If you’re in the mood to dance, eat or drink, New Orleans offers quite a musical hub of unique places to see, hear and experience the true sounds of live jazz. After all, New Orleans is its birthplace. Check out our list of jazz hot spots and get to jamming!
501 Napoleon Ave., New Orleans, LA 70115
Formerly known as The 501 Club, the music venue got its name from a popular song “Tipitina” by Professor Longhair, a New Orleans blues singer and pianist. He performed at the club until his death in the 1980s. If you’re looking for a spot on the dance floor, this is the place. The juke joint has worn many hats in its past life as a juice bar and restaurant. (The iconic banana logo is a hint of its days as a juice bar.) Tipitina’s has brought in big names such as Lenny Kravitz and Pearl Jam, according to an archive.
726 St. Peter, New Orleans, LA 70116
Since 1961, Preservation Hall has been keeping the sound of traditional New Orleans Jazz alive. Stop by the jazz club nightly for an intimate, acoustic performance. General admission is $20 at the door and seats fill up quickly. Or, if you’re feeling like a “Big Shot,” buy a ticket for $40 to $50 for one of the best seats in the house and skip the line. Louis Armstrong called Preservation Hall the place “where you will find all the greats.”
Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub
733 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70116
New Orleans’ oldest jazz club in operation is situated on Bourbon Street, in its original 1831 historic building. Seating is a mixture of bar stools and benches. An important perk: There’s no cover charge.
532 Frenchmen St., New Orleans, LA 70116
Want a little more than jazz? Blue Nile offers funk, blues, soul and brass band shows. You can also get your jazz fix. Located on the Frenchmen Strip, the two-story club has a spacious outdoor balcony. It even made an appearance in Drake’s “In My Feelings” video.
It’s reported to have been the first bar on the strip to feature live bands and is in a building from 1832 formerly known as the Dream Palace. The Dream Palace used to be a nightclub and was described by thelensnola.org, as a venue with “psychedelic décor” and a “galactic ceiling mural catered to the rock crowd.”
The Spotted Cat Music Club
623 Frenchmen St., New Orleans, LA 70116
About a 10-minute walk from the French Quarter lies this tiny jazz venue. It’s often packed and is standing room only. Attendees must be at least 21 years old, and it’s cash only, no reservations.
Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro
626 Frenchmen St., New Orleans, LA 70116
This small but mighty venue is packed with a menu of Cajun and Creole cuisine. Stay for the music: two nightly shows feature a hodgepodge of musicians with different styles. You are sure to get your money’s worth.
Maple Leaf Bar
8316 Oak St., New Orleans, LA 70118
Maple Leaf used to be a chess and music club and currently hosts a weekly poetry reading that is the longest running series in North America. The popular Rebirth Brass Band plays every Tuesday night and you may even catch New Orleans painter Frenchy live painting.
Bonus: Wednesday Jam at New Orleans Jazz Market
On Wednesdays, the New Orleans Jazz Market hosts a special jam session filled with acts from local musicians, poets and comedians. You can even get a taste of New Orleans food and novelties from vendors set up inside and outside. It’s a hip and hot spot for young crowds and the local creative community. And a must-visit event for those looking for an intimate and interactive night on the town. See it for yourself here.