Walkabouts are definitely the best way to see New Orléans. Everyone strolls leisurely along stopping often to check out one interesting spot or another. There‘s always something new and amazing to see in every block; every corner brings a fresh surprise, from music to street show to food to architecture to crazy costumes, but walking can sometimes be a long distance away if you want to go to a different district, or maybe your feet are getting friggin’ sore.
Taking the old New Orléans streetcars is the second best and one of the cheapest ways to get around.
NEW ORLÉANS STREETCARS:
Originally powered by mule in 1835, the St. Charles Streetcar is one of the oldest continually operating street car lines in the world.
Jackson Square, New Orléans 1890
ST. CHARLES STREETCAR:
With its antique wooden seats, the St. Charles Streetcar is an entertaining way to go from one end of St. Charles Ave to the other. The streetcar clickety-clacks along all the way to South Claiborne Ave, and runs every 20 minutes 24 hours a day for a little over a dollar each way, or you can get passes for $3-4. It’s a fun ride for kids and adult kids alike.
Just a word of caution though – look both ways for New Orléans streetcars when walking because they have the right-of-way, and allow lots of time to cross the multi-track crossings.
For detailed information on time and prices, check this website: New Orléans Online: Streetcars
We took the St. Charles Streetcar from Marigny area to the French Quarter. As we walked about after that, each street brought amazing new scenes like…
Walking along, we came to Jackson Square where there is always some type of special group performing. This time it was a lively acrobatics show.
The acrobats surprised us when one of them came somersaulting down the cement steps from the top to the bottom in the middle of the sitting crowd!
Street dancing to lively hip hop music, the performers humorously entertained a big crowd.
NEW ORLEANS ROYAL HORSE AND CARRIAGE
In front of the big white St. Louis Cathedral, across from Jackson Square above, you will find a line of horse-drawn carriages, each elegant and unique, prim and proper. The cost is $150 per hour, but some can hold up to 8 passengers, so for a bigger group, it is a reasonable price. Perhaps you can find someone to share the ride if there are only two of you. It may sound like a lot of money but you do get more than a carriage ride!
The drivers share a wealth of knowledge about the history of New Orleans, plus they are zestfully entertaining as they relate true stories of people and events as well as ghost stories and anecdotes of hysterical humour. You will be joyfully entertained on a horse (actually mule) and carriage ride.
There are actually specific laws in many areas of Nawlins’ that give the horse and carriage the right of way over automobiles. After all, this was the original mode of transportation in Nola.
SURPRISES AT EVERY CORNER IN NEW ORLEANS
A place on the sidewalk to tie up your horse… (just in case you come in on horseback…)
And a horse watering trough… (in case your poor horse is thirsty…)
Intriguing shops with alligators…
Street bands… some using five-gallon plastic pails…
Statues of famous musicians inside shops…
Elegant historic buildings…
Wall murals of musicians…
NEW ORLEANS RIVERFRONT STREETCAR
Excited to see the mighty Mississippi River, we took the Riverfront Streetcar that runs the 2 mile route along the river, with nine stops that include the French Market, Jackson Brewery, Canal Place, the World Trade Center and the Hilton Hotel. It runs from 7 am to 10:30 pm every 20 minutes for under $2 each way.
A tranquil walk down the Mississippi River Walk is a nice contrast to the multitude of activity in the central areas of New Orléans. A park-like area along the boardwalk makes it perfect for an afternoon stroll. (coming soon: Best-Kept Secret in New Orléans for more information on a special free trip from this area).
NEW ORLEANS STREETCAR TOUR OF GARDEN DISTRICT
Another day we took the St. Charles streetcar through the Garden District where you can sit back and enjoy driving leisurely by enchanting gorgeous old homes with 19th C Greek Revival mansions built by wealthy merchants during New Orleans’s cotton days. With lush trees lining the streets, the homes are wonderful to gaze at and you can imagine that you are inside the set of a classic old movie.
WALKING MARIGNY AND BYWATER DISTRICT OF NAWLINS’
We did a lot of walking in New Orléans, particularly in the Marigny District where we were staying to enjoy the heart of Nawlins’ most authentic music, but after taking the New Orléans streetcars, we also walked in the French Quarter and along the riverbank.
The walk from our Hotel de La Monnaie to Elizabeth’s Restaurant was just over a mile, but along the way the neighborhood from Marigny to Bywater was quite fascinating.
There are many New Orléans Shotgun Houses, so-called because they are long and skinny with the back door visible from front door, hence you could fire a shotgun straight through the house from the front door to the back door.
Chickens hanging out by a restaurant…
Colourful Beads… and more beads… just one of the many icons of Nawlins’.
NEW ORLEANS: One of our FAVOURITE PLACE’S
New Orleans is one of our favourite places in the world. Endlessly fascinating, never boring, we can’t imagine anyone regretting going there. In fact, we’ve never heard a negative word about Nawlins’. It is just plain fun and endlessly entertaining.
Our recommendation: walk New Orleans as much as you can, and take the street cars at least to one other area. Both modes of transportation are highly rewarding!