Though not as widely known as the New Orleans Mardi Gras party, the pre-Lent celebration in Galveston has existed in some shape or form since 1867, 2011 marked the official centennial of Galveston’s Mardi Gras. Galveston enjoys a rich tourism industry and many local businesses pull out all the stops for Mardi Gras every year. The Mardi Gras parade attracts people from all over the state and there is live entertainment every day and night for the 12 day, 11 night city-wide celebration.
Galveston Mardi Gras 2012 runs through February 21, 2012. If you want to avoid the craziness of the streets, local hotels are offering balcony parties overlooking parade routes that have bird’s eye views of live entertainment. Here is a list of the best Mardi Gras parties that won’t leave you trapped in the streets.
Get a Bird’s Eye View
Price: $189 & up
Hours: Feb 18, 2012 at 6 p.m.
The Tremont House is a Victorian-style hotel located in the Strand District, a major Mardi Gras parade route. Built in 1839, the hotel boasts former guests such as Sam Houston, Clara Barton and Buffalo Bill. With its excellent location, guests can enjoy a rockin’ good time without venturing into the crowded streets. The Tremont House will be hosting its 28th Annual Mari Gras Ball and Parade Viewing Party on February 18, 2012. This year’s theme pays tribute to “The Golden Era of Mowtown.
Party Closer to the Action
Hours: Sun-Thurs: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri- Sat: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Not everyone can shell out the cash for such a luxurious party, or perhaps some prefer to be in the middle of things rather than looking down from above. Yaga’s Tropical Cafe is a great spot for those of such a mind. Featuring the Tsunami exotic tequila bar and a full menu, Yaga’s is an oasis in the center of the parades and parties. Yaga’s will have Mardi Gras-themed parties for the duration of the celebration. Grab your beads and party at Yaga’s.
Avoid the Crush
Price: $4 – $17
Hours: Wed- Fri: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat- Sun: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
For those who want the thrill of Mardi Gras but want to get away from the crush of people in the streets, Boudreaux’s on the Bayou will offer a Mardi Gras-themed celebration during the festivities that may be reached by car or boat. The restaurant offers a full bar and specializes in steaks, gumbo, crawfish etouffee and, of course, seafood.
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From the Sea
Price: $7 – $20
Hours: Sun-Thurs: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri- Sat: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
No visit to Galveston is complete without sampling a variety of fresh Gulf seafood. One of the more popular seafood joints in Galveston is Casey’s Seafood Cafe, a kid-friendly restaurant that offers a wide variety of fresh and fried seafood and po-boys, as well as fare for the less fish-inclined such as Tex-Mex and hamburgers. Located on the seawall where the parade has its route, Casey’s Seafood Cafe is there to provide fresh fuel from the sea to keep the party going.
Time to get Wild
Price: $5 – $10
Hours: Daily – 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
By far the wildest Mardi Gras party on the island takes place at The Loading Dock Bar and Grill, Galveston’s premiere biker hangout. The bar has karaoke nights, live music DJs and an enormous arcade that will be festooned in masks and beads for the interim of the festival.
Galveston is a year-round tourist hot spot, but Mardi Gras marks a time every year that the entire city comes together to throw a party unrivaled until next years city-wide gala.
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Trevor J. Wallace lives in Houston and has been a freelance writer for over two decades. He left school in his early 20s to pursue a failed music career and wrote music and art reviews as well as a column for the Austin magazine, Rank and Revue. He returned to school in his mid-30s and earned his degree in journalism in 2008. His work can be found at Examiner.com.