New Orleans

Streetcar in New Orleans
© Velda Dedeaux

Visitors staying at the French Quarter can explore other New Orleans' districts by taking the St. Charles Avenue Line. It's a 6 1/2-mile run with dozens of stops along the way.

Transportation in New Orleans, Louisiana


The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is located in Kenner, Louisiana, about 20 minutes from the New Orleans Central Business District. The New Orleans Airport has one main terminal with four concourses and is very easy to navigate. The baggage claim is located on the lower level.

Ground Transportation

A taxicab ride to the Central Business District costs $28 for up to two passengers and $12 for each additional passenger up to four and a $1 fuel surcharge will be added to total fare. Some cabs charge for baggage. The taxi line at the airport is located on the lower level outside of the baggage claim area.

Privately chauffeured sedans or limos pick up and drop at the airport. Rates for drop off in the New Orleans metro area cost between $80 and $150.

The Airport Shuttle provides shared ride service between the airport and Central Business District hotels. The fare is $15 one-way or $30 round-trip. There is a limit of three bags per person. Airport Shuttle ticket booths are located on the lower level in the baggage claim area. For more details call: 1-866-596-2699.

The Jefferson Transit Airport-Downtown Express (E-2) Bus picks up outside airport Entrance #7 on the second level ($1.10/ride)

The New Orleans airport is served by seven rental car agencies. The offices are located at the lower level of the airport.


The Amtrak Union Station is located at 1001 Loyola Avenue. New Orleans is served by three Amtrak routes. The City of New Orleans runs between Chicago and New Orleans. The Crescent runs between New York and New Orleans with stops in Washington D.C. and Atlanta. The Sunset Limited runs west between Los Angles and New Orleans.

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Interstate Bus

Greyhound serves the Downtown Bus Station at 101 Loyola Avenue. There are several bus routes taking passengers from New Orleans to other U.S. cities and towns.


Interstate 10 (I-10) is the main east-west highway running through New Orleans. I-10 connects with Interstate 55 (I-55) which runs north to Chicago and Interstate 59 (1-59) which runs north-east through Mississippi to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Getting Around New Orleans

"Uptown" usually refers to the areas west of Canal Street while "downtown" refers of areas east of the Canal Street. Unlike most U.S. cities, in New Orleans the use of "downtown" does not include the Central Business District. Visitors and residents new to the area will sometimes call the Central Business District "downtown".

The French Quarter is bordered by Canal Street, N. Rampart, Decatur and Esplanade Avenue. The Warehouse/Arts District is bordered by the Pontchartrain Expressway, St. Charles Avenue, Poydra Avenue, and Convention Center Boulevard.


New Orleans has a terrific public bus service. Rides are only $1.25. If public transportation is your main source for getting around, you will want to invest in a VisiTour Pass. Sold by VisiTour vendors, a one-day unlimited-rides pass is $5.00 and a three-day pass is $12.00. Your hotel will be able to assist you in finding the nearest vendor.

The Streetcars

The St. Charles Avenue streetcars run the six and a half mile stretch between Canal Street and the Riverbend seven days per week until midnight. There are dozens of stops along the route, with streetcars arriving every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes on weekends. The main boarding point is at Carondelet at the intersection of Canal Street ($1.25/ride). Passengers can transfer for free to the RTA buses at the end of St. Charles Avenue for the ride down South Carrollton Avenue to South Claiborne Avenue.


Taxis can be found throughout the French Quarter and many hotels have taxi lines. Expect to pay more during Mardi Gras and other occasions bringing a lot of people to the city such as the Jazz Festival held every May and major college and professional sporting events.


New Orleans sits south of Lake Pontchartrain and north of the Mississippi River. The Pontchartrain Expressway runs south from I-10 and by the Convention Center before turning into the Crescent City Connection Toll Bridge which crosses the Mississippi River.

Driving in New Orleans can be very confusing. Especially in the French Quarter. In fact, renting a car in New Orleans is not necessary if you are planning to stay in the French Quarter since most attractions are within walking distance of the hotels and there is great public transportation. If you do drive, be prepared for the French Quarter's narrow and one-way streets. Parking can be hard to come by, especially on the weekends and during events. Parking violations will result in a fine.

Paddlewheeler Creole Queen dparting from New Orleans © Kathy Hicks
The Paddlewheeler Creole Queen cruises the Mississippi River near the Crescent City Bridge in New Orleans.


Algiers Point is located directly across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter and is home to Mardi Gras World and the Jazz Walk of Fame. The Canal Street Ferry takes passengers and cars between Canal Street and Algiers Point. Foot passengers are free and cars are free from Canal Street. The cost for cars on the return ride from Algiers to Canal is $1.

The Big Easy Harbor Cruise aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen is a 1.5 cruise along the Mississippi River ($20). The Steamboat Natchez Harbor cruise is two-hour cruise departing from the French Quarter. Rates start at about $20 and go up to $30 for the lunch package.

Carriage Tours

A relaxing and romantic way to explore the French Quarter and learn about its history and folklore is to take a guided tour by mule-drawn carriage along its narrow, cobblestone streets. Many of the mules are dressed up in oversized sunglasses and straw hats, and some of the carriage drivers have guided tours for years and become New Orleans' legends themselves. The carriages line Decatur Street in front of Jackson Square daily from 8:30am to midnight. Half hour ($60), hour ($120) and 1 1/2 hour ($180) tours for up to four passengers are most common. Some companies can accommodate up to eight passengers.

Handicapped Access

RTA fixed-route buses are handicapped accessible and accessible to persons with other disabilities.

The Riverfront Line and Canal Street Line of the New Orleans Streetcars are both wheelchair accessible, but the Historic St. Charles Avenue Line is not.

Written by: Elizabeth Blair
Top Photo Credit: © Temistocle Lucarelli
Photo Description: A paddlewheel boat docked at a New Orlean's pier on the Mississippi River