You don't have to go to New Orleans to enjoy Creole-cuisine, masks, beads, King Cake and everything else that screams Mardi Gras. Plenty of events in the D.C.area are bringing "NOLA" traditions to you! Here's our top 11 things to do for Mardi Gras locally!
Mardi Gras Extravaganza at Union Market
D.C. mixologists, bars and restaurants will showcasing their southern-inspired favorites at Dock 5 in Union Market (5th Street NE) this Tuesday from 5 to 10 p.m. Dock 5 is a unique warehouse venue complete with high ceilings and glass garage doors.
You'll get to try southern style food and drinks as mixologists compete to create the best Hurricane cocktails. You can also participate in a contest yourself -- just wear your best Mardi Gras costume. The winner gets a bejeweled trophy.
Jazz bands such as Dupont Brass and the Swinging Jazz Quartet will be performing live.
Proceeds from the event will go to two nonprofit organizations: the St. Bernard Project, which aids families after natural disasters, and D.C. Central Kitchen, which fights against hunger and poverty. Tickets are $65.
Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade & Ball
Wear anything from an elaborate dress or suit to a beaded costume to the Mardi Gras Ball this Tuesday from 7 to 11 p.m. -- the best-dressed guests will win prizes!
Weather-permitting, a parade will kick off at 7 p.m. at Wilson Boulevard and N. Barton Street in Arlington, although the parade may be cancelled due to inclement weather.
But the ball will go on! The party starts at 7 p.m. at Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd., Arlington) You'll get free beads and enjoy live music and gumbo.
Tickets for the ball range from $25 to $50. VIP tickets include unlimited food, beer and wine. You can also help judge costumes to choose the King and Queen of the ball. Tickets are available online. You must be 21+ to attend.
Host Mardi Gras Pancake Races (With Waffles) at Washington National Cathedral
The cathedral will celebrate Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) with its traditional pancake races with a new twist: They're using waffles. This year's races will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, with teams from St. Albans, Beauvoir, the cathedral stone masons and more competing. A three-day Waffle Madness bracket competition is preceding the races at the Open City Café at the cathedral. Proceeds will go to the Cathedral Scholars college prep program.
Mixology Class for Beginners
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your own cocktail? Now's the time! Learn how to mix Mardi Gras-inspired drinks such as Hurricanes, plus Mai Thais and many more this Tuesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m at 407 H St. NE.
And don't worry -- the class is for beginners so no experience necessary. Tickets are $45; you can order yours online.
Mardi Gras Moms' Night Out
If you're a mom looking for something fun and family-friendly to do for Mardi Gras, head to Play, Work or Dash (8214 Old Courthouse Road, Suite B, Vienna, Virginia) this Tuesday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
How it works: You can mingle with other women while your kids play in the playroom. Play, Work or Dash is offering free childcare so you and your kids can all have fun. Kids will get to make Mardi Gras-themed crafts while you socialize and enjoy drinks and refreshments. There will be plenty of cute props and a professional photo booth for you as well.
The event is free, but space for children is limited, so be sure to register online in advance.