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The Best Places to Run in New Orleans

Are you a runner looking for new and exciting routes to explore in the vibrant city of New Orleans? Look no further! In this blog post, we will guide you through the best places to run in the Big Easy. Whether you prefer scenic parks, historic neighborhoods, or waterfront paths, New Orleans has it all. Get ready to lace up your running shoes and discover the top running routes that will take you on a journey through the heart and soul of this unique city. So, let’s dive in and explore the best running routes in New Orleans!

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The Best Running Routes In New Orleans

New Orleans offers a plethora of running routes that cater to all types of runners, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned marathoner. From picturesque parks to scenic waterfront paths, here are some of the best running routes in the city:

Run #1: Audubon Park Loop

Audubon Park is a runner’s paradise located in Uptown New Orleans. This iconic park boasts a 1.8-mile loop that showcases beautiful oak trees, lush greenery, and stunning views of the Audubon Zoo. The flat and paved path is perfect for a leisurely jog or a speedy tempo run. As you make your way around the loop, you’ll also pass by gorgeous lagoons and charming picnic areas. Don’t forget to stop and admire the historic Audubon Oak, a massive tree that has stood tall for over 300 years.

Run #2: Tammany Trace Bike Trail

For those seeking a longer and more scenic route, the Tammany Trace Bike Trail is a must-visit. Located on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, this 31-mile paved trail offers a serene and peaceful running experience. As you run along the trail, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees, tranquil lakes, and charming small towns. The trail is well-maintained and provides water fountains and restroom facilities along the way, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable run.

Run #3: Garden District

Step back in time as you explore the historic Garden District, known for its stunning mansions and picturesque streets. Running through this neighborhood is like jogging through a living museum. Start your run on Magazine Street, a bustling thoroughfare lined with quaint shops and cafes. As you venture deeper into the district, you’ll find yourself surrounded by magnificent antebellum homes and lush gardens. Take a detour onto Prytania Street to catch a glimpse of the renowned Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. The Garden District offers a unique blend of beauty, history, and charm, making it a favorite running route for many locals and visitors alike.

Run #4: Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in nature at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. Located just a short drive from downtown New Orleans, this vast natural oasis spans over 24,000 acres and is home to a variety of wildlife. The refuge offers several trails of varying lengths, allowing runners to choose their desired distance. As you jog through the marshes and wetlands, keep an eye out for alligators, birds, and other native wildlife. The peacefulness and tranquility of this route make it a true hidden gem for runners seeking a unique and immersive nature experience.

Run #5: City Park Loop

City Park is a beloved green space in New Orleans that offers a 2.6-mile loop perfect for runners of all levels. This expansive park features picturesque landscapes, including beautiful oak trees, lagoons, and charming bridges. The loop takes you through the heart of the park, allowing you to soak in the serene atmosphere and admire the stunning artwork and sculptures scattered throughout. With its flat terrain and well-maintained paths, City Park is a popular choice for runners looking for a peaceful and scenic route.

These are just a few of the best running routes in New Orleans, each offering its own unique charm and beauty. Lace up your running shoes, choose your favorite route, and get ready to explore the incredible sights and sounds of the city while staying active and energized.

Running Tours in New Orleans

If you’re looking to combine your love for running with a guided tour of New Orleans, then a running tour is the perfect option for you. These unique experiences allow you to explore the city’s rich history, culture, and landmarks while getting in a good workout. Here are some of the top running tours in New Orleans:

Run Tour #1: New Orleans Corporate Tour 5K

Embark on a 5K run that takes you through the vibrant streets of New Orleans. This guided tour is meant to be a group run, perfect for your next corporate outing. This tour offers a unique blend of exercise and education, giving you a deeper appreciation for the city’s business side.

Check out this 5K Go Running Tour in New Orleans.

Run Tour #2: New Orleans French Quarter 8K

Step into the lively heart of New Orleans with an 8K running tour of the French Quarter. Explore the iconic streets, vibrant music scene, and historic architecture that make this neighborhood a must-visit for any visitor. Your guide will regale you with stories of the area’s rich history, including tales of voodoo, jazz, and the city’s unique cultural heritage. This tour is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the soul of New Orleans while staying active.

Check out this 8K Go Running Tour in New Orleans.

Run Tour #3: New Orleans City Park and a Beignet 10K

Combine your love for running with a culinary treat on this 10K tour that takes you through the scenic City Park and ends with a delicious beignet. As you make your way through the park, your guide will share stories about its history and the significance of the various attractions. After completing the run, reward yourself with a well-deserved beignet, a classic New Orleans pastry. This tour offers the perfect balance of exercise, nature, and indulgence.

Check out this 10K Go Running Tour in New Orleans.

Run Tour #4: New Orleans “A Street Car Named Desire” 21K

For those seeking a longer and more immersive running experience, the “A Street Car Named Desire” 21K tour is an excellent choice. This route takes you through various neighborhoods, including the French Quarter, Garden District, and Marigny. Along the way, you’ll encounter iconic landmarks, historic homes, and vibrant street art. The tour’s name pays homage to Tennessee Williams’ famous play, and your guide will share interesting anecdotes and connections to the literary history of the city. This challenging yet rewarding tour allows you to explore New Orleans’ diverse neighborhoods while pushing your limits as a runner.

