The Best Places to Celebrate Mardi Gras Outside of New Orleans

The Big Easy might get all the fame, but places from Alabama to the south of France also know how to party before Lent

Souvenir Dolls, New Orleans, Louisiana. (© Ed Gifford/Masterfile/Corbis)

St. Louis, Missouri

Outside of New Orleans, St. Louis claims to host the United State's largest Mardi Gras party. Founded by the French some 250 years ago, the Soulard district—a historic French district and the city's oldest neighborhood—hosts a series of parties throughout Carnival and leading to Mardi Gras. The largest parade is the Grand Parade, which features more than 100 floats and attracts thousands of visitors each year. 

Humans aren't the only ones that get in on the Mardi Gras fun in St. Louis—the city hosts a pet parade that boasts hundreds of animals and over 70,000 two-legged participants. St. Louis also pays homage to its German-influences with a dachshund race known as the Weiner Dog Derby.


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