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New Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz. Since the first blend of European trumpets and African drums started singing out in the early 20th century, the music genre has spread to a wide range of subgenres and an even wider range of cities.

Whether you’re moving to New Orleans or just visiting, you can slip out after hours to visit the heart of these swinging tunes and the rich culture surrounding it. Here are some of the best places to listen to jazz in the Crescent City.

Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar & Lounge

214 Royal Street, New Orleans

For the flare of a high society party and the personality the city’s known for, be sure to visit the classy and beautiful Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar. The bar itself is a golden carousel with dazzling lights and beautiful mirrors (check out the video above). While spinning, you can enjoy live music by top names such as Lena Prima and Robin Barnes, experiencing for yourself some of the melodies that made jazz famous.

Vaughan’s Lounge

800 Lesseps Street, New Orlean

New Orleans is beloved for its massive parties, addictive dancing music and especially its little hole-in-the-wall bars. Vaughan’s Lounge is a perfect example. With its rustic, run-down look, it’s easy to let down your hair, order a strong drink, and enjoy some jazz from big-name artists and emerging local bands. The warm lighting transports you to the fledgling days of the genre. Whether you’re hanging out at the bar or sitting at the foot of the stage, you’ll have a perfect place to relax with old friends and new companions.


Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse

300 Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Cozy, fun and always full of life, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse is perfect for those who want to see the widest and most talented range of jazz stars. The playhouse, inside the Royal Sonesta New Orleans hotel, often features Mayfield, a Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter, but you can expect other acts as well. If you’re looking for an authentic New Orleans jazz experience, order a sazerac and settle into this luxurious and intimate venue.

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733 Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Everyone knows Germany for its beer and Louisiana for its swinging jazz. Why can’t you have both together? At Fritzel’s, you can. This “European jazz club” offers warm lighting, great drinks and a layout designed to make hanging with friends even more fun. The club’s Dixieland jazz is a local favorite, which you can enjoy at the foot of the stage or listen to while puffing a cigar on the porch. Fritzel’s was founded in 1969, in a building dating to 1831, making it perfect for those wanting an authentic New Orleans experience in both look and sound.

Snug Harbor

626 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans

Known for great food and even better music, this jazz hotspot is famous for quality over quantity. You’ll find family names like Neville and Marsalis on the stage at Snug, which is located in a renovated 1800s storefront in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, just outside the French Quarter. Shows are ticketed, in the $15 to $25 range, usually with the same act playing at 8 p.m. and again at 10 p.m. Expect to pay $40, however, to see Ellis Marsalis on one of his typical Friday night stands.

The Spotted Cat Music Club

623 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans

You can’t get a more genuinely New Orleans experience than a visit to the Spotted Cat, which puts the gypsy feeling back into traditional jazz. Expect some blues, funk and klezmer mixed in with the jazz here, played from a tiny stage in the front window. (You can see the stage on The Cat’s live webcam!)  A few notes: no reservations, no food, and cash only. So plan accordingly. There’s no cover most nights, but you can tip the band. The Spotted Cat is right across the street from Snug Harbor, so you can jump over here after dinner and a show there.

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Hi! I’m Maria, formerly the Social Media & Content Marketing Manager for ForRent.com. I was part of a dream team that is dedicated to running this awesome blog along with ForRent.com's social channels. If I am not busy writing blogs and socially sharing, you can find me working out, drinking cappuccinos, stylizing my apartment and doing DIY projects!

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