Mardi Gras Insider's Guide Itinerary

If you're looking for a five day Mardi Gras itinerary that's jam packed with local tidbits of things to do and see you've come to the right place. Below you will find a detailed itinerary with various options based on your travel companions and plans. Please note while we do our best to ensure everything listed below is open during Mardi Gras, we always encourage you to double check as sometimes businesses change their operating hours.


5p    Downtown Dinner


An early dinner right before the kick-off parade is a must, and we're giving you a few suggestions based on your budget and cravings. For these suggestions, we're keeping it Downtown so you can park once and enjoy dinner and the parade. If you need parking suggestions, check out our FAQs.

Quick Meal - Ideal if you're running late or have the kids in tow
Friend/Date Night Feels - Perfect for setting the Mardi Gras mood
  • Vestal: Welcoming, upbeat environment with open hearth cooking and thoughtfully, deliciously crafted beverages.
  • Pamplona: Urban elegance with rustic Spanish simplicity, transporting flavors from traditional Spain fused with international tastes.
  • Tsunami: Fresh seafood and diverse Asian dishes with Japanese and Eastern flare while marrying it to its southern roots.
We're Here for The Cocktails - More drink forward with some snacks
  • Spoonbill Watering Hole & Restaurant: Serving a variety of plates ranging from fresh gulf seafood to burgers with patio seating, perfect for drinking local beer, cocktails as well as tiki drinks.
  • Wild Child Wine Shop: Your friendly neighborhood wine shop and tiny bar, focused on small production wines and conservas.

6:30p    Kick-Off Parade


The kick-off parade is always a fun one, with the theme changing every year. This year the theme is Krewe Allons promoting the Name, Image, and Likeness of Ragin’ Cajuns student-athletes. Offering a unique Mardi Gras experience, they provide local businesses or groups opportunities to secure a float and for individuals to ride with University of Louisiana student-athletes and coaches. For details on riding with Krewe Allons, visit Parade kicks off from Pontiac Point around 6:30p.

9p    Live Music Options


The parade may be over, but the live music is just getting started. Explore the many dancehalls and music venues Downtown by checking out Lafayette Weekly. See below for a complete list of who to see and where to go for a fun-filled night of dancing.


8a    Zydeco Breakfast

Buck & Johnny's Zydeco Breakfast

Things get kicked off early on Saturday with Zydeco Breakfast at Buck & Johnny's in Breaux Bridge, a short drive from Lafayette. The perfect marriage of breakfast and Zydeco, this unique event happens every Saturday with rotating Zydeco acts in and around the area. Doors open at 8a, but we suggest you get there early as there's usually a line to get in and a short wait for a table if you plan on eating breakfast. Want to get a sneak peek of what it's all about? Check out their Facebook page, where they livestream the performances each week. It's also a great way to pick up some dance moves before your trip.

10a    Swamp Tour

Cajun Country Swamp Tours

While in St. Martin Parish, a must-see is the Atchafalaya Basin, and there's no better way to explore this waterway than on a swamp tour. Whether you prefer a slow boat tour or a fast-paced airboat tour, you will see some amazing sites. The weather around this time is a little cold for alligators, but you will definitely see some birds and other wildlife, as well as the beauty of moss-draped cypress trees and other flora and fauna.

12:30p    Children's Parade

Mardi Gras

Depending on the timing of the swamp tour, you should have time to make it back to Downtown Lafayette for the Children's Parade. This parade is unique because it is comprised of children who serve as royalty for the Mardi Gras balls, similar to their adult counterparts. For more on this, check out our Mardi Gras Royalty post. The route for this parade is shortened and mainly runs through Downtown, so you'll definitely want to find a spot in or around the Downtown area.

2:30p    TABASCO

TABASCO Pepper Sauces

You may start feeling tired at this point, but we've got something to spice up your afternoon. Head down to Avery Island for the full TABASCO experience. Start with lunch at Cafe 1868 or opt for the culinary experience or cooking demo, which is an hour-long exploration of the various foods and TABASCO flavors in the area. After, explore the many stops along the factory tour where you'll learn about the history of the family, how TABASCO is made from plant to bottle, and even taste some TABASCO ice cream and soda in the Country Store on your way out. On your way out, be sure to check out Jungle Gardens, a driving trail through the flora and fauna of the area, including a Budha statue believed to be from 1100 A.D. and bird sanctuary.

