The 10 Best Concerts, Shows, and Venues in New Orleans

Kaylee Giacomini

It’s impossible to be bored in New Orleans. There’s always something to do, and if you don’t have set plans you can just walk outside and find something. Live music is everywhere from bars lining Bourbon to quiet streets by the riverbend. You don’t need concert or event tickets to have a good time, but if you're looking for a show New Orleans has plenty of established performances to check out ranging from seasoned jazz bands to burlesque drag queens.

Maple Leaf Bar, The Spotted Cat Music Club, Tipitina's, The Music Box Village, Preservation Hall, House of Blues New Orleans, Pat O'Brien's, Saenger Theatre, Oz New Orleans, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

  • Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Maple Leaf Bar first opened in the Carrollton neighborhood in 1974 and has since grown to international esteem. Some of their current residencies include Grammy winners George Porter Jr. and the Rebirth Brass Band. They also host local and touring artists each week. A-list artists like Bruce Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt are also known to come here when in town, and both have also made impromptu performances on these trips.

  • The Spotted Cat Music Club in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      If you love live music, Frenchmen Street is the place to be. All of their jazz clubs are fantastic, but the Spotted Cat is the most quintessential. It’s a small and intimate club basked in purple lights to illuminate the 5 piece jazz band that takes the stage each night. They have a rotation of performers, but each one is incredibly talented at their craft.

  • Tipitina's in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Tipitina’s got its start as a neighborhood bar in 1977, and today is probably the most famous concert venue in New Orleans. They have concerts and jam sessions Thursday-Sunday every week and have housed residencies for some of New Orleans biggest names like Dr. John and Galactic. You can find a variety of performers here each week, some of their most famous have included Willie Nelson, Lenny Cravitz, and Tim McGraw.

  • The Music Box Village in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Music Box Village is more an interactive art installation than a venue, but if you want to support the arts in New Orleans this is a great place to do so. The village is the flagship destination for “musical architecture” - a venue where people can play instruments while the venue itself also acts as an instrument. The Music Box Village hosts a variety of acoustic performers, art residencies, and booths to support local craftspeople.

  • Preservation Hall in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Preservation Hall is a historic jazz venue located in one of the oldest buildings in the city. The jazz band’s performances are quaint and intimate; artists perform on a carpet in the front of the room while patrons gather together on small wooden pews to watch. The small room allows for harmonious acoustics that elevate the already masterful performances.

  • House of Blues New Orleans in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      House of Blues has a few locations, but their New Orleans venue always manages to keep the party raging well into the night. They have shows throughout the week ranging from burlesque stars to rock and roll bands. House of Blues also has a restaurant that patrons can enjoy that almost always has live music. It’s the perfect place for dinner and a show in the Big Easy.

  • Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Dueling Piano Bar: I live two blocks away from Bourbon Street, so it’s no exaggeration that I’ve literally been to every bar and nightclub on this infamous stretch. Pat O’Brien’s is my favorite. They have the most expansive courtyard on Bourbon and a botanical fountain that has a crown of flames at night. The interior of Pat O’Briens is a lively dueling piano bar featuring some of the best pianists in the city. They perform every day of the week from 1 pm until close. Check them out, drink a hurricane, and request your favorite songs during this jam session.

  • Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      The Saenger is a gorgeous baroque theater on the outskirts of the French Quarter. The Cathedral ceilings are adorned in gold and intricate architecture and the upper walls emulate a night sky. The building is a spectacle in itself, but they also host amazing live performers. This year, you can see the musical Chicago, Bob Dylan, Ru Paul’s Drag Race on tour, and more.

  • Oz New Orleans in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Drag Show: Oz is located on the northern end of Bourbon street where the raging nightlife tends to calm down a bit. Oz keeps this stretch lively. Every Friday night, the popular gay nightclub features some of the most prominent drag queens in New Orleans hosted by Persana Shoulders. Persona Shoulders always keeps the crowd lively, and in 2015 was even the Grand Marshal of the New Orleans Pride parade.

  • Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans, United States

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    • kaylee

      Jazz & Heritage Festival: The Fair Grounds isn’t a venue, but they do host one of the most iconic cultural music festivals in the United States. Every May, Jazz Fest returns to the city for two weekends of live music, decadent food, and local artists. I’ll be going this year, and some of the headliners that I’m most looking forward to include the Who, Stevie Nicks, and Jimmy Buffett. After two years without the festival due to COVID the city is excited to welcome back all of the iconic musicians performing this year.