Places to go tonight: 25 Fun Things to Do in Philadelphia at Night (for 2022)

25 Fun Things to Do in Philadelphia at Night (for 2022)

Best known as the birthplace of America’s independence and constitution, Philadelphia is many things in one place.

It’s the city of cheesesteaks, a prosperous arts scene, haunted sites, and enchanting parks.

But most importantly, it’s also a city that transforms into a wonderland of lights, sights, booze, food, and unique experiences when the sun sets.

If you have time, juice, and wanderlust to spare after a whole day of exploring the City of Brotherly Love, you probably won’t want to miss the nightlife that’s in store here.

To help you decide where to go or what to do, we rounded up the best fun things to do in Philadelphia at night, complete with expert tips.

1. Spruce Street Harbor Park

301 S Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-2386

Opened in 2014, the Spruce Street Harbor Park is an urban beach located in Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia that is open during the summer and has been lauded as one of America’s best urban beaches.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Spruce Street Harbor Park is probably one of the most romantic places to visit in Philadelphia at night for couples.

It comes to life with enchantingly colorful lights and hammocks hanging from the trees, as well as craft brews from the beer garden.

Expert Tip

Your date night can start with a Philadelphian dinner at the park’s floating restaurant!

Note, however, that this park is only open to the public from spring through fall.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing

Related: Best Things to Do in Philadelphia

2. Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

101 S Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 925-7465

Open from May through Labor Day, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest opens to the public for free!

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

While Penn’s Landing looks pretty in the morning, it becomes an entirely different playground during summer nights.

Guests strap on a pair of skates for the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, where a roller rink, boathouse-styled lodge, play area for kids, and carnival-style fun open from late spring till the end of the summer.

Expert Tip

If you brought the little ones along, there are arcade and carnival games at the Midway, where a Ferris wheel, carousel, and a wide array of colorful rides can be enjoyed.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Philadelphia Marriott Old City

3. Sonny’s Famous Steaks

228 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 629-5760

Click Here to See Ticket Price of Similar Activity

Regularly recognized as one of the best Philadelphia cheesesteak restos, Sonny’s Cheesesteaks is located at the heart of Philadelphia, Old City.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

One of the most iconic things about Philadelphia is their quintessential Philly cheesesteak.

So what better way to spend the night than by chowing down on one at Old City?

Sonny’s Famous Steaks actually tops all cheesesteak restos in Old City and is open till 3:00 AM!

Expert Tip

If you’re on specific diets, fear not!

Sonny’s menu includes vegetarian and gluten-free options too!

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia


Cherry Street Pier

121 N. Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 923-0818

Originally built in 1919 as Shipping Pier 9, Cherry Street Pier has been repurposed to celebrate Philadelphian identity and preserve its cultural value.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Designed by Philadelphians for Philadelphians, Cherry Street Pier was built on the century-old municipal pier and is currently a public space popular among artists and curious visitors.

Aside from watching artists at work, you are offered stunning views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and festivals now and then throughout the year, where concerts, exhibits, fairs, food, and drinks abound!

Expert Tip

Something’s always brewing at Cherry Street Pier, so it’s best to check their calendar ahead to know what’s up or to visit during events you want to witness.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Express Philadelphia Penn’s Landing

5. Benjamin Franklin Bridge

1 Benjamin Franklin Bridge
Philadelphia, PA 08102
(856) 968-2000

Formerly named the Delaware River Bridge, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge connects Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden in New Jersey.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

If you have time to spare to watch the day transition into night, there’s no other iconic spot better than the Benjamin Franklin Bridge to watch the sun set in the horizon and the city lights grow brighter in the distance.

Expert Tip

The bridge has a walkway that offers walkers, runners, and cyclists between Philadelphia and Camden the best views of Delaware River and the skylines of the cities.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Penn’s View Hotel Philadelphia

6. Historic District

231 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 592-7929

Philadelphia is particularly famous for being the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

But where exactly in Philadelphia did it all happen?

The answer is in America’s most historic square mile, Philadelphia’s historic district, popularly known as Old City.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

History buffs hungry for dinner will absolutely love the wide selection of restaurants at the birthplace of American independence.

Old City has eateries ranging from grab-and-go eats to fine-dining experiences that are sure to satisfy any visitor’s curiosity and craving.

Expert Tip

We can’t blame you if you’re stuck in a case of option paralysis; there’s simply too many great restaurants to try out here.

Fork, however, stands out as the beloved restaurant that started it all and continues to be everyone’s favorite.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

Related: Philadelphia Restaurants

7. Independence Beer Garden

100 S Independence Mall W
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-7100

About a minute away from the Liberty Bell sits a 20,000-square-foot outdoor watering hole well loved by locals.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Independence Beer Garden invites wanderers to dine and drink amidst rocks, boulders, Adirondack chairs, picnic tables, bar seats, shipping containers, and charming Philly greenery.

