The New Orleans streetcars are designated moving national historic landmarks and they have been transporting passengers for over 165 years. So as a double treat take a ride on these historic vehicles and get to see some of the city as well. St. Charles streetcar is probably the most popular of the New Orleans streetcars because of its pleasant route along the edge of the French Quarter and down picturesque avenues shaded by old oak trees.
The St. Charles Streetcar was originally called Carrollton Railroad as it carries passengers to Carrollton Avenue and it first took to the roads in 1835. The streetcars are maintained in their original form as they would have been in 1923.
You can catch the St. Charles streetcar from Canal Street opposite Bourbon Street at Canal and Carondelet. The streetcar covers the 13 miles from Canal Street in the French District to Carrollton Avenue. On the way it passes through the Garden District, past Loyola University (the largest Catholic university in the South, first opened in 1911), Tulane University, Audubon Park, the zoo, Riverbend (a good place for shopping) and on to its final destination. On the route through the Garden District you can see many beautiful classic mansions like the 1869 Van Bentuysen-Elms Mansion and if you want to get off here you could take a walking tour of the Garden District. The St. Charles streetcar circles the Lee Circle where you'll see a statue of Robert E. Lee, upon a tall column, facing north, looking out for approaching enemies! Also along the route are several interesting churches, Victorian homes and impressive buildings. The route takes you past elegant restaurants, hotels and boutique stores. Once you reach South Carrollton Avenue you are close to the shopping district of Maple Street and Oak Street. At the end of the line is Palmer Park and the point at which you can transfer to a bus if you so wish. The complete route on the St. Charles streetcar takes 40 minutes.
If you're going to be taking more than one streetcar ride, or hop on and off, then invest in a Jazzy Pass which gives you unlimited use of the streetcars and buses in the city. The passes can be purchased for use over 1 ($3); 3 ($9) or 30 ($55) days. As of 2014 a one-way fare on the streetcars costs $1.25 and you need to pay when you board using the exact change but with a Jazzy Pass you just put your card into the fare machine. The 1 day card can be purchased from the driver or conductor when you board the streetcar using cash only. After taking the St. Charles streetcar why not check-out the other two streetcar routes in New Orleans – the Canal Street and Riverfront lines.
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