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  • Writer's pictureGuide Michelle

Clang Clang Clang Goes the Streetcar. Yes, the Streetcar.

"How do we catch the trolley?" is an often-heard tourist question that sounds so, so wrong to New Orleans ears. From our friend Google: "Trolleys looks like regular buses but they are completely electric and have twin poles on the roof of the bus that draw power from double overhead wires. If it connects to a pair of overhead wires but has rubber tires like a bus it's a trolley. If it runs on steel rails propelled by overhead wires it's a streetcar."



The St. Charles Ave. streetcar line is the oldest continuously operating street rail system in the WORLD. It is an incredibly affordable way to get around some of the best sites in New Orleans and I always recommend tourists spend a lazy morning taking the St. Charles streetcar from Canal St. (very convenient to the hotels of the French Quarter and Central Business District) through Uptown, to the end of the line at the riverbend (literally where the river bends and ends St Charles Ave.) to leisurely enjoy the architecture and beauty of Uptown. The Carrollton neighborhood, which is the end of the line, and has great restaurants & a walk along the levee is a great way to enjoy the might of the Mississippi River. On the ride back towards downtown, stop off at Audubon Park for a stroll through the beautiful oasis full of oaks and water fowl and to see the Zoo.


Another useful one for tourists to know is the Canal St. streetcar lines - it runs to City Park & Midcity, another neighborhood full of fantastic restaurants & bars where the locals hang. On the map below, the neon green line on Canal St. takes you right to the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park. Both lines pick up on Canal St., which is the street that divides the French Quarter (Vieux Carre) & Central Business District (the CBD), where most hotels and tourists reside, making it super convenient.


The Riverfront line can get you from one end of the French Quarter to the other, but that's about all it's good for- it's a short trip and if you already have a Jazzy Pass and don't feel like walking, it's pretty useful to get  from Canal St. to see music on Frenchmen St. & to shop the French Market.


  1. Buy a Jazzy Pass or pay as you ride- the fee is $1.25 (just $.40 for seniors) but it's cash only and drivers do not give change, so have exact change. You can also download the app

  2. Plan your day with the RTA trip planner

  3. Don't be in a hurry- the streetcars are not high speed rail or subways- they have to follow the same traffic rules as buses so they can be somewhat slower than other public transit people are used to. But they are lovely, just give yourself some leisurely time to enjoy them!



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