Ask anyone from New Orleans what their favorite festival is, and hands down, they will say the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. There is something about the end of spring and the beginning of summer that really gets New Orleans buzzing with infectious energy. Finding the right place to stay is crucial to fully experiencing the festival.
As a local, I love immersing myself in the heart of New Orleans. Spots like the French Quarter, with its historic charm, or the vibrant neighborhoods around Frenchmen Street are not only convenient for accessing the festival grounds. Still, they are also perfect for catching the jazz fest vibe.
Where to stay in New Orleans for Jazz Fest?
I consider comfort and accessibility my top priorities when choosing accommodation for Jazz Fest. Hotels and B&Bs around the Fair Grounds, such as the heritage-rich Claiborne Mansion, offer a mix of Southern elegance and proximity to the festival, making it easier to catch the early performances or stay out enjoying late-night jams. Luxury options, including stays at places like the Four Seasons, add pampering to the festival experience, combining New Orleans’ traditional hospitality with modern amenities.
Every stay in New Orleans during Jazz Fest promises a distinct flavor of this vibrant City’s life. Whether it’s the luxury hotels with views of the Mississippi River or the charming bed and breakfasts tucked away in quieter nooks, these accommodations allow me to rest comfortably after a day of music, sightseeing, and indulging in Creole cuisine. Choosing the right place enhances my festival experience, ensuring every moment is as harmonious as the jazz filling the air.
Choosing the Right Neighborhood
Selecting the perfect neighborhood for your stay during Jazz Fest largely depends on what you’re looking for in terms of atmosphere, convenience, and cultural offerings. Here’s a breakdown of some noteworthy neighborhoods to consider.
Proximity: The heart of New Orleans, it is super easy to take an Uber or one of the Jazz Fest Shuttle services from the historic French Quarter.
With its historic charm and lively streets, the French Quarter is preferred for those seeking the quintessential New Orleans experience. It’s ideal for easy access to entertainment and dining options.
Suggested hotels: Hotel Monteleone
Ambiance: Lush surroundings and stately mansions
The Garden District offers a more relaxed atmosphere away from the Jazz Fest hustle. The area is known for its gorgeous antebellum homes. It can provide a tranquil retreat after a lively day of music and culture.
Vibe: Bohemian and artistic
Adjacent to the French Quarter, Marigny is the go-to for a bohemian vibe and a whole of local music at venues on Frenchmen Street. Its proximity to the festival grounds also makes it a convenient choice.
Central Business District (CBD)
Convenience: Modern amenities and professional setting
Suppose you’re looking for a balance between the festival’s liveliness and a more paced environment. In that case, the CBD offers modern hotels just a short distance from the Jazz Fest activities.
Suggested hotels: Virgin Hotels New Orleans and Hyatt Regency New Orleans
Read our whole post on the Central Business District!
Scenery: Tree-lined streets and boutiques
Uptown gives you a glimpse into local life, away from the tourist areas, with easy access to the St. Charles streetcar line. It’s a great area if you’re looking for charm and a neighborhood feel.
Suggested hotels: Ponchatrain Hotel
Types of Accommodation
Even though I am local, I would like to have a staycation for Jazz Fest. If this is your first Jazz Fest, you may need clarification on where to stay in the City. Here’s what I consider when picking from the different accommodations available.
Hotels are always a reliable choice, offering amenities like pools and free WiFi, and often including breakfast. Properties like the Provincial, Le Marais, and Place D’ Armes are conveniently within minutes of the Fairgrounds Race Track and the French Quarter, making it easy to attend the fest and explore the City.
I love staying at a hotel because there aren’t any extra chores or tasks I must do when checking out. Many New Orleans Hotels have excellent air conditioning, which you will need after a long night.
Bed and Breakfasts
Bed and Breakfasts such as Claiborne Mansion, La Belle Esplanade, Ashton’s, or the HH Whitney House offer a more personal touch for a cozier stay. They are often situated in charming neighborhoods close to the festival grounds, providing a more intimate New Orleans experience with easy access to the festivities.
