Think you need to be in New Orleans to celebrate the lavish food, delicious drinks and outlandish fun known as Mardi Gras? Think again. Check out this list of the best Mardi Gras celebrations happening around D.C. and be prepared to have a Mardi Gras blast minus the hassle of TSA and airport travel.

Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras PubCrawl
Sign of the Whale
1825 M St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 785-1110

Date: Feb. 17, 2015

Feathers, masks and beads – oh my! The Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras PubCrawl features a selection of local bars and restaurants offering food and drink specials throughout the night as well as music, dancing and a whole lot of fun all in the streets of Dupont Circle. Enjoy decadent Southern foods, sinful Creole cocktails and to-die-for desserts. Registration is required in order to gain access to all participating venues. Registration starts at 5 p.m. at the Sign of the Whale. Individual, couple and groups of four ticket packages are available. Must be 21 to participate.

The Sweet Spot DC: Mardi Gras Edition
1222 First St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 842-7480

Date: March 20-21, 2015

Bring your own beads at this high-energy yet sensuous Mardi Gras event. The Sweet Spot is a sensational theater production that features live music, sultry burlesque performers and a comedy act rolled into one sensual adventure. Listen to erotic poetry, admire the art of body paint live or simply enjoy the sounds of today’s top 40 hits. Tickets are required. VIP and VIP bottle service tickets are available. Group tickets are also available.

Related: Best Cocktail Happy Hours in Washington DC

Bayou Gras Block Party
Bayou Bakery
1515 N Courthouse Rd.
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 243-2410

Date: Feb. 17, 2015

Get your Mardi Gras on at the Bayou Gras Block Party brought to you by the Bayou Bakery. One block away from the annual Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade, this biggest bash in town features delicious parade-style food, Bourbon Street-style drinks and a huge, heated block-long party tent. Enjoy delicious Southern-style foods like seafood jambalaya, chicken and sausage gumbo and crawfish mac and cheese. Enjoy Parade Punch in your own souvenir cup. Or order a classic king cake, which includes purple, green and gold beads, a traditional pink plastic baby and a colorful card that describe the history of the king cake. All orders must be placed 48 hours prior to being picked up. Tickets are required to attend the block party.

Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade
Wilson Boulevard at North Barton St.
Arlington, VA 22201

Date: Feb. 17, 2015

For a Mardi Gras celebration that’s perfect for families, head on over to the Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras parade. A wide variety of local organizations and groups participate in the parade including high school marching bands, fire trucks, brightly decorated floats and exuberant dance troupes. Catch local mascots, like Screech from the Washington Nationals, walk along the parade route, as well as members of the US Park Police on horseback. The parade starts at 8 p.m.

Related: 2014’s Best New Cocktail Bars in Washington DC

2015 Mardi Gras Ball
5400 Holiday Dr.
Frederick, MD 21703
(301) 694-7500

Date: Feb. 14, 2015

If you prefer to celebrate Mardi Gras while helping to better your community, consider participating in the 2015 Mardi Gras Ball. Brought to you by the Frederick Woman’s Civic Club, the party helps raise funds to support local non-profit organizations as well as help raise money for scholarships and preservation and maintenance of the historic Steiner House. Enjoy delicious gourmet foods from local Frederick restaurants, music and dancing plus a silent auction and a raffle. Prizes include a Bethany Beach vacation and tickets to Disney World. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at