|The Spotted Cat
||623 Frenchmen St
||The Spotted Cat is a quintessential New Orleans live music venue. It’s a comfortable and intimate spot that primarily features jazz tracks, and is frequented by locals and tourists alike. Past acts included Andy J Forest, Panorama Jazz Band, Miss Sophie Lee, and many other local NOLA artists. The bar is cash only and may charge $5 for a cover, but drinks are inexpensive and the experience is worth your while.
||726 St Peter St
||Preservation Hall was created in the ‘60s to protect traditional New Orleans jazz, and decades later, the venue is still succeeding at its goal. There are three shows every night: Ones at 8:15, 9:15, and 10:15. Since they don’t serve food or drink, this is probably one of the most budget-friendly venues in all of New Orleans. Be sure to bring your own if you’re in the mood to dine. Entrance is free, but you’ll have to wait in line so make sure to get there early to be guaranteed a spot. Between the music and the 18th-century venue, this spot will have you feeling like you traveled back in time. Note that kids are welcome at shows as well, making it a top spot to take little ones when in town.
|Music Box Village
||4557 N Rampart St
||A visit to Music Box Village is a very unique experience. The entire venue is outdoors—the vibe is an interesting mix between a whimsical playground and abandoned circus. During their public open house (which happens every day), you can walk around the experimental space and play with all different types of instruments that produce eclectic sounds. You can also buy tickets in advance online for shows by bands like The Village Tour.
|| 2227 St Claude Ave
||Siberia was originally founded as a safe haven for New Orleans’ marginalized punk and metal scene. But since its opening, it’s has expanded to include regular appearances by rappers like Katey Red and Big Freedia; punk legend Walter Lure; psychedelic rock; comedy; local singer-songwriters; and even burlesque shows. One of the main draws here is the food, though, so come prepared to eat. The cash-only window in the back serves up tasty pierogies, kielbasa, and blini. Check out their schedule for more details about upcoming events.
|Rock n’ Bowl
||3016 S Carrollton Ave
||Rock n’ Bowl offers many different ways to have fun—from live bands and bowling to a dance floor and delicious dining. If you get there a little before the shows and the lanes aren’t booked, you can really have at it with some friendly competition and cheese fries and chicken wings to pregame. Afterwards, be ready to dance until you can’t feel your feet.
|Maple Leaf Bar
||8316 Oak St
||Maple Leaf Bar has been an iconic venue in the New Orleans music scene for over 40 years. It has recently been updated with a state-of-the-art sound system, a wooden dance floor, and (more importantly) air conditioning. It’s the place to be on Tuesday nights when The Rebirth Brass Band is playing. You can also listen to cool jams by Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes or Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk on weekends. Cover charges run about $15, depending on the night—though they’re a bit cheaper on Sundays during the crawfish boil, which offers all-you-can-eat crawfish for $10.
|Chickie Wah Wah
|| 2828 Canal St
||Chickie Wah Wah is a mixture between a gastropub and a music venue. If you stop by, you’ll be able to nosh on great food from Blue Oak BBQ, like smoked wings, BBQ nachos, beef brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches. Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 7:30pm, you’ll also catch happy hour deals with free live music. (Mostly local folk or blues acts.) But every once in a while, Jon Cleary stops by. and if you’re around you should definitely seize the opportunity to see him live.
|One Eyed Jacks
|| 615 Toulouse St
||One Eyed Jacks used to be a French Quarter movie house and then a speakeasy, and the swank decor and possible ghost sightings reflect this colorful past. Nonetheless, it’s one of the few venues in New Orleans that offers music that diverges a bit from the typical jazz or blues scene, and the crowd is an interesting combination of young 20- and 30-somethings and old punk rockers. Featured music genres vary from hip-hop to indie to live DJs, and even some K-Pop bands, like Boyfriend. Stop by on Thursdays for ‘80s dance night if you’re really looking for a good time.
|The Saenger Theater
||1111 Canal St
||You’ll definitely want to plan a visit to the Saenger Theater in advance, but the high-profile groups that play here and the atmosphere make the planning worth it. The venue itself is about 90 years old and is included on the National Register of Historic Places—though that doesn’t stop touring acts from bringing down the house. Legends like Alice Cooper, Morrissey, and Beck have all graced the stage, and recent acts are said to include Tony Bennett and Christina Aguilera. Check out the lineup for more details.
||618 Frenchmen St
||DBA offers live music every night, but you never really know what you’ll find here. It could be the typical New Orleans folk or bluegrass, or it could also be African jazz or indie rock, depending on the evening. Draft beer is a crowd favorite here, with over 20 options including Abita Amber, Bell’s Oberon, Harp Lager, and local selections like NOLA Blonde. The liquor menu is also stacked, so you’re guaranteed a great time.