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10 Offbeat Places to Celebrate Mardis Gras

Galveston, Texas
Want to keep the booze at Mardi Gras but maintain the calm? Just do what Galveston does: Charge a cover.

Galveston's Mardi Gras tradition dates back to the late 1800s, when a Mardi Gras ball and Shakespearean performance gave way to parades and revelry that drew 250,000 people to Galveston Island last year. That hadn't been a given in recent years after Hurricane Ike slammed into the island in 2009 and forced the city to drop the admission fee it charged a year earlier just to draw revelers back to the island.

Now that they're back, however, Galveston's door charge has returned. A single-day general admission ticket will set you back $15, while parking adds another $8. Want to go to one of the krewe bead-tossing balcony parties? That'll be $30 to $45 a pop, please. Granted, that gets you access to all of the parades, bars, food, live shows, carnivals and other perks that make Galveston worth the cover charge in the first place, but those costs add up pretty quickly.

Not that Galveston minds. Since putting the cover charge back into effect last year, Galveston Police say Mardi Gras crime is down 50% while revelers still stream in. If that's what it takes to go to Mardi Gras, have a good time and not end up an extra on an episode of Cops, it's money well spent.

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