Unbeknownst to tourists, the live music in New Orleans doesn’t revolve around Bourbon Street. Sure, people can find a fair share of live music, as well as a constant dose of entertainment along Bourbon Street, but if you’re looking for the really great music venues in New Orleans, your first order of business should be to get off of tourist avenue. Here are some solidly local recommendations.
The wailing sax on Frenchmen Street
Although Frenchmen Street is still fairly laden with tourists, it’s far more local than its raging Bourbon brother. Along this street, there are quite a few really cool venues for live music and in an atmosphere that will put you just a few inches from the sounds of a wailing saxophone. My personal favorite on Frenchman’s Street for live music is a place called the Blue Nile. One night I saw an awesome jazz big band followed up by a rock show.
The Spotted Cat is also a good place if you’re not feeling the vibes of the Blue Nile. You’ll have to sort out the best nights to go out here. An almost sure bet for a good night is the Maple Leaf, which is probably one of the best places to be in the city on a Tuesday night. You can also give Carrollton Station a try.
Where the locals flock on Sunday nights
OK, so you’re not expecting for there to be a thriving music scene in the Garden District are you? But that’s the fun thing about New Orleans; nearly everywhere you go, any night of the week, you’ll find a place for some music. In the Garden District, the most popular venue is called Tipitina’s and is a sure hit on Sunday nights.
Other gems where you might wander
Of course, you can’t go a block in the French Quarter without finding a place to listen to music. Many of the places you’ll find there are also favorites with the locals and their distance a couple blocks from Bourbon Street means few tourists wander off to them. If you’re looking for more common names in music, the House of Blues on Decatur is a favorite. Preservation Hall on St. Peter’s Street is one of the best jazz venues in the city as well.