Purple, green and gold: New Orleans' Mardi Gras coming soon, a flight away from Houston

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.

Thankfully, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive flights between Houston and New Orleans. We pulled from travel site Skyscanner to provide you with a short list of flights and hotels handpicked for the occasion.

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Flight deals to New Orleans




The cheapest flights between Houston and New Orleans are if you leave on March 1 and return from Louisiana on March 8. Spirit Airlines currently has roundtrip tickets for $182.

If you fly out of Houston on March 1 and return from New Orleans on March 7, Spirit Airlines can get you there and back for $195 roundtrip.

Top New Orleans hotels




To plan your accommodations, here are some of the city's top-rated hotels, according to Skyscanner, that we selected based on price, proximity to things to do and customer satisfaction.

The Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking to splurge on top quality, 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 lively 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

A pricer alternative is 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 and the French Market.

Featured New Orleans restaurants




If you're looking to snag a bite at one of New Orleans' many quality eateries, here are a couple of 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 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 New Orleans' most popular restaurants is Commander's Palace, with 4.8 stars from 94 reviews.

"Famous Garden District Restaurant owned by the renowned Brennan family's leading lady, Ella Brennan," wrote reviewer Michelle. "Jazz brunches are a tradition here in the garden room overlooking the courtyard."

What to see and do in New Orleans




To round out your trip, New Orleans offers plenty of popular attractions worth visiting. Here are some top recommendations, based on Skyscanner's descriptions and reviews.

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

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First up is The French Quarter.

The French Quarter, known also as as the Vieux Carre, 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 place for nightlife, social scene and overall fun," wrote visitor Kay. "When in New Orleans, go to the French Quarter. I will admit there's always a lot of trash on the ground, but the historic feel makes it worth it."

Jackson Square (700 Decatur St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Jackson Square is another popular destination.

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.

Audubon Zoo (6500 Magazine St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Finally, consider checking out the 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.
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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.