New Orleans is an incredible city with a vibrant culture, never-ending nightlife, rich cuisine, and fascinating annual festivities. It's a must-visit Louisiana location, and there are a lot of things to do in New Orleans, so any visitors will need to be familiar with one of the most popular ways to get around the city quickly and easily: the New Orleans trolleys. Also known as streetcars or trams, the New Orleans trolleys run all around the city and have been in existence since the 1800s, making them one of the oldest trolley or streetcar systems in the entire world. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.New Orleans Trolley Rides

New Orleans Trolley Rides
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Beloved by locals and tourists alike, the New Orleans trolleys provide a fresh, fun, original way to get around and see the sights, soaking up a little of the city's Creole culture on the way and enjoying convenient transportation at great rates. If you’ve never visited New Orleans or ridden the city’s trolleys before, you might need a little information to figure out how the system works, how much it costs, and which line you should be taking to get to where you need to go. Read on to learn all about the New Orleans trolley system.

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2.Important Information about New Orleans Trolleys

Important Information about New Orleans Trolleys
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First of all, one important thing to note about New Orleans trolleys is that the locals will always refer to them as 'streetcars'. They are basically trolleys, looking and functioning in the same way as the trolleys you'd find in other major cities all around the United States, but they're known as streetcars in New Orleans so if you need to ask for directions from a local, remember to ask for a streetcar station if you don't want to sound too much like a tourist!

The New Orleans trolleys run on five separate lines which are color coded on maps as blue, yellow, red, light green, and dark green. Each line also has its own names. There's the Riverfront Line, which is blue on maps; the Loyola/Rampart Line, which is yellow; the Canal St Line running to Cemeteries, which is red; the Canal St Line running to the City Park Avenue and the Museum of Art, which is light green; and finally, there's the St Charles Line, which is dark green on travel maps and is typically regarded as the main and most popular line on the New Orleans trolley system.

It's important to note that the New Orleans trolleys run around the clock almost all year long. This schedule is only interrupted by special events and festivities like New Orleans' famous Mardi Gras celebrations. Train schedules will vary but the trolleys can run as often as every five minutes during peak rush hours. It's important to keep your hands and legs inside the vehicle at all times as these trolleys can pass quite close to trees and other obstacles, and you'll need to pull a wire above your head to signal that you'd like the car to stop.

Riding the New Orleans trolleys or streetcars is very simple. The fares are really cheap, with single tickets available for only $1.25. Unlike some other trolley systems that you may have encountered around the United States, the New Orleans streetcar system involves payment on board the cars, so you don't need to worry about buying a ticket from machines in advance. Simply step on and pay your $1.25 for a one-way ticket. You can also choose to buy a 'Jazzy' pass which will give you full streetcar access for a whole day. Multi-day passes are available too and offer significant savings for people who are staying in New Orleans for several days or weeks.

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3.New Orleans Trolley Lines

New Orleans Trolley Lines
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As previously mentioned, there are currently five lines in operation on the New Orleans trolley system. Read on to learn key details about each line, including schedules and important stops along the way.

- St. Charles Line

The St. Charles Line is the longest and most historic in New Orleans. It's the oldest continuously operating street trolley anywhere in the world, so it has a lot of history behind it, and it runs through the 'American' side of the city. It's one of the most popular lines with tourists, making major stops at places like the Garden District, the Audubon Zoo, the World War 2 Museum, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

- Loyola/Rampart Line

The Loyola/Rampart Line starts at Union Passenger Terminal, so it's a good starting point for people who are getting into New Orleans by public transport like bus or train. It heads off along the side of the French Quarter and through the business district of the city. It offers easy access to some of the bars and eateries in the French side of the city.

- Riverfront

As its name suggests, the Riverfront line runs along the side of the Mississippi River. It's a good line to choose if you're looking to visit key areas in the French District like the French Market. You can also use this trolley line to check out locations like Jackson Square, the Convention Center, and the Audubon Aquarium.

- Canal Lines

The two canal lines have different end points but follow more or less the same routes. These lines are good options for people who want to enjoy the bars and restaurants of Canal Street itself. The line that heads up to Cemeteries is a good option if you'd like to explore the city's world-famous gravesites, while the Museum option is a good option for the New Orleans Museum of Art and surrounding City Park area.

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Best New Orleans Trolley Rides

Attraction Spotlight: Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

In the vibrant city of New Orleans, LA, lies the Audubon Butterfly and Insectarium, an interactive experience that encourages visitors to use all five senses to explore the world of insects. It is the largest museum in North America devoted to butterflies as well as other insects and their relatives. Opening in 2008, this museum is renowned for its dedication to expanding the sphere of knowledge with its insectarium, and is recognized as a top museum for children.

It is part of the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, which includes the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium of the Americas. Over 15,000 different animals are housed in this nature center, giving children a diverse educational experience with mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and birds. The museum is a hub of knowledge of the world of insects as well as a great place to discover more about the planet.

