New Orleans

There is something special about the bond formed between New Orleans and music. It’s sung in our streets, it plays in our hundreds of venues, flows over our Mighty Mississippi and runs through our veins. Few cities can claim the talent from New Orleans: Louis Armstrong, Dr. John, Louis Prima, The Neville Brothers and Irma Thomas — just to name a few. And hey, it’s pretty cool when Bob Dylan says, “There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better.”

This bond is never more evident than from the last weekend in April through the first weekend in May — during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (aka. Jazz Fest). During these two weekends (well, officially Thursdays to Sundays), more than 450,000 local and tourist festival-goers head out to the New Orleans Fairgrounds for the best in New Orleans food, drink and music.

Here are Loews New Orleans Hotel‘s pre-, during and post-Jazz Fest suggestions for making the most of your festival fun.

Jazz Fest

Before You Even Get to the Gates

Pack your essentials. Believe us, when we say essentials — we’re not joking.

Pre-Arrange Transportation

Picture it: 400,000+ people converging on the same area, which happens to be in the middle of a New Orleans neighborhood. Yep, it can lead to parking nightmares. Pre-arrange your cab, bike, taxi, streetcar (remember exact change only) or drop-off location. It will save you time and lots of frustration.

Jazzfest2013-Crawfish-Bread

Courtesy Eric Sarrett

You’ve made it through!

Hit the food booths. You’re in New Orleans. Our food is awesome. Eat it. Don’t skimp on the calories this weekend. Jazz Fest is as much about the food as it is the music. Our favorites: a snowball (cool down with this NOLA frozen treat); crawfish bread; festival strawberry lemonade (this is seriously the best lemonade you’ll ever drink) — and don’t forget a daiquiri (or two)!

You’ll be outside for hours and once you’re in, you’re in. Don’t make the mistake of leaving for food and not being able to get back in.

Explore the main stages, but don’t forget the smaller ones. Of course you’re going to scream when Elton John hits those seven keys to start “Benny and the Jets,” but the smaller stages are where stars are born.  Who knows, the next Elton could be on the Lagniappe Stage.

Tipitina's 2014

It’s 8. Now What?

Freshen up, grab some dinner, but most importantly — don’t stop the party!

If you’re staying at Loews New Orleans Hotel, it’s rather easy. Freshen up upstairs then ride the elevator down to Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar for playful, creole cuisine. Head just outside our front doors and you’re steps from music: four blocks from the French Quarter, a 10-minute bike taxi to Frenchman and a quick cab ride to Mid-City.

There are too many post-Jazz Fest concerts to name, encompassing the entire city. Want something off-the-beaten-path and local-centric? Try Mid-City: Rock ‘n’ Bowl or Bank Street Bar. French Quarter’s calling your name? Head over to House of Blues or One Eyed Jacks. Ready to dance until sunrise? Frenchman’s your spot with d.b.a, Maison, The Spotted Cat or Snug Harbor. For an entire list of post-Fest hotspots, click here.

You’ll find me at Tipitina’s uptown. Robert Randolf and the Family Band goes on stage at 2 AM, so I’m rallying.

Wherever you go, the festival vibe follows you. There is an excitement in the air, an excitement that only comes once a year.

Not able to make Jazz Fest 2015?

You’re in luck! Loews New Orleans Hotel’s “Loews Loves Jazz Fest” Contest give you the opportunity to head to Jazz Fest 2016 with a Jazz Fest prize pack: accommodations, pre-fest fuel-up breakfast in Cafe Adelaide, tickets to Jazz Fest 2016 and your very own Jazz Fest essentials goody bag! Check out the action on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

If you’ve been, we hope you’ll be back. If you haven’t, you will be soon!
Happy Fest!

#LoewsNewOrleans