If you’re visiting New Orleans we highly recommend NOT getting a rental car because parking is expensive and this is a city that can easily be seen on foot, with some use of public transportation. Besides, if you’re like us and want to enjoy cocktails during your stay, you won’t want to drive.
Here’s our guide to help you get around the city with public transportation, specifically by streetcar;
they’ll get you to most of the places worth seeing in the city (see street car map above), and where they can’t, the buses can.
The majority of the French Quarter is accessible on foot, which allows you to explore the city at your pace and in detail. If you’re all walked out, you can use the Riverfront Streetcar Line (red) which runs from the French Market along the Mississippi River to the Riverwalk. Some of the stops along the way include:
Dumaine (Dutch Alley)
Toulouse (Jax Brewery; Riverboat Natchez)
Canal Street (Aquarium of the Americas; with connections to Streetcar Lines: City Park, Cemeteries, UPT via 30-second walk, and St Charles via 10-minute walk)
Poydras (Drago’s Seafood Restaurant and the Riverwalk)
Julia (Riverwalk and Cruise Ship Terminal)
If venturing outside of the French Quarter, there are multiple streetcar options.
There are two separate lines (originating at Harrah’s Casino) that cover segments of Canal Street taking you to two separate terminating stations. The end stops for these lines are:
City Park Line (red) gets you to City Park, NOMA and Sculpture Garden
Cemetery Line (red) gets you to the cemeteries (a cluster of cemeteries including St Patrick’s #1, Greenwood, and Metairie)
The UPT Line (red) gets you from Union Pacific Terminal (Amtrak and Greyhound station),
to Elysian Fields,
stopping at Tulane Avenue (a major city and parish bus hub) along the way.
And finally, the Saint Charles Avenue Line with point of origin: Canal at Carondelet
and end stop: S. Carrollton at S. Claiborne. The streetcars on this line are the original and iconic green streetcars and are not air-conditioned (other lines are the red streetcars). Stops on the St. Charles Avenue line include:
CBD (various stops in the Central Business District)
Lee Circle (WWII Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art)
Garden District (various stops in the Lower Garden District and Garden District)
Washington Street (Commander’s Palace, Lafayette Cemetery)
Jefferson Avenue (Freret Street/Freret Arts & Entertainment District)
Tulane University/Audubon Park and Zoo (Audubon Zoo)
Note: when riding any of the streetcars, it is wise to not be in a hurry or on a tight schedule; the entire system is slow and does not always work as well as the European rail systems. However, it does get the job done and allows you to enjoy your cocktails throughout the day.
Tickets and passes for the streetcars can be purchased onboard from the automatic ticket machine, which accepts bills and coins. Machines do not give change; you will receive a printed voucher for the difference.
Ticket options include:
1-day (24-hour) Jazzy Pass = $3.00
Single journey pass = $1.25 + transfer ($0.25)
To reach places not accessible on the streetcar lines, you may need to take the bus. Your Jazzy Pass/single journey pass ($0.25 transfer required) is valid on all RTA busses;
Bus #11 (board at Canal Street bus stop L; approximately 4/hour) takes you to Camp at St. Joseph (WWII Museum and Ogden Museum of Southern Art), various stops (~20) along Magazine Street, and terminates at Audubon Zoo.
Bus #15 takes you to Freret Street
Bus #202 (Airport Express) takes you from Tulane Avenue to Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY). The streetcar Jazzy Pass and single journey tickets (with transfer) are valid on this bus.
Note: There are only 9 trips/day on this line and the journey takes about 40 minutes. Board at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Elk Place.