Known as the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans boasts many exceptional music halls, lounges and stages. From the historic French Quarter to the lively Marigny neighborhood, these music hot spots are the places to be for blues, zydeco, rock and more.
Here are eight of the best music venues in the Big Easy.
Dew Drop Jazz Hall
Nestled in the heart of New Orleans, the Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall stands as a living testament to the city’s musical legacy. With roots tracing back to 1885, this unassuming wooden haven has witnessed the evolution of jazz and embraced legendary artists like Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, and Bunk Johnson. Today, the stage continues to host the torchbearers of sound, from the captivating melodies of Chris Thomas King to the high-energy performances of The Jump Hounds.
Music Box Village
Imagine stepping into a whimsical world where art and music come together – that’s the enchanting realm of Music Box Village. Tucked under ancient trees draped in Spanish moss, this sculpture garden is a playground of interactive, unique musical wonders. Everyday objects have been skillfully transformed into instruments, where you can unleash melodies on vibrantly adorned oil drums or within a hut made from wind chimes. From budding musicians to the young at heart, these exhibits beckon all ages to craft their own harmonies, rhythms, and tunes.
Craving an authentic New Orleans jazz experience? Look no further than the iconic Preservation Hall. Situated in the heart of the French Quarter, this venue has been hosting musical performances 360 nights a year since the 1950s. Stepping inside, you’ll find yourself transported through time – the warm, rustic ambiance remains a charming nod to the past, with its cozy wooden benches and stage adorned with mementos from past shows. Today, over 50 jazz virtuosos take the stage, from the soulful beats of Preservation Brass to the vocals of Joe Lastie and Mark Braud.
The Jazz Playhouse
Located within The Royal Sonesta New Orleans on Bourbon Street, The Jazz Playhouse seamlessly blends the charm of a jazz club with the allure of a cocktail lounge. Here, you’re in for an upscale experience, immersed in an atmosphere that’s both refined and spirited. Picture a venue adorned with opulent chandeliers, lush velvet curtains, and sumptuous lounge seating that welcomes you to unwind and savor the moment. The stage comes alive with the captivating vocals of talented artists like Funkin’ It Up with Big Sam and the infectious energy of the Brass-A-Holics. And if you’re looking for something different, mark your calendar for select evenings featuring the lively Drag Cabaret hosted by the one and only drag sensation Trixie Minx.
In the heart of New Orleans, Tipitina’s stands as a symbol of the city’s musical heritage. This renowned club is more than just a venue; it serves as a doorway to the soulful core of the city, offering an authentic blend of zydeco, blues, funk, jazz, and Cajun rhythms, all within its rustic warehouse setting. Every weekend, the venue hosts an eclectic array of bands, musicians, and vocalists. Experience the rhythm of the Heartless Bastards, or dance the night away to the nostalgic beats of ’90s throwbacks. From one genre to the next, Tipitina’s knows how to bring the house down, infusing every performance with an electric energy that’s nothing short of unforgettable.
If you’re looking for the best place to party every night of the week, check out The Maison on Frenchman Street. This multi-level venue is a hub of diverse entertainment all week long. From the city’s most sought-after DJs to popular jazz musicians, each night is a new adventure. Love a good mystery? Check out the Murder Mystery nights. The venue also hosts Latin dance socials and fun burlesque shows. And when the weekend rolls around, don’t miss out on The Wig Snatchers Drag Show.
For over two decades, D.B.A. has been a cornerstone of the New Orleans scene, a dynamic hub where the art of brewing collides with the magic of music. Their devotion to the art of good beer is unwavering, with a selection that spans from local legends to global pioneers. As each sip takes you on a journey, the stage comes alive with the sounds of the city’s most eclectic bands. Sip on a Gnarly Barley IPA and groove to the tunes of bands like The Soul Rebels, Honey Island Swamp and Tuba Skinny.
The Howlin’ Wolf
Unleash your primal instincts at The Howlin’ Wolf, located in the old New Orleans Music Hall in the Warehouse District; this venue is easily identified by the colorful murals on the side of the building. A New Orleans favorite, iconic musicians such as Dr. John, Jimmy Buffet, Allison Krauss, and the Foo Fighters have performed on this venue’s stage. Connected to the Howlin’ Wolf is their second venue, The Den, which includes additional live musical performances, stand-up comedy shows, and movie screenings.