Your Guide to Riding the New Orleans Streetcars
Have you ever wondered about the best way to get around New Orleans? Skip the taxi or rideshare and hop on one of the city’s historic trolleys – New Orleans’ streetcars!
Streetcars are an emblematic part of the Crescent City, dating all the way back to the early 1800s. But they’re not just a charming addition to this vibrant city. They’re also one of the best (and cheapest!) methods of transportation in New Orleans and a fun way to entertain your kids.
With four distinct lines all originating downtown, the streetcars take you through the French Quarter, to Mid-City, the Garden District, and other parts of town, passing under live oaks and gliding down beautiful residential streets along the way.
Keep reading to learn about the four lines, how much it costs to ride the New Orleans streetcars, and where to catch a ride on these whimsical trolley cars.
St. Charles Streetcar
Hours of Operation: Around the clock with less frequent service in the early morning and evening. See the map and schedule here.
The St. Charles Streetcar line has become synonymous with New Orleans. Did you know it’s the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world? Dating back to 1835, the vintage St. Charles streetcars are easily recognized by their olive green and crimson paint (but these signature colors didn’t appear on the trolleys until the 1920s). Each trolley on the line is a National Historic Landmark! Riding the St. Charles line is like touring a moving museum.
Catch the St. Charles line at the edge of the French Quarter at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Common Street. From there, enjoy a 40-minute ride through Uptown and the Garden District, passing many great stops including museums and parks, as well as impressive mansions and several hotels and restaurants. The St. Charles Streetcar route ends on South Carrollton Avenue.
Please note, a ride on the St. Charles Streetcar is certainly an old-fashioned experience… The trolleys don’t have air conditioning, so you may want to factor that into your planning if you’re trying to escape the Louisiana heat.
Points of Interest on the St. Charles Streetcar Route
- Audubon Park and Zoo
- National WWII Museum – a must-visit museum in New Orleans!
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Tulane University
- Contemporary Arts Center
Hours of operation: Cemeteries branch – 5 a.m. to 3 a.m. See map and schedule here.
City Park/Museum branch – 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. See map and schedule here.
Both branches run less frequently in the evening and early morning.
You can’t miss the bright-red Canal Streetcar trolleys! These vibrant cars are modelled after the vintage design of the St. Charles streetcars, but with modern amenities like air conditioning. Although the Canal Streetcar line began operating in 1861, it was replaced by a bus line in 1964. Then, in 2004, the city revived the streetcar line, whisking passengers along two routes that branch at North Carrollton Avenue with access to City Park and NOLA’s famous above-ground cemeteries.
Catch the Canal Streetcar at the south end of Canal Street near the Mississippi River. Look for signage on the streetcars to determine where you’d like to go. Streetcars displaying Cemeteries on their exterior signs travel up Canal Street and end at an area known for its historic cemeteries. The other line, displaying City Park/Museum on its exterior signs, will take you up Canal Street and onto North Carrollton Avenue to finish at the edge of City Park, one of the top destinations in the city.
One-way rides on either route take about 30 minutes, so they’re a fun way to rest your legs while enjoying some sightseeing and traveling to a new part of the city.
Points of Interest on the Canal Streetcar Route
- Aquarium of the Americas
- Bayou St. John
- Hurricane Katrina Memorial
- New Orleans Museum of Art
- Lafitte Greenway – one of the best places to go biking in New Orleans!
Hours of operation: 12 a.m. to 11:40 p.m. See map and schedule here.
New in 2016, the Rampart Streetcar takes passengers through the Central Business District and Marigny/Bywater neighborhood. The red trolley cars pick up passengers starting at the Union Passenger Terminal on Loyola Avenue. A 30-minute ride will take you past the skyscrapers of downtown and by the famous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. The ride continues on St. Claude Street to all the authentic eateries and local shops around Elysian Fields Avenue.
Points of Interest on the Rampart Streetcar Route
- Louis Armstrong Park
- New Orleans Public Library
- Warehouse Arts District
- French Quarter
- City Hall
Hours of operation: 7 days a week, around the clock. See map and schedule here.
Also characterized by its vintage red trolleys, the Riverfront Streetcar line travels along the Mississippi River from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to the French Market. The Riverfront Streetcar is the only line in the city that travels on its own right-of-way, similar to a light rail line. This line was also the first in the city to offer wheelchair access.
Enjoy river views as you ride! Keep an eye out for popular New Orleans landmarks like Jackson Square and the Steamboat Natchez.
Points of Interest on the Riverfront Streetcar Route
- IMAX Theatre
- Convention Center
- Riverwalk Marketplace
- Woldenberg Riverfront Park
New Orleans Streetcar Fares
Like we mentioned before, the streetcars are probably the cheapest way to get around the city. A one-way ride is just $1.25 per person and an additional $0.25 to transfer to another line.
If you’re planning to spend a few days in the city and want to use the streetcars as your primary mode of transportation, we recommend purchasing the Jazzy Pass. Available in 1-day, 3-day, 5-day and 31-day options, the Jazzy Pass is valid for an unlimited number of trips. Prices range from $3 for the 1-day option to $55 for the 31-day option. You can purchase your New Orleans streetcar tickets online.
Wondering which line to ride first? Visit the neighborhood guide to start planning your visit.