Mardi Gras parties and events

Bust out some beads for the best Mardi Gras parties and events in Chicago, and celebrate Fat Tuesday with flair
Mardi Gras Celebration at Sidetrack
Nicholas Foli Mardi Gras Celebration at Sidetrack
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Okay, so maybe you couldn’t make the trip down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras—not to worry! Chicago may be cold we know how to make Fat Tuesday (or rather, the weekend leading up to it) just as fun and sloppy as Bourbon Street. Punishing your liver on Mardi Gras is one of the best things to do during the winter in Chicago—From parties at Chicago’s best dance clubs, to can’t-miss dining specials to fantastic live brass music, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported down to the Bayou. And besides, surviving Valentine’s Day is a good enough excuse to party. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Mardi Gras parties and events

Photograph: Grant Kessler
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Mardi Gras food and drink specials

If you can't make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year, don't worry: There are specials on hurricanes, po'boys, all-you-can-eat crawfish boils and paczki at some of the best Chicago restaurants and bars. These Mardi Gras food and drink specials are being offered on Fat Tuesday—February 28—unless otherwise noted. RECOMMENDED: Our guide to Mardi Gras

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Where do find paczki in Chicago

It wouldn’t be Fat Tuesday without this round Polish pastry. We've gathered the best places to find these sweet treats, so you can surprise your loved ones with a traditional treat.

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Photograph: Nick Murway
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The best low-country boils in Chicago

Devouring a low-country boil is absolutley the next-best thing to trekking down to New Orlenans. For a city that’s more than a decent schlep from the ocean, Chicago does surprisingly well when it comes to serving up droolworthy sea bounty. Gather round for hot, messy bags of crustaceans, bivalves, sausages, potatoes, corn and spices, ready and waiting for us to tear open. 

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Photograph: Brendan Lekan
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Best BBQ in Chicago

So maybe you can't make the trip down South for Mardi Gras, but you can still channel that spirit with excellent Southern barbecue. From Chatham to Pilsen to Wicker Park and beyond, the best BBQ in Chicago is found all over the city, so there's likely a great place near you.

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