Mardi Gras Insider's Guide Recommendations

If you're looking for local tidbits of things to do while in town for Mardi Gras you've come to the right place. Below you will find a recommendations from our 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.

Places To Eat

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Quick Meal - Ideal if you're in a hurry or have the kids in tow

People Eating Outside At CENTRAL In Lafayette, LA

Friend/Date Night Feels - Perfect for setting the Mardi Gras mood

Tsunami Sushi Interior

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 offers fresh sushi & Japanese dishes.

We're Here for The Cocktails - More drink forward with some snacks

Wild Child Wine Shop

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Legend's on Bertrand: Bar and grill with outdoor seating.
  • Adopted Dog Brewing: Craft brewery offering American fare.

Sunday Brunch

Social Southern Table & Bar

  • 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.


Hub City Diner Breakfast

  • 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: Plate lunch house serving diner style breakfast.
  • Hub City Diner: 1950's all-American style diner serving breakfast and rotating plate lunches as well we dinner.
  • Mel's Diner: 24-hour diner with daily plate lunch options.
  • Buck & Johnny's Zydeco Breakfast: The perfect marriage of breakfast and Zydeco.



  • 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.

Boiled Crawfish

Boiled Crawfish with Pepper

  • 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.

Plate Lunch

Laura's II Gravy

  • 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.

Things To Do

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Mardi Gras - Queens Parade

No trip to Lafayette Mardi Gras would be complete without catching a parade...or 10! With parades happening everyday except for Sunday you can sure your trip to Lafayette will be jam packed screaming, "Throw me something mister/sister!" You can get the full parade schedule by clicking here.

King Cakes

A Piece of King Cake

You may have noticed that king cake isn't mentioned on the detailed itinerary and there's a reason. Here in Louisiana, Mardi Gras season kicks off on January 6 with the Epiphany or Twelfth Night, the day the three kings visited the Christ Child. It's believed to be bad luck to eat king cake before the Epiphany so locals wait in anticipation all year to feast upon their favorite king cakes before Mardi Gras comes to a close. When it comes to king cake everyone has a favorite and there's no bad option, so go ahead and try as many types of king cakes as you can by clicking here.

Swamp Tour

Airboat Sailing Through Swamp From McGee's Ventures In Lafayette, LA

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.


TABASCO Pepper Fields

Head down to Avery Island for the full TABASCO experience. Start with lunch at Cafe 1868 or opt for the Culinary Experience, 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 100-year-old Budha statue and bird sanctuary.

Vermilionville Living History Museum & Folklife Park


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 any historic dancehalls in the area.

Courir de Mardi Gras Mask Making

2018 Courir de Mardi Gras

When it comes to Mardi Gras in Lafayette there are two types-city and country. You may be familiar with city Mardi Gras with the parades and royalty, but country Mardi Gras is a whole other celebration. You can read all about the differences and traditions here. If you're looking to attend a courir de Mardi Gras, there are two ways to go about it. One is a spectator where you can attend more or less any courir and watch in one of the rural parishes Downtown. The other is to immerse yourself by joining the courir. To do this you will need a full costume including a capuchon. There are people who sell ready made costumes to buy, others do year round commissions on specific courir costumes, and there's even a business that will walk you through making your own costume.


Rock'n'Bowl Interior

The perfect stop whether your looking for a night out alone, with friends, or family. This unique venue combines the fun of bowling with live music and dancing complete with food and onsite restaurant and bar. If sitting back and relaxing is more your speed they have private booths on the second floor complete with old school games to watch all the action.

Lundi Gras Boucherie at Lake View Park

Boucherie Cracklin

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.

Places to Stay

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Mouton Plantation

In Lafayette, LA you can stay in luxury, stay in history, or stay in budget. Choose from an assortment of hotels, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds and even houseboats.

Live Music

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The parades 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.

Inspiration Journal

Lafayette's blog showcasing the food, music, culture and history at the heart of Cajun & Creole Country.

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Mardi Gras Indians of Lafayette

Living Tradition at Pontiac Point Bells, whistles, dance, and chants drape Simcoe and Surrey St. on Mardi Gras morning. The Mardi Gras Indian walking parade at Pontiac Point is a…

Getting to Lafayette

The city of Lafayette, LA is located in the center of Lafayette Parish at the intersection of I-10 and I-49 between New Orleans and Houston and only 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.

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