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When visiting many towns, it can be a challenge to find a runner-friendly path for a workout. But that’s not a problem in New Orleans.
St. Charles Avenue runs from the popular Canal Street at the edge of the French Quarter all the way out to Audubon Park. Along this stretch of road, you’ll encounter skyscrapers and offices as you run through the Central Business District and grand homes and some neighborhood businesses as you head through the Garden District and Uptown
And once out of the CBD, the street features a wide dirt and grass neutral ground – or median, as it would be called anywhere else — that is perfect for runners.
At just about any time, you will see locals and tourists running the neutral ground. With Tulane and Loyala universities located in this area, there are often students running this stretch. There aren’t many major intersections to cross in this area, but cars will turn across the neutral ground. However, I found most drivers watch out for pedestrians and will politely yield.
You will share the neutral ground with the St. Charles streetcars, but yielding to them really is no problem. Run against the traffic, and you can easily step out of the way. And if you don’t want to run the whole stretch, just bring an RTA pass or a small amount of change, and you can ride the streetcars out or back.
Audubon Park is roughly four miles from Canal Street. A wide asphalt trail encircles the park, and there are many other trails throughout. Plus there are many scenic features to distract or entertain a runner.
On one recent Sunday morning, I ran out St. Charles Avenue and back on Magazine Street. The traffic was light on Magazine on a Sunday morning. The sidewalks are a bit broken up, but they really posed no problems for me. And the street features a bunch of interesting small businesses and homes. It’s an area that’s worth visiting.
One of New Orleans local running stores, Varsity Sports, is located on Magazine Street. They offer organized runs. Unfortunately, they aren’t open on Sundays, so I couldn’t visit the store. But a visit is still on my bucket list for NOLA.
Click on this link to see a Google map of the route that runs from Canal Street out on St. Charles and back on Magazine Street.