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Rhythms of NOLA: 12 Incredible New Orleans Music Venues

From jazz to blues, rock to reggae, these wonderful New Orleans music venues have everything to give your time in this city a happy rhythm. 

Known and loved for its unique music, flavorful cuisine, historic sites, and, most notably, the wonderful Mardi Gras, New Orleans is a lovely place to visit. And with the best New Orleans music venues, you can have the best possible experience of the “Big Easy” in Louisiana.

So, if you are looking for a place to take a trip to, New Orleans should certainly be at the very top of the list. If you love music, finding these fantastic New Orleans music venues will surely change the tone of your time here.

1. New Orleans – The Land of Music and the Birthplace of Jazz

New Orleans is the home of jazz. Music is at the heart and spirit of the city, and it takes pride in being home to legends like Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain, and the Marsalis family, to name a few.

Be it jazz or blues, gospel tunes or rock, hip-hop or rap, this city of Louisiana is a truly unique place to love, cherish, and enjoy different kinds and genres of music.

The setting and atmosphere of the city are filled with artistry of all kinds. Be it art or culture, history or music, New Orleans is the place to delight the heart of anyone who truly appreciates genuine creativity.

It is the land of Mardi Gras and where artistic souls thrive and flourish. In a city such as this, the New Orleans music venues are the perfect places to experience the town’s tunes.

New Orleans Mardi Gras
Image by Ty Yang from Pixabay Copyright 2017

2. 12 Amazing New Orleans Music Venues: Find the Music of NOLA

Spending a vibrant night out for live music shows and concerts is the ideal way to create the best New Orleans experience ever.

The New Orleans music venues are practically any music lover’s definition of paradise. Add a bit of the local flavorful and delicious cuisine in the mix, and nothing else will compare to this wonderful experience.

And with these best live music venues in New Orleans, you will surely have the most delightful time in this city of arts, music, and culture.

2.1) Preservation Hall

When you are on a journey to discover all the best New Orleans music venues, Preservation Hall is most likely to be your first find.

The place is as much of a historic site as a spot for listening to music. The establishment is attributed to a house band, a record name, and a non-profit organization.

Under Larry Borenstein of Milwaukee, this legendary building first appeared as an art gallery. To increase the crowd, Borenstein started to ask jazz musicians to play there. After a while, the music started becoming a greater attraction, and shortly after, Ken Grayson Mills and Barbara Reid became in charge of the hall. They transformed the place into a true music venue and renamed it “Preservation Hall.”

Today, the historic building of Preservation Hall is a notable music venue of the French Quarter that strives to conserve, maintain, and immortalize the essence of traditional jazz in the city.

French Quarter
Image by Lisa Moore from Pixabay Copyright 2014

Here, you will get to experience some of the greatest live performances ever in a very family-friendly setting.

2.2) The Howlin’ Wolf

Are you looking for something a bit low-key yet amazing? Well then, The Howlin’ Wolf is surely one of the greatest New Orleans music venues for you.

What can be better than electrifying live music concerts and performances? The answer is live music plus delicious food and drinks. Anyone will agree that everything is better with food, and The Howlin’ Wolf is one of the best bars in the city.

Apart from the extraordinary live music, the menu of this great music venue includes mouthwatering options like Bacon Cheddar Beignets, Mofo Nachos, and Gator balls! For drinks, there is also a range of selections, including Irish Channel, Commotion Pale Ale, and Lagunitas.

However, the main attraction of this venue is undoubtedly The Den. Just next to the main room, The Den is known for hosting a unique assortment of shows, events, music performances, art exhibitions, movie screenings, and anything you can think of!

So, if you want to indulge your taste buds and please your ears, The Howlin’ Wolf is exactly the right place for you.

2.3) Three Muses

Another live music bar, Three Muses, comes with great jazz performances, great food, and a very nice and cozy atmosphere.

A perfect example of the New Orleans music scene, this music venue is located at Frenchmen Street and is open from Thursday to Monday.

The menu highlights of Three Muses are Creole Crab Cakes, Chile Verde Pulled Pork Sandwich, Yaka Mein, Beer Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly, and Cheese Plate.

Make sure to enter the place nice and early, as its immense popularity means all the best food items run out in no time!

