20 Fun Things to Do in New Orleans at Night


8 min read
A view of New Orleans at night with illuminated buildings and skyscrapers
New Orleans is a city with a vibrant nightlife and lots to do after dark

New Orleans is an exciting and unique city located in the state of Louisiana. The city boasts many historical landmarks, friendly locals, and a unique atmosphere. You can also find an array of fun things to do in New Orleans at night, making it the ideal destination for those that like to explore the places they visit by day and night.

Activities to try in NOLA at night range from drinking at trendy bars to trying dance classes and dining aboard old-fashioned steamboats. There really is something for everyone to enjoy after dark in New Orleans!

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20 Fun Things to Do at Night in New Orleans

New Orleans Things to Do Map

Using the map of New Orleans things to do, you can explore all the things to do.

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One of the fun things to do in New Orleans at night is go on a pub crawl
A pub crawl is one of the fun things to do in New Orleans at night

Bar hop on a NOLA pub crawl

A list of night activities in New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without visiting a range of bars on a pub crawl. Luckily, you can choose from an array of New Orleans pub crawls covering various themes.

Pub crawls to choose from include haunted and live music bar crawls. Whichever operator you decide to go with, you’ll get to drink and party at some of the city’s best spots, including at bars on Bourbon Street and Frenchmen Street.

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Experience Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is world-renowned. This exciting annual event takes place in the city during the week before Lent, a religious holiday that begins in February or March.

If visiting during Mardi Gras, you’ll discover a range of nighttime festivities to enjoy. From parades and music performances to trying yummy snacks, like Kings Cake, experiencing NOLA during Mardi Gras is a bucket list activity!

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Admire the views from Hot Tin rooftop bar

Located in the Garden District on Saint Charles Avenue, Hot Tin rooftop bar at the Pontchartrain Hotel is one of the best places to go in New Orleans at night. The bar is named after the Tennessee Williams play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and is designed in a 1940s style.

Along with enjoying breathtaking views of New Orleans from the bar, you can order various delicious cocktails. Sophisticated drinks to order include an espresso martini, old-fashioned, or French 75. Drinking at Hot Tin offers a luxurious and laid-back atmosphere that you’re sure to love.

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An old-fashioned steamboat on the water with buildings beside it at night
Taking a Steamboat Natchez cruise allows you to see the NOLA skyline at night

Dine aboard a Steamboat Natchez cruise

Enjoying a meal aboard an old-fashioned Steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi River is a memorable activity. The Steamboat Natchez dinner cruise lasts two hours, and during this time, you can eat, take in the views, and listen to a live band.

Delicious buffet dining options range from seafood pasta and salads to meat dishes, veggie options, and tasty desserts. Watching the sunset over the water and seeing the New Orleans skyline illuminated as you wine and dine is an enjoyable experience for all! Taking the cruise is also a great activity for families visiting New Orleans with kids.

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Attempt to beat an escape game

Another fun nighttime activity to try is attempting to break out of an escape room. The Escape Game is one of New Orleans’ most popular escape room operators, and they have a location downtown.

During the 60-minute game, you and your friends will solve a range of puzzles to hopefully break free from the room. You can also choose a range of themed rooms to try, from a special ops-themed room to a prison break scenario.

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A red helicopter flying over a city with tall buildings and streets below
Taking a nighttime helicopter tour allows you to see New Orleans from above

Take a night helicopter tour

One of the best night activities in New Orleans is taking a helicopter ride over the city. This nighttime helicopter tour takes you high above the city and over some major landmarks.

Once in the air, you can appreciate the beautiful illuminated city below and spot landmarks such as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the French Quarter. Although the flight lasts just 15-minutes, this activity is well worth it and will leave you with lifelong memories!

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Dance aboard a paddlewheeler jazz cruise

Another of the unique night activities in New Orleans that will get you out on the water is taking a paddlewheeler jazz cruise. This two-hour trip offers scenic views of New Orleans and the Mississippi River.

You’ll also get to eat a delicious creole dinner featuring Cajun seafood pasta, jambalaya, and white chocolate bread pudding, among many other dishes. Once you’ve eaten grab some tasty drinks and dance to music performed by a live jazz band.

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An old door frame with a Preservation Hall sign
Preservation Hall is a renowned live jazz spot

Enjoy jazz at the iconic Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall is another great live jazz spot in NOLA. Located in the French Quarter, the club has been hosting jazz performances since the 1950s.

You can dance and watch shows until just after 8 PM, you’re also guaranteed to know some of the songs performed if you want to sing along! If you are interested in visiting some other amazing music venues, going on a New Orleans Music Heritage tour, that also stops at Preservation Hall, is recommended.

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Get spooked on one of NOLA's ghost tours

New Orleans is well-known for having a paranormal past and for being a highly haunted city. From voodoo queens to serial killers and pirates, New Orleans has its fair share of ghostly residents.

The best way to see New Orleans’ most haunted places is on a nighttime ghost tour. Places you may visit include St. Louis Cemetery No.1, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, and the LaLaurie Mansion. Daring to go on a ghost tour is one of the most fun things to do in New Orleans at night!

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Experience a cocktail tour

If you love fancy cocktails, then this is the nighttime activity for you! On a New Orleans cocktail tour, you’ll be taken to four of the city’s hottest drinking spots. These establishments include the Bourbon Orleans Hotel bar and a former ice house.

