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Mardi Gras celebrations today in Hillcrest, Gaslamp Quarter

SAN DIEGO – Observers and non-observers of the Catholic traditions that are Ash Wednesday and Lent are gathering worldwide for the Fat Tuesday celebration known as Mardi Gras.

In San Diego, just about every bar will undoubtably partake in the festivities with at least a drink special, but for a block party akin to the magnitude and style of New Orleans there are only two locations: Hillcrest and the Gaslamp Quarter.

Grab your plastic beads and Venetian style mask (which by the way is a perfectly acceptable outfit, should you choose to wear nothing else) and prepare yourself for a night of entertainment and indulgence. A hangover on Wednesday morning is all but guaranteed to attendees of either Mardi Gras celebration.

In Hillcrest

The ninth annual street party celebration will take place tonight on University Avenue between First and Fourth Avenues. Rain or shine, the festivities begin at 6 p.m. and will feature live entertainment, guest performers, and an exclusive VIP area. Food and drinks from participating vendors and venues will be available for purchase, including an array of other surprises and various other party favors. Hillcrest Mardi Gras remains a 21-and-older event. Tickets range from $15 to $75.

For more information visit the Hillcrest Mardi Gras web page.

In the Gaslamp Quarter

Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp includes dinner packages from several restaurants, two spectacular parades on Fifth Avenue, as well as live entertainment, roving circus acts, and food and drink specials from participating vendors and sponsors. This party also begins at 6 p.m. but lasts an additional hour, until midnight.

Tickets range from $15 to $40. To purchase tickets or for more information visit gaslamp.org.