Your Guide to Mardi Gras: Staying In vs. Going Out

Georgia Wilde

Cover image: Erin Sutherland | @ezose.png


The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has been an annual celebration of queer love and power for over 40 years. What began as a protest of 2000 individuals commemorating the Stonewall riots has evolved into a multi-week celebration and festival attended by over 400 000 people. Mardi Gras is a time for us to celebrate who we are and how far we’ve come. Whether you’re a queer who loves to party, or you just want a quiet night in: we have something for you!




If you’re planning on going out on Mardi Gras make sure to grab a bunch of mates, some biodegradable glitter, and a pride flag before you head out. First stop: the parade! The official parade up Oxford St will run from 7pm-10pm and is a must see. You will see floats from queer groups, community supporters, and of course the famous 78ers. To ensure you get a great viewing spot click here to see the parade route map. To get the best view, we recommend getting there a bit early and staking out a prime viewing location. After the parade wraps up you’ll want to continue the celebration, so check out this list of after parties—there’s one for everyone:


The classic


Party is the most well known and well attended Mardi Gras after party—being the official party hosted by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Expect to be surrounded by literally thousands of people and to party well into early Sunday morning. You need stamina for this one! Party leans slightly towards a more mlm crowd so if that’s not your thing check out one of our other options below.


For queer womn


Hosted at the Metro Theatre, GiRLTHING Mardi Pardi: Island of Lesbos is exactly what it sounds: a utopia for queer womn. Whilst the sapphic vibes run strong, all are welcome! This event has sold out for the last nine years and is not to be missed.


If you want something on a slightly smaller scale, then Empire’s Mardi Gras: Palm Springs will be right up your sleeve. With an all female line up sure to get you dancing and a #NoGirlLeftBehind policy, you’re sure to have a blast at this wonderful, and safe, oasis.


Come one, come all


Join Heaps Gay for their biggest party of the year post the parade: Heaps Gay Camp Country! Hosted at Manning Bar and with tickets from $29, Camp Country is one of the more accessible after parties and has a stacked lineup of international and local talent.


Be sure to also check out some queer Sydney institutions such as: Stonewall Hotel, The Imperial, ARQ Sydney and The Beresford.




We know that going out isn’t everyone’s pot of tea, so we’ve created a list of fun things to do from the comfort of your own home.


Watch the parade

The next best thing to being there is watching the parade live on TV. In fact, sometimes it might even be better without the stress of trying to squeeze your way through the crowd just for a glimpse of a float. Grab a bowl of popcorn and watch the live stream from SBS!


Host an event


Want to throw your very own Mardi Gras in your backyard? We’ve got you! Invite all your best mates with instructions to dress in full queer getup. Deck your place out in a shit tonne of rainbow flags and balloons. Taste the rainbow with multicolour snacks and some themed cocktails (e.g.Ricky Martini). Play games such as: pin the wig on the drag queen, and rainbow pinata. Make sure to put on a banging playlist, we recommend Spotify’s Mardi Gras Party mix.


Chill out


If you simply want to just sit in front of the TV all night but still want to feel vaguely on theme, here are a list of go-to movies and shows sure to help you binge your way through the weekend:

– Ellen Page’s Gaycation (SBS On Demand)

– Why not rewatch Drag Race for the 60th time? (Stan)

– The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Netflix)

– Please Like Me (Netflix)

– The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Netflix)

– Queer Eye (Netflix)

– Sense8 (Netflix)

– Moonlight (Stan)

– Will & Grace (Stan)

– Paris is Burning (Netflix)

– Carol (SBS On Demand)

– Tangerine (Stan)

– San Junipero, Black Mirror (Netflix)  



Whatever you choose to do this Mardi Gras, have fun, be safe, and enjoy the glitter.