Check out this 21K Go Running Tour in New Orleans.

Running Races in New Orleans

New Orleans is not only a city rich in culture and history but also a hub for running races. Whether you’re a competitive runner looking for a challenging marathon or a casual jogger seeking a fun-filled community event, New Orleans offers a variety of running races to suit every level and interest. Here are some of the top running races in the city:

Marathons in New Orleans

  1. Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon: This iconic race attracts thousands of runners from around the world. The course takes participants on a scenic tour of the city, passing by famous landmarks such as the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral, and Audubon Park. With live music along the route and a festive atmosphere, this marathon offers a unique and energetic experience.
  2. New Orleans Jazz Half Marathon: Combining the love for running and jazz music, this half marathon celebrates the vibrant music scene of New Orleans. The route takes participants through neighborhoods known for their musical heritage, such as the Treme and Marigny. Live jazz bands line the course, creating a lively and entertaining atmosphere for runners.

Trail Races in New Orleans

  1. Big Easy Running Fest: Held in Fontainebleau State Park, this trail race offers a unique and challenging experience for trail running enthusiasts. With distances ranging from 5K to 100 miles, participants can choose a race that suits their fitness level. The scenic trails wind through the park’s lush forests, providing a beautiful backdrop for the race.
  2. Rouge-Orleans Ultramarathon: For those seeking an extreme endurance challenge, the Rouge-Orleans Ultramarathon is an incredible test of physical and mental strength. This 126-mile race takes participants from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, following the Mississippi River. The race can be completed individually or as a relay team, offering a memorable adventure for ultra-runners.

Other Races in New Orleans

  1. Crescent City Classic: Known as one of the oldest and most prestigious road races in New Orleans, the Crescent City Classic is a 10K race that takes place during the Easter weekend. The course starts in the historic French Quarter and finishes at City Park. With a festive atmosphere and a large number of participants, this race is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
  2. Zoo Zoom: Held at the Audubon Zoo, the Zoo Zoom race offers a family-friendly running experience. Participants can choose between a 5K or a Kids’ Run, and the course takes runners through the zoo, allowing them to catch glimpses of exotic animals along the way. This race combines fitness and fun, making it a popular choice for runners of all ages.

Whether you’re aiming for a personal best in a marathon, seeking the challenge of a trail race, or looking for a fun and festive community event, New Orleans has a running race to suit your preferences. Lace up your shoes, join the vibrant running community, and experience the thrill of racing through the streets and trails of this lively city.

When To Run in New Orleans

When it comes to running in New Orleans, timing is key. The city’s weather and seasons can greatly impact your running experience. Here’s what you need to know about the best times to run in New Orleans:

Running Weather in New Orleans

New Orleans experiences a humid subtropical climate, which means it can get quite hot and humid, particularly during the summer months. The average temperatures range from the 70s to the 90s Fahrenheit (20s to 30s Celsius) during the summer, making early morning or late evening runs more comfortable. If you choose to run during the hotter months, it’s important to stay hydrated, wear lightweight and breathable clothing, and apply sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.

During the winter months, from December to February, the temperatures in New Orleans are generally milder, ranging from the 50s to the 70s Fahrenheit (10s to 20s Celsius). This is a great time to enjoy outdoor running without the intense heat and humidity. However, it’s still advisable to check the weather forecast before heading out, as occasional cold fronts can bring cooler temperatures.

Running Seasons in New Orleans

Fall and spring are considered the most pleasant seasons for running in New Orleans. During the fall, from September to November, temperatures begin to cool down, ranging from the 60s to the 80s Fahrenheit (15s to 30s Celsius). The humidity also tends to drop, creating more comfortable running conditions. Fall is an ideal time to explore the city’s parks and enjoy the beautiful foliage as you run.

Spring, from March to May, offers similar weather conditions to the fall season. Temperatures gradually rise, ranging from the 60s to the 80s Fahrenheit (15s to 30s Celsius). The city comes alive with vibrant flowers and festivals, providing a colorful and lively backdrop for your runs.

It’s important to note that New Orleans can experience occasional rain showers throughout the year, so it’s wise to check the weather forecast before heading out for your run. If rain is in the forecast, be prepared with appropriate rain gear or consider indoor alternatives, such as utilizing a hotel gym or finding a local indoor track.

Overall, the best times to run in New Orleans are during the fall and spring seasons when the temperatures are milder. However, with proper precautions and adjustments to your running routine, you can still enjoy running in this vibrant city throughout the year.

Non-Running Ways To Enjoy New Orleans

While running is a fantastic way to explore New Orleans, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in this vibrant city. Here are some non-running ways to make the most of your time in New Orleans:

City Tour #1: Evening Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

Immerse yourself in the soulful sounds of jazz while cruising along the Mississippi River on the iconic Steamboat Natchez. This evening jazz cruise offers a perfect blend of music, history, and stunning views of the city skyline. