The 7 Best Places to Celebrate Mardi Gras Besides New Orleans

When most people hear "Mardi Gras," they automatically think of New Orleans, but The Crescent City isn't the only place that celebrates with a bang. Several other countries celebrate Mardi Gras with big parades, theatrical performances, live concerts, and other festive events that draw just as big, if not bigger, crowds than New Orleans. Here are the seven best places to celebrate Mardi Gras besides New Orleans:

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

  1. Nice, France

    You may not know it, but Nice, France, is the birthplace of the original Carnaval celebration. Nice hosts a huge 10-day festival that includes daily parades, concerts, theatrical performances, and firework shows along the French Riviera. It's estimated that nearly 1.2 million people attend the Carnaval celebration each year.

  2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Rio de Janeiro takes their version of Carnival to a whole other level of fun. The Rio Carnival celebration is famous for its big parties and even bigger and more extravagant parades. Droves of people line the streets and surrounding buildings to watch the famous and internationally-telecasted Samba Parade, which rides through the Sambadrome with the most colorful and whimsical revelers aboard.

  3. Quebec City, Canada

    It might be freezing this time of year, but Quebec doesn't let the cold stop them from hosting the annual Quebec Winter Carnival. This French festival embraces the chilly temps by hosting a winter amusement park complete with skiing, snow rafting, snow sledding, and other winter sports and activities. Crowds also gather to watch the big parades and traditional dancing troupes as they ride through the streets and keep everyone entertained and warm.

  4. Mazatlan, Mexico

    The city of Mazatlan in Sinaloa, Mexico puts on a spectacular Mardi Gras celebration that is definitely worth traveling to see. Mazatlan's seven-day Carnaval celebration puts on huge parades, live concerts, dances, and entertaining street performances that depict important native Mexican traditions and rituals.

  5. Binche, Belgium

    Binche, Belgium has one of the biggest and best Mardi Gras celebrations in the world. The Carnival of Binche is a UNESCO World Heritage event that draws thousands of people each year. The three-day event includes many exciting parades and performances, such as Shrove Sunday, where the participants of the Carnival, also known as Gilles, dress in Harlequin and Pierrot costumes and dance through the street to music.

  6. Barranquilla, Colombia

    Barranquilla has one of the most colorful and exciting Carnival celebrations in the world. The festivities begin four days before Ash Wednesday and come to an end on the following Saturday during the Batalla de las Flores. The Carnival of Barranquilla has some of the biggest performances and the most ornate parade floats of all time.

  7. Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean

    The Caribbean country Trinidad and Tobago knows how to have a good time and one of the best times to visit here is during its annual Carnival celebration. Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is an exciting event that's rich in Caribbean culture and history. Parades, dances, and live performances make up much of the celebration, in addition to quirky events like stick fighting and limbo competitions.

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