Many people believe the best day to experience Mardi Gras in its truest form is, well, Mardi Gras day!

Not only do two of New Orleans’ most iconic parades roll that morning, but the French Quarter transforms into an all-day Carnival block party filled with elaborately costumed revelers, tons of live music, and other can’t-miss spectacles. Here are our suggestions on what to check out on the Fattest Tuesday of the year!

Krewe of Zulu Parade

According to New Orleans Online, “One of the season’s most anticipated and remarkable parades is presented by Zulu, named after the fiercest of the African tribes.” The origins of Zulu’s formation have been disputed over the years, with many believing the group started as a parody of the Krewe of Rex. Throughout the years, Zulu has grown into a cultural tour de force during the Carnival season, and their coveted handpainted coconuts are one of the most sought-after Mardi Gras throws a paradegoer can catch.

Ornate headdresses are an integral part of Zulu’s lavish parade.

Zulu starts rolling at 8:00 a.m. on Fat Tuesday. You can see their full route here. Want to experience Zulu before the parade? Head to Woldenberg Park on Monday for their 25th annual Lundi Gras Festival.

Krewe of Rex Parade

The Krewe of Rex Parade formally ushers in the end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The Krewe of Rex is New Orleans’ oldest-running Krewe, and can be credited with the selection of Mardi Gras’ three official colors: purple, green, and gold. The Uptown New Orleans parade starts at 10:00 a.m. on the corner of South Claiborne Avenue and Napoleon Avenue before traveling south towards St. Charles Avenue. The parade then turns left onto St. Charles Avenue, proceeding down the iconic New Orleans street before stopping to toast to the culmination of another successful Carnival at a mansion in the Lower Garden District. Paradegoers vie for the floats’ themed beads, which masked riders toss in protected plastic bags. See their full route here.

St. Anne Parade

If you’re looking to participate rather than parade, consider heading to the St. Anne Walking Parade in the Marigny. The St. Anne Parade is an “anyone can join” parade that starts around 10:00 a.m. in the Marigny/Bywater area near the bar Mimi’s in the Marigny. If you’re a Monteleone guest without a costume, don’t fret! The French Quarter has plenty of wig, mask, and costume shops you can peruse to make your very own St. Anne costume.

When it comes to Mardi Gras costumes – the wilder, the better!

The walking parade has become a local favorite, with many New Orleanians spending months leading up to the parade crafting their extravagant and unique costumes. Even if you’re not ready to commit to costuming, just watching the parade is an incredible experience. Read more about the St. Anne parade on GoNola.

Celebrate Mardi Gras at the Monteleone

The historic Hotel Monteleone is a great place to start your Mardi Gras day explorations! Before you head out, fuel up with a delicious breakfast and few “Quicker Start” cocktails at Criollo Restaurant. Cap off your Carnival escapades with a spin around the world-famous Carousel Bar inside the Carousel Bar & Lounge before calling it a night in your cozy, king-sized hotel suite!