Whether you’re looking to dine on authentic New Orleans food such as gumbo, jambalaya, bananas foster, and king cake; celebrate with the shuffle beat, boogie-woogie piano sounds of this holiday; tip a glass of specially made southern drinks; or dress up and contribute to a local cause, Mardi Gras in Philadelphia offers something for everybody.

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Hours: Mon – 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Tues to Thus – 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri to Sat – 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Sun – 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

With its Mardi Gras decorations, this restaurant is top of mind when it comes to celebrating with authentic décor and food of New Orleans. They’ve been serving up Creole-Italian cuisine for decades.  A mainstay on South Street for many years, they’ve since moved around the corner to a more quiet, yet still vital, location. Celebrate Mardi Gras in style at Cafe Nola.

Hours: Daily- 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The name sounds like a place to bring your financial cares, but this is in fact, a serious bar. Take the flight of stairs down below, and leave your woes behind as the bartenders concoct some of the best, most Mardi Gras like drinks you will find in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. The bartenders here are considered artists, so order up a true Red Snapper, Mai Tai or other exotic Big Easy fave, and you’ll feel like you’re in the French Quarter.

Price: Cover charge is usually $10, $5 for students
Hours: Mon to Fri – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sat – 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.,

While live music in the streets is common in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, in Philadelphia, you can expect some serious jambalaya jazz jams inside on stage at this premiere jazz club. To accompany the festive sounds, Chris’ has been known to dish out an all-you-can-eat crawfish feast for $25 to further enhance the celebrations.

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Hours: Daily – 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.

If you want to be among a mob of loud, rowdy people, then look no further than this aptly named restaurant and bar whose sign even touts “Direct from Bourbon Street.” Their specialty is New Orleans original daiquiris in many configurations. Don’t be alarmed if one of the bouncers tosses some beads in your direction; it’s all part of that Mardi Gras charm.

Hours: Daily – 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Conveniently located between South Street and Old City, this Society Hill restaurant and bar is lively, fun, friendly and usually crowded. During their Mardi Gras celebration, prizes are handed out for the best mask, and the sale of beads usually benefits a local charity. Drink specials include $2 mixed well drinks. Be sure to wear your dancing shoes.

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Cyndy Drue is a freelance writer and a longtime radio and TV personality in Philadelphia. Visit her website at http://www.cyndydrue.com or see her work at Examiner.com.