- Things to Do
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Celebrate Mardi Gras in Galveston at the 3rd largest celebration in the country.
The colors. The parades. The beads. The incredible food, music, and crowds bursting with excitement - Mardi Gras has a lot to love. And when you add the sand between your toes and the epic views of the island of Galveston, Mardi Gras gets even better.
Mardi Gras! Galveston is the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the world and has a long history of festivities. The first celebration in Galveston was held in 1867, complete with a masked ball and Shakespearean reenactments!
In 1871, two rival Mardi Gras societies, or “Krewes” were created. These krewes were known as Knights of Momus and the Knights of Myth, both of which hosted parades, complete with stunning invitations and costumes. These original Krewes are still acknowledged and celebrated to this day.
Today, Mardi Gras! Galveston is celebrated in much the same way as it was in the days of old: with parades, balcony parties, and festive balls, all paying homage to the historic ceremonies.
If you are planning to head to Galveston for the next Carnival season, it is a good idea to know what to expect. Galveston’s festival takes place for the two weeks preceding Lent and ends on the official Mardi Gras date. Most festivities take place in Galveston’s historic downtown in the Mardi Gras Entertainment District. Parades and other activities take place along the beachfront and Seawall Boulevard.
There is a gate fee for entrance into The Strand, but children ages 12 and under can enter for free. Parking lots are located at 21st & Market Street; 20th & Market Street; and 20th & Postoffice Street, and garages are located at 25th & Harborside Drive and 22nd & Market Street. If you are lucky, you may also be able to find metered street parking.
Mardi Gras! Galveston can draw up to 350,000 people. Because of this, it is important to plan your lodging ahead of time. Check out local Bed and Breakfasts that will be the perfect place to relax and regroup during the carnival.
Making your packing list? Don’t forget to add a little sparkle! Mardis Gras! In Galveston, you will see some very clever and creative costumes, covered in sequins, confirming that festival attendees are ready for a good time. Don’t forget: Galveston is an island and is in Texas, but it still can get chilly in February, so bring a jacket along with your super wild attire.
If Mardi Gras is on your bucket list, but so is a beach getaway, Mardi Gras! Galveston may be just the celebration for you. Pack your beads, and get ready for an epic experience you won’t soon forget.
Take your beads home and add them to your collection so you're ready for next year or stop by the Galveston Island Humane Society to recycle!