On top of this lovely landscape, there are board games and lawn games to enjoy!

Expert Tip

For the best prices, come here during happy hour!

Happy hour usually starts at 3 PM and ends at 7 PM!

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Rittenhouse Hotel

8. Screenings Under The Stars

101 N. Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 629-3200

Named after William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, who landed here in 1682, Penn’s Landing is another public space that hosts events all year round.

Aside from being one of the top places to visit in Philadelphia at night, Penn’s Landing also screens free outdoor films!

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Skip going to the theaters for a Thursday night at Penn’s Landing during the summer and fall.

Check out their calendar for the official lineup and catch the film you want to watch with your loved ones.

Enjoy great flicks and lovely views for free!

Expert Tip

If you’re here in the month of June, you also get the chance to witness Roots Picnic, an annual music festival hosted by Philadelphian hip hop legends The Roots.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Club Quarters Hotel in Philadelphia

Related: Free Things to Do in Philadelphia

9. Tippler’s Tour: Colonial Pub Crawl

1 N. Independence Mall W.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 629-4026

Click Here to See Ticket Price of Similar Activity

Tippler’s Tour introduces you to Philadelphia’s pubs and history of booze, complete with a costumed guide.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Have you ever drank so much you’ve wondered how getting buzzed was like in the 18th century?

Now’s the time to find out with Tippler’s Tour. Learn and try out drinking traditions, drinks, and snacks from the colonial era as you visit watering holes with a colonial guide!

Expert Tip

Don’t stuff yourself with a five-course meal before joining this tour!

This is one of the most filling Philadelphia night activities, so be prepared by bringing along a huge appetite.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Rittenhouse Square


Independence After Hours

520 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 965-2305

See Ticket Price for Tour that Includes This Activity

With an eventful history dating all the way back in 1776, the Independence Hall narrates the tale of 56 courageous men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House to defy the King of England.

This event shaped the US constitution into what it is today.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Independence Hall is one of the most visited attractions in Philadelphia where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were formed.

After the museum closes, however, the Historic District takes on a different vibe.

It’s suddenly 1776 again, and Old City becomes populated with historical characters.

Good news is, you get to be part of it!

Expert Tip

Like the previous tour, this one requires space in your stomach, as it begins with a three-course meal at the historic tavern.

Also, if you were looking for things to do in Philadelphia at night under 21, this tour welcomes all ages to witness the founding of American independence.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Loews Philadelphia Hotel

11. First Friday

(215) 625-9200

Steeped in history and culture, Philadelphia’s flourishing local arts scene has been celebrating its identity on the first Friday of each month all year since 1991.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

If you’re an art junkie, you can get your art fix on a Friday night with Philadelphia’s citywide First Friday event.

Shops, studios, and galleries open their doors to everyone.

Wander among artworks and enjoy special sales, food and drink deals, as well as live music all over the city!

Expert Tip

This event will involve a lot of walking, so wear the right shoes.

Also make sure both your phone and camera have enough juice to capture the best moments!

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Sheraton Suites Philadelphia Airport


Morgan’s Pier

221 N Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 279-7134

Named after George C. Morgan, the first person to cross the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Morgan’s Pier is located right below the very bridge he crossed.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Though just a few steps away from the Independence National Historical Park, Morgan’s Pier feels like another world.

It’s an urban oasis filled with trees, food, beer, music, and outstanding views of the Delaware River.

Expert Tip

Morgan’s Pier is open from spring till summer only but has fun-filled events scheduled throughout! Check out their calendar to join some!

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Notary Hotel Autograph Collection

13. Franklin Square

200 N 6th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 629-4026

Set right in the heart of Downtown, this historic square was built in 1682 to give settlers a taste of nature.

Today, it has transformed into a wonderland filled with cheap yet exciting experiences and attractions.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Franklin Square overflows with fun for kids and the kid at heart.

With a large, lively playground and a dazzling marble fountain, this historic landmark will give visitors across all ages a taste of nonstop wholesome Philadelphia nightlife.

Enjoy the historic Parx Liberty Carousel, Philly-themed mini golf course, and a burger joint that serves tasty Cake Shakes and fries on top of its signature burgers.

Expert Tip

Be sure to check business hours before heading to the park tonight as park hours change depending on the season.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center

14. Arden Theatre Company

40 N. 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-1122

Since 1988, the now award-winning Arden Theatre has been offering theatrical productions and educational programs to artists and audiences all year round.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Ranging from William Shakespeare to Stephen Sondheim and Tennessee Williams, Arden Theatre never fails to deliver brilliant stage productions and children’s plays.