Along with trying famous NOLA cocktails, like a Sazerac, you’ll learn some unique drinking-related history facts, such as why absinthe was banned in the US. This tour is a unique activity for those who enjoy sophisticated beverages.

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A castle-style building with trees and horse and carriages in front of it at night
A haunted carriage ride will take you spooky spots like St. Louis Cathedral

Go on a haunted horse and carriage ride

A fun alternative to a ghost tour is going on a haunted horse and carriage ride through New Orleans. On this unique one-hour tour, you’ll ride past an array of spooky spots and hear ghost stories relating to each site.

Attractions you’ll see include Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral, and various spots in the French Quarter. You’ll hear tales about the ghosts of those who died of yellow fever, vampire sightings, and various other paranormal activities around the city.

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Listen to jazz at the Spotted Cat Music Club

New Orleans is a jazz hotspot within the United States. If looking to hear some live jazz, be sure to head to the Spotted Cat Music Club on Frenchmen Street.

This iconic NOLA bar features live acts that you can listen to as you enjoy a cold local beer. The bar is quite small, so show up early if you want to spend the evening at the Spotted Cat Music Club.

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A napkin that says The Monteleone with a glass of liquor beside it
The Monteleone Hotel's Carousel Bar & Lounge serves incredible cocktails

If you want to try classic New Orleans cocktails, then heading to the Carousel Bar & Lounge at the Hotel Monteleone is the activity for you! The sophisticated bar serves NOLA drinks like a Sazerac and a Vieux Carre. Other cocktails include an Old Fashioned, Cherry Manhattan, and Pina Colada.

This bar also includes a notable feature; the bar at the center of the lounge rotates and is designed like a carousel, hence the name. Sipping some drinks at Carousel Bar & Lounge is highly recommended and is an ideal activity for couples in New Orleans.

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Learn about NOLA history on a history drinking tour

New Orleans is a city with an incredibly rich history. Learning about some of this history is a must when in the city and a fun way to do so is with some drinks on the Drunken NOLA History Tour!

On the tour, you’ll spend a night in New Orleans hopping back and forth from landmarks to famous bars. Your guide will offer history on everywhere you see and bars to visit include Pirate’s Alley Cafe and Tujague’s.

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An image of two sports arenas with a highway in front and buildings behind them
Watch Nola's NFL and NBA teams at the Superdome and Smoothie King Center

Watch NOLA’s sports teams in action

New Orleans has two major sports teams, the New Orleans Saints NFL team and the New Orleans Pelicans NBA team. If in the city during each league’s respective seasons, catching a game is a must.

When looking for a nighttime event, watching a Pelicans game is your best bet as NBA games are more often in the evenings. New Orleans also has an NCAA football and basketball team if you like watching college sports.

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A small old building with anAmerican flag and chairs out the front
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar is New Orleans' oldest bar

Drink like a pirate at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar

New Orleans has lots of unique bars, and if you’re looking for an interesting place to grab a drink, you have to go to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. Located on Bourbon Street, this bar is the oldest in the city and was opened in the 1700s.

Lafitte’s Bar is also said to be haunted by the ghost of pirate Jean Lafitte who drank at the establishment before his death. If you want to discover more spooky drinking spots, why not try a haunted bar crawl?

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Take dance lessons

If you’re looking to learn some new skills, taking dance lessons in the evening in New Orleans is for you. Ballroom Dance New Orleans offers an array of dances to try. These range from Latin dances, like the Tango, to ballroom classics, such as the Foxtrot and Waltz.

You’ll be taught by an experienced instructor who can work with all ability levels, from beginner to expert. No matter what your level and which dance you choose to try, taking a dance class is a super fun way to spend your evening!

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A street at night with old-fashioned shops and signs for a psychic's shop
The ideal way to see the French Quarter at night is on a carriage ride

Go on a sightseeing horse and carriage ride

While a haunted horse and carriage ride is fun, going on a nighttime sightseeing carriage ride is a great idea too. On the ride through the French Quarter, you’ll see various landmarks, including St. Louis Cathedral and the French Market.

Your driver will also offer history on everything you drive by and cover topics from food to jazz. With the later rides starting at 5 PM and 6 PM, this activity is the ideal start to a night in New Orleans.

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Create delicious dishes at a cooking class

Why go out to a restaurant for dinner when you could cook up a professional-style meal yourself? With a cooking class, you’ll be taught various recipes to create your own delicious meal.

You cook dinner at a New Orleans cooking class on Monday and Friday nights and will produce a range of Southern dishes. These meals include gumbo, shrimps and grits, and bananas foster crepes. If you have a great time, you can return any other day of the week for a brunch cooking class.

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A table with small coffee cup and beignets covered in powdered sugar
Cafe du Monde Beignets are some of the best sweet treats in NOLA

Eat sweet treats at Cafe du Monde

Cafe Du Monde is an iconic New Orleans eatery with a few locations throughout the city. The most famous location is at the French Market on Decatur Street. Best of all, this spot is open until 10 PM so you can enjoy the cafe after dark.

The cafe is known for its beignets, which are an absolute must-try dessert! You can also get fresh coffee, and a variety of cute merchandise is available to buy. Spending a relaxed evening with coffee and pastries at this quaint cafe is the perfect idea for a laid-back night.

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In Summary

New Orleans features a wide variety of nighttime activities to try. These include various tours, hands-on activities, like cooking classes, and memorable experiences, such as helicopter rides. No matter how long you spend in the city or what you choose to do at night, you're sure to have a memorable time in New Orleans!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!