5 Ways To Experience Jazz In New Orleans


New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival starts today, welcoming people from all over the world to see some of the biggest jazz acts in it. Performers like Billy Joel, Jill Scott and Maroon 5 are on the line up of this years ten-day festival. During the festival, you’ll have a chance to listen and learn about jazz in its birthplace, but if the festival isn’t enough to feed your appetite for the music genre, there are plenty more ways to do so while visiting New Orleans.

Experiencing Jazz in New Orleans

Night in a NOLA’s best jazz bars

A dark bar with nothing but one blue spotlight shining on the ten-man band on stage. Trombones, saxophones and pianos bring the room to life, as you get to know the person next to you in the packed house. This is how jazz is meant to be heard.

Obviously the best way to experience NOLA’s music scene is by visiting a bar to watch a live performance. There is no shortage of unique and historically important venues in the city. From a 40-year-old, traditional jazz house like Preservation Hall to a modern jazz joint like Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club.

Experience New Orleans in a Jazz bar

photo credit: imsioban

Discover new artists

On top of soaking up NOLA’s music history, you should get to know the jazz of today and its future. The streets are literally filled with performers just starting out in New Orleans, as are the city’s many universities. Home to Loyola University New Orleans, University of New Orleans and Tulane University, check out what performances the music programs at these schools have scheduled during your visit.

New Orleans skyline

Tour the city in the footsteps of Louis Armstrong

There is no bigger icon in New Orleans jazz than Louis Armstrong. The 1920s trumpet and cornet player was born and started his career in NOLA. You’ll notice city’s admiration for the jazz legend upon arrival at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Here’s where to go to walk on the jazz prodigy’s footsteps.

Louis Armstrong: New Orleans's Jazz legend

Go on a jazz tour

If you want to get a taste of all the jazz venues New Orleans has to offer, while learning about the city’s history, join a jazz tour. Several companies offer different tours around the French Quarters, Bourbon Street and even on the Mississippi River, including Viator, Gray Line and Big Easy Tours.

French Quarter in New Orleans

Find out what’s happening underground

There’s something about music that makes people really want to be different in their taste and find venues that are unknown to popular culture. Since jazz’s roots were very much underground or secret at the turn of the 20th century, that is especially the case with this music genre. After Hurricane Katrina ravished New Orleans destroying several of the city’s most-loved music venues, a few secret spots kept the music playing. Forbes writes about New Orleans’s secret jazz joints.

Landmarks and French Quarter attractions in New OrleansWhat do you think of this guide to New Orleans’s jazz scene? Did we miss anything? Tell us more in the comments below.