The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival kicks off this Thursday, April 25 at the Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots (1751 Gentilly Boulevard)—and if you’re one of the 450,000-plus attendees, then you’re probably figuring out the best way to get there. Between the walking, dancing, and day-drinking, Jazz Fest is already an exhausting ordeal. Here are our top six ways to get to the Fest, ranked from least to most strenuous.
Jazz Fest Express
Want to ride to and from the Fest in air-conditioned, velour-lined comfort? The Jazz Fest Express is for you. Operated by Gray Line New Orleans, this shuttle offers continuous round-trip transportation from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day of the fest. It departs from three locations: the Sheraton Hotel (500 Canal Street), the Steamboat Natchez dock (Toulouse Street at the Mississippi River), and City Park’s Wisner Lot (5700 Wisner Boulevard). Best of all, it drops riders right inside the gates. Round-trip tickets start at $16 per person.
Taxis and ride share apps
United Cab has an app (expect long waits at the cab stands), or you can use Uber or Lyft. Lyft has partnered with Deutsches Haus (1700 Moss Street), using the German social club as a drop-off/pickup spot. Parking isn’t available, but users who hail a ride via Lyft get a $5 coupon for beer and brats at Deutsches Haus.
Two RTA bus lines will get you to the Fest: the 48 line, which follows the same route as the Canal streetcar and can be boarded at the same stops, and the Esplanade/Rampart line. Fare is $1.25 each way.
What could be more obnoxiously Nawlins than taking the streetcar to Jazz Fest? The Canal streetcar runs from the foot of Canal Street, by the Mississippi River, all the way to Beauregard Circle at City Park, which is 0.7 miles from the Fairgrounds. A one-way fare is $1.25 and must be paid in cash.
Whether you rent a Blue Bike or take your own road bike, cycling is one of the most pleasant ways to get to and from the Fairgrounds. You’ll be in good company—lots of people, both inexperienced and expert on two wheels, cruise to Jazz Fest. There are two areas with bike racks inside the gate (see the map here). Just be sure to bring a lock.
Your own car
This is by far the most strenuous option. Be prepared for high prices ($30 and up for a parking spot, if you can find one), heavy traffic, bike- and pedestrian-congested roadways, and a long hike to the gates. Avoid at all costs.