields which plays host to softball diamonds after a life as a landing field, James S. McDonnell Planetarium to learn about the stars, and bodies of water that might be forming beautiful, glittering crystals this time of year.
Hop over to the downtown area to take a tour at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, stock up on your magic supplies at Mystic Valley or get your palm read at Mercury & Moonstone, enjoy the intricacies of City Museum – recently voted No. 1 museum in the world and feels a little magical when you’re roaming around it – and binge on the amazing fried ravioli at several tasty restaurants, including Big Daddy’s Bar & Grill.