St. Louis, Missouri
We’ll concede that February in Missouri isn’t exactly the sort of thing you’d win on a game show, but if you’re looking for the best Mardi Gras party outside the Gulf Coast, it’s in St. Louis. You may recall St. Louis was also settled by the French (hence the “Louis”), a fact the city loudly remembers in February with the second-largest parade in the country. Beyond the parade, the city is full of all kinds of fun, free things to do like the St. Louis Art Museum, Science Center, and zoo. And even on a sluggish weekend, the Soulard neighborhood is one of the liveliest places in the Midwest for brews, cheap good eats, and laughs.