Destinations / United States

Your Guide to New Orleans Nightlife

New Orleans nightlife is famed throughout the world. But the party doesn’t start and stop with Mardis Gras. The Big Easy keeps ‘em coming with round after round of drinking, dancing, and live music all year round.

New Orleans, LA
Photo|New Orleans, Louisiana| GETTYIMAGES – MARK GIBSON

Deciding where to go for a good time in the Cresent City can be daunting. So with 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve got you the lowdown on exactly where you should swing it for the best the city has to offer after dark. To help you get your bearings, we’ve divided up our guide New Orleans nightlife, district by district.

1. Central Business District

At a Glance

Busy street life in downtown New Orleans
Photo|Busy street life in downtown New Orleans| GETTYIMAGES -CAVAN IMAGES

Originally, the CBD was known as the “American Quarter” for its high number of residents that hailed from other parts of the US. Today it’s the center of New Orlean’s daytime hustle and bustle. Things don’t die down when the corporate types file out the office, though. Upscale arteries like Baronne Street and Loyola Avenue buzz to the beat of live music at Pythian Market and other hot spots. Meanwhile, those willing to climb a couple of stairs (or hop in an elevator) can drink in sweeping city views from the frequented barstools at rooftop hangouts like the mischievous Monkey Board.

Where to Stay in the Central Business District

Windsor Court Hotel

Windsor Court Hotel, hotel near New Orleans nightlife
Photo|Windsor Court Hotel|Provided by ICE PORTAL

Located in the center of the bustling CBD, the Windsor Court hotel promises classic luxury with some good, old-fashioned Southern flare. Its 316 guest rooms are a great place to take in the sparkle of New Orleans’s storied central quarters. Many of them also boast private balconies with sweeping views of the Mississippi River. Start your evening by raising a glass at the Polo Club Lounge, which serves classic cocktails to the steady, satisfying beat of live jazz.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Harrah’s Casino New Orleans (300 meters)
  • Bon Ton Café, cajun restaurant (850 meters)
  • The Ruby Slipper Café, brunch restaurant (850 meters)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 331 – USD 671
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 300 Gravier Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States

Troubadour Hotel New Orleans Tapestry Collection By Hilton

Troubadour Hotel New Orleans Tapestry Collection By Hilton,hotel in CBD near nightlife
Photo|Troubador Hotel New Orleans Tapestry Collection by Hilton|Provided by ICE PORTAL

You’ll likely end up at the Troubadour at some point during your stay. After all, its home to Monkey Board, one of the best New Orleans Nightlife spots to ape around on a rooftop. A stay at this hotel isn’t all monkey business, however. You’ll be right around the corner from the city’s theater district. What’s more, tours to the city’s surrounding swamps and historic plantations can all be booked at reception.

Attractions Nearby:

  • 14 Parishes Jamaican Restaurant (450 meters)
  • Champions Square, entertainment venue (700 meters)
  • Carousel Bar (1.3 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 128 – USD 581
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: 1111 Gravier Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, United States

Hotel Location

2. Bywater

Riverwalk in NOLA
Photo|The riverwalk in New Orleans | GETTYIMAGES – BY JONATHAN D. GOFORTH

At a Glance

The Cresent City’s hipster haven, Bywater is centered along the rambling St Claude Avenue and packs music, galleries, and heaps of good eats—like The Joint and Sugar Park. It’s not all pop-up shops and craft breweries though. Longtime jazz and blues staple Vaughn’s Lounge (accessible by ringing a buzzer and slipping side door) moves to its own time-honored rhythm, with cheap drinks and bags of character. If dive bars are more your thing, head to BJ’s on Burgundy Street. From midday(ish) until the last man standing, there’s an unpretentious atmosphere, great beer, and music so great Robert Plant felt moved to do an impromptu session when he visited the place.

Where to Stay in Bywater

The Lookout Inn

The Lookout Inn, hotel near New Orleans nightlife
Photo|The Lookout Inn| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Much like the charismatic neighbourhood in which its located, this owner-occupied inn offers you the chance  to experience New Orleans’s local side. You’ll receive a warm welcome at The Lookout Inn from owners Kelly and Mark and of course their French bulldog Percy. The hotel itself is full of whimsy, with themed rooms and suites and plenty of paraphernalia cluttering the walls. To top it all off, there’s an outdoor pool and hot tubs, perfect for whiling away the later hours of the afternoon.

