A comfortable spot at the rear of the parade crowd allows a more complete view of the floats and better blending of band sounds. In the front, the excitement is more intense, the throws more plentiful, and the paraders’ costumes and expressions visible. Either choice has its merits.  Comfortable positions in front are very hard to come by at the more popular parades.

Avoid Canal Street near the French Quarter, unless the most crowded viewing area is sought.

Go to the suburbs, where the crowds are often smaller. Endymion, Bacchus, Rex, Zulu and Orpheus are the most crowded parades, drawing the most suburbanites, locals, and tourists. Few city people and tourists travel to the suburbs for parades.

See a parade on one of the less crowded days. On St. Charles Avenue,  the most crowded days are the second weekend of the parade season, which is the weekend before Mardi Gras Day. Ancient Druids roll on Wednesday, February 18, and the crowds should be very manageable. Proteus, one of our favorite parades,  is rather sparsely attended, since the night it rolls is both right after the biggest party weekend of the year and the day before Fat Tuesday.

Attend a parade in threatening weather. Many people stay home. Very occasionally, parades do cancel so check radio or web updates when necessary.

Once at a parade of your choice- avoid intersections, especially major ones. Walk until the crowd thins out.

Head to double back areas, if any. Stand on the neutral ground to see the parade twice, coming and going.

Watch near the start and ending areas. Crowds are often thinner at these areas, but this isn’t always so.