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Where to party for Mardi Gras


Mardi Gras is coming! Grab your beads and prepare to make a fool out of yourself one last time before Lent. Here is a list of the Phat-test Fat Tuesday parties in the country, the top cities where you will find the best parades and the most fun.

New Orleans

Um, duh. Mardi Gras and New Orleans go together like beignets and coffee. Actually, the party has already started in the Big Easy, and close to a million people could hit the streets and bars between now and Mardi Gras itself on March 4. The city is holding a photo contest for the third-straight year.

Daily room rates at New Orleans hotels for a stay from Mardi Gras weekend through Fat Tuesday range between $63 for a room about 50 miles away from the center of New Orleans to $715 for a hotel room right in the French Quarter, according to Orbitz.com.

Mobile, Ala.

Go old school in the city that started celebrating Mardi Gras before New Orleans even existed. The first celebration in Mobile dates to 1703, when this area was the capital of French Louisiana. Many consider Mardi Gras their crowning cultural achievement--complete with crowns!

Daily room rates at Mobile hotels range between $53 and $232 for Mardi Gras weekend through Fat Tuesday, according to Orbitz.com.

Orlando, Fla.

For a family-friendly Mardi Gras, there's Universal Studios Orlando, where they promise "Ain't No Stopping This Party," with parades and floats for the kids and serious after-party action for adults.  (Disclosure: CNBC’s parent company, Comcast Corp., also owns Universal Orlando.)

Daily room rates at Orlando-area hotels range between $29 for a two-star Kissimmee hotel room and $742 for a room at a four-star Disney resort for Mardi Gras weekend through Fat Tuesday, according to Orbitz.com.

San Diego

Grab a West Coast vibe in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, where $40 will get you admission into a massive street party on Mardi Gras. Pay extra for access to special events, like a Snoop Dogg party presided over by Snoopadelic himself. I can already feel the hangover.

Daily room rates in San Diego range between $39 for a two-star hotel room to $922 for a luxury hotel suite from Mardi Gras weekend through Fat Tuesday, according to Orbitz.com data.

Galveston, Texas

Finally, go big and THEN go home. Celebrate Mardi Gras in a state where they do everything bigger: Texas! Galveston boasts one of the nation’s largest celebrations leading up to Mardi Gras, with 20 balcony parties, 23 parades, 300,000 people and 3 million beads--"Bead There!"

Want to guess who's going to profit the most from that party? The street-cleaning crews getting paid time and a half afterward.

Daily room rates in Galveston range from $89 to $299 for a stay from Mardi Gras weekend through Fat Tuesday.

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