The beads, feathers and fun will flow on Tuesday, Mar. 4, when San Diego celebrates Mardi Gras.
Downtown, the Fat Tuesday party will be poppin’ at the Gaslamp Quarter with the San Diego Mardi Gras Parade & Celebration nighttime block party along 5th Avenue.
The shindig will bring an energetic parade down 5th Avenue that begins with various live music acts and roving performers hitting the streets from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Once the crowd is hyped, the main parade will kick off, boasting dozens of colorful, adorned floats and a mystery celebrity grand marshal. The parade runs from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Street party entertainment will include multiple live DJs spinning fun beats. When you need a breather from the bash, stop in at a number of local Gaslamp eateries offering Mardi Gras deals, including drink and food specials at places like Bice, Dick’s Last Resort, Henry’s Pub and the Marble Room.
General admission ticket prices to this party cost $35 on Monday and $40 on Tuesday, while VIP tickets run up to $85.
For a pre-party, Fuse Nightclub on 4th Avenue plans to celebrate early on Saturday with the San Diego Brazilian Mardi Gras Ball, which brings the excitement of Carnival to San Diego, along with feathered, sexy Samba dancers and non-stop Brazilian music and performances. That party lasts from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m., with general admission tickets priced at $29 and VIP tickets priced at $99.
Then, again on Tuesday, the uptown community of Hillcrest will host Fat Tuesday with a fun with a free street party from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. featuring an outrageous masquerade parade and lot and lots of beads.
This celebration will take over University Avenue between 10th Avenue and Herbert Street. A float parade runs from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. After that, all kinds of eclectic performers will take over the streets, including stilt walkers, trapeze performers, a fire dancer and DJs. Some ladies from LIPS will also be there.
On the west end of the street shindig, partygoers can enjoy some grub from gourmet food vendors and a lounge made for mingling.
All of these aforementioned local Mardi Gras events are 21 and up. Get there early to find parking.
Meanwhile, over in the North County, partygoers have a couple of options to ring in Mardi Gras.
In Valley Center, Harrah’s Rincon Hotel and Casino will celebrate the spirit of Fat Tuesday with live music and traditional New Orleans-inspired “Hurricane” drinks. Their buffet will morph into cajun heaven with a wide array of bayou favorites, including seafood gumbo. This celebration is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
In San Marcos, Alchemy of the Hearth – a kitchen dedicated to classes for aspiring and experienced chefs alike – will host a Mardi Gras-inspired cooking demo that includes lessons on how to make cajun classics like mixed jambalaya, steamed crawfish and bananas foster. Preregistration is required and seating is limited for this class, which runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.