Quick Question Resource List
What is Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday?
When is Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
What does the general admission ticket include?
Where can I purchase tickets?
Directions - Driving to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
Parking for Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
Taking the NCTD COASTER / SDMTS Trolley to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
Recommended Taxi Drop-Off Locations?
Taking a Bicycle to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
What is the Gated Area?
Dinner at Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
What's Prohibited in Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
Hotels in the Gaslamp?
Age Restriction for Mardi Gras?
What is Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday?
“Mardi Gras” means “Fat Tuesday” in French. It refers to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and follows the Christian calendar of Lent. Traditionally, Fat Tuesday is the final day of indulgence before the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent. It is a day that is celebrated worldwide - Each Mardi Gras celebration has its own unique character, whether it's in Rio, New Orleans or here in San Diego. As the longest running Mardi Gras street festival on the West Coast, Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp has become a signature San Diego event, with a distinct Southern California flavor (in 2013, we celebrated our 19th year!). We embrace the tradition of Fat Tuesday with our own spin as a night of indulgence in the heart of Downtown San Diego.
What is the ticket price for Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
Discounted advance tickets were $40.00 per person, and $50.00 on the day of. Must be 21+ with valid photo ID to enter. Tickets and information for 2014 are not yet available.
Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp Dinner Packages, which included a ticket into Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp and an entrée at select participating locations, were available for purchase $50.00 per person online (must be purchased in advance and accompanied by a reservation at the desired participating restaurant).
What does the general admission ticket include?
Purchasing a ticket for Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp included entry to the gated, 21+ only street festival, as well as in and out access to the festival and surrounding Gaslamp Quarter area. The street festival included four outdoor stages featuring local, regional and national bands and DJs, from zydeco to bluegrass to rock to electronic music, as well as outrageous roving entertainment and musical processions throughout the event. Check out our EZPrint Program for more information on the excitement from the 2013 event.
Why do I have to pay to get into Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
As much as everyone loves a free party, there are many elements that go into making Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp a success. Proceeds go towards covering the costs of the event, including street closures, entertainment, security, maintenance and safety. In addition, the GQA sets aside a percentage of the profits from Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp to a Public Safety Fund that goes towards public safety improvements. In total, the event has raised over $75,000 in public safety gifting to show unwavering support of City Public Safety employees.
Where can I purchase Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp tickets?
There were a number of different options for purchasing tickets to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. Day of tickets were sold at the gates beginning at 5:00pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. Tickets were available for purchase online at: https://gaslampquarter.ticketsocket.com/. There were also a number of locations throughout the City of San Diego that were selling $40 advance tickets, including The Broken Yolk Cafe in Downtown and Point Loma, barleymash, True North, Tavern at the Beach and Sandbar Sports Grill. Ticket sales at these locations were cash only. Tickets and information for 2014 are not yet available.
Will there be a parade at Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
No, there wasn't a traditional parade at the 2013 Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp, but we invited guests to be a part of most immersive Fat Tuesday live entertainment experience in Gaslamp Quarter history.
The Gaslamp Quarter has a had a long tradition of celebrating live music, with popular venues like Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar to The Stage Saloon to so many other fantastic hot spots. In an effort to highlight this tradition on a grand scale at a true music festival, while maintaining an intimate and authentic live music experience, the event footprint was decreased from years past, while our entertainment offerings were increased with a wider variety of local, regional and national live bands and DJs on four outdoor stages. Based on community feedback and traffic impact, coordinating a traditional parade in this new smaller footprint was challenging. Instead, we invited guests to take part in interactive Mardi Gras processions ongoing throughout the evening within the festival – festive and joyous marches featuring walking brass bands, dancers, and YOU and your friends. Why watch the parade when you can be a part of it? And of course there were beads. Lots and lots of beads.
But I loved the “old” Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp parade. Will you ever bring it back?
We never say never. Each year, the Gaslamp Quarter Association assesses the event and compiles feedback from the community, as well as our event partners and guests, on how we can provide the best possible experience for all. We encouraged all to discover this year’s re-vamped event and provide us with your own input. The success of this event is nothing without the support of our San Diego community and your feedback is important to us.