Attractions Nearby:

  • The Music Box Village, artists’ collective (350 meters)
  • Vaughan’s Lounge (450 meters)
  • The Front, art gallery (600 meters)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 98 – USD 119
Guest Rating: 10
Address: 833 Poland Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70117, United States

Sonder – Piety House

Sonder - Piety House, New Orleans hotel in Bywater district
Photo|Sonder – Piety House| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Housed in a beautifully restored Creole cottage, Piety House is one of Bywater’s fresher faces. The industrial interior is cool as a cucumber but skirts away from sterility thanks to the inclusion of bright colourful notes that keep things warm and welcoming. With a  fully equipped kitchen, there’s plenty of space and storage to entertain and pregame—handy, considering you’re just five minutes walk away from Frenchmen Street.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Bud Rips, cosy bar (30 meters)
  • Saint-Germain, wine bar (550 meters)
  • Junction Bar & Grill, gastropub (600 meters)

Star Rating: No rating
Price: USD 1,410 – USD 2,066
Guest Rating: No rating
Address: 835 Piety Street, New Orleans, LA 70117, United States

Hotel Location

3. Uptown

St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, LA at Sunset
Photo|St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans| GETTYIMAGES – SUSANNE NEUMANN

At a Glance

Like the CBD, Uptown was settled in the decades following the Louisiana Purchase, primarily by people arriving from elsewhere in the United States. In this case, though, much of the neighborhood’s original architecture escaped the city developers. Together with the pastel-colored townhouses and Antebellum mansions, the neighborhood’s rich Cajun music scene is one of Uptown’s hardiest survivors. You’ll catch it at its best at Tipitina’s a local institution that has been one serving some of the best acts the genre has to offer since 1977. If jazz and funk is more your kind of tempo, check out the cavernous Maple Leaf Bar, where The Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band performs every Tuesday, from around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m.

Where to Stay in Uptown

Hotel Indigo New Orleans Garden District

Hotel Indigo New Orleans Garden District, new Orleans hotel near nightlife
Photo|Hotel Indigo New Orleans Garden District| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Hotel Indigo’s selling point is that each of its boutiques reflects the character of the neighbourhood in which its located. That’s exactly what you’ll find at this charming midrange hotel in New Orleans’s Garden District. Each of the hotels rooms features Southern touches that keep with the atmosphere of the area’s nostalgic, oak-lined boulevards. Think wrought-lamppost lamps on the night stands and dynamic impressionist artwork on the walls. It’s the kind of decadent decorative decisions you’ll only find in a place like New Orleans.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Trolley Stop Cafe (250 meters)
  • Briggs-Staub House, quirky historical site (600 meters)
  • Lafayette Cemetery (1.2 kilometers)

Star Rating: 3.5*
Price: USD 115 – USD 371
Guest Rating: 8.5
Address: 2203 St Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States

The Columns Hotel

With an imposing neoclassical portico, Columns Hotel trumpets the kind of colonial grandeur you thought just wasn’t done anymore. This elegant building was built in 1883 as the mansion of a wealthy local tobacco merchant, before being converted into a hotel in 1953. This making it one of New Orleans’s most historically significant places to stay. The clubhouse style bar is the perfect place to start an evening in style, ideally with a tumbler of the local bourbon.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Superior Grill, Mexican restaurant (150 meters)
  • The Swallows, historical landmark (250 meters)
  • The Delachaise Wine Bar (350 meters)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 209 – USD 322
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 3811 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70115, United States

Hotel Location

4. The Warehouse District

Downtown New Orleans skyline along the banks of the Mississippi River
Photo|New Orleans skyline along the banks of the Mississippi River under the Crescent City Connection| GETTYIMAGES – DENISTANGLEYJR

At a Glance

New Orleans has grown, evolved, and diversified immensely in its 300-year history. And if there’s one place that still showcases the pieces of this many-layered past, it’s the Warehouse district. Only here will you find effortlessly sophisticated wine bars, swanky rooftop lounges, and innocuous Cheers-style bars within the same tiny radius (W.I.N.O, Alto, and The Rusty Nail are our picks for the three, in case you were wondering). Head to Repulic and Metropolitan for induction into the city’s dance music scene. If you need something to undo the damage come morning, the soulful Americana at Legacy Kitchen’s Craft Tavern will hit the spot.