6:30p    Bonaparte Parade

Mardi Gras - Queens Parade

The Saturday parade is the Krewe of Bonaparte, and it kicks off at 6:30p. If you're looking for a different place to view the parade other than Downtown, make your way to Le Festival de Mardi Gras à Lafayette held at Cajun Field. With paid parking, carnival rides, games, and live music, it's the perfect place to catch the end of the parade.

8:30p    Dinner

Dean-O's South Restaurant

Quick Meal - Ideal if you're low on time or have the kids in tow
Friend/Date Night Feels - Perfect for setting the Mardi Gras mood
  • Mid City Smokehouse: Steaks, seafood and smoked meats in a home style setting, with elevated bar and lounge.
  • Cafe Habana City: Cuban cuisine and  mojito bar in a Caribbean-style atmosphere.
  • Osaka: Family owned and operated offering fresh sushi & Japanese dishes.
We're Here For The Cocktails - More drink forward with some snacks

10p    Live Music Options

Downtown Alive! Dance Crowd

The parade may be over, but the live music is just getting started. Explore the many dancehalls and music venues Downtown by checking out Lafayette Weekly. See below for a complete list of who to see and where to go for a fun-filled night of dancing.


10:30a    Brunch

Social Southern Table & Bar

We're letting you sleep in on Sunday, but not for too long! The best way to kick off the day is with a hearty brunch and Lafayette has no shortage of places. If you're looking for a complete list of brunch spots, check out our blog post here. If you need some suggestions, see below.

  • Social Southern Table & Bar: Locally sourced cuisine with hand-crafted specialty cocktails.
  • Spoonbill Watering Hole: Serving a variety of plates ranging from fresh gulf seafood to burgers with patio seating perfect for drinking local beer, cocktails as well as tiki drinks.
  • Johnson's Boucaniere: Continuing a tradition since 1937 with a full service restaurant.

12:00p    Vermilionville

Vermiionville - LOT

After brunch, there's no better way to get moving than with a trip to Vermilionville Living History Museum. Tour the 23-acre site with historic homes and costumed artisans to discover the living history of the Acadians, Creoles, and Native Americans. You can opt for a self-guided or guided tour of the village. The best part? There's a weekly Sunday dance with Cajun & Zydeco acts in its Performance Center, one of the many historic dancehalls in the area.

2:00p     Plate Lunch

Laura's II Gravy

Though most visitors to Lafayette, LA might sooner associate the area with our more famed Cajun and Creole culinary fare (jambalaya, crawfish, and gumbo), it is the rice and gravy-centric plate lunch that fuels the people of Louisiana’s Acadiana region. Consisting of meat, a gravy-covered starch, a pair of vegetable sides, and a simple piece of bread — and often all served on a single plate — the plate lunch emphasizes speed, affordability, and caloric heft.

  • Laura's II: The best Creole experience in Lafayette serving BBQ, stuffed baked turkey wings, fried catfish, smothered okra, red beans, smothered cabbage, and more.
  • Favor Cuisine: Local plate lunch house serving up daily specials.
  • Cafe Coachella: One of the best soul food places in town.

5:30p    Rock'n'Bowl

Rock N Bowl Lafayette

Sunday provides a little break from all things Mardi Gras, but that doesn't mean you still can't keep the good times rolling. Rock'n'Bowl combines live music and bowling in one amazing venue. With a dancefloor in between bowling lanes you can either dance or bowl to the music. If sitting back and relaxing is more your speed, they have booths upstairs where you can watch the action and also play old-school games with friends. If you find yourself having worked up an appetite, don't worry, they serve food and drinks as well.

8p    Live Music Options

Jambalaya Cajun Band

The parade may be over, but the live music is just getting started. Explore the many dancehalls and music venues Downtown by checking out Lafayette Weekly. See below for a complete list of who to see and where to go for a fun-filled night of dancing.


7a    Breakfast

Dwyer's Cafe

We may have let you rest on Sunday, but Monday is going to be jam-packed. That's why we're kicking things off with a hearty breakfast. Check out some of the diner-style breakfast places perfect for filling up for Lundi Gras.

  • Dwyer's Cafe: One of the older plate lunch houses in Lafayette with diner style breakfast.
  • Ton's Downtown: New location of an old favorite serving breakfast and lunch.
  • T'Coons: Breakfast and plate lunch staple in the Lafayette area.

9a    Lundi Gras Boucherie at Lake View Park


A Lundi Gras tradition, the boucherie at Lake View Park is one of the last remaining public boucheries in the area. Get there early for the full experience of the whole pig butchering, or plan to arrive a little later in the morning once things get cooking. You'll be able to purchase various items to taste from the boucherie as well as chat with cooks and butchers firsthand. The best part? There's live music all day and well into the evening, so no matter when you arrive, you're in for a good time.

