Mardi Gras San Diego 2016
Mardi Gras San Diego was a blast! We were celebrating my best friend’s birthday in Gaslamp for the big annual Mardi Gras San Diego celebration. Trevor and I drove down to Oceanside and took the $5.50 Coaster to downtown San Diego. Yes, I said it…$5.50! If you didn’t know it, now you know – the trains down to San Diego offer great rates on the weekends. We booked a 4 star hotel through Hotel Tonight for only $133.00 on a Saturday night (That was including taxes / fees, free shuttle transportation from the train station, complimentary breakfast and an ocean view). Not too shabby. The only, downfall were the Mardi Gras Ticket costs of 55.00 each (tisk tisk, we bought our tickets last minute). In hindsight, the price was worth it, especially when you take into account the big Mardi Gras parade, live music on every block, food/drink discounts, live art, costumes galore and Bone Thugs and Harmony came out for a surprise performance! ha.
(5.50 one way tickets on the Coaster from Oceanside)
(Not a bad hotel view considering the advertised rate of 101.00 a night)
(Picked our wrist bands up early to avoid the long lines)
Photos from the night…
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and refers to the Carnivalesque celebrations as well as indulging in rich/fatty foods. Let’s just say we skipped out on that part, but we definitely enjoyed the festivities. The Mardi Gras at Gaslamp San Diego, ranks as one of the Top 10 Mardi Gras in the nation. So if you are looking for a west coast alternate to experience the carnival, Gaslamp Mardi Gras is an excellent contender. (Psst, there is also a separate Fat Tuesday celebration and a St Paddy’s day in Gaslamp, might be worth looking into if you are into this sorta thing)
(Best Mask of the night below)
(Bone Thugs n Harmony Surprise Performance)
(Getting ready to watch the parade)
(View from the hotel room at night)
If you are a Cali native or are traveling to San Diego for their big celebrations, here are a few tips and suggestions:
- HOTELS: Surprisingly, the hotel rates were all very affordable, but I would book your hotel in advance. Use third party sites like expedia and Travelocity to score deals. If you are booking last minute, use the App Hotel Tonight. You can land up to 50% off hotel stays using this app.
- TICKETS: Purchase your tickets in advance and score the early bird specials.
- Take the train down to SD for the added experience and save on gas. You can find weekend deals for 10.00 one way on the Amtrak and 5.50 on the Coaster from Oceanside.
- ATTIRE: Buy your Mardi Gras masks / attire in advance. Tip: shop online on Amazon / Etsy or Ebay. They have unique items that will set you apart from the crowd (Shout out to my friend Baylen who had the best mask of the night – see above)
- Pick up your tickets / wrist bands early in the night to avoid the long lines.
- Wear comfy shoes. You WILL be doing a lot of walking
- Come with energy – you probably don’t want to be out all day running around, since Mardi Gras is like an all night marathon of eating, dancing, drinking (for some) and walking. You will be tired by the end of it all.
- For Mardi Gras, avoid purchasing beads in advance unless you plan on handing them out. You will have beads flying at you in all directions and will come home with a handful. I promise.
- FOOD: For frugal eating – visit the food stands and avoid the downtown restaurants.
- Uber / taxi to and from your hotel to the festivities – it’s crazy out there.
- If you are meeting up with people, choose a meeting spot. Mardi Gras SD spans over ten blocks and there are thousands of people. It would be like playing where is Waldo if you don’t have a game plan.
Happy Mardi Gras Month!