What kind of live entertainment will be at Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
The Gaslamp Quarter Association was very excited to announce we partnered with Belly Up Productions, San Diego Brazil Carnival, and the Gator by the Bay Production Team who, alongside the powerhouse at McFarlane Promotions, will help us to curate an explosive entertainment line-up at this year’s event. The 19th Annual Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp will feature an electrifying talent lineup ranging from Z-Trip, Ozomatli, Little Hurricane, Gaslamp Killer, Mikey Beats, Theo and the Zydeco Patrol, Sue Palmer's New Orleans Review and more on four captivating stages. - performing from 5:00pm to 11:00pm, as well as dancers and street performers. Many of the bars and restaurants will feature their own live entertainment as well. Click here to view the Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp Entertainment Page.
Driving to the Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp:
From I-5 South
Drive past the airport toward Downtown. Take the Front Street/Civic Center exit. Continue down Front Street twelve blocks to Market Street and turn left (east). The intersection of 5th and Market is the center of the Gaslamp Quarter.
From I-5 North
In Downtown San Diego, take the 6th Ave. exit. Go left (south) on 6th Ave. In nine blocks you will cross Broadway to enter the Gaslamp Quarter at its top.
From Highway 94 West
The highway ends and becomes F Street in Downtown San Diego. Continue west down F Street twelve blocks to enter the Gaslamp Quarter at 6th Ave from it's east.
From Highway 163 South
Drive south through Balboa Park and the highway becomes 10th Ave. Continue south on 10th Ave six blocks to F Street. Turn right (west) on F Street and go four blocks to enter the Gaslamp at 6th Ave near the north end
Where can I park at Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
Download and print up your own Gaslamp Parking Map.
Tip #1 - Parking in the Garages
Surface parking lots are the easiest to see, but they fill up fast. Look for the "6th & K Parkade" or "Park-it-on-Market" at 6th and Market St. These two garages provide easy access and have reasonable rates. Also look for two big garages off 7th Ave, just north of E St. Try Horton Plaza or the garage at the Convention Center, which has public parking available on most days.
Tip #2 - Office Buildings
Try parking at office buildings. There are hundreds of parking spaces intended for daytime use only, located inside office buildings. A little research on the Downtown Parking Map will pay off when driving in San Diego's Centre City.
Tip #3 - Park & Ride
San Diego MTS Trolley provides many great locations for you to park your car and ride a short distance into downtown. Try the San Diego Transit Trip Planner - it's free!
Coming from North County? Take the COASTER!
The North County Transit District offers free parking at all of its transit centers (except Santa Fe Depot), which offers a stellar driving alternative for people coming from North County and beyond. Mardi Gras festivities are only a few blocks from the COASTER's last stop at Santa Fe Depot. For more information, visit GoNCTD.com.
Taking the SDMTS Trolley?
You can ride the San Diego Trolley to the Gaslamp from the Mexican border, South Bay, East County, Old Town or Mission Valley. Ride the Green Line to the Gaslamp Quarter Station at the south end of Fifth Avenue. SDMTS runs a special event schedule that will get you to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp with plenty of time to spare for the party in 2013. SDMTS offers a Green Line service that goes directly to the Mardi Gras '6th Ave & K Street' gate PLUS they have many FREE parking locations (like Qualcomm Stadium). Late trains depart from Gaslamp around the midnight hour and a full day pass is only $5. Complete details posted at SDMTS.com.
If I take a taxi, where should I be dropped off?
There are two Main Gates that will get you into Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. The North Gate will be located at 4th Avenue at Island Ave. The South Gate is located at 6th Avenue and K Street.
I’m going green and plan to ride my bicycle to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. Will there be a place to park my bike inside of the event?
While we strongly promote going green, bicycles will not be allowed inside the gated area, though there are a number of designated bike racks located in and around the district where you should lock your bicycle.
How do I get inside Mardi Gras at the Gaslamp? Where are the Main Gates?
There are two main gates that will get you in to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. The North Gate will be located at 4th Avenue at Island Ave. The South Gate is located at K Street & 6th Avenue. Tickets will include in-and-out access in 2013.
What is the Gated Area?
Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp is a ticketed 21+ event within a gated area of the Gaslamp Quarter. In 2013, the gated area includes Fifth Avenue from Market Street to L Street, including the following cross streets; Island Avenue, J Street and K Street. The gated area will be an elaborately themed Fat Tuesday celebration boasting four outdoor stages and performance areas, live performances and music, special effects and lighting.
Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp starts at 5:00pm, where can I get dinner?
It will be business as usual in the Gaslamp Quarter. Many restaurants are outside of the gated area and will be open for your business. If you decide to eat inside the gated area, you must buy a ticket to the event. Click here to view more on Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp Dinner Packages. Once inside you are welcome to dine at any of our fine restaurants in or outside the gated area. For the first time, ticketed admission includes in-and-out access to the event.