I enjoy staying at Bed and Breakfasts around town because they make you feel like a family member the entire time.
Short-term rentals can be found on platforms like Airbnb or VRBO, and they’re a great way to feel at home in the City. They range from apartments to entire houses, giving me the flexibility and the option for a more private or group-oriented stay, particularly attractive for longer festival outings or traveling in a larger group.
I avoid short-term rentals because there is always a lot of drama when renting this type of lodging in New Orleans. I’d rather opt for a downtown hotel than worry about someone price gouging me because a festival is happening.
Lastly, Hostels are an economical option for solo travelers or those on a tighter budget. They offer the basics and a chance to meet fellow music enthusiasts worldwide. Hostels might not have the frills of hotels or B&Bs, but they serve as a practical base to keep the Jazz Fest spirit alive.’
I will admit – I have never stayed in a Hostel, and it is not something I plan on starting in my 30s.
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Considerations for Budget
When planning your stay in New Orleans for Jazz Fest, I must consider all budget levels to find a place that won’t break the bank and still provide a comfortable experience.
Hostels and budget hotels without any frills are great for those who plan to spend most of the day enjoying the festival. Some may even be within walking distance from the Fairgrounds, which can save on transportation costs. If the walk is too far, you can always try to find a blue bike to get yourself to the fairgrounds race course.
- Hostels: Shared dorm rooms can start from as little as $30 to $50 per night.
- Budget Hotels: Rates can range between $60 to $100 per night.
Mid-range hotels balance cost and comfort, providing better amenities while being mindful of my budget. Opting for a bed and breakfast gives me a more unique and local experience over a traditional New Orleans hotel. When booking a B&B, ensure you get a prime location that is easy to get to and from the festival.
- B&Bs: Prices for a room in a mid-tier B&B can vary from $150 to $250 per night.
- Hotels: Depending on proximity to the Jazz Fest, you will likely find rooms ranging from $120 to $300 per night.
For those looking for an upscale experience, luxury hotels and boutique guesthouses in New Orleans offer premium services and settings. Prices are higher, but these lodgings deliver exceptional comfort and convenience. With a great location, Luxury hotels are some of the best to stay at.
- Boutique Guesthouses: Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $500 per night.
- Luxury Hotels: Rooms can start at around $400 per night and increase significantly.
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Proximity to Jazz Fest Venues
Finding the perfect place to stay for Jazz Fest in New Orleans is all about balancing comfort and convenience. I’ll guide you through options whether you’re keen on a short walk, a quick public transport ride, or planning to drive and park near the festivities.
When I pick a place to stay during Jazz Fest, I look for spots within walking distance to avoid traffic and transportation hassles. Properties near the Fair Grounds, like various B&Bs and boutique hotels, allow me to walk to and from the festival easily.
- Closest Neighborhoods:
- Faubourg St. John
- Bayou St. John
- Boutique Hotels:
- Provincial Hotel
- Le Marais
- Place D’Armes
New Orleans has a not-so-great public transportation system, including buses and streetcars, that I have used to get to Jazz Fest. The key is to find accommodations along the transit routes for direct access.
- Bus Routes:
- 94 – Broad: Stops near the Fair Grounds
- 91 – Jackson/Esplanade: Connects to Broad route
- Streetcar Lines:
- City Park/Museum: Close to the festival ground
Driving and Parking
When I drive to Jazz Fest, I prepare for limited parking availability. I usually find a semi-safe parking lot and pay whatever fee they want me to pay.
- Parking Tips:
- Arrive Early: Parking fills up quickly
- Bring Cash: Many parking lots require cash payment
- Hotel Perks: Look for accommodations offering free parking, such as:
- Hotels with parking packages
- Vacation rentals with private driveways
Cultural and Culinary Experiences
When visiting New Orleans for Jazz Fest, indulge in the rich culinary heritage and explore historic venues contributing to the City’s vibrant culture.
