Long before anyone knew that the contending NFL teams in Super Bowl XLVII would be the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, this year’s host city, New Orleans, was preparing for the crowds expected to pack the city this weekend.
As with last year’s Super Bowl, which was hosted by another midsize city, Indianapolis, this year’s promises a weekend where visitors can rub elbows with enthusiastic locals, with the party atmosphere traveling easily from the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome (the site of the actual game) to the French Quarter and beyond.
The location and time of year also mean that this year’s Super Bowl festivities will overlap with those of Mardi Gras season, creating perhaps a “perfect storm” of hospitality and high spirits.
If you’re heading to – or are already in – New Orleans for this weekend’s big game, the Mardi Gras, or just by coincidence, here are a few things you should know to guarantee that the party of the year goes your way:
Have a custom-made libation
In honor of the big game, some local watering holes are rolling out original drinks. Café Adelaide, for instance, is serving The Raven (made with rum, ginger syrup, orange juice) and The California Gold Rush (made with organic vodka, mint, seltzer, and golden bitters).
Enjoy a Mardi Gras parade
Sure, the real Fat Tuesday isn’t until Feb. 12, but to accommodate the plethora of krewes, parades began in mid-January and are still happening now. While all the parades offer colorful floats, costumes, and interactions with the crowd, for something different, try the Krewe de Paws Canine Carnival Club parade, Saturday at 10 a.m. in nearby St. Tammany Parish. To check out other parade schedules and routes, visit nola.com/mardigras.
If you get a restaurant reservation, keep it!
At this point, with game day just a couple days away, most of New Orleans’s high-end dining spots are booked. But if you do land a reservation at a sought-after restaurant such as The Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel, be sure to show up on time. If you cancel a reservation without prior notice, the restaurant will charge a fee of $100 per guest.
Read more: NBCNews