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Rent a car?

As I mentioned in my previous post/question, my husband and I are coming in for the first time for 3 nights and 4 days. We have a very ambitious food/drink agenda so were wondering if we should rent a car.

Here are some places we planned on visiting (food/drink/sights):

Franky and Johnny's
French 75 Bar
Cafe Beignet
Cafe du Monde
Central Grocery
Napolean House
Snug Jazz Club
Abita Brewery
Saturday Crescent City Farmer's Market
Parkway Tavern
Audubon Aquarium
Bourbon House
CURE bar
La Divinia Gelateria

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  1. If the Abita Brewery is on your agenda, I would say rent a car. Speaking as someone who has driven way too many times in the past under the influence (somewhat of a rite of passage in New Orleans as it is not much of a cab town sad to say), I would rent the car for the Abita Brewery and then walk, cab and streetcar it the rest of the time.

    1. Well, most of the places you listed are in the quarter, CBD, or the marigny, and for those you wouldn't need a car. Be aware that Divina Gelateria has a location in the quarter now, so you don't have to schlep over to Magazine.

      However, if you plan to go to the Abita Brewery, you will definitely need a car. Cure, Parkway Tavern, and Franky and Johnny's are not within walking distance, nor would they be that easy to take the street car to.


      1 Reply
      1. re: flojindamesa

        In order to get to Parkway, you could take streetcar down Canal. Hagan/Toulouse not that many blocks off of Canal. We have done it a few times when we wanted to play tourist and take the streetcar.

      2. I would vote for renting a car. Compared to many cities, parking in New Orleans is pretty easy (with the exception of the French Quarter, but even there you can usually find spots on Esplanade or nearby streets). In the long run, you'll save time and stress and probably see more of the city and get a better feel for it. Don't forget to check out the Oak St./S. Carrollton area, which has some good mid-priced restaurants.

        1. The only thing to consider is to check and see if your hotel charges extra for parking per day. At many hotels in the Quarter and surrounding areas, you almost "must" valet as there are few self park options. I know of several hotels that charge up to 30.00 per day for parking (obviously not including the tips you must pay the valet as well as the time you will wait for the car which in my experience can be extensive) A lot of the places you listed are in the Quarter and would be an easy walk if you are staying nearing.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ScarlettNola

            As a note, we are staying at The Roosevelt in July and they charge a whopping 38.00 per night for valet.

            1. re: ScarlettNola

              La Richelieu offers free parking and has a neat history. Not the fanciest place in the FQ but my wife and I like it. Nice little pool and bar. Be sure to ask about the picture in the lobby
              That said, it makes sense to me to use cabs or other public transportation. It better supports the local economy and most cab drivers are great historians in their own right!

            2. I guess that the CH server lost another one. Oh well, here goes again.

              Depending on where you're staying, I'd not go with a car. I'd cut out the places beyond a cab, or streetcar ride, and catch them on another trip. If you are in the FQ, or CBD, you have more than enough, and do not have to rent the car, and pay for the parking.


              1. i come to town several times a year. depending on where i stay, sometimes i rent but mostly i don't. the valet charges would be the deciding factor, i think. that said, i see most everything is in the quarter. i also think alot of the charm of new orleans is the streetcars and the buses. i like going through the neighborhoods and looking around. when i rent, i have noticed that everywhere i go outside the quarter has easy parking.

                1. I'm a no rental car vote...

                  most of your places are accessible by street car or cab

                  1. If you do rent a car, Le Richelieu Hotel at the corner of Barracks and Chartres offers free ground-level self parking. I've been staying there for many years for that very reason.

                    1. I'm a tourist from the West Coast - if you are staying in the Quarter, no need to rent a car.
                      If you do decide to go to Abita Springs you can rent a car for the day at your hotel.
                      I usually walk, streetcar, bus or cab to places - a lot easier. Parking in the Quarter can
                      be a pain and most hotels charge for parking. I sure miss New Orleans - hoping to be back in town in October.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Bigshadetree

                        The "by-the-day" renatl is a good idea. We do that in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington DC, if we're going out of the city. Otherwise it's nice walks and the occasional cabs for the evenings.

                        Now, we usually do end up renting the auto and paying royally to park it, but then my wife's family is out in the Parish, and mine on the Gulf Coast. Still, the danged thing sits more than it's driven.

                        Good call,


                      2. I also vote no car rental...part of the fun in NO is the getting there.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mom22tots

                          When we were leaving the hotel dressed in our finest for our Commander's anniversary lunch, the hotel doorman asked if he should get us a cab. When we said "Nope, we're strolling up to the streetcar" he definitely smiled. It really adds a lot to the experience.

                          We did rent a car one day (from Nifty, who pick you up and drop you off) but that was to drive out to Cajun country. We did 335 miles in one day, so I'm glad I sprang for the unlimited mileage!

                        2. Thanks for the advice everybody! We ended up not renting a car. I will be putting up a separate post soon with where we went and what we thought. I fear it will be too long though!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JacquieLH

                            thanks, jacquieLH. nothing is "too long" for CHers. can't wait to read it.

                          2. You can probably do quite well without a car by traveling by cab, streetcar, bus. On my first visit, I did rent a car because I wanted to check out some flea markets on Sunday morning. I drove around a lot fruitlessly: Huey P. Long bridge, Gretna and then decided to return the car that day. I traveled by cab to a few places and took the steetcar out to S Carrollton. If you are staying at the Hyatt, there is a free shuttle to the quarter. I was also told that NO meter maids were ruthless. I did miss out on a few places (Bozo's in Metaire), because they were closed on Sunday.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chocolatetartguy

                              I've never rented a car in NO. There isn't really any reason to, except I guess to go to Abita. I'm not a beer person, so I've never been.