Food is an art form in New Orleans. Jazz Fest showcases an array of local flavors that mirror the City’s diversity. Locals and tourists alike cannot get enough of the classic Crawfish Monica, a creamy, spicy pasta dish, and the sweet Mango Freeze, which offers a delightful respite from the heat. Here’s a quick taste of what to expect:
- Po-Boys: Loaded sandwiches typically filled with fried seafood
- Jambalaya: A Creole rice dish with meat, vegetables, and a bold mix of spices
- Beignets: French-inspired doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar, perfect for a morning treat
- Snowballs: Shaved ice with syrup that will cool you down on a hot day
If you ever have a bad meal at Jazz Fest or New Orleans, never visit that place again! Every bite is a testament to New Orleans’ culinary prowess, and I always make a point to check out the latest food list before the festival starts to strategize my dining.
Check out your New Orleans Dining Bucket List here!
A Jazz Fest experience is only complete with live music, which spills out from the fairgrounds into the City itself. Preservation Hall and The Spotted Cat Music Club are just a few spots where I’ve enjoyed live performances after the Jazz Fest. Here’s my shortlist for post-festival jam sessions:
- Tipitina’s: Iconic spot with a focus on funk and jazz
- Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro: Cozy atmosphere offering nightly shows
- House of Blues: Mainstream and local acts in a lively setting
If you stay for two weeks of Jazz Fest, you have time to explore the City a little more! The French Quarter is a goldmine with iconic, iron-laced balconies and centuries-old architecture. A quick visit to these sites is enriching:
- St. Louis Cathedral: The oldest cathedral in continuous use in the U.S.
- The Cabildo: Witness to the signing of the Louisiana Purchase, now a museum
- Preservation Hall: Not just for music, but also for its role in jazz history
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, I’ve compiled some of the most relevant questions to help you plan your stay in New Orleans during the Jazz Fest, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
What are the best hotels for experiencing the New Orleans Jazz Fest?
My picks for hotels near the Jazz Fest include properties near the Fairgrounds, such as the De La Reguera House or the French Quarter Mansion. Convenience is essential; these spots offer that, plus New Orleans’ charm. The closer you are to the festival, the quicker you can escape the large crowds.
Which neighborhood is closest to the Jazz Fest festivities in New Orleans?
The Fairgrounds in the Mid-City neighborhood is where the Jazz Fest is held, so staying nearby in Mid-City, Esplanade Ridge, or Gentilly gives you proximity to the festival and a real taste of local culture.
How does the crowd size during the New Orleans Jazz Fest affect accommodation choices?
Crowd size can significantly increase demand for accommodations. I recommend booking early, especially if you’re looking at hotels in popular areas like the French Quarter or the Garden District, to secure your spot amidst the festivities. As soon as hotels open up, start booking the hotel you want. If you are driving, you can always stay in the suburb of Metairie or Kenner to try to save a few dollars, but you will not be in a central location.
What should you pack when attending the New Orleans Jazz Fest?
You’ll want to pack comfortable clothing for hot and possibly wet weather, including a rain poncho, sunscreen, a hat, and breathable fabrics. Remember comfortable footwear for walking and dancing. Remember – you are on a race track, meaning mud is not only mud but a mix of horse manure.
Check out our whole blog post on what to wear in New Orleans.
What travel packages are available for visitors to the New Orleans Jazz Fest?
Travel packages for the Jazz Fest often include hotel stays, festival tickets, and sometimes even exclusive experiences. Check out Sunset Chasers Travel Agency if you need assistance booking your hotel. I always recommend staying additional nights to explore New Orleans.
What are some fashionable attire recommendations for the New Orleans Jazz Fest?
Fashion at the Jazz Fest is all about bohemian and comfortable styles. Think loose-fitting clothes, floral patterns, and accessories like sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats to keep stylish yet protected from the sun. Men and women love to wear bright floral patterns with this year’s or previous year’s print.
Which hotels in New Orleans are suitable for families or travelers with kids?
For families, look for hotels with spacious rooms or suites, such as the Ritz-Carlton or the Omni Royal Orleans. These often offer amenities like an outdoor swimming pool and are close to family-friendly activities beyond the Jazz Fest.
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