Live music and New Orleans go hand in hand. On a normal day, you can hear the streets of New Orleans filled with music. New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz, but you’ll hear all styles and types of music, including rock, reggae, Zydeco, and more.
You can hear the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra or the New Orleans Opera, or simply hear the vibrant rhythm of street music wherever you go. From live music venues along Frenchmen Street to annual festivals that have taken place for decades, New Orleans is a music lover's haven. Let us help you discover the best beats of the Big Easy.
Frenchmen Street is a hub for music and culture in downtown New Orleans. Bars and clubs that host live music dot this three-block stretch in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Just a short walk from the French Quarter, Frenchmen Street boasts the highest concentration of live music bars in the city.
Best Venues for Live Music in New Orleans
1. BLUE NILE
The Blue Nile is host to funk, blues, soul, and brass musicians well into the wee hours of the night. Considered the original music club, the Blue Nile is a premier music venue in an 1832 building. You’ll find live music here six nights a week.
2. PRESERVATION HALL
Preservation Hall was founded in 1961 as a music venue, nonprofit organization, and music collective. Nearly every night of the week you can find vibrant live music here. This spot is BYOB so be sure to stop somewhere on your way.
3. THE SPOTTED CAT
Check music in the early afternoon at The Spotted Cat on Frenchmen that lasts well into the evening. Known internationally as a jazz music destination, The Spotted Cat is one of Faubourg Marigny’s best venues.
Music Festivals in New Orleans
1. NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Taking place each spring at the end of April into the beginning of May, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has been a staple in the community since 1970. This iconic festival draws big name musicians from all over the world for the seven-day event at the Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots.
2. FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL
The French Quarter Festival started in 1984 and it’s been a celebration of the music of this neighborhood ever since. As the largest showcase of Louisiana music in the world, the French Quarter Festival takes place in April each year.
3. CRESCENT CITY BLUES & BBQ FESTIVAL
The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival takes place each fall in Lafayette Square. The festival brings together a mix of major headliners and new acts, as well as delicious food.
A few other popular music festivals include the Bayou Boogaloo, Satchmo Summerfest, and the Cajun-Zydeco Festival. Plus, there are several regularly recurring live music events around town like Jazz in the Park, Wednesdays on the Point, and Wednesdays at the Square.