There’s only a couple of nights in the year that drags every person and their dog (so to speak) out to the streets of Sydney – one is New Years Eve, and the other is Mardi Gras. And boy do they bring crowds.
If you’ve been on Oxford St on that night, you’ll know there’s oodles of folks swarming to watch the big parade and bars up and down the street are overflowing with feathers and sweaty dancing bodies and spilt drinks.
Not everyone can handle hundreds of thousands of people en masse, so here’s how you can have a gag-worthy Mardi Gras without the soul-crushing panic of being stuck in a sea of people.
How To Celebrate Mardi Gras Without The Crowds
Take The Party Off Oxford St
The party isn’t only on Oxford St and Taylor Square, so just don’t even bother going up there. Keep it local to a pub or bar near you who are celebrating with their own party, or is showing the live broadcast on their screens. Venues like The Imperial Hotel in Erskineville, The Beresford in Surry Hills, the Ivy on George St, and Green Park Hotel in Darlinghurst are all good Mardi Gras spots that are both off Oxford Street and will be heaving with good vibes and less-intense crowds.
Host Your Own Mardi Gras
Maybe you’re just not in Sydney at all, or you want to stay as far away from the city as possible. I can’t blame you there, my friend.
This is the perfect chance to take it to the runway in your own house, invite all your friends over, and pop the Mardi Gras live broadcast on the TV. That way, you get to control the crowds.
Hell, go all out and get everyone to dress up, buy all the feather boas and rainbow stuff from Base Warehouse (which is its own special level of chaos on Mardi Gras week) and go to town on your house.
Better yet, turn the hallway and/or any stretch of your house into a makeshift catwalk. Have a box of costume gear, a glitter station, a selfie wall. Paint the floor rainbow. You can literally do whatever the fuck you want, as long as its extravagant AF. (Ok maybe not the rainbow floor.)
Get Wet, Honey
Well, not literally. But taking the glam to the high seas (read: Sydney Harbour) is a great way to make the shift from your day look (kaftan) into your night glamazon (kaftan, but with sequins.)
There’s an official Mardi Gras sunset cruise happening on February 29 through Planetdwellers, but I’m sure you could ask one of your North Shore mates for a go on their yacht or like, have an unofficial party at the bar on the Sydney to Manly ferry by taking it back and forth a few times. (Though I’m not sure how legal that is…)
Eat Out Instead
Who says you have to go balls to the wall wild for Mardi Gras? Get away from the crowds, lean into the bougie vibe and book yourself and your pals in for a fancy-ass dinner. That way you can still beat your face and put on your best rags and not end up a sweaty mess by the end of the night (unless your like me and tend to get the food sweats.)
The Winery in Surry Hills is open from midday for a chilled late lunch vibe, and enjoy the parade on the big screen over a pet nat and a cheese board or something.
Claire’s Kitchen above Oxford St in Darlinghurst is running its annual Mardi Gras dinner, for $100 a head you’ll get served with three hours of canapés and plenty of frivolous fanfare.
Head To The Park, Hunty
The one thing about this time of year in Sydney is that it’s typically gorgeous weather. Who says Mardi Gras celebrations means you have to stay out in crowds until the wee hours? Everyone knows that sequins sparkle best under full light, and the best light is always natural, babey. So corral your gaggle, get everything you need for a fancy-ass Mardi Gras picnic with bulk spritzes and mimosas, and take the party to your local park. Win win, if you ask me.