Congratulations on planning your trip to New Orleans! Now that your trip is scheduled, you must decide how to get around the City. Public transportation is not the best in New Orleans, but there are multiple ways to get around the City.
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What’s the best way to get around in New Orleans?
The best way to get around New Orleans is by foot, streetcar, and rideshare taxis. Even though it is convenient, renting a car for a New Orleans trip is difficult because parking is expensive and driving is a nightmare for out of town guests.
Transportation from the New Orleans Airport
One of the biggest questions we get from guests is how do I get from the Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) to my hotel without it costing an arm and a leg? If you are traveling with a family, with a lot of luggage, or with mobility devices – it might be challenging to get to your hotel if you are not prepared.
The Airport is located in Jefferson Parish, and even in rush hour traffic, it shouldn’t take more than a 40-minute ride by car to get downtown.
Renting a Car in the Big Easy
Renting a car in New Orleans is generally frowned upon because parking is costly at the downtown hotels and surface lots. Many tourists plan to spend their time eating and drinking, and the last thing you want is a DUI in New Orleans.
With the average car rental price ranging from $50-100 a day and parking ranging from $30-45 a day, I say skip the car rental and save that money for other modes of transportation.
Tip: The price of parking and renting a car doesn’t cut it when driving in New Orleans. If you did drive your vehicle to New Orleans, you might want to leave the car at the hotel and walk to your destinations because free parking is minimal in New Orleans.
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Hailing a rideshare in Nola
Rideshares are your best bet, but not the cheapest, way to get around New Orleans. When leaving Airport, you could spend upwards of $100 to travel from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to the Four Seasons during a holiday or high traffic.
Tip: Make sure you have both Uber and Lyft downloaded on your phone and check the prices of both ride shares. One app might be overloaded with customers while the other is just waiting on passengers.
Taking the Krewe Car with Kids
If you are traveling to New Orleans with kids who need car seats or booster seats (children under the age of 9), Krewe Car may be your best bet for traveling!
To sign up for Krewe Car, you need to enroll in a membership/subscription fee, allowing the company to provide car seats and do background checks and drug screens on all drivers.
Rides must be booked at least 6 hours in advance to ensure there are enough drivers to accommodate the request. If you have to go outside the City or have multiple stops or special requests, you can reach out to the company for a quote!
If you only need the services for a round trip ride, say to and from the AirportAirport, you can reach out for a discount code on the membership fee. Each round-trip ride must be booked as a one-way ride at this time.
Krewe’s car costs a flat $47 to ride to the Airport and $49 to get picked up from the Airport.
Tip: You do not have to have to be traveling with kids to use Krewe Car! But if you are traveling with kids, who need a car and booster seats, Krewe Car is one of the best options for your family.
Reserving a private transfer
If you are booking your New Orleans vacation with a travel agent like Sunset Chasers, they can book a private or shared transfer to pick you up from the Airport and drive you to your hotel. These services generally cost between $70-100, and there is less hassle than trying to squeeze into an Uber or Lyft.
Tip: Reserve a pickup is my favorite and most convenient way to arrive at any destination. There is generally no worry about how the luggage will fit in someone’s trunk, and the people driving the private transfer do this for a living.
Jumping on the Airport Shuttle Bus
If traveling on a tight budget, you can buy a ticket on the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority shuttle bus. This bus travels between the Airport and the downtown area and is the cheapest way to get from the Airport to French Quarter.
You need to check out the Airport Express schedule before committing to this mode of transportation. There are a few hours of the day when the bus does not travel to the Airport. During this time, you may be waiting a while for a pickup.
Tip: I haven’t used the Airport Shuttle bus – yet – but make sure you check and double-check the schedule. It seems like a great, inexpensive way to get to the French Quarter but the timetable of when buses are available seems to not line up with everyone’s travel plans.
Getting Around New Orleans
You can rent a car, take a ride share, or bus while getting around New Orleans, but other modes of transportation can help you get from one destination to the next.
Sightseeing on New Orleans Streetcars
The historic Streetcar is a local and tourist favorite way to get around New Orleans. The Streetcar lines are a great way to get from the French Quarter to City Park or the Garden District – two popular neighborhoods in opposite directions.
Streetcars cost $1.25 for a one-way trip ($1.50 if you need to transfer), and you can pay with cash. There are also Jazzy Passes, which is a pass for unlimited rides.
Tip: If Uber and Lyft are surging, my favorite thing is to take a streetcar to another destination and call that Uber or Lyft to get home. The St. Charles Streetcar line is an excellent way to get down to Audubon Park and Carrollton Avenue.
Taking the city bus
With 34 bus lines, taking the city bus in New Orleans is an alternative route to connect to your other destinations across the city. Busses generally run every 30 minutes from 7 am-11 pm in most areas.
Tip: I have only taken a bus once in New Orleans, when the streetcar line was under construction.
Taking a Taxi
As a millennial, I prefer taking rideshares over a taxi service, but it is always a good idea to take a taxi if ride shares are more expensive.
Tip: I generally go to one of the luxury hotels to pick up a taxi because anytime I try to schedule a cab to pick me up, they do not come!
Exploring the Mississippi River on a Ferry
The Canal Street Ferry brings you across the Mississippi River to this historic neighborhood of Algiers Point. The Canal Street Ferry is only for pedestrians and bikers and costs $2.
Cars are not allowed on this ferry – which shouldn’t be an issue since you are not renting a car anyways!
Tip: One of the best things to do in New Orleans is to get on the Canal Street Ferry, go across the Mississippi, and enjoy Algiers Point. While on the ferry – you can enjoy some of the best views of the New Orleans Skyline from the Mississippi River.
