Slice the King Cake and throw the beads—Mardi Gras is coming! These 10 Mardi Gras events in San Antonio will make this Fat Tuesday unforgettable.
This year, Fat Tuesday falls on February 25th, and everyone is gearing up for an incredible weekend of celebrations. The San Antonio RiverWalk is going all out, restaurants across town are dishing up special occasion Cajun creations, and the partying is sure to go into the early hours. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best Mardi Gras events in San Antonio to make sure this weekend will be one for the books.
When Mardi Gras rolls around, San Antonio knows how to celebrate. Join revelers at the Arneson River Theatre, where the party starts on Saturday, February 22nd. This eight-hour event at the RiverWalk runs from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and has a little bit of everything. Plus, it’s free to enjoy!
Live music kicks things off with the blues when Reuben V Band takes the stage outside the Arneson River Theatre. The music continues all day long with Zydeco Blanco, Shonnie Murrell, Europa Jazz, and GrooveTronX.
The River Parade will take place on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m., so you’ll want to arrive with plenty of time to join the festivities. The parade will make two laps around the downtown section of the RiverWalk, totaling five miles. The float line-up will include Bud Light & King Rex, RiverWalk Royalty, the San Antonio Zulu Association, and more!
The fun doesn’t stop there. Five local restaurants—Margaritaville, Dick’s Last Resort, Joe’s Crab Shack, On the Bend Oyster Bar & Lounge, and Mad Dogs British Pub—are hosting patio and balcony parties where guests can head for refreshments from 4 to 6 p.m. all weekend long. Thanks to the RiverWalk’s partnership with Bud Light for the event, there will be plenty of opportunities for guests to grab an ice-cold Bud Light during the festival. Other sponsors include Shake Shack and Pete’s Tacos.
Fat Tuesday comes early during the ZULU Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Party. For the 11th year running, this party brings people together for live music, delicious food, and prizes. This year’s celebration is taking place at VFW Post 9186 on February 20th from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Music will be provided by OMG Sounds and food truck catering will keep the party going all night long, but you’ll want to bring your own beverages to this event because it is BYOB. All entry tickets will be sold at the gate for a $10 cover charge.
For more information, check online at the San Antonio Zulu Association. This not-for-profit organization has been an integral part of San Antonio’s community since its establishment in 1976. They aim to positively impact the San Antonio area by providing scholarships to students, reaching the public through community outreach, and bringing people together during events like this.
This month, over 40 artisans will showcase their handmade creations at the Mardi Gras Artisan Show. From Friday, February 21st to Sunday, February 23rd, local creators will take to the RiverWalk to showcase their one-of-a-kind designs. Pottery, textiles, paintings, and beadwork designs are only a few of the types of gifts shoppers will find at the show.
Hours for the event are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. You’ll find vendors on the RiverWalk extension near the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. This event is free to enter, but come prepared to fall in love with crafts you won’t be able to resist taking home!
On Friday, February 21st, don your finest disguise and join the fun at the 3rd Annual Royal Mardi Gras Masquerade Gala. Despite being held at The DoSeum, San Antonio’s Museum for Kids, this after-hours event is adults-only. Formal wear, masks, and beads make this masquerade a Mardi Gras masterpiece! From 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., The DoSeum will be transformed into a bustling casino with a delectable Cajun-inspired buffet. Guests can participate in a silent auction, take a souvenir photo, or pay a visit to the YELP Glam Bar.
The 2020 RiverWalk Royalty Coronation will commence before the night is over, crowning the RiverWalk King and Queen. Royalty candidates are community members who fundraise money for the RiverWalk, and the people who raise the most money are awarded this royal title. After their coronation, RiverWalk Royalty will be featured on a float during the RiverWalk Parade the next afternoon.
