Mardi Gras in San Diego – Carnival in Paradise!

Would it surprise you to know that San Diego is the city with the largest Mardi Gras festival west of the Mississippi River? I mean, you know San Diegan’s like a good party, right? The following are just a few of the debaucherous ways that you can celebrate on Fat Tuesday (February 12, 2013):

19th Annual Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp

Mardis Gras in the Gaslamp

It’s a carnival atmosphere in the Gaslamp during Mardi Gras. Photo Courtesy of Be Water Photo.

Featuring an electrifying talent lineup ranging from local, regional and national zydeco, blues and rock bands, electronic and House music DJs, dance crews, acrobats and visual artists on 4 stages – this celebration will be a wonderland of fun!

Location: 5th Avenue between Market & L Streets (Gaslamp Quarter)
Time: 5:00 to 11:00pm
Cost: In Advance – $40. Day of – $50.
> Find out more about Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp

Gaslamp Mardi Gras – The French Connection

Gaslamp Mardi Gras - The French Connection

Get into the Gaslamp’s hottest clubs during Mardi Gras with the French Connection VIP pass.

Rather celebrate the holiday inside a bar or nightclub? Check out Club VIP’s “The French Connection” passport which gets you VIP Access to a number of Gaslamp nightclub celebrations (including those at the Hard Rock, Belo, Onyx, McFadden’s and the Pussycat Dollhouse!) and runs until 4:00 in the morning! Your passport cost includes welcome shots at 10 different venues and food & drink discounts at all participating venues.

Location: 5th Avenue between E and G Streets (Gaslamp Quarter)
Time: 5:00 PM to 4:00 AM
Cost: $29 pre-sale
> Find out more about Gaslamp Mardi Gras – The French Connection

12th Annual Hillcrest Mardi Gras

HIllcrest Mardi Gras

HIllcrest Mardi Gras. Photo credit: Jim Winsor

The Hillcrest Street Party will feature live entertainment, special guest performers and food & drink options. Count on lots of beads and lots of fun! For an even more memorable event, check out their VIP options (an additional $50) which provides partiers with an express entry and private reception & bathrooms.

Location: University Avenue between First & Fourth Avenues (Hillcrest)
Time: 6:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: $15-$75
> Find out more about Hillcrest Mardi Gras

More Mardi Gras in San Diego

And for those who want to start early, check out the Little Italy Carnavale and the San Diego Brazilian Mardi Gras Ball happening on February 9th!

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Benjamin Eastman

About Benjamin Eastman

I lead a pretty active lifestyle and try to spend as much time outdoors as possible. On any given Saturday morning you'll find me on one of San Diego's beach volleyball courts and quite possibly on the water or a hiking trail at some other point during the weekend. As a single professional I definitely enjoy experiencing the nightlife throughout the county - but lean more towards the Gaslamp Quarter, North Park or Hillcrest when planning a night out. I love to eat, and try to keep my ear to the grapevine about new and exciting restaurant openings.  And while I'm certainly excited to try the latest, trendiest restaurant in town, I am also infamously known for late night trips to 24-hour taco shops. Basically, whether I'm in board shorts or a bow tie, I try to enjoy all the many opportunities available to me in San Diego!What would you do on your ideal San Diego day?I’d start with a leisurely, late morning brunch.  Spend some time on the beach.  Grab some rolled tacos at a taco stand and then grab a nap.  In the evening I’d hit the Gaslamp District for dinner and then end the night at a rooftop bar/lounge.If you were invisible, where would you go?If I got to pick a superpower, I don’t know that I would pick invisibility…but if I were to become Mr. Invisible, I guess I would go to all the live music, theater and symphony performances in town.What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?On a beautiful, San Diego day there is nothing better than playing beach volleyball.  The sun on your back, a gentle ocean breeze, and a whole lot of bump, set, spiking!  And of course the perfect day of beach volleyball isn't complete without a grill to barbeque some burgers or carne asada on.Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?Both actually!  That’s the beauty of the San Diego food scene.  I CAN have my cake and eat it too!  Depending on my mood (and my finances!) I am happy to chow down at a hole-in-the-wall neighborhood burger joint or a luxury steakhouse. I'm actually a founding member of a Burger lunch group that eats at a different burger restaurant each month.  We've been going for 6 months now and still have plenty of locations to visit before we exhaust all our options!

5 thoughts on “Mardi Gras in San Diego – Carnival in Paradise!

  1. This year now that a new promoter has taken over they brought back all of the cool stuff… I used to goto the Gaslamp Mardi Gras when they had the parade and had a great time. I learned that going with a VIP ticket was better allowing for fewer people a cooler vibe with places to lounge and all important no lines at the private bathroom units…lol…

    Same promoter does ShamRock in the Gaslamp and MonsterBash in the Gaslamp… Love their shows always seems like something new. Again need to do the VIP pass for the extra privileges.

  2. Cant wait finally they brought the parade back….. Makes all the difference in the world…. Also heard Snoop Dog is coming in to DJ and perform. He is a great show…

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