I want to go to a restaurant inside the event footprint the same night as Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. Do I have to pay to get in?
Yes. You must purchase a ticket to get into the gated area. Once inside the gated are you are free to go to any of the bars, clubs, restaurants or other businesses, it will be up to them if they decide to charge an additional fee.
Are there any discounted tickets?
There are a few ways to get discounted tickets to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. Purchase your tickets before February 12, 2013 and get a $10.00 discount on the day of ticket price! Also:
1) Gaslamp Insiders will have to opportunity to win tickets on Facebook and Twitter, as well as get updates on special deals.
2) Sign up for our Gaslamp Insider e-newsletter for special promo codes and ticket giveaways! Click here to sign up for the Gaslamp Insider
3) Purchase a Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp Dinner Package to any of the participating locations. Purchase includes entry to the festival and a voucher toward a dinner entrée at the participating location of your choice! Select the restaurant you wish to dine, order your ticket through our online service, then call the restaurant and make your reservation (select a time AFTER THE GATES OPEN at 5:00 PM).
What if it rains during Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. Can I bring my umbrella?
No, umbrellas are not allowed into Mardi Gras at the Gaslamp due to safety considerations. There are plenty of locations to duck inside if Mother Nature decides to rain on us.
Can I bring in my video camera?
Video cameras or cameras with detachable lenses are not allowed inside of the gated area with the exception of pre-registered media.
But my cell phone has a camera feature. Does this mean I can’t bring my cell phone?
Cell phones are allowed.
My dog loves beads. Can I bring him to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
As much as we love animals, pets are not allowed inside of the gated area. To show our appreciation for pets and their owners the Gaslamp Quarter holds an annual Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade in December. Don your pet in all of the beads you get at Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp, and he/she can be in the running for best costume!
I’ll be coming straight from the gym and have so much to carry. Will there be a place to store my gym bag/back pack?
Large bags such as gym bags and back packs will not be allowed inside of the gated area. You might want to skip the gym and burn calories by dancing the night away instead. There will be six hours of heart pounding music from an array of fantastic live bands and DJs
Are weapons allowed in Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
No weapons will be allowed at Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. This includes guns, knives, mace, brass knuckles, or any other object that is considered a weapon. Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp is a time to indulge in the good things in life, so there's no need for weapons. Also, while we love to see sparks fly, fireworks are also prohibited within the event.
I want to sit down while viewing the entertainment. Can I bring my lawn chair?
Lawn chairs are not allowed at Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. Many of the restaurants along Fifth Avenue have patio seating available.
Can I bring in outside food and drink?
No outside food or beverages are allowed inside of the gated area. This also means no coolers or glass containers. There will be plenty of places to quench your thirst and grab a bite to eat at Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp.
Skateboards and roller blades are my main methods of transportation. Can I bring these wheels to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
Even though it is a fun way to roll around, skateboards and rollerblades will not be allowed at Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp.
What should I wear?
Comfortable shoes are recommended. That way you can walk around the entire block party scene and not have to worry about blisters. But who are we to tell you what to wear. It’s Mardi Gras! Note, however, that nudity is prohibited.
Can I wear a costume to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
Many people dress in costume during Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp. Think feathers, boas, masks, gold, purple, satin, leather and lots of beads! No mock weapons will be allowed. You will need to show positive ID, don't go so far with changing your appearance that you cannot make it through an identity check.
I would like to spend the night downtown after the Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp celebration. Got any recommendations?
We will offer hotel packages with preferred hotel partners for Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp 2013. Stay tuned for more details.
Can I bring my kids to Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
No, Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp is a 21 and over event, but with so many great places just outside of the event venue, you and your kids can still get your Mardi Gras on.
Will media be allowed into Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp?
Yes, though media passes are limited. Call GQA Communications Director, Brandy Shimabukuro at (619) 233-5227 IN ADVANCE for more information on media requirements. Note: Only pre-registered and approved established media who are on assignment to cover the event for same day or immediate post-event coverage will be allowed into this event. Professional photographers who are not specifically on assignment with an established publication will not be admitted. NO EXCEPTIONS. Be prepared to supply the full name, job title, and publication/station/etc. of your team members that will be covering the event and require media access. They will be required to check in at the Media Gate.
MUST BE 21 OR UP WITH VALID PHOTO ID – NO REFUNDS FOR ANY REASON