In New Orleans, it's Mardi Gras. In Venice, Italy, it's Carnevale. In Austria they call it Fasching, and in England Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, or just plain old Fat Tuesday. Whatever the name, it's a party; and with its traditions of masks, music, and bling, this party deserves to be shared with kids. We've collected LA's most family-friendly Mardi Gras celebrations below, and they're mostly FREE. Let the good times roll!
Mardi Gras at the Farmers Market
February 10-13, 2018
Original Los Angeles Farmers Market
6333 West Third Street
The annual event has been going on for more than two decades, with free music, kids' workshops, bead-flinging, New Orleans cuisine, and a doggie costume contest parade dubbed Mutti Gras.
Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade
February 10, 2018
The revelers of Venice Beach jump in early, with their annual parade from Rose to Windward taking place the weekend before the holiday. Venice is the place to be for this holiday; we might not have gondolas and the Piazza San Marco, but that other Venice doesn't have Muscle Beach and the local characters who make our Venice a carnival with or without beads and masks!
Amoeba Mardi Gras Celebration
February 13, 2018
6400 Sunset Boulevard
Everyone's favorite record store celebrates the day every year with music, floats, DJs, costumes, and beads galore. Festivities climax with a cacaphonous parade through the store - BYOH (horn)!
Pretend City Mardi Gras Celebration
February 13, 2018
If there's one place that never lets a holiday go uncelebrated, it's Pretend City. The children's museum cheers on the good times of Mardi Gras with a festive parade and opportunities for young ones to sing, dance, and bake their way through the museum. This is the only celebrations that isn't free, however; museum admission costs $12.50.
Long Beach Mardi Gras
February 17, 2018
The free celebration along Shoreline Village has everything a good Mardi Gras party ought to have: Zydeco music, New Orleans food, bead throwing, face painting, train rides, street performers, and a big old parade. Costumes are heartily encouraged.
IHOP National Pancake Day
February 27, 2018
Your local IHOP
The British call this holiday Pancake Day, and IHOP stands for International House of Pancakes—so it kind of makes sense that the blue-roofed home of all things syrup covered would celebrate with gifts of pancakes. Note that IHOP's Pancake Day is a week later, perhaps in an attempt to re-brand as Not-so-fat Tuesday.
Originally published February 15, 2012