Purple, green and gold: Travel from Charlotte to New Orleans for Mardi Gras

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.

Fortunately, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive flights between Charlotte and New Orleans, at least according to travel site Skyscanner.

Here’s a list of flights, hotels, restaurants and local attractions in New Orleans to round out your trip.

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Flight deals to New Orleans

The cheapest flights between Charlotte and New Orleans are if you leave on March 2 and return from Louisiana on March 9. Frontier Airlines currently has roundtrip, nonstop tickets for $389.

If you fly out of Charlotte on March 2 and return from New Orleans on March 8, Frontier Airlines can get you there and back for $394 roundtrip.

Top New Orleans accommodations

To plan your accommodations, here are some of the city'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. The hotel has a 4.7-star rating on Skyscanner, and 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 and Bourbon Street.  

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

If you're looking to treat yourself, 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. Additional attractions include the French Market.  

Top picks for dining and drinking

If you're looking to snag a bite at one of New Orleans' many quality eateries, here are a few popular culinary destinations from Skyscanner's listings that will help keep you satiated.

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 24/7 French cafe (only closed on Christmas and during hurricanes) serves its patrons dark roasted chicory coffee. Complement your coffee with one of their famous beignets.

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

Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking for a local favorite restaurant pick, head to Commander's Palace, with 4.8 stars from 94 reviews.

"Jazz brunches are a tradition here in the garden room overlooking the courtyard," wrote reviewer Michelle.  

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

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Also worth considering is Jacques-Imo's Cafe, with 4.8 stars from 69 reviews.

"One of the busiest cafes in town because the food is wonderful and plentiful," wrote Cindee.  

Top New Orleans attractions

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

The French Quarter (501 Basin St., New Orleans)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First up is The French Quarter. It checks in with 4.7 stars out of 279 reviews.

The French Quarter, known also as as the Vieux Carré, is the heart of New Orleans as far as tourist attractions go. The iconic Bourbon and Royal Streets run parallel here, offering a rambunctious nightlife at the former and unique boutiques at the latter.  

"The French Quarter is always full of life and good vibes. Make sure to stop here when you are in town," wrote reviewer Kay.

Jackson Square (700 Decatur St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Jackson Square is another popular destination. It has 4.7 stars from 193 reviews. 

The pleasant green square located near the waterfront of New Orleans serves as the home of the statue of Andrew Jackson. Bars and restaurants border the park, and the legendary Cafe Du Monde is just across the street.  

Audubon Zoo (6500 Magazine St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Finally, spend some time at the Audubon Zoo, with 4.8 stars from 125 reviews.

From the swamps of Louisiana to the grasslands of Africa, you can explore some of the most intriguing habitats and the creatures that dwell within them at this zoo.  

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.