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 off days exploring the French Quarter.
What To Do At Jazz Fest 2017
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, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews, Kings of Leon, Usher & The Roots, Meghan Trainor, Lorde, Snoop Dogg, Alabama Shakes, Pitbull, Widespread Panic, Wilco, Patti LaBelle, and Earth, Wind & Fire.
You’ll also have the chance to check out local favorites including Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Irma Thomas, Dr. John and the Gris-Gris Krewe, Big Freedia, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers, Tank and The Bangas, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Aaron Neville, and many more.
You’ll want to come hungry, as Jazz Fest is known for its 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.
Arts & Culture
The 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will also feature a historical celebration of Cuban culture, with Cuban music and artist demonstrations. The Congreso Cubano food booth will feature Cuban food like tostones with mojo (fried green plantains with garlic sauce), and visitors will be able to get insights into both contemporary and popular culture in Cuba by viewing special photography and multimedia exhibits.
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.
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 plenty 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 hidden gems, 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 or staycation.