New Orleans is famous for its food and music around the world. As you wander the city you will marvel at the buildings and architecture, some of which are hundreds of years old. However, how will you get around the city of New Orleans?
New Orleans has a plethora of ways that a tourist can get around the city including common ways like buses, shuttles, and streetcars. They also have some more exotic ways with a ferry and pedicabs helping visitors to navigate the city. These options allow everyone to move through the city quickly.
With all of these different options, it could be difficult to navigate New Orleans without experience. Here are some information and tips I’ve found about each of these public transportation options.
Areas You Should Know In New Orleans
When traveling to a new city you should always try and keep in mind the different areas of your host city. If you can remember a couple of important areas you will be able to roughly navigate yourself in a pinch. It will also help you if you need directions. If you were to ask a local for directions they likely will refer to landmarks or areas within the city to direct you. With that in mind here are some of the important areas within New Orleans.
The heart of the city is the French Quarter. This is one of the oldest areas in the city and the area that you likely think of when you picture New Orleans. It sits right in the center of the city and the other areas surround it in different directions. New Orleans East is the area on the northeast corner of the city. The Lower 9th Ward sits below the previous location, and directly east of the French Quarter. Midcity is the area northwest of the French Quarter and can be considered an extension of that part of the city. The Garden District sits south of the French Quarter on the bend of the river. Algiers sits across the Mississippi from the French Quarter up on a small hill.
One of the most common ways to get around a city is by using a bus. Buses are an easy way to move around an area quickly and without much hassle. They move through regular routes, hold a large number of people, and tend to come often throughout the day. However, you do need to know about the bus routes and where they stop in order to use them most effectively. With these things in mind here are some things to keep in mind about buses in New Orleans.
The first thing that you need to consider is the city of New Orleans itself. New Orleans is a city with a lot of character. The city was founded before the United States was a country; in fact, the city was founded as part of a French Colony. The buildings are beautiful, but there is a potential downside.
Since the city was built so long ago, many of the streets weren’t built with modern vehicles in mind. This means that not all roads in New Orleans are accessible to large buses. However, buses do provide excellent service on major roads. The important thing to keep in mind is that you won’t be able to get everywhere in New Orleans by using a bus.
All buses in New Orleans have a $1.50 one-way fare. This fare can be paid online using the transit app, at the station, or when boarding the bus. If you are planning to pay for the fare using cash make sure that you have the exact change. You may also pay for an unlimited day pass for $3. With that in mind, here are some of the best buses that you should consider in New Orleans.
Most buses won’t pass through the French Quarter, but there is a transit station just north of it where you can find buses that head to almost any area in the city. You also won’t be able to access Algiers easily using a bus. To get to New Orleans East take the Haynes, Lake Forest Express, or Morrison Express. To get to the Garden District take the Forest or Magazine Lines. General Meyer Whitney and Galvez lines will take you to the Lower 9th Ward. To get to Mid Town you will want to ride the Tulane or Broad lines. While there are other buses that you can take, these seem to be the main buses that stretch throughout the city. Check this map if you would like more details about these bus routes.
If you are flying into the New Orleans airport then you may need a way to get into the city from there. This is where these shuttles come into play. They connect the airport to several hotels and areas within the city itself. These will be much more convenient than finding a taxi or renting a car. This convenience does come at a price though. It costs $24 for a one-way ticket or $44 round trip. This may sound like a lot until you consider that a taxi could cost you $40 minimum for a one-time ride. If you need a way to get into town from the airport take a look at the Airport Shuttles.
Another option to explore New Orleans is to hop onto one of their distinctive streetcars for a ride around the city. New Orleans has been operating these street cars for hundreds of years with the earliest lines being opened in 1835. Since then they have continued to add streetcars lines as the city has grown over the years.
The oldest streetcar line is the St Charles line. The line begins in the French Quarter before extending out through the Garden District. Not only is it the oldest streetcar in New Orleans it is also the oldest continually running streetcar in the world. Because of its age, it is surrounded by many historical features like old mansions and some of the best restaurants the city has to offer.
The Canal Street line runs right through the center of the French Quarter and into Midtown. This is often used by locals and tourists alike to experience all that the heart of New Orleans has to offer.
The Riverfront Line is a short line that runs right along the edge of the Mississippi River. With a view of the river and the Algiers neighborhood, this is a great sightseeing option. If you get bored you can step off into one of the many riverside cafes, the Shops at Canal Place, or the Harrah’s Casino.
The streetcars are a great option if you want to experience a bit of history. They are best used to explore areas that are not easily accessible by bus. The cost to ride is $1.50 for one trip or $3 for a day pass. An unlimited day pass can be used for both buses and streetcars within New Orleans, so pick whichever matches your style.
The ferry in New Orleans can be used to connect the French Quarter to the Algiers neighborhood across the river. Set up on a hill, the Algiers neighborhood is small enough to explore easily on foot and is a great way to mix up your trip. To ride the ferry from the French Quarter you will want to travel to the southernmost end of Canal Street. There you can board the ferry across the Mississippi River.
The fare for the ferry is $2 for one trip or $4 for both ways. The ferry leaves the French Quarter side on the hour and half hour. It leaves the far side every quarter and quarter after. The first ferries start at 6 am on weekdays, and 10:30 am on weekends, with the final ferry departing from the far side at 8:45 pm. Hours may be extended into the evening on Fridays and Saturdays.
Ferries leave on time so you need to arrive at the dock at least 10 minutes ahead of departure in order to have time to board. The ferries are only intended for pedestrians and bikers so don’t plan on bringing your car along. If you do have a car with you, you can leave it in the parking lot near the ferry for a small fee.
Your final transportation option in New Orleans is a pedicab. These are bicycles that are connected to a wheeled seat that they tow behind them. These seats sit two and come with a cover from the sun and rain. They cost $5 for the first six blocks and then an additional dollar for each block after that. Many pedicabs are found in the French Quarter and Garden District.
These are excellent options if you want a closer look at the city as you travel. Pedicabs are able to explore small streets and areas that other forms of transportation may not be able to reach. They are also excellent if there is a lot of traffic or festivals ongoing. Traffic can stall the streets and slow buses and streetcars. With their smaller size, pedicabs are able to weave through traffic getting you to your destination much quicker.
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