Whether you’re visiting New Orleans for the very first time or you’re a seasoned Jazz Fest pro, you’ll want to make the most of your Jazz Fest vacation. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival offers 7 full days of live music, food, culture and entertainment, but there is also plenty to explore outside of the Fairgrounds.

Here is our guide for what to do during Jazz Fest and after the festival, plus how to spend your days off exploring the French Quarter.

Jazz Fest features performers both on and off the stages. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Charlotte)

Jazz Fest features performers both on and off the stages. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Charlotte)

What To Do At Jazz Fest 2016

There are a variety of transportation options to get you to the Fairgrounds from Hotel Monteleone, but keep in mind that Jazz Fest can be very crowded, so plan for plenty of time to get where you’re going.

Once you’re there, expect to spend the full day at the Fairgrounds, listening to live music, eating local cuisine and exploring the handcrafted vendor areas. Keep an eye out for roving entertainment, like Mardi Gras Indians, social aid and pleasure clubs, and local brass bands.

This year’s musical lineup includes world famous names like Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam, as well as local favorites including Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers, Irma Thomas, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Aaron Neville and many more.

Be sure to check out the three different artisan marketplaces that Jazz Fest offers: Congo Square African Marketplace, Contemporary Crafts and the Louisiana Marketplace.

You’ll also want to come hungry, as Jazz Fest is known for it’s many delicious food options, including Crawfish Bread, Cajun Jambalaya, Hot Sausage Po-Boys, Pecan Catfish Meunière, Alligator Pies, Muffulettas, Boiled Crawfish, Cajun Duck Po-Boys, Red Beans & Rice, Boudin Balls, Shrimp & Grits, Mango Freeze, Crawfish Beignets, and much more.

Singer Nayo Jones performed at our Carousel Bar & Lounge. She shared her experience on Instagram! (Photo courtesy Nayo Jones)

Singer Nayo Jones will perform at our Carousel Bar & Lounge after Jazz Fest as part of our Jazzy Jam music series. (Photo courtesy Nayo Jones)

After The Festival

The official Jazz Fest action ends early in the evening, but the party continues all over town until the wee hours of the night.

Each night after Jazz Fest, you can relax, unwind and enjoy free live music in our very own Carousel Bar & Lounge as part of our annual Jazzy Jam concert series. Listen to popular local musical acts such as our very own “New Orleans Songbird” Robin Barnes, plus Lena Prima, Nayo Jones, Luther Kent, Antoine Diel, Amanda Ducorbier, Tom Hook, John Fohl, and High Standards Orchestra featuring Graham Hawthorne.

For serious night-owls, there is plenty of late night fun to be had across New Orleans. Frenchmen Street teems with jazz clubs that keep the party going until the sun comes up. Tipitina’s, located uptown, is a favorite after-hours venue for Jazz Fest regulars, as is the annual Midnight Preserves concert series hosted at Preservation Hall. Both events typically sell out in advance, so be sure to grab your tickets early.

Hotel Monteleone is a short walk away from the beignets and cafe au lait of world-famous Cafe du Monde. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Todd Carr)

Hotel Monteleone is a short walk away from the beignets and cafe au lait of world-famous Cafe du Monde. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Todd Carr)

Exploring The French Quarter On Your Day Off

Jazz Fest can be exhausting and overwhelming, with large crowds and a hot sun that can quickly zap your energy. We recommend planning at least one day of your trip away from the festival grounds and exploring the French Quarter instead. Hotel Monteleone is located within walking distance of many popular French Quarter attractions, including Jackson Square and Cafe du Monde. There is lots to see no matter where your interests lie.

If you fancy yourself a history buff, book a walking tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the oldest cemetery in New Orleans, which is conveniently located just outside of the French Quarter. You’ll also want to explore other notable historic attractions, including the Old Ursuline Convent, the Old U.S. Mint and Napoleon House.

Want to shop til you drop? While the craft marketplaces at Jazz Fest feature lots of local artisans, there are even more local artists and boutiques to explore in and around the French Quarter. Royal Street, where Hotel Monteleone is located, is famous for its antique shops and art galleries. Just one block over, Chartres Street offers plenty more local boutiques and galleries. The Shops at Canal Place and The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk are both within walking distance of our hotel and feature upscale national brands alongside local shops.

There are also plenty of family-friendly things to do in the French Quarter, whether you’re traveling with children or just a kid at heart. The Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium and the Aquarium of the Americas are within walking distance of our hotel and offer a full day of air-conditioned fun.

Your Home For Jazz Fest

Hotel Monteleone is the ideal starting point for your New Orleans vacation, whether you’re visiting for Jazz Fest or planning a summer getaway. Our convenient French Quarter location, iconic Carousel Bar & Lounge and our historic property make our hotel an attraction in itself. Book a room now!