Best Mardi Gras events in Little Rock, Arkansas

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SoMardi Gras Celebration

The 16th SoMardi Gras Celebration is returning to the South Main (SoMa) District) in Little Rock, Arkansas, on February 10, 2024.  

This year for the first time, there will be a SoMardi Gras Pre-party Bash on Friday, February 9, 2024, from 6 pm to 9 pm.  Entertainment will be provided by the New Orleans group, Butterfly.  Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

The celebration will begin at noon on Saturday with the parade.  This year’s theme for the parade will be “SoMa Under The Sea.”  You’ll see colorful floats, marching bands, dancers, costumed marchers, stilt walkers and much more.  If you’d like to go to the parade and look the part, check out these Mardi Gras themed clothes.

After the parade, the party keeps going at the nearby Bernice Gardens.  There will be a block party with live entertainment by local musicians until 5 pm.  It also has a kiddie corner and a beer garden.  Food trucks will be there with special food available for purchase.

At the block party, the 11th Little Rock Beard and Mustache Contest will be presented by Sport Clips.  This unique contest has categories for Best Natural Beard Under 6 Inches, Best Natural Beard Over 6 Inches, Best Groomed Beard, Most Original Beard, Best DIY Crafted Beard and Best Mustache.

Little Rock Zoo Mardi Gras Celebration

On Saturday, February 17, 2024, the Little Rock Zoo will have its Mardi Gras Celebration.  All the festivities will be included in that day’s admission.

Celebration Schedule

9 am to 10 am

Refreshments can be enjoyed in the Reptile House.  You can meet Gambit, the resident King snake and have some King Cake and snacks.  There will be free face painting.

10:30 am to 12 pm

Free face painting in Cafe Africa

10:30 am

Meet at the bottom of Great Apes for the start of the Mardi Gras Parade.  The Zoo staff will have Mardi Gras decorated floats, golf carts and Ambassador Animals.  Guests are welcome to join the parade with decorated strollers or pull wagons.

Little Rock Hotels

If you’d like to visit Little Rock for their SoMardi Gras and Mardi Gras celebrations, you should consider the following hotels.  They are all offering discounted rates which can save you money on your stay.

  • America’s Best Value Inn & Suites Little Rock at Scott Hamilton Drive
    • 27% Discount
  • Economy Inn Little Rock
    • 25% Discount
  • Garden Inn & Suites Little Rock
    • 20% Discount
  • Guest Inn & Suites Midtown Medical Center
    • 20% Discount
  • Wingate by Wyndham Little Rock
    • 15% Discount
  • Days Inn by Wyndham Little Rock/Medical Center
    • 15% Discount
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Little Rock West
    • 15% Discount
  • Days Inn by Wyndham North Little Rock – Maumelle
    • 15% Discount
  • America’s Best Value Inn & Suites Bryant Little Rock
    • 14% Discount
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham N Little Rock McCall Mall
    • 12% Discount
  • Holiday Inn Little Rock – Airport – Conference Center, an IHG Hotel
    • 10% Discount

Little Rock Barbeque

While you’re in Little Rock, be sure to try some of the delicious Arkansas barbecue.  Try one of these restaurants that were named the 10 Best Barbecue Restaurants in Little Rock by the users of TripAdvisor.

  1. Whole Hog Cafe North Little Rock
  2. Whole Hog Cafe
  3. Lindsey’s Hospitality
  4. Sim’s Bar-b-que
  5. Corky’s Ribs & BBQ
  6. H Bs Bar B Q
  7. Mick’s Bar-B-Q
  8. Count Porkula
  9. Cross Eyed Pig
  10. Three Sams BBQ & Catering

And do not leave Little Rock without trying a slice of Arkansas Possum Pie.  It’s not a savory meat pie but a sweet dessert made with chocolate pudding, cream cheese and whipped cream.  It is the state dessert.  If you like dessert, you’ll love Arkansas Possum Pie!