Individual Pardi Gras Krewe tickets are available for purchase starting at $75. Table reservations range from $1,000 to $5,000 and include perks like bottles of champagne, increased casino chip allowances, and even a spot on a RiverWalk Parade float! VIP tickets grant guests access to the Friends of the RiverWalk VIP Speakeasy and can be purchased online for a $35 surcharge. VIP guests will be able to take advantage of exclusive drinks, a gourmet food station, and will each receive a one-year membership to the Friends of the RiverWalk.
Live jazz is the perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras, and this year the Arneson River Theatre is hosting an incredible lineup of musicians on Sunday, February 23rd. BillyRay Sheppard will take the stage first from 1 to 2 p.m. Sheppard is a smooth jazz saxophonist local to San Antonio. Then, The Munoz Brothers Band takes over from 2 to 4 p.m. This seven-piece band is sure to entertain. Afterward, catch DV Jazz led by David Villanueva, who was born and raised in San Antonio, studied at St. Mary’s University, and now brings jazz music to life with his band. This event will also pay tribute to legendary jazzman Jim Cullum, who passed away in 2019.
This year, Third Coast Charity's annual fundraising event will be held at Paper Tiger, San Antonio’s independent live music venue, on Sunday, February 16th. This family-friendly event is a great alternative to some of the rowdier Mardi Gras festivities. Live music, a pet costume contest, and face painting are just a few of the activities taking place throughout the afternoon. Prominent local chefs will also be coming together for the event, including Chef Pieter Sypesteyn of Third Coast Kitchen Restaurant Group, Attagirl’s Chris Cullum, and Joe Saenz from Swine House.
Third Coast Charities is a local not-for-profit organization that aids families in the San Antonio area, and all proceeds collected from El Mardi Gras will directly benefit households in need.
Fat Tuesday is the perfect excuse to visit nearby New Braunfels to join The Float In for their incredible Mardi Craw celebration. VIP tickets are available for online purchase in advance for $35, and these tickets grant guests unlimited crawfish, admission to an exclusive lounge, and specialty drink options inspired by New Orleans. Located along the Comal River Tube Chute, The Float In’s outdoor seating area is the perfect place for a crawfish boil this February.
Starting on February 20th, join Willie’s Grill & Icehouse for five nights of Mardi Gras. They’ll be serving up ice-cold beer, Cajun-inspired cocktails, and boiled crawfish all weekend long. Each night will feature live music selections. The Groove Doctors take the stage on Thursday, followed by Hamilton Loomis on Friday, E7 Band on Saturday, Paul Villareal on Sunday, and Finding Friday on Fat Tuesday. The whole family can stop by because there will be face painting, balloon artists, and their on-site arcade and sandboxes. Their signature menu items include their half-pound Cajun burger, shrimp and sausage gumbo, and addicting icehouse tacos.
Nadler's Bakery and Deli is making dreams come true this Mardi Gras. Disney Princess Tiana will be joining guests for a Mardi Gras celebration suitable for children. Hors d'oeuvres will be followed by singing and dancing, DIY Mardi Gras mask decorating, and a visit with the princess. Guests aren’t required to arrive in their sparkliest gowns, but children are encouraged to dress up if they’d like. Admission for each attendee starts at $15, and both adults and children need tickets to join the fun. Children under 2 can enter for free with an adult ticket purchase. Be sure to grab your seat at the Royal Table early so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!
The Rustic brings back their annual crawfish boil for a Fat Tuesday bash. The event is free to attend with an RSVP, but to secure your seat with certainty opt for the $35 VIP upgrade, which guarantees a seat at the table. VIP guests will receive two pounds of crawfish, a bowl of jambalaya, and access to an exclusive VIP lounge. DJ Tone will provide live music, and the event begins at 5 p.m., so don’t be late!
The vibrancy of San Antonio’s community is self-evident, and this close-knit community gives New Orleans a run for its money when it comes to Mardi Gras celebrations. When you’re ready to learn more about living in San Antonio real estate or want to be in touch with a San Antonio real estate agent, contact me for more information.