The theater’s intimate seating intensifies the beauty of the artistry onstage, and every show is an experience you shouldn’t miss.

Expert Tip

Get ready for a question and answer session after each performance and a chance to meet the actors of the play!

Make sure to check out their website ahead to see what’s playing.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Four Points Philadelphia City Center

15. The Deck Philly

Moshulu, 401 S. Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 923-2500

Open from May through September, the Deck Philly is an open-air venue for drinking, dining, and entertainment.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

If you’re looking for the usual bar setting to spend one late night in Philadelphia, the Deck Philly offers you spectacular views of the city and riverfront but with a twist.

Enjoy exquisite seafood, sushi, contemporary American cuisine, outstanding waterfront views, and alfresco cocktails on the world’s oldest and largest four-masted tall ship — Moshulu!

Expert Tip

Don’t forget to drop by inside to take a look at the well-preserved original interior of the ship!

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Study at University City, Study Hotels

16. Cuba Libre

10 S 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-0666

Cuba Libre is a mini Latin American escape in the middle of Philadelphia’s Old City.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Want to witness more than just live music in Philadelphia tonight?

Have a glimpse of the vibrant Latin American spirit as you salsa the night away at Cuba Libre.

Enjoy contemporary Cuban cuisine, cocktails, Latin American decor, a tropical ambience in the middle of Pennsylvania, and of course, upbeat music that makes anyone dance.

Expert Tip

Cuba Libre transforms into everyone’s most awaited salsa dance club every Friday and Saturday night at 11:00 PM.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: ROOST Midtown

17. Spirit of Philadelphia

401 S. Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 923-1419

Click Here To See Ticket Price

While Moshulu stays docked, the Spirit of Philadelphia takes hungry patrons on a cruise along the scenic Delaware River.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Sail amidst the cold Philadelphian evening breeze as you enjoy contemporary cuisine, unrivaled views of the city’s skyline, and old-school music under the moonlight.

Whether you’re here for special date nights or adventurous dinners, the Spirit of Philadelphia can assure you a unique way to experience the city.

Expert Tip

This cruise is best experienced during seasonal celebrations such as New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas for additional spectacular entertainment.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Philadelphia Marriott Downtow


The Franklin Fountain

116 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-1899

Established in 2004, the Franklin Fountain has been serving Philadelphia with handmade old-timey ice cream.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Is your sweet tooth acting up way past bedtime?

There’s a Victorian-inspired ice cream shop just for you.

Serving flavors like Franklin mint chip, hydrox cookie, teaberry gum, rum raisin, cotton candy, and many others, Franklin Fountain lures dessert monsters of all ages all week until midnight.

Expert Tip

If you’re visiting Philadelphia during colder months, you don’t have to worry.

Franklin Fountain also serves hot chocolate, hot milkshakes, and homemade pie for autumns and winters.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Windsor Suites Philadelphia

19. FringeArts

140 N. Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 413-1318

Housed in a historic pumping station underneath the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, FringeArts is Philadelphia’s home for world-class contemporary performances.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

You could be an eccentric artist with an eye for innovation or an average curious spectator; whatever there is to witness at FringeArts will wow just about anyone.

Featuring avant-garde performances across various art disciplines, FringeArts explores the boundaries of art by offering you the newest art that boldly defies expectation.

Expert Tip

If you’re here in September, FringeArts celebrates a citywide festival for three weeks, filling neighborhoods with over 1,000 performances!

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton

20. Ghost Tours of Philadelphia

5th & Chestnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 413-1997

Click Here To See Ticket Price

Widely acclaimed throughout the country for the exciting experience it offers, Ghost Tours of Philadelphia has been in the business since 1995.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

If you’re a thrill seeker who can’t decide on what to do in Philadelphia at night, ghost tours are probably the best idea.

Besides, you can’t just leave one of America’s most historic cities without getting to know its darker side.

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia leads you to the back streets, secret gardens, haunted houses, graveyards, and more while you listen to chilling tales of old late at night.

Expert Tip

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia offers tours on weeknights and weekend nights from March to November.

If you’re visiting anywhere from December to February, the ghost tours are only available on the weekends.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: ROOST Rittenhouse

21. Boathouse Row

1 Boathouse Row
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 685-3936

Boathouse Row is a historical spot situated in Philadelphia just off the east bank of the Schuylkill River and north of the Fairmount Water Works and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an expert, rowers of all ages and skill levels flock to the Schuylkill River to practice, compete, learn, and explore the sport of rowing along Boathouse Row, whether during the day or under the otherworldly atmosphere at night.

Expert Tip

Row down the Schuylkill River along the Boathouse Row to witness the enthralling light display and reflections on the river of the different houses.

