Explore New Orleans

Things to Do in New Orleans: A Bourbon Street Music Stroll

Contrary to popular belief, Bourbon Street wasn’t named for the libation poured in its many bars, but after the French royal family. Nor has it always been known as New Orleans’ party central. In fact, from its founding in the 1720s until the 1920s, the 14-block stretch remained largely residential. You can credit “Count” Arnaud Cazenave, of Arnaud’s restaurant fame, with bringing nightlife to Bourbon. In 1926 he opened Maxime’s in the 300 block, paving the way for numerous other nightclubs on what would become one of the most famous entertainment avenues in the world.

While the Bourbon Street scene has changed and evolved over the years from tony supper clubs to tawdry strip clubs to rowdy karaoke clubs, music has always been—and remains—a mainstay. Today you’ll find hip-hop, hard rock and jazz all coexisting in perfect harmony. Grab a go-cup and set off on a magical musical history tour.

Hard Rock Café

This popular chain, filled with music memorabilia, serves regional and American fare, including steaks, burgers, sandwiches and wings. Among the 100-plus items on display are Louis Armstrong’s trumpet and Fats Domino’s autographed piano top. L, D (daily).

New Orleans Musical Legends Park

This pocket-size park celebrates Bourbon Street’s bigger-than-life musical legacy with statues of Fats Domino, Pete Fountain and others. An on-site café and bar offers cool libations, lite bites and, naturally, live music.

Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter

Located at the corner of Bourbon and Toulouse streets, where the nation’s first opera house once stood, this 182-room luxury hotel offers some of Mardi Gras’ most coveted balconies. Live opera performed in the lobby at 7 pm on the second Wednesday of each month.

Pat O'Brien's

Birthplace of the Hurricane cocktail, this complex features four bars, a full menu and the famous courtyard and fountain. A Crescent City must-do.

Skully'z Recordz

This small music shop is big on new and used CDs, DVDs and vinyl recordings. Imports, obscure albums and works by independent local artists are also offered.