10 Best Places to Shake Your Groove Thing in New Orleans

Dancing isn't 'a special occasion kind of activity in New Orleans. In this town, where spontaneous second line parades happen any old time, and both weddings and funerals inspire dancing in the street, moving to a beat is as natural as eating red beans and rice on a Monday.

What many visitors may not know is that while traditional New Orleans jazz and brass is the ever-present sound track to the city, there is a vibrant music scene to celebrate every kind of genre happening just about any night of the week. From acoustic folk pickin' parties to DJ's spinning bounce and rap to homegrown sludge metal and Cajun waltzing, you can groove to it in New Orleans.

New Orleans does cater to the late night crowd and many of the dance clubs and live music venues reflect that philosophy. But those late night crowds are unlike any other you'll line up with in other cities. New Orleans is an equal opportunity party town. That sense of exclusivity that, say, a city like New York is famous for - you look a certain way, you get in, other than that stay behind those stanchions - is not how we roll.   In most cases, crowds are mixed, gay, straight, male, female, older, younger, locals and tourists, a mix which makes for one heck of a good time.

9th Ward

Before St. Claude Avenue was "cool," before there were restaurants opening every other week along this Bywater stretch, the Saturn was there. There's a great juke box and live music on a regular basis, but the real night to dance like a fool is...  Read More


A hotbed of New Orleans' live music, the original "Tip's" is Uptown, rocking out bebeneath oak trees along the Mississippi River. Tip's helped launch the careers of such artists as the Neville Brothers, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John and the...  Read More


The Maison is a bar/restaurant venue on the historic Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. Frenchmen Street is known for its great music and nightlife, and The Maison offers some of the street's and the city's best dancing. This is a great place to...  Read More

Howlin' Wolf

From traveling business types to hard-core college students, the Howlin' Wolf draws a diverse crowd that tends to skew on the younger side. Located near the Convention Center, this live music club attracts a number of touring bands and the music...  Read More

The Spotted Cat
Photo courtesy of New Orleans CVB

While local musicians entertain, patrons chill on comfy couches and sip cocktails at this popular Marigny lounge. The relaxed setting appeals to a slightly older clientele, although swingers of all ages show up for the swing dance lessons every...  Read More

Another warehouse dance destination, The Metropolitan Club is the premier video DJ dance establishment in the city. The intricate lighting and smoke machines set the mood, as celebrants find themselves lost in the endless beats bumping through...  Read More

French Quarter

Bourbon Heat offers a centrally located French Quarter dance club experience on the second level, with a courtyard for chilling with cocktails on the main floor. I suggest eating elsewhere, but if you're looking to party, head up the stairs to...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

Siberia is an alt music venue that rises to the top of the dive bar heap in a city that may just have invented the genre. Like most things New Orleans, Siberia has multiple personalities. It's live rock and roll music venue, well not really...  Read More

French Quarter

Formerly the Shim-Sham Club, this French Quarter favorite features both touring and local acts in genres from rock to metal along with the occasional burlesque show. There's a crowded bar up front that's open most nights, along with a...  Read More

Republic New Orleans

The Republic is a posh and cavernous dance club where you might find the electronica meets R&B act FKA Twigs one night, a house DJ another and Rebirth Brass and Bonerama the night after that. The place is pretty, with crystal chandeliers and two...  Read More


Meet Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.

After spending years flying in regularly to research stories,...  More About Beth

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