This serene nocturnal scene continues to make Boathouse Row one of the most popular places to go in Philadelphia at night.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Sofitel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square

22. Philly Improv Theater

2030 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(267) 233-1556

Established in 2005, Philly Improv Theater has since been the heart of Philadelphia’s comedy scene.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Producing over a thousand performances a year, Philly Improv Theater delivers freshly whipped up comedy seven nights a week, every week of the year, a perfect ender for any day of your Philadelphia getaway.

Expert Tip

All shows at the theater are BYOB!

If you didn’t know that sooner, there’s a great bodega around the corner with a good beer selection, so if you need to down a few drinks in your seat to amp up the experience, go ahead.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square

23. Founding Footsteps

302 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(609) 795-1776

Click Here To See Ticket Price

Top-rated on TripAdvisor, Founding Footsteps offers visitors a variety of tours to get to know Philadelphia from different angles and drop by taverns here and there.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

Aside from the usual tours to Philadelphia’s landmarks, Founding Footsteps offers a tavern walking tour and holiday tour.

But perhaps the best one for the night is the Bad Things Happen in Philadelphia Tour, where you get to hear the stories of the worst crimes committed in the city and visit where they happened!

Expert Tip

Founding Footsteps encourages you to bring your own booze if you can.

If you didn’t, the tours start and end in a location with beer-to-go for your convenience.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia


Science After Hours

222 N 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 448-1200

Located at the bustling heart of Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute is a science museum well loved by all of America for being one of the first centers of science education in the country.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

After the institute’s museum hours, there’s a wacky evening event exclusively intended for adults (21+).

From 7 PM to 10 PM, guests engage in experiments, games, challenges, and unexpected activities, depending on the evening’s theme.

Expert Tip

Definitely book early for this activity; because of its popularity, tickets sell out fast!

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Westin Philadelphia

25. Jim Loewer Glass Co.

1241 Carpenter Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
(267) 243-5843

Jim Loewer Glass Co. is a glass art studio by Jim Loewer, who offers some of the most unexpected yet fun things to do in Philadelphia at night.

Why We Recommend This Night Activity

With Philadelphia being a major hub for artists, it’s almost no surprise to find a glass art studio here that offers evening lessons.

In this class, Jim Loewer himself will show you the rarely appreciated world of fine glass art, which involves fire and lots of blowing.

Expert Tip

There could be discounts for the classes at Groupon and LivingSocial!

Check them out before booking.

Also, if you’re not comfortable working with flames, you can always look around Jim’s studio and watch him work his magic.

Though you can bring your own booze here, think twice.

Glass and being tipsy don’t go well together.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Bellevue Hotel, in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt

Map of Things to Do in Philadelphia at Night

List of image sources

25 Fun Things to Do at Night in Philadelphia, PA for 2022

  • Spruce Street Harbor Park
  • Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest
  • Sonny’s Famous Steaks
  • Cherry Street Pier
  • Benjamin Franklin Bridge
  • Historic District
  • Independence Beer Garden
  • Screenings Under The Stars
  • Tippler’s Tour: Colonial Pub Crawl
  • Independence After Hours
  • First Friday
  • Morgan’s Pier
  • Franklin Square
  • Arden Theatre Company
  • The Deck Philly
  • Cuba Libre
  • Spirit of Philadelphia
  • The Franklin Fountain
  • FringeArts
  • Ghost Tours of Philadelphia
  • Boathouse Row
  • Philly Improv Theater
  • Founding Footsteps
  • Science After Hours
  • Jim Loewer Glass Co.

40+ Things to Do in New Orleans at Night (for Visitors and Tourists)

In this article, we cover some of best things to do at night in New Orleans.

We include a top 10 list, as well as free things to do, family-friendly activities, and more.

  • Top 10
  • Free Things to Do
  • Family-Friendly
  • Music Venues/Restaurants
  • Other Things to Do in NOLA
  • Free Tours by Foot

For tips on the most popular activities in New Orleans, check out our posts on:

  • Ghost Tours
  • Swamp Boat Rides
  • Plantation Excursions
  • Riverboat Cruises  

And if you are considering at least two of NOLA’s popular paid attractions and tours, then learn how you could save between 15-50% off of the retail ticket prices.


Below are our top 10 activities to do after dark in New Orleans. 

1. Take a Night Tour 

There are several different night tours available in New Orleans.

We offer pay-what-you-wish ghost tours and cemetery tours which take place after dark.

If you don’t feel like walking, consider taking a cemetery & ghost bus tour instead.

There is also a sightseeing Segway tour which runs from 6 pm — 8 pm as well as pub crawl and cocktail history tours.

2. Listen to Live Music 

There are a lot of great places to listen to music in New Orleans.

You might even stumble into some people playing live music on Bourbon Street or Frenchman Street!