The range of exhibits at the Butterfly Garden and Insectarium gives visitors a new perspective on the word of bugs and butterflies. Through interactive displays, exhibitions, and presentations, visitors learn how insects are an essential part of the world. Some of these exhibitions include the Butterfly Garden, Metamorphosis Gallery, Hall of Fame, New Orleans Gallery, Underground, and Main Hall. The combination of these exhibits aims to provide a diverse educational experience about insects. The beautiful garden, which has an Asian-inspired design, flutters with hundreds of colorful butterflies soaring through the air to land on flowers. This free-flight garden is a spectacular event and there is even a possibility that the butterflies will rest on the shoulder of a visitor. After seeing butterflies flying through the air, you can learn more about their lifecycle in the Metamorphosis Gallery, which illustrates the lifecycle of insects through a lab that showcases how insects grow and reproduce. It may even be possible for guests to see butterflies emerging from their chrysalises. To explore the world of insects, stroll down to the Hall of Fame at the Insectarium, which is one of the most architecturally significant historical rooms in the United States. The arched brick ceilings are incorporated into the gallery, which displays some of the fastest, biggest, and most impressive insects on the planet, including some rare butterfly species. Legendary local bugs are housed in the New Orleans Gallery, where guests have the opportunity to learn how bugs are essential to local history. Between mosquitoes, katydids, cockroaches, love bugs and, most importantly, termites, these insects have influenced the character of the city. Bugs have an impact on the environment around us, no matter if it is a city or a small town. To gain a new perspective, guests can walk through the oversized exhibit known as Underground, which allows visitors to experience how bugs see the world. With the effect of shrinking guests to the size of an insect, they can explore like an ant would. Insects are a part of history and of current times and in the Main Hall visitors can see the differences and similarities between prehistoric and modern day bugs from around the planet. With brightly colored large models of ancient insects scattered across the walls and ceilings in addition to some realistic murals, guests can learn about insects and their extinct relatives that used to roam the Earth.

When it comes to dining in the Insectarium, hungry guests have the option to try new unique foods; some of these foods even include bugs! In the exhibit Bug Appétit, visitors can watch every afternoon as chefs create fantastic dishes that include protein-rich bugs. After their cooking demonstration, some of the braver onlookers have the option to sample these exotic creations. For anyone who doesn't love the taste of insects, there is the Tiny Termite Café, which has snacks and drinks that have insect themes, although there are no real bugs in the food. The design of the Café reflects insects as well, with real bugs at the center of the tables.

Educational programs offered at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium run throughout the year and are catered to the learning style of children. Through a number of events and camps at the Audubon Nature Center and the affiliated museums, children can continue to learn throughout school breaks and holidays. Dedicated to fostering learning, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is one for your must-visit list.

423 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: 504-524-2847

Things to do in New Orleans

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Attraction Spotlight: Regional Transit Authority Streetcars

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, or RTA, continues to operate four lines of historical streetcars. The St. Charles Line runs mainly parallel to the Mississippi River through Audubon Park and Fayette Cemetery, beginning at the edge of the French Quarter and then following St. Charles Avenue onto South Carrollton Avenue. A ride down the full length of the St. Charles Line takes approximately 40 minutes. Both streets offer a beautiful covering of live oak trees and take visitors past historical homes, as well as shops and restaurants located in historical buildings.

The original St. Charles Line dates back to 1835 and is the oldest continuously operating rail line in the United States. The streetcars in operation on the line today are from 1923. One vintage streetcar from 1890 is still operational, but is used for special events only. The design of the electric cars is double-ended and double-trucked with an arched roof. The Canal Street Line takes passengers through the Central Business District, Bayou St. John, and Mid-City, ending at City Park or the historic cemeteries. The bright red Canal Street cars heading to the historic cemeteries are identified with the word “Cemeteries” on each car. Canal Street cars identified with “City Park/Museum” end at City Park, home to the New Orleans Museum of Art, a sculpture garden, botanic garden, and playground as well as several 200-year-old live oak trees.

The Canal Street Line recently reopened in 2004 after having been briefly replaced by a bus line. Although the cars are modeled after the original Perley Thomas streetcars on the St. Charles Avenue Line, they offer more modern amenities such as air conditioning. A one-way ride to either the cemeteries or the museum takes approximately 30 minutes. The Riverfront Line travels along the edge of the French Quarter, departing from French Market, the oldest public market in the United States. With newer streetcars similar to those on the Canal Street Line, a 15-minute ride takes passengers past the Aquarium of the Americas and Canal Place, ending at the Ernest Morial Convention Center.

The Rampart Line is the newest of the four and opened in 2016. This line begins on Loyola Avenue at the Union Passenger Terminal and then travels through the Central Business District to Elysian Fields Avenue. Highlights along the 30-minute ride include the Mahalia Jackson Theatre, Louis Armstrong Park, and the historic Faubourg Marigny neighborhood at the ride’s end. Each of the newer red streetcars are fully accessible, while the historic green and crimson cars are not. Passengers should check the RTA website for interruptions in service due to special events and street closures.


Public transportation existed in New Orleans as early as the 1830s, with railroad lines and horse-drawn or mule-drawn omnibus lines. By 1866 over five railroad companies were operating in the city, including the St. Charles Street Railroad Company. As the city grew, residents complained of soot, smoke, and noise, and a solution was needed to eliminate the steam-powered engines. Electrically powered cars replaced the old steam engines in 1893, at the same time the Carrollton Avenue Line was extended and officially renamed the St. Charles Line. Labor issues and a workers’ strike led to the consolidation of the railway companies in the early 1900s. The streetcars continued to be privately operated until 1979, when the RTA was formed. The public entity was able to receive taxpayer funding and would qualify for federal aid, something that was necessary to keep the transit system affordable and operational.

The Perley Thomas streetcars on the St. Charles Line were built in 1923 by Perley A. Thomas Carworks, Inc. of North Carolina. The 20th century streetcar builder was located in North Carolina and named for its owner. The design of the New Orleans streetcars, built in the 1920s, was based on the 400-series streetcars made previously by Southern Car Works, where Thomas was an employee until the company closed. The iconic green and crimson Perley Thomas cars and the St. Charles Line they ride on have been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Proponents of saving streetcar history were unable to garner this same status for the Canal Street Line and others. However, after having been replaced by bus service in the 1940s, service returned to the Riverfront Line in 1988, and to Canal Street in the early 2000s. The famous Tennessee Williams play, A Streetcar Named Desire, was set in New Orleans along a fictional streetcar line, the Desire Line.

New Orleans, LA 70112, Phone: 504-248-3900

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