Streetcars appointed in mahogany and brass capture the soul, swagger and roots of New Orleans. See the city from a historic perch as you ride the rails through colorful neighborhoods and hop off along the way to mingle with locals. All streetcar lines run along or intersect with Canal Street between the French Quarter and Central Business District. All lines get busier as the day moves on, making streetcar hopping a particular coup for early risers.
St. Charles Line
Ride the historic olive-green cars along the longest continuously operated streetcar route in the world. Get a feel for how deeply residents revere their hometown as the antebellum mansions of the Garden District pass by. But we suggest hopping off and on the St. Charles line to get in the middle of it all.
1. Audubon Park
Just past the midway point of the city’s longest streetcar line, stretch your legs at Audubon Park. Join Loyola students and other locals out for a jog, take the kids to the zoo, grab a coffee at a sidewalk café, or find a bench in the park and thank your lucky stars for being in such a pretty place.
2. Camellia Grill
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, take the streetcar to the bend at Carrollton Avenue to feed at this old-fashioned diner. Don’t be surprised when an affable waiter greets you with, “Okay baby, let’s get it on,” which translates, “How about a strong cup of coffee and an omelet covered with chili?”
3. The National WWII Museum
On the way back downtown, hop of at Lee Circle and walk a block to The National WWII Museum. The awesome campus can fill an afternoon with military might, historic milestones, and civic pride.
Canal Street Line
Two lines transport locals and visitors to work and play along the city’s busiest street. The only difference is their turnaround point. One ends at an urban park and the other ends at an urban cemetery.
4. City Park and NOMA
Let the rhythm of the streetcar take over as you approach the end of the Canal Street line. There, a sprawling expanse of nature invites visitors to stroll under massive live oaks draped in Spanish moss. Inside the park, the New Orleans Museum of Art offers another way to mellow out.
5. Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt
Get back to civilization with the South’s most civilized drink. This magical whiskey concoction is sipped all over the city, but locals and tripadvisors alike will tell you the Sazerac mixed at The Roosevelt chases evil spirits away.
6. Saenger Theatre
Across the street, this ornate palace hosts headliners year-round. Join a few thousand like-minded revelers for Hamilton, The Avett Brothers or Nine Inch Nails. After the show, the French Quarter is just steps away to keep the party going.
7. Chickie Wah Wah
If you prefer live music in small venues, take the streetcar to Mid-City. Wah Wah has a comfortable vibe and showcases local and visiting talent almost every night of the week.
This route along the edge of the French Quarter skirts the Mississippi River and brings steamboats, docks and levee walls into view. Take note of which shops you want to visit in the Quarter, then hop off at one of the line’s bookends and stroll.
8. French Market
This open-air market is in the original location where traders set up shop on the riverbank three centuries ago. Today, goods for sale range from knock-off sunglasses to authentic voodoo dolls. Pull up a stool in the middle of the market, slurp some oysters, and keep on shopping.
9. Harrah’s Casino
At the end of Canal Street, this modern gambling hall honors the city’s devil-may-care roots. Have a Bloody Mary with breakfast. Try your luck at Blackjack. Sin early and often. Or on a sweltering day, pop in for the coldest a/c downtown.
The Marigny’s character-rich streets are a schlep from Central Business District hotels. The Rampart streetcar cuts between the Quarter and Tremé and takes visitors to shops and galleries on less-crowded streets. Hop off at Esplanade and see if you agree that Port of Call grills the city’s best burger.
10. Louis Armstrong Park
Chances are this pretty urban park will be hosting a music or art festival on the weekend you visit. That’s a great way to get to know New Orleans by day. By night, walk two blocks from the park into the Quarter to see if Good Friends Bar is showing a RuPaul’s Drag Race marathon.