There are also free and affordable music festivals held throughout the year, including Jazz in the Park (video below).

For more details on this and the venues where you can expect to hear some excellent tunes, check our post on live music in New Orleans.

3. Take a Night Swamp Trip

A swamp tour can be great family fun on any day, but when the sun goes down everything seems to change.

The more adventurous crowds out there might want to consider taking a night swamp tour for a completely different experience.

Using a powerful light, a tour guide will take you around the swamps of New Orleans and reveal what the wildlife does after the sun goes down.

Expect to see at least a few alligators on this trip! The night swamp tours run from June through October. Learn more here.

Check our comparison post on New Orleans swamp tours for all types of options.

4. Take a Riverboat Cruise 

There are a few different riverboats in New Orleans and they all offer jazz dinner cruises.

Most depart at 7 pm and runs until 9 pm allowing you to catch the sunset and watch the city lights up all while listening to great New Orleans music. 

Both tourist attraction discount passes offer a jazz cruise for free. For more details, check out our post on New Orleans city passes.

If you want a more affordable option, consider hopping on the $2 Canal Street/Algiers Point ferry, which offers pretty great views of the city during sunset and after dark. 

5. Attend a Sporting Event 

New Orleans is the home of at least a few notable sports teams including the Saints and the Pelicans.

While the Saints may just offer a couple of night games each year, the Pelicans offer regular games after dark.  

In addition to these professional teams, you can also see some of the best young and upcoming stars of the future playing for the Tulane Green Wave NCAA Football team or the Tulane Green Wave NCAA Basketball team.

6. See a Burlesque Show 

The art of burlesque has a long and interesting history in New Orleans, so it makes sense that there are quite a few places where you can catch a live show.

Some popular venues (such as the House of Blues) even have their own in-house troupe which performs on a regular basis.

Thanks to a recent revival, burlesque shows are more popular in NOLA than ever before.

You’ll even find a few locations taking a neo-burlesque approach with a brand of entertainment that is very similar to circus arts.

If you’re in the mood for a fun and interesting night on the town, check this list of the Top 10 Burlesque Shows in New Orleans.

7. Grab a Cocktail 

New Orleans has an interesting history with cocktails, as many popular drinks were actually invented here.

Whether you plan on doing a pub crawl (see #2 above) or you’re just going to go out for a nice dinner, keep your eyes peeled for classic cocktails created in NOLA such as:

  • Hurricane
  • Sazerac
  • Ramos Gin Fizz
  • Roffignac
  • Café Brûlot

We have even put together a self-guided cocktail tour of New Orleans or learn about the 12 must-try New Orleans cocktails and which locations specialize in them.

8. See a Live Show 

There are a lot of great venues and theaters in New Orleans, and they often play host to several notable performances.

Whether you feel like going to a concert or a play, there are usually several different options throughout the year.

Keep an eye out for fun and interesting shows at the following locations:

  • Saenger Theatre
  • Smoothie King Center
  • Preservation Hall
  • The House of Blues
  • Joy Theater

9. Dinner and Dancing

Whether you’re looking for a more formal experience or you just want to have some fun, there are several great locations to grab a bite to eat and do some dancing.

One of the more interesting options is Rock n’ Bowl, a venue that is part-restaurant, part-bowling alley, and part dance club.  

Mulates is another popular restaurant that offers live music every night. The Maison offers dinner shows almost every night, giving guests the opportunity to hear live jazz while enjoying their meal.

If you’re only looking for a light meal, you might also want to consider Mimi’s in the Marigny. This bar offers drinks and tapas downstairs with DJ music and dancing upstairs!

These are only a few of your options in New Orleans, but there are many more to consider. For more ideas, here is a list of the best places for dancing in NOLA.

10. Go to a Casino 

Located right in the heart of New Orleans, Harrah’s Casino is definitely one of the more popular spots in this city to visit after dark.

In addition to gambling and games, they also host several events throughout the year including the World Series of Poker tournament!

You could also play the slots and bet on horses at the Fairgrounds Racetrack. Horses race from November through March, but the slot machines run all year.

Honorable Mention

Play the Escape Game

Escape rooms are one of the most popular forms of entertainment because you work together to find clues and solve puzzles in a limited time to ‘escape the room’.

The Escape Game has a few different themed-rooms: Special Ops, The Heist, Playground and Prison Break.

Their night hours run quite late, and you can book a slot as late 11:55 pm

Better still, The Escape Game experience is included in some New Orleans discount tourist passes like the New Orleans Sightseeing Pass.


Sleepover at a Plantation

Have you ever gone to a historic house and say … “I’d like to live here”? Well, you can! For one night at least as Oak Alley Plantation and Inn has rentable cottages on the grounds.   