Biking the Big Easy
New Orleans is inching its way to becoming bike friendly. Bike lanes and bike routes have been slowly popping up all over the City – and Blue Cross Blue Shields Blue Bikes came back after a brief hiatus.
You can rent bikes from numerous places in New Orleans, but the Blue Bikes Bike Sharing can be found in City Park, Mid-City, the French Quarter, Lower Garden District, and the Bywater.
Blue Bikes cost $1 to unlock and $.15 a minute or $25 a month with 60 minutes of ride time.
Tip: New Orleans is slowly becoming more of a bike-friendly city, but that doesn’t mean that everyone knows how to coexist with bikers. Make sure to use the few bike lanes popping up in the City and check out the Lafitte Greenway for a shortcut to get from the French Quarter to Mid-City.
Taking Pedicabs in New Orleans
Pedicabs are fun yet expensive way to get around New Orleans. There are no set prices for Pedicabs because the driver can set their price.
Make sure you bring cash and ask for the fee upfront, so you are not shocked by the price.
Tip: My Sister and I took a Pedi cab from the Superdome to the Roosevelt hotel after a Mardi Gras Ball and were shocked that the price was $30. We were dancing all night in heels (and this was pre-ride sharing), so there was no way we were going to walk.
Exploring everything By Foot
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get around New Orleans is on foot! If you plan on spending most of your time in the French Quarter – you will probably travel everywhere by foot. If you thought our potholes were terrible, watch out for uneven pavement.
You can always book a walking tour to experience the heart of the French Quarter or the Garden District on foot.
Fun Tip: Flats, not flip-flops, are the best shoes to walk around in New Orleans. You can easily walk 10,000 steps in a day exploring restaurants, bars, and museums, and you want to ensure your feet are ready for the next day.
Accessible Transportation in New Orleans
The buses, Red Streetcars – Canal Streetcar line – and cabs are all equipped for those traveling with walkers, scooters, or wheelchairs. Unfortunately, the streetcars’ Green line (St. Charles Line) is not handicapable.
New Orleans also has Ubert Assist where you can get special assistance from certified drivers.
One of our favorite mobility devices to travel with is the Rollz Motion Rollator, which can quickly help navigate bumpier sidewalks.
Tip: Even though New Orleans is flat, there are a lot of areas where the sidewalk is uneven, and some of the curb drops are hard to navigate. New Orleans is a city that is easy to navigate, but you may need more assistance with some of the sidewalks in the area.
Exploring with Tour Companies
There are plenty of Tour Companies that you can hire to bring you to areas outside of New Orleans, such as a swamp tour or the plantations. New Orleans also has City Site Seeing tour that can help you get around the City.
These buses cannot go down the tiny streets of the French Quarter, but you will be able to go around the French Quarter, Central Business District, and Garden District. Once you hop off the bus, you can see famous attractions like Jackson Square, Cafe du monde, or Frenchman street.
Tip: If you are going to take the City Sightseeing Bus, make sure you ride the bus loop at least once to hear the tour guide and soak in all the sights. After riding the bus once, you can jump off and explore the Garden District for a few hours before returning to your hotel.
Getting around New Orleans during Special Events
Getting around New Orleans when it comes to special events, such as Mardi Gras or French Quarter Fest, takes a lot of patience. During Mardi Gras – do not plan on driving or Ubering immediately before, during, or after a Parade.
The parade routes will be congested and full of people and cars. If you are trying to rideshare after a festival and prices are surging – get another cocktail and schedule the ride for 1 hour in the future to let prices come down a bit.
Tip: One area called “The Box” during Mardi Gras is bound by Napoleon, St Charles, Tchoupitoulas, and the Expressway. If your car is parked in this box for whatever reason – do not move it! You will never find a good parking spot until Ash Wednesday. If you are visiting during Mardi Gras, make sure you let the good times roll and do not stress about navigating the streets of New Orleans.
Parking In New Orleans
If you decide to bring your car to New Orleans, the easiest way to find a good parking spot in the French Quarter or Central Business District is to park at your hotel.
New Orleans has a lot of different places and ways to pay for parking – but make sure you read the signs. From street clearers, parades, and loading zones – you are more likely to get a parking ticket when parking on the street.
While driving around the French Quarter, try your best not to drive past Bourbon Street. With unruly tourists, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and pedestrians having the right away – you might get stuck for a while.
Tip: I usually scoop out the place where I am going and then park 1-2 blocks away from it if I cannot get a spot. Generally, if I’m going to dinner and I know parking will be a pain, I will take a rideshare.
Can you go to New Orleans without a car?
Even though New Orleans is a car-focused city, tourists can explore the City without a car. With public transportation of the Streetcars, a walkable city, and plenty of taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts – someone visiting from out of town does not need to rent a car.
What’s the best way to get around in New Orleans?
The best way to get around New Orleans is by foot and Streetcar. Many tourists will spend most of their time in the French Quarter, but if you do wander down to City Park to see the New Orleans Museum of Art – it is quickly done by foot and Streetcar.
Can you walk everywhere in New Orleans?
When driving to New Orleans, leave the car at the hotel. New Orleans is a walkable city – with only a few pockets of town that you should not walk alone at night. The French Quarter is one of the safer neighborhoods to explore on foot.
Add some of these activities to your upcoming trip or staycation!
🚌 Take a 2-Hour City Sightseeing Bus Tour which is great way to learn about the history and romance of this magnificent city
🚢Experience Evening Jazz Boat Cruise with dinner while soaking in incredible views.
👻 Hear tales of vampires, voodoo, and witchcraft on this city walking tour of New Orleans’ French Quarter
🦸 Try Escape Room Adventure and test your problem-solving skills with fun and tactile challenges
⛰️ Go on a food tour and explore the history and culture of the area with an expert local guide while tasting regional specialties at some of the best restaurants around.
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