Purple, green and gold: Escape from Harrisburg to New Orleans for Mardi Gras

Purple, green and gold: Escape from Harrisburg to New Orleans for Mardi Gras
Photo: iStock
By Hoodline - Published on February 21, 2019.

Don your best carnival attire — along with the ubiquitous colorful beads — and get ready for this year’s Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans.

Though the holiday, also known as Fat Tuesday, is celebrated in various locales across the globe, Mardi Gras has become a quintessentially New Orleans event.

The parades and celebrations typically kick off in January, but most visitors tend to arrive March 1 and stay through Ash Wednesday (March 6). The biggest — and most popular — events culminate with the end of Carnival on Tuesday, March 5.

The largest parade is the Krewe of Endymion, which boasts more than 37 floats and finishes its march through town at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the Endymion Extravaganza party. This year’s performers include Lionel Richie, Flo Rida, Chicago and more.

It’s more doable than you think. According to travel site Skyscanner, there are plenty of flights from Harrisburg to New Orleans in that time frame, and the prices aren't too shabby.

So if you're looking for a change of scenery, here are some deals to put on your to-do list.

(Hoodline offers data-driven analysis of local happenings and trends across cities. Links included in the articles may earn Hoodline a commission on clicks and transactions. Prices and availability are subject to change.)

Cheapest New Orleans flights

The cheapest flights between Harrisburg and New Orleans are if you leave on March 2 and return from Louisiana on March 8. United currently has tickets for $439, roundtrip.

Top New Orleans accommodations

Regarding where to stay, here are some of New Orleans’s top-rated hotels, that we selected from Skyscanner's listings based on price and customer satisfaction.

The Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking to treat yourself, consider The Hotel Monteleone, which has a 4.7-star rating on Skyscanner. Rooms are currently available for $179.

The Hotel Monteleone stands in the French Quarter within four blocks of Jackson Square, the Canal Street Shops, Harrah's New Orleans Casino, Cafe du Monde and lively Bourbon Street. Dating from 1886, the hotel was a favorite haunt of Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner and Truman Capote.

The Columns Hotel (3811 St. Charles Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking for an inexpensive place steeped in history, there's The Columns Hotel, which has rooms for $100/night.

"Built in 1883 and listed in the Registry of Historic Places, The Columns grips you from the moment you spy the white columned building and step onto the path toward the porch, which has been the site of many a sultry summer, mint julep-sipping cocktail hour or wedding party," wrote visitor Barbara.

The Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans (300 Bourbon St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

For top quality, try The Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans. The 4.6-star hotel has rooms for $189/night.

Set in the heart of New Orleans, this hotel is close to Bourbon Street and the Riverwalk Marketplace, as well as Jackson Square. 

Local restaurant picks

Don't miss New Orleans' food scene, with plenty of popular spots to get your fill of local cuisine. Here are a few of the top-rated eateries from Skyscanner's listings.

Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First things first: where to get a classic beignet. For a popular option, check out Cafe Du Monde, which has an average of 4.6 stars out of 405 reviews on Skyscanner.

This French cafe serves its patrons a mean cup of dark roasted chicory coffee. Pair your cup of Joe with one of its famous beignets, gratuitously topped with powdered sugar and occasionally filled with fruit.

"Beignets are definitely worth the hype and this is the place to go to get them," wrote visitor Kay. 

Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

One of the city's most popular restaurants is Commander's Palace, with 4.8 stars from 94 reviews.

"Jazz brunches are a tradition here in the garden room overlooking the courtyard. The traditional place in New Orleans to celebrate a special occasion and the staff goes over the top to make you feel like a king or queen," wrote reviewer Michelle. 

Jacques-Imo's Cafe (8324 Oak St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Also worth considering is Jacques-Imo's Cafe.

Located in uptown New Orleans, Jacques-Imo's Cafe has become one of the hottest food tickets in town, known for its eclectic mix of Creole and Cajun specialties at reasonable prices.

What to see and do in New Orleans

Not sure what to do in New Orleans, besides eat and drink? Here are a few recommendations, provided by Skyscanner.

The French Quarter 

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First up is The French Quarter, the heart of New Orleans as far as tourist attractions go.

The waterfront features the New Orleans Aquarium, the legendary Cafe Du Monde and views of Algiers. Countless restaurants and bars reside here, and finding jazz is as easy as catching multi-colored beads.

"The place for nightlife, social scene and overall fun," wrote visitor Kay. "The French Quarter is always full of life and good vibes. Make sure to stop here when you are in town."

Jackson Square (700 Decatur St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Then, there's Jackson Square.

The pleasant green square located near the waterfront of New Orleans serves as the home of the statue of Andrew Jackson. Originally called the Place d’Armes, it was renamed in honor of the United States general in 1815, after his victory in the Battle of New Orleans. Bars and restaurants border the park.

Audubon Zoo (6500 Magazine St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Lastly, consider checking out Audubon Zoo.

From the critter-filled swamps of Louisiana to the grasslands of Africa, you can explore some of the Earth's most intriguing habitats and the creatures that dwell within them at this world-class zoo. Rated one of the top zoos in the United States, it features two rare white tigers as well as Komodo dragons. 

This story was created automatically using flight, hotel, and local attractions data, then reviewed by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.