The cottages range from centuries-old to modern deluxe accommodation.

You can learn all about Oak Alley Plantation on our post or read our guide to all of the plantations just outside of New Orleans.


This section will provide several different ideas to consider. Each option on this list is free and entertaining.

Check our other sections for additional budget-friendly options.

We also offer a master post on free things to do in New Orleans. 

1. Enjoy a Live Comedy Show

Several clubs actually offer free comedy shows throughout the week.

There may be a cover charge and drinks will not be included, but this is definitely a fun and affordable activity after dark.

For more information on free comedy shows, visit our post about free things to do in New Orleans.

2. Stroll Along the Moonwalk

There is a wonderful promenade called the Moonwalk which stretches across several blocks of the French Quarter.

This brick walkway runs along the Mississippi River and provides excellent views of both the water and the city.

You’ll see sites such as the Joan of Arc Statue, the Steamboat Natchez, Harrah’s Casino and Jackson Square. 

3. Listen to Street Music

You can usually find at least one or two people playing street music as you walk down Frenchmen/Bourbon Street.

You may also want to stop by Jackson Square to check and see if anyone is playing there.

For more information, read our post about free live music in New Orleans.

4. Go People Watching

There are a lot of interesting people in New Orleans which make this one of the best cities to go people watching.

You’re likely to see all kinds of street performers and other interesting faces as you wander around the French Quarter.

In fact, this free activity is arguably the best things to do at night in the French Quarter.

If you’re looking for more places to take in the nightlife of this city, consider visiting some of the following locations:

  • Jackson Square
  • Audubon Park
  • French Market
  • Washington Square Park
  • New Orleans Riverfront

5. Visit the Jackson Square Cats

When the sun goes down, Jackson Square tends to fill up with cats from all over the city.

Nobody knows exactly why they’ve chosen this park as their home, but something keeps them coming back every night.

Whatever the reasons behind this, cat lovers may want to take a chance and visit the park at night to see if they can spot any feline friends.

For more fun, check out our post about Jackson Square.

6. Check Out Palace Market

If you’re interested in seeing some of the artwork created by locals, the Palace Market is an absolute must.

They have a rotating list of over 100+ artists who create and sell a variety of items for visitors.

You don’t have to pay anything to walk through the market and just take a look at everything creative on display, but don’t be surprised if you are tempted to pull out your wallet!

The Palace Market is open until midnight or later 7 days a week and is located on the live-music rich Frenchmen Street.

7. Visit the Mardi Gras Museum

Most museums aren’t open late, and they definitely aren’t free – but there is one, the Mardi Gras Museum, which you can visit at night without paying a dime.

Arnaud’s Restaurant has its own exhibit featuring several historic artifacts from throughout Mardi Gras history in the 20th Century.

Guests don’t even have to pay for a meal in order to see this museum, and it is open during the restaurant’s operational hours (until 10 pm on most nights).

Click here for a list of additional museums and attractions in New Orleans that are free to visit.

8. Enjoy Free Seasonal Music Events

In addition to the live musicians you’ll often find in the French Quarter, there are also several free seasonal music events throughout the year.

Keep an eye out for the following opportunities:

  • Wednesdays in the Park – Spring
  • Jazz in the Park – Early Summer
  • Music Under the Oaks – Spring
  • Bon Operatit! – At least one show per month

9. Learn How to Jitterbug

If you really want to get involved and experience the culture of New Orleans, this may be one of the best free activities in the city.

The NOLA Jitterbugs provide a free dance class every week which you can drop in and attend without paying a dime.

Learn how to dance the Jitterbug while listening to a live jazz band for free at the Allways Lounge every Sunday at 8 pm.

10. Take a Fun and Affordable Ride

Although they aren’t free, tickets for both the streetcars and the ferry are very cheap ($3).

Visitors who choose to hop on the streetcar can ride around the French Quarter in style while enjoying the sights and sounds of this historic district.

It’s also a handy way to get around town, with stops very close to several popular destinations.

The Algiers Point ferry offers a great low price alternative to the typical riverboat cruise.

Hop on and see New Orleans from the water when the sun goes down to experience the skyline from afar.  


Thankfully, there are several fun activities you can enjoy with the kids in New Orleans after the sun sets.

Several items listed in the other sections of this post are also family friendly.

Be sure to read our master post on family-friendly things to do in NOLA.

1. Mini Golf at City Putt

City Park has a lot of fun and interesting attractions that you can check out during the day, but one of the best places to visit at night is City Putt.

This mini golf center has two courses and is open until 10 pm. During the weekend (Fri + Sat), their hours are extended to midnight.

This is a fun and affordable activity for families, with tickets ranging from $6 for kids to $8 for teens and adults. Visit their website.