Three Muses: Food, Drink and Music in New Orleans

2.4) Tipitina’s

A notable landmark since 1977 for its unique live music and dancing, Tipitina’s can be found at the nook of Napoleon Avenue and Tchoupitoulas St in the Uptown part of the city.

The place comes with various genres like Jazz, Rock, and R&B that will ensure you never experience a dull moment after stepping there.

Another thing that makes Tipitina’s one of the most legendary New Orleans music venues is its vast history of recording live albums. Among the iconic names, you will find The Radiators (Work Done on Premises), Dr. John (Right Place, Right Time), and Phish (New Orleans Relief).

2.5) Cafe Beignet

While this one is more known for, you guessed it, the BeignetsCafe Beignet is also famous as a live music venue.

With the perfect combination of live performances by a jazz band and tasty treats of local flavors, the Cafe of the French Quarter is surely among the best New Orleans music venues.

The menu contains a great selection of items such as Hash Browns and Belgian Waffles, Cajun Specialties like Jambalaya and Gumbo, and sweet and sugary Beignets!

Image by Bakony Balaton from Pixabay Copyright 2016

So visit Cafe Beignet to have a lovely New Orleans experience – come for the delicious food and stay for the amazing live music.

2.6) House of Blues

As you can gather from the name, this music venue is based on rock and blues. Add a side of tasty southern dishes in the mix, and you have everything to spend a perfect night out.

The House of Blues Spot at Decatur Street has a restaurant and bar and the option of hosting private events. The comprehensive menu has unique and delicious items like Voodoo Shrimp, Carolina Mess, Jambalaya, and Impossible™ Burger. End your satisfying meal with something sweet like puddings and cookies. And to finish the dinner on a perfect note, try the drinks. Here, you will find options like Blue Moon, Beast of Bourbon, Black & Blues Vodka Smash, and Stella Artois.

However, the highlight of the house is certainly the Soulful Brunch – the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and the special Sunday gospel music.

2.7) Maple Leaf Bar

With a stylish setting, live music, and a vibrant dance floor, the Maple Leaf Bar is a must-visit spot in New Orleans.

Along with two bars and a balcony, the place is known for its spacious dance floor. Here, you will find great drinks at an affordable price, and various events always brighten the atmosphere.

Along with the music, the Poetry Night is another highlight of the Maple Leaf Bar. Apart from being freely accessible to all, the cafe presents various works from notable authors. So, if you are a lover of music and literature, this is the ideal spot for you.

The New Orleans Maple Leaf Bar

2.8) The Maison

Another venue of Frenchmen Street, The Maison, is known and loved for its live music, dancing, and food.

The best day to try The Maison is, without any debate, Sunday. The Sunday Swingin’ Jazz Brunch here is the perfect example of everything best about the food and music of the city. The food options at The Maison comprise Later Gator, Jambalaya Cakes, and Gumbo Fries, along with a pretty impressive range in the cocktail menu.

The best things about the venue are the Murder Mystery Night, Drag Shows, and Mixology Classes.

2.9) Blue Nile

You can discover the Blue Nile at the very center of Frenchmen Street. Here, you will be greeted with diverse musical options with genres like funk, R&B, soul, and brass.

Featuring local artists along with both national and global ones, this place is certainly one of the best New Orleans music venues that you need to check out.

The balcony overlooking the buzzing streets of NOLA is another bonus when at the Blue Nile. Here, you can spend some time sipping on delicious and reasonably priced cocktails from their bar and enjoying the overall musical ambiance of the place.

Image by Social Butterfly from Pixabay Copyright 2018

2.10) Orpheum Theater

In the city’s Central Business District, you will find one of the most amazing New Orleans music venues. From live concerts to comedy shows, from galas to wedding events – the Orpheum Theater hosts everything.

Thriving for more than a century, the theatre is also a historic landmark of New Orleans. Some might find the place a bit pricey for their taste, but the fine cuisine, incredible music, and unique shows are well worth the money.

2.11) The Spotted Cat Music Club

Small and cozy, The Spotted Cat Music Club has a homey vibe that most visitors love. This jazz bar on Frenchmen Street makes up for its small space with amazing food, live music, and a fun shopping zone!