Ace Hotel New Orleans

Ace Hotel New Orleans, hotel in Warehouse district near nightlife
Photo|Ace Hotel New Orleans| Provided by BOOKING.COM

This gorgeous boutique is like the perfect poster child for the Warehouse district. We’re talking steely good looks, whether it’s the art deco architecture, raw brick accent walls, and gorgeous retro-inspired interiors (the Ace Suite particularly stunning). That chic nostalgia carries can also be found at its James Beard Award-nominated restaurant, Josephine Estelle, which is giving us New York retro with an unmistakable Louisiana twist.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Lafayette Square (150 meters)
  • Bon Ton Café, Cajun restaurant (500 meters)
  • I.N.O (550 meters)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 184 – USD 825
Guest Rating: 8.6
Address: 600 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States

Residence Inn by Marriott New Orleans Downtown

Residence Inn by Marriott New Orleans Downtown, New Orleans hotel near nightlife
Photo|Residence Inn by Marriott New Orleans Downtown| Provided by BOOKING.COM

What better way to compliment that notorious New Orleans nightlife than with a stay at this restorative resort-style hotel? The Residence Inn’s spacious apartment-style rooms are a great big step wider than most in the Warehouse District. Some feature fully equipped kitchens, but we suggest venturing out to salivate at the many Creole and Cajun eateries that are located in the hotel’s immediate vicinity.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Cochon Restaurant, Cajun eatery (220 meters)
  • The National WWII Museum (280 meters)
  • New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (550 meters)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 181 – USD 277
Guest Rating: 8.7
Address: 345 St. Joseph Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States

Hotel Location

5. The French Quarter

Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter, New Orleans
Photo|Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter| GETTYIMAGES – F11PHOTO

At a glance

Now where would you go in New Orleans to listen to great live jazz music? The French Quarter feels like the all-too-easy answer to the equation. But any doubt you might have evaporates the moment you set foot inside hallowed local venues like Preservation Hall, a cornerstone of the Cresent City’s jazz scene since the 1950s. Performances here are worth every penny of the $20 cover charge. But you can also get your fix for free at Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub, a tiny establishment that is also New Orleans’s oldest jazz club.

The French Quarter doesn’t stop at jazz bars though. “Lavender Line,” the stretch of St Ann Street that cuts across Bourbon Street, is the center of the city’s thriving LGBTQ scene. Most famously, it’s the site of Café Lafitte’s in Exile, the US’s oldest continuously operating gay bar, as well as a full spectrum of pubs, dance clubs, and karaoke bars that are all worth checking out regardless of your orientation.

Where to stay in the French Quarter

The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, hoel in French Quarter near nightlife
Photo|The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Occupying the 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building, Ritz-Carlton New Orleans packs plenty of swoon-inducing charm. As you’d expect at any Ritz-Carlton, there’s an enormous spa and fabulous city views from its rooftop terrace. But the real jewel of this storied building are its lush courtyard garden and dignified live jazz bar, both of which will leave you blushing like a proper southern belle.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Museum of Death New Orleans (150 meters)
  • Saenger Theatre (230 meters)
  • Creole House Restaurant & Oyster Bar (500 meters)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 626 – USD 1125
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 921 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, United States

Bourbon Orleans Hotel

Bourbon Orleans Hotel, New Orleans hotel near nightlife
Photo|Bourbon Orleans Hotel| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Located along the storied promenades of Orlean’s Street, the Bourbon Orleans is a luxury hotel that wears many fabulous hats. You can still see appreciate its previous life as a high-society ballroom, particularly at the creole restaurant Roux-on-Orleans.But at the Bourbon “O” Bar, it’s the city’s jazz heritage that shines through. Wherever you start your evening, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel is the perfect square one for your folly into New Orleans nightlife.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Jackson Square (220 meters)
  • New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum (280 meters)
  • Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar (350 meters)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 223 – USD 308
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 717 Orleans Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States

Hotel Location

6. Marigny

Photo|Buildings on one of the streets of New Orleans| GETTYIMAGES – BETTINA ERWERT – EYEEM

At a glance

The French Quarter’s lower-key neighbor, Marigny nonetheless has New Orleans nightlife in spades. The crowd gets a little more local here, the dining a little more diverse. On top of more Creole cooking than you can possibly binge on, you’ll also find yourself lingering at an eclectic variety of trendy cafés and eateries. After dinner, begin your storied evening with a couple of cold ones at Parleaux Beer Lab, before heading on to Frenchmen Street for a full program of funk, blues, jazz, and other live offerings. Stragglers always end their Mimi’s In The Marigny for some late-night pool or platters of reassuring bar food cheek-and-jowl with some of the friendliest local patrons you won’t fully remember the names of come sunrise.