For more information on this and other activities in the area, check out our guide to visiting City Park.

2. Light up the Night on a Bike Ride

Riding a bike at night can be dangerous if people can’t see you, but that isn’t a problem with the NOLA City Lights company!

Their bikes are covered in LED lights, making it easy for pretty much everyone to see them from afar.

As if that weren’t good enough, they also play music and have a loud horn/siren.

Enjoy a unique trip with your family and see New Orleans after dark while riding around on these interesting bicycles.

Check out this video. For more details on this activity, click here.

3. See a Show at the WW2 Museum

Aside from being one of the best and most respectful museums in New Orleans, the National WW2 Museum also hosts several shows at BB’s Stage Door Canteen.

Several of their shows can be very family friendly.

They usually host at least one show per month (sometimes per week) that takes place in the evening, making this a good option for family fun after the sun sets.

Check out our post on the National WW2 Museum for more information.

4. Attend an Event at the Superdome

Even when football isn’t in season, they still manage to find some pretty awesome events to throw at the Superdome.

These attractions can range from concerts to festivals, but they usually center around musical acts.

They also host expos and conventions for a variety of different industries which may be of interest to some visitors. 

Keep an eye on the Superdome Event calendar for more details.

5. Take a Ghost Tour

If your children are getting a little older, you might want to consider taking them on a spooky tour around New Orleans.

This is a city rich with creepy history, and you can learn a lot about it by taking our pay-what-you-wish ghost walking tours.

There is also a Ghost + Vampire Tour, which is free for kids under 7 and pretty affordable for everyone else.

Each of these tours takes place in the evening, and brave families will probably have a great time exploring the city and seeing everything from a more haunting point of view.

Make sure to read our post about New Orleans ghost tours for more information.

6. Take the Kids Bowling

Although Rock n’ Bowl can be fun for a dinner date, it’s also an excellent place for families.

Alternatively, you can also head down to Fulton Alley near Harrah’s Casino and enjoy a round of bowling.

This is a classic pastime which is fun for all ages and tons of fun after the sun goes down.

7. Grab a Beignet After Dinner

These delightful pastries are a wonderful treat at any time of the day, but you might want to consider grabbing one for dessert.

Depending on how and where you get them, you can order a beignet with flavors as simple and delicious as chocolate, or as adventurous as crab & crawfish.

One of the most popular places to find this dish is Cafe du Monde, located in the heart of the French Quarter just across the street from Jackson Square.

For more information, read our post about beignets and where to find them!

8. Friday Nights at NOMA

Sometimes it can be difficult to keep the kids entertained while at a museum, but the New Orleans Museum of Art makes it pretty easy on Friday Nights.

This event includes live music, tours, screenings, performances, and artistic activities.

Children are invited to make a unique keepsake every week. Sometimes they even host book signings, featured artists and demonstrations. 

9. Take the Kids Out for Dinner

There are several family-friendly restaurants in New Orleans, but some of them are more popular than others.

One of the best options for kids is Dat Dog, a location that offers up some of the most unique hot dogs you’ll ever eat.

With over 30 different toppings to choose from, chances are that everyone in your family will find something they love at this restaurant.

For additional ideas, make sure to check our list of kid-friendly restaurants in New Orleans.

10. Enjoy Live Jazz at Preservation Hall

There are a lot of jazz clubs in NOLA, but most of them aren’t exactly family-friendly.

If you want to introduce your kids to this wonderful music, Preservation Hall is going to be one of the best places to visit.

This is an all-ages venue that does not provide food or beverage, only wonderful tunes for all their guests.

Shows start as early as 5 pm with the last show at 10 pm.

Click here to learn more about this historic New Orleans jazz hall! 

Top Music/Food Venues

There are a lot of great restaurants and music venues in New Orleans. Be sure to read about the 13 must-try NOLA foods and about our food tours.

Here is a list of our personal top 10 locations to grab a bite and listen to live music. 

1. BB King’s

It should come as no surprise that this jazz legend has his very own restaurant in New Orleans.

In addition to hosting several live shows every week, they also serve up some of the best food you’ll find in the city.

Expect a variety of southern favorites including po’ boys, jambalaya and peach cobbler for dessert!

2. The House of Blues

What better place to hear the blues than at the house that was named after the genre?

Most people come here for live concerts, but this venue also doubles as an excellent restaurant with several delicious menu items.

Guests can enjoy southern meals such as jambalaya, blackened salmon, shrimp & grits, and more.

3. Mulates

This is one of the more popular family restaurants in New Orleans. In addition to some great food, they also provide live Cajun music every night.

If you’re looking for a place with more local flavor, this is it! Menu items include gumbo, po’ boys, jambalaya, and red beans & rice.

