where dc meets for mardi gras

Mardi Gras at The Wharf

Thanks for joining The Wharf and Events DC for the Mardi Gras at The Wharf on February 18, 2023.

Mark your calendar for next year: DC's biggest Mardi Gras parade and party returns on Saturday, February 10, 2024. 

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2023 Parade & Party Timeline

3:00pm — Mardi Gras Activities Begin

District Pier Bar opens and begins serving Hurricanes made from Thrasher's Rum.

3:30pm — Parade Begins

Enjoy a spirited parade featuring stilt walkers, the Mardi Gras king and queen, and fantastic floats from your favorite Wharf neighborhood partners including KaliwaPraline BakeryMoon RabbitThe AnthemCapital Yacht ClubThe Goddard SchoolThe ChannelPort of Washington Yacht ClubCapital Yacht ClubBoardwalk Bar & ArcadePearl Street WarehouseSo Others Might EatWashington GasWashington Blade and many more.

The parade will also feature special appearances by Eastern High School Marching BandWashington Nationals' Racing PresidentsWizards' G-Wiz, and Batala Washington.

4:30pm-7:00pm — Dance Party on District Pier

The celebration continues on District Pier with a dance party and live music by the Naptown Brass Band

~6:30pm — Fireworks Salute

When the sun sets, look to the sky for our big Mardi Gras fireworks finale! After the fireworks, the band will perform one final set.

2023 Frequently Asked Questions

What time does the parade start?
The parade begins at Blair Alley at 3:30pm. The first participants will likely complete the parade route by 4:00pm. The final participants will complete the parade around 4:30pm.

During the parade, vote for your favorite float by visiting www.wharfdc.com/vote.

What is the parade route?
The parade begins at Blair Alley (near Shake Shack), goes along Wharf Street next to the water, and ends at Parker Row (near Hell's Kitchen). View the parade route on the Event Map.

Where is the best place to watch the parade?
The parade stretches nearly a half mile along Wharf Street, so there are lots of opportunities to spread out and watch the parade, especially in the newly constructed portion of The Wharf.

For a view from above, check out balcony and rooftop viewing areas at Brighton SW1, Cantina Bambina, Mi Vida, 12 Stories, Del Mar (reservations recommended), Hyatt H-Bar, Canopy Central (reservations recommended), and the Pendry Hotel pool deck. As a bonus, all rooftop viewing areas are serving drinks!

Do I need a ticket?
Mardi Gras at The Wharf is free to attend; no tickets are needed. Drinks are available for purchase on District Pier and at all Wharf bars and restaurants.

What activities are there at the event?
Following the parade, the party continues on District Pier. Enjoy live music by Naptown Brass Band, get your photo taken at the photo booth, and visit the District Pier bar to try Hurricanes made with the Wharf’s own Thrasher’s Rum. Don’t miss the fireworks show at 6:30pm!

What activities will you have for kids and families?
The Kids Zone on Recreation Pier will feature balloon animals and crafts beginning at 3:00pm.

Are there any Mardi Gras food and drink specials?
Moon Rabbit is hosting a crawfish boil at 2pm. Hanks Oyster Bar is serving up BBQ Prawns, Seafood Boil, Seafood Jambalaya, and Hurricanes from 2/17 to 2/21. Purchase King Cake at District Doughnut or Praline Bakery. Sip a variety of Mardi Gras-themed cocktails—including Hurricanes, Pimm's Cup, and King Cake martinis—at Bar PendryDel Mar, 12 Stories, Union Stage & Rappahannock Oyster Bar.

Will there be music?
In true New Orleans fashion, the Mardi Gras parade will feature many live performances from local groups including Crush Funk Brass Band, Batalá Washington, The Eastern High School Marching Band, The Experience Band, and Naptown Brass Band.

Following the parade, around 4:30pm, Batalá Washington will lead the crowd back to District Pier, where Naptown Brass Band will get on stage and perform lively hits until 7:00pm.

After the parade, The Experience Band will play on the Pearl Street Stage and Sterling Anderson will perform on the Boathouse Stage.

Will there be fireworks? What time?
Fireworks will be shot off from a barge in the Washington Channel around 6:30pm.

What is the best way to get to The Wharf?
Plan for lots of vehicular traffic and limited parking on Saturday. Instead of driving, ride the Metro to Waterfront Station and walk 5 minutes to The Wharf, or ride to L’Enfant Plaza and connect to The Wharf on the free Southwest Shuttle.  Or consider taking Bikeshare or riding with Alto—a rideshare service. Become an Alto member and use code MARDIGRAS to save $15 off 2 rides.

If you can’t avoid driving, plan to utilize one of the nearby off-site parking garages (view PDF map), including Ace Parking at L’Enfant Plaza (420 10th St SW), L'Enfant East Parking Garage (840 D St SW), or the 1100 4th St SW Garage.

What happens if it rains?
A few sprinkles can’t keep us down. Unless the weather is dangerous, the event will happen rain or shine.

Where are the public bathrooms at The Wharf?
Public restrooms are located throughout The Wharf at the Fish Market, Transit Pier, 800 Water Street, and in the Oculus. View the public restrooms on the Event Map.

Can I drink alcohol outdoors?
As a reminder: The Wharf is not Bourbon Street; open alcohol containers are not allowed outdoors, except on restaurant patios or at The Wharf bar on District Pier. No outside alcohol is permitted.

What should I wear?
Mardi Gras is the perfect time to wear your most extravagant ensemble. Get festive and fantastical—feathers and sparkles are encouraged. At least the traditional purple, green, and gold.


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Stay at The Wharf

Turn your visit into a vacation! The Wharf has four hotels at a range of price points. Book a room so you can party on the pier all night long.

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Directions to The Wharf

Centrally located, The Wharf is the District’s waterfront destination that is easy to get to—and to get around.

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Direct access to DC's extensive
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1 mile of
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20 mi
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