6p    Queen Evangeline's Parade

Mardi Gras Parade

There's only one parade on Lundi Gras and that's the Queen Evangeline's parade, which rolls at 6p from Pontiac Point. This parade uses the full parade route, so you can make plans to watch in Downtown Lafayette if you want to be done earlier, along Johnston Street or at the final stop, Cajun Field.

8:30p    Dinner

Whiskey & Vine

Quick Meal - Ideal if you're low on time or have the kids in tow
  • Hub City Diner: 1950's all-American style diner serving breakfast and rotating plate lunches as well as dinner.
  • Prejean’s: Serving up delicious Cajun flavors for over 75 years.
  • KOK Wings & Things: Serving wings, fries, fish, and more located off the campus of UL Lafayette.
Friend/Date Night Feels - Perfect for setting the Mardi Gras mood
  • Café Bella: Serving Italian style food, with wide ranging wine selection, intimate atmosphere, and attentive service.
  • Marcello’s: Authentic Italian cuisine using the freshest ingredients.
We're Here For The Cocktails - More drink forward with some snacks
  • Whiskey & Vine: Jazz lounge with nightly live jazz & blues music, spirits, & cuisine.
  • Bon Temps Grill: Swamp edge cuisine in an urban Cajun atmosphere.
  • Charley G’s: Lafayette favorite known for grilling aged beef & fresh Louisiana seafood over southern hardwoods.

9p    Live Music

Kyle Huval at the Holiday Lounge

If you're looking some late night Lundi Gras music and dancing be sure to check out the Holiday Lounge. This historic dancehall rarely opens its doors for shows, but every year for Lundi Gras they host one of the must see shows in the area. Located 289 Oberlin Rd in Mamou, LA.

If you're looking to stay in town there's plenty of live music and dancing. Explore the many dance halls and music venues by checking out Lafayette Weekly. Check back for our picks for who to see and where to go for a fun-filled night of dancing.


7a    Boudin for Breakfast


You made it all the way to Fat Tuesday, but the fun is just getting started. We're kicking off Mardi Gras the only way we know how, with boudin. With more than 50 places serving this regional delicacy, it can be difficult to pick, but we've listed some of the heavy hitters for you below. Need even more help choosing? Check out the Cajun Boudin Trail for a list of all the places serving boudin and a breakdown of the different types.

  • Don's Specialty Meats: Porky and peppery boudin, with just a touch of liver and generous flecks of green onion throughout each link.
  • Billy's Boudin: Serving traditional boudin, pistolettes, boudin rollups (eggrolls), and boudin balls that have justly made Billy’s famous.
  • The Best Stop: Famous for its smoked boudin, there’s not much rice in these links, but plenty of pork meat and spice, with a touch of liver.
  • Earl's Cajun Market: These links are definitive of the region: massive, grease-slicked, and green onion-y, with a higher-than-normal ratio of rice to pork.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Now it's time to choose your own adventure - city or country Mardi Gras. If you choose the country Mardi Gras you have two options, either view the spectacle or be the spectacle. If you prefer to watch on the sidelines check out these more rural courir de Mardi Gras that pass through the various Downtowns. Each link below contains info on the courir including time, routes, and more with descriptions via Wikipedia.

