How to Celebrate Mardi Gras in Phoenix

Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras in French, is a celebration traditionally held before the observance of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Christian Lenten season. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

You don’t have to live in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. Whether you want to get dressed up and dance the night away or stay in with a slice of king cake, the Phoenix area has plenty of options for letting the good times roll.

Party at Fat Tuesday

Could a place called Fat Tuesday NOT celebrate Mardi Gras? Their annual party just might be the biggest in the valley. Festivities start at 11 am and run throughout the day. Enjoy live music in the evening, a DJ for late night dancing, and New Orleans-style eats all day long.

Jam at ThirdSpace

ThirdSpace, a bar/coffee/cafe shop tucked away in an industrial area on Grand Avenue, throws a rocking Mardi Gras party every year. This year promises to be bigger and better, with Zydeco music from The Hurricajuns and a Fat Tuesday bike ride/parade through downtown. They’re also serving up gumbo and beads. A $5 cover goes to the band.

Swing Dance at Harold’s Cave Creek Corral

Harold’s always puts on a large spread for Mardi Gras. This year, they’ll have live music from the 52nd Street Jazz Band and the Acoustic Kings. Swing dance lessons start at 6:30 pm. They’ll also hold costume contest including best mask, best costume, and best painted face at 8 pm and a crawfish eating contest at 8:30 pm. Enjoy an authentic Mardi Gras buffet with crawfish, oysters, jambalaya, chicken gumbo, shrimp etouffee and more for $17.99. Reservations are recommended.

Indulge at French Grocery

Ken Lentz grew up in the south and learned to cook in New Orleans. His family brought New Orleans creole cuisine to Arizona with French Grocery, a restaurant/bakery located in central Phoenix. Southern favorites including muffuletta sandwiches, shrimp po’ boys, and beignets are served year round. King cakes can be ordered from Three Kings Day (January 6) through Mardi Gras.

Get Decked Out at Mardi Gras Costume Shop

To win the costume contest at Harold’s, visit Mardi Gras Costume Shop in Scottsdale, Arizona’s largest costumer. With several thousand costumes and accessories available for both rental and retail, you can either browse their extensive inventory to design your own costume or rely on their crew of professional costumers. Local pickup and delivery are available, but advanced reservations are recommended.

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