Try delicious options like Seafood Gumbo, Fried Chicken Livers, Roast Beef Po’boy, and Fried Chicken Mac & Cheese, along with local brews like Gnarley Barley Milk Porter, Urban South Paradise Park Lager, and Nola 7″ Street Wheat.

Seafood Gumbo
Image by Elaine from Pixabay Copyright 2020

After some food and music, you can take a little shopping trip. So buy something to treat yourself or bring back and spoil your loved ones with NOLA gifts.

T-shirts, caps, mugs, and posters are the most popular options to take back with you.

Among the most well-known music clubs in New Orleans, this one is a must-visit for both the music and shopping experience.

2.12) New Orleans Jazz Market

The Jazz Market of New Orleans is considered a very special part of the city’s culture and heritage.

Here, you can discover the perfect blend of art and music and enjoy a bonus side of delicious drinks from its trendy cocktail bars!

The place has a great theatre, a cool bar, a well-stocked library, and a digital jazz archive. What more can you wish for?

And with warm and cozy decor, the New Orleans Jazz Market is a beloved spot among locals and tourists.

So, if you are searching for great music and remarkable art and are curious to learn more about jazz, the Jazz Market should undoubtedly be on your list of New Orleans music venues to visit and enjoy in the city.

3. Special Mention: The Street Performers of New Orleans

The city’s music does not stop at the enclosed walls of clubs, bars, and venues. Music is truly embedded in every nook and cranny of the place. All you need to do is walk the streets and see it yourself.

Music is always in the air, songs in the spirit, and tunes in the heart of New Orleans.

The lanes of New Orleans come with a long and notable history of iconic street performances.

Generally, this is something that you can experience in the heart of the city – the French Quarter. However, you are also likely to discover some hidden musical talent and free jazz in the crowds of Frenchmen Street.

Just by taking a stroll in the streets of Crescent City, you will feel how the music and art are in the very essence of New Orleans. And the city’s streets are no less amazing than the New Orleans music venues.

New Orleans Street Music
Image by Denise Grisham from Pixabay Copyright 2018

4. FAQs on New Orleans Music Venues

Still have queries on where to find the best New Orleans music venues? Read on to find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the most lively and amazing New Orleans music venues.

4.1) Why should you visit New Orleans?

Apart from being a true example of the melting pot of various unique and amazing cultures around the globe, the city of New Orleans has much more to offer.

It is most popular and loved for its distinctive blend of many aspects of the rich culture – incredible music, lively nightlife, various festivals, local and delicious Creole cuisine, and historic landmarks and architecture.

So it goes without saying that such a remarkable city should certainly be at the very top of your bucket list, where you will never run out of amazing things to do!

4.2) Which are some of the best New Orleans music venues to hear live music?

You will find endless places in New Orleans to enjoy and explore – music venues, clubs, and bars being some of the most popular choices. The whole city is filled with amazing places to listen to all genres of music. Even the streets are always buzzing with tunes and melodies.

Among the most loved and visited New Orleans music venues are names like Preservation Hall, House of Blues, The Spotted Cat Music Club, Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits, and many more.

4.3) Why are New Orleans’ live music venues so famous?

Being the birthplace of the iconic jazz genre, New Orleans holds a high place among the musical cities in the world.

Music is always in the air of the city. Beautiful tunes and melodies are a part of NOLA’s soul and spirit. You will not find any other city in the world with so many places to listen to all genres of music. From live shows to street performers, from jazz to rock – the Crescent City has it all. And the New Orleans music venues are undoubtedly the heart of the city’s music.

Endnotes: Listen to the Music of the Crescent City

As you can certainly see, the Big Easy holds a very special place as the home of some of the world’s finest art, culture, history, and music. So, for your next vacation, plan a trip to this amazing city of Louisiana.

New Orleans Music
Image by Laura from Pixabay Copyright 2015

Tourists and visitors crowd NOLA for its iconic French Quarter, historic sites and landmarks, flavorful cuisine, and, most notably, the legendary Mardi Gras festival.

And if you love music, the songs and tunes of Crescent City will be like a siren’s call for you. So, have a musical adventure like no other by visiting the best New Orleans music venues, and you will be able to experience the magical music of the city truly.


Last Updated on November 24, 2023 by Namrata123


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