Where to stay in Marigny

Royal Frenchmen Hotel and Bar

Royal Frenchmen Hotel and Bar, hotel in Marigny neighbourhood near nigthlife
Photo|Royal Frenchmen Hotel and Bar|Provided by ICE PORTAL

Royal Frenchmen Hotel and Bar is housed in a beautifully restored Creole mansion and features an elegant courtyard. Arguably the crowning highlight is the Royal Bar, the only craft cocktail bar in the area, which also features free live music. The rooms meanwhile are contemporary yet charmingly colonial, with whimsical decorative touches that won’t escape you.

Attractions Nearby:

  • The Spotted Cat Music Club (65 meters)
  • B.A., live music bar (76 meters)
  • Buffa’s, live music venue (600 meters)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 169 – USD 456
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: 700 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States

Royal Street Inn & Bar

Royal Street Inn & Bar, New Orleans hotel near nightlife
Photo|Royal Street Inn & Bar| Provided by BOOKING.COM

This romantically nostalgic tavern swings to its own easy beat with jazzy, midcentury  decor and cozy, rosy mood lighting. Downstairs, the R Bar is the perfect place to kick off or conclude a legendary evening the Crescent City, with live music pool, and sensationally shabby chandeliers. With Frenchmen Street a block in one direction and the French Quarter a block in the other, there’s no doubt that the best of New Orleans nightlife is right outside. Whether you’ll want to leave the hotel though, is another question.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Golden Lantern, gay bar (160 meters)
  • Marigny Brasserie (170 meters)
  • New Orleans Jazz Museum (400 meters)

Star Rating: 3.5*
Price: USD 254 – USD 563
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: 1431 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States

Hotel Location

7. Mid-City

At a glance

North of Uptown, upriver from the CBD, Mid-City sees much less tourist traffic. For that same reason, it’s packed with widely loved local haunts. Start your night strong, with a stiff drink at Twelve Mile Limit, which has a creative cocktail vibe and welcoming atmosphere. Meanwhile, Finn McCool’s and Mick’s, both Irish bars, kick things up a notch with free-flowing pours and some added Southern flare. Mid-City is also the place to check out two of New Orleans’s most colorful calendar events: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo both of which bring local talent and fantastic food to this beloved central district.

The Drifter

The Drifter, hotel in Mid-city neighbourhood near nightlife
Photo|The Drifter| Provided by BOOKING.COM

The Drifter claims it was inspired by and designed for confident outsiders. Perhaps that’s why its located out on Tulane Avenue, on the periphery of central New Orleans nightlife. You’ll have to make a conscious decision to end up staying in this part of town. But if you do, The Drifter will reward you with seventies chic, great coffee, and a packed live music line up right on the premises. And if you hear the sultry call of the French Quarter’s famed jazz bars, its less than a 10 minute cab ride to downtown.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Boswell’s Jamaican Grill (96 meters)
  • Los Catrachos Restaurant, Honduran diner (600 meters)
  • Neyow’s Creole Café (1.2 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 151 – USD 208
Guest Rating: 7.8
Address: 3522 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States

Canal Street Inn

Canal Street Inn, New Orleans hotel near nightlife
Photo|Canal Street Inn| Provided by BOOKING.COM

This historically faithful colonial house in Mid-City is perfect for anyone who is looking to experience New Orleans nightlife but wants somewhere quiet to retreat when the evening is done. Outfitted in 19th-century elegance, this guesthouse features a beautiful airy verandah where you can escape for a breather or enjoy some late-afternoon Southern comforts to the gentle whir the overhead ceiling fan.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Mandina’s Restaurant, seafood restaurant (170 meters)
  • Bayou Beer Garden New Orleans (650 meters)
  • Parkway Bakery & Tavern (900 meters)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 199 – USD 208
Guest Rating: 9.8
Address: 3620 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States

Hotel Location

What Part of New Orleans Nightlife is More Your Tempo?

Sure, it’s the birthplace of jazz, but the Big Easy knows how to accommodate visitors and revelers regardless of their musical affiliation. Whatever gets the good times rolling for you, New Orleans nightlife has a bar, show, or musical venue that will play to your speed.

Want to dig deeper into one of these New Orleans neighborhoods? Let us know which in the comments below!

Author: Sebastian Morgan

I’m a blogger, history buff, and serious over packer, currently based in Taiwan. Eats, drinks, and destinations are my thing. When I’m not writing about those, I’m either hitting up the local hot springs or slurping down a bowl of sesame noodles. I hope to one day do both at the same time.

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Sebastian Morgan
I’m a blogger, history buff, and serious over packer, currently based in Taiwan. Eats, drinks, and destinations are my thing. When I’m not writing about those, I’m either hitting up the local hot springs or slurping down a bowl of sesame noodles. I hope to one day do both at the same time.
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