  • Tee Mamou: The longstanding tradition of the courir in the small community of Tee Mamou had waned by the late 1960s when a new capitaine was instrumental in preserving the tradition. An all women's group was established a few years later. The women's group does their run on Saturday before Mardi Gras and the men's run is on Mardi Gras day. The capitaine and co-capitaine of Tee Mamou use a special variation of the burlap whip associated with the courir . The route of the courir ends in the nearby community of Iota, Louisiana. Iota has an organized event, with Cajun and Zydeco bands playing on the main stage throughout Mardi Gras day. The highlight of the day is the arrival of the Tee Mamou courirs riding into the town in a wagon after the route through the country. The courir then gathers on the main stage with the capitaine to sing their version of the Chanson de Mardi Gras. Once this task is completed, the Mardi Gras descend on the downtown area dancing and begging for loose change.
  • Eunice: In Eunice, the celebration dates from when the town was first established in the late 19th century. It was abandoned for a short time during World War II when many of the local young men were in the army, but it was restarted in 1946. The roughly 2,000 participants, both male and female, assemble at the National Guard Armory at the corner of South 9th Street and Maple Avenue at 6a and start the run at 8a. The route is 13 miles long. They stop at farms along the route, beg for gumbo ingredients, and call out "Cinq-sous pour les Mardi Gras!" or "Nickels for the Mardi Gras!" If ingredients or money are given, they thank the givers of charity with a dance. By 3:00p the revelers return to town for a parade along Second Street. In 1997 a new addition was added to the festivities, the baking of the world's largest king cake.
  • Mamou: In Evangeline Parish, the Mamou celebration starts with a street dance held the Monday evening before Mardi Gras, with live music. A crowd favorite is the Mamou variation of the Chanson de Mardi Gras. The next day a street party begins in anticipation of the courir, who has been riding through the countryside collecting ingredients for the evening gumbo. The Mamou courir abides by the older traditions, with the Capitaines unmasked and all other revelers masked in the all-male troupe. They are accompanied by a wagon for the musicians and trailers for participants who do not have horses. The event was suspended twice in its history, during the American Civil War and during World War Two. By the mid-1940s the courir tradition in Mamou had declined but was revived by Alfred "Fred" Tate, Revon Reed, and Paul Tate, proprietors of the then newly opened Fred's Lounge.
  • Basile: In Basile the courir was suspended during World War II, but was re-established during the 1960s. A provision allowing women to be a part of the courir has been in place since the 1980s, and they are also permitted to serve as capitaines. The Basile courir de Mardi Gras has a tradition of begging for nickels (called cinq sous). The participants come up to bystanders with an open palm in the traditional begging gesture, and if that does not work, they will try to dig into the pockets or clothes of the bystanders as a prank in an attempt to find the nickels.
  • Elton: Elton, Louisiana is a small town in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana 15 miles west of Eunice on U.S. Route 190. Although it was defunct for a long time, the Elton courir was revived in the mid-1990s. It follows the same route and its participants sing the same local variation of the Chanson as the courir in 1925. The ride starts at sunrise just to the north of town and goes through the Coushatta Indian Reservation and then heads south back toward Elton. Like many of the traditional courirs the ride is an all-male affair.

If you want to join in on the spectacle you need to have a costume and capuchon. The only public courir de Mardi Gras takes place in Savoy, a small town just outside of Eunice. There is a cost to run which includes a bowl of gumbo at the end.

8a    Faquetaique Courir de Mardi Gras

Courir de Mardi Gras

The only public courir in the area, the Faquetaique, is put on by a group of local musicians and has been covered extensively in publications like National Geographic. While this is open-ish to the public you won't find much information about the specifics online and there's a reason. Driven by word of mouth this courir welcomes friends both new and old, but you have to know who to ask. The only tips we'll give you is it takes place somewhere along LA-758 in Eunice, LA and this is not a spectator event. You absolutely better show up in a costume and mask ready to participate.

If you choose city Mardi Gras, you want to plan for being out at the parades all day with the first rolling at 10a and the last one at 2:30p.

10a    King Gabriel

Mardi Gras King - Parade

1p    Mardi Gras Indians

Mardi Gras Indians of Lafayette

This event pays tribute to Lafayette’s diversity and history with participants dressed in elaborate handmade costumes that take all year to create. Sit back and enjoy the performances that honor artistry and music at 1 p.m. at Pontiac Point (the corner of Simcoe and Surrey Streets) or the judging contest at Clark Field at 3 p.m.

2:30p    Independent Parade

Mardi Gras Festival

5:30p    Boiled Crawfish

Boiled Crawfish with Pepper

There's no better way to end Mardi Gras than with some piping hot, seasoned to perfection, crawfish. In Lafayette there is no shortage of boiled crawfish places and you can check them all out here. If you're looking for some suggestions that will be open and near the parade route see below. Keep in mind Mardi Gras is early this season and the temperatures have been low which may push back crawfish season. Be sure to check with the below restaurants to ensure they have boiled crawfish before visiting.

  • Prejean's: Serving up delicious Cajun flavors for over 75 years.
  • The Cajun Table: Serving home-style Cajun cuisine from classic Louisiana dishes to boiled seafood.
  • Dwight's: Cajun home-cooked plate lunches.

8p    Southwest Mardi Gras Association Pageant & Ball

Rio Mardi Gras Ball

The City Ball is open to the public with no admission fee and takes place at the Heymann Performing Arts Center.

9p    Live Music Options

SWLA Zydeco Music Festival

The parade may be over, but the live music is just getting started. Explore the many dancehalls and music venues Downtown by checking out Lafayette Weekly. See below for a complete list of who to see and where to go for a fun-filled night of dancing.

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