4. Rock n’ Bowl

This is one of the best family-friendly locations in the entire city.

Not only do they have a bowling alley, but they also have live music, dancing, and a pretty decent selection of food.

Although they don’t focus primarily on Cajun cuisine or any other southern favorites, they do have classic American staples such as pizza, burgers, and fries.

5. The Spotted Cat

This popular music club hosts a variety of jazz musicians on a nightly basis.

Visitors should know that this isn’t a restaurant and they don’t specialize in providing anything other than great tunes throughout the night.

There is no cover charge and there are no reservations, so you might want to get there early before the club fills up!

6. Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro

As the name implies, this location specializes in providing live jazz every night of the week.

In addition to some great music, they also offer an impressive menu full of delectable meals.

Choose from entrees such as filet mignon, yellowfin tuna, fried oysters or fish Marigny.

7. Cafe du Monde

Although they don’t really offer any live music, Cafe du Monde is one of the most popular coffee shops to grab a drink and a snack.

Located right across the street from Jackson Square, it’s easy to hop in there while walking around the French Quarter and sightseeing. 

8. Balcony Music Club

Otherwise known as the BMC, this club is yet another excellent place where you can listen to some great jazz every night of the week.

This location also has a number of signature drinks that you can try while listening to music. Try a Satchmo Sangria or Billie Holiday for some local flavor!

9 Verti Marte

Whether you. ’re trying to sober up or you just want to grab a bite to eat, this 24-hour deli provides a variety of tasty treats all day and night.

Their specialty is a po’ boy with fried shrimp and oysters. Even if you don’t feel like walking down to the Verti Marte, you can still order these sandwiches for delivery!

10. Camellia’s Grill

If you’re looking for fast and fantastic service, it’s hard to beat Camellia’s Grill.

Some visitors report that it can take as little as ten minutes to receive your order and the food is to die for.

This popular diner serves up American classics and New Orleans favorites for locals and visitors of all kinds.

You’ll find this restaurant right off the St. Charles Streetcar line. 

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few additional diners/pubs that you may want to consider.

Coop’s Place – Grab some cajun food or get traditional southern fried chicken at this New Orleans staple late into the night.

Due to the “snarky” attitude from the staff (which is half the fun), this location is only open to customers who are 21 & older.

Clover Grill – If you’re looking for another 24-hour diner, this is one of the best places in the city.

The menu is simple and the food is delicious – what more could anyone ask for?

Turtle Bay – This popular New Orleans pub is open late and serves a variety of great local food such as gumbo, po’ boys, and fried mushrooms.

They are open late and offer delivery!

Cooter Brown’s – This sports bar offers 17 different TVs with sporting events of all kinds.

They have over 400 beers on tap, raw oysters for the seafood fans, and some of the best pub grub in NOLA.

Beachcorner’s – If you’re looking for variety at your bar & grill, this sports bar offers up a lot of great pub grub.

In addition to the typical finger foods, you’ll also find “beach burgers,” fried catfish sandwiches, and more! 

Safety at Night in New Orleans

When traveling to New Orleans we would like to help you make the best decisions to make your visit to the Big Easy as comfortable and safe as possible.

It is best, if possible, to travel with a companion when walking the streets of the French Quarter at night. 

It may be safe to update a friend, or family member, where you are headed when traveling from one location to another.

Most hotels and tourists booths provide free maps of the city.  Consult with them and have them let you know of the safest streets and routes for foot traffic. 

We suggest Royal Street and Decatur Street. If you are carrying a purse, wear it across the chest strap, if your camera has a strap wear it the same way, pickpockets are in every city. 

We suggest wearing sensible shoes in New Orleans, as the sidewalks are very old and uneven. 

Make sure that you are aware when crossing the streets. Often intersections do not have pedestrian stop and walk symbols at intersections with traffic lights. 

Bourbon Street and Royal Street are the only two French Quarter streets to be closed to foot traffic only.  So, when walking and looking at all of the beauty of the Quarter be careful.

Uber and Lyft are great options to keep yourself safe when in the city. Cabs and Taxis can often take more than 30 minutes to arrive, whereas ride shares take moments.   

Make sure when they pull up that the driver and license plate match the info on your app. 

Check out our full post on safety in New Orleans.


  • Things to Do in NOLA
  • Where to See Live Music

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Sarah first moved to New Orleans in 2001 to work for the American Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana. While working in the communities of New Orleans she fell in love with the unique culture of the Big Easy; it’s food, music, architecture, wildlife, and most of all history.
Sarah began her career with FTBF, first as a guide, then as an owner/operator. She believes every day is a good day if she gets to impart her love of her beloved New Orleans with Free Tours By Foot guests. She especially likes to convert new Who Dat Saints Fans!

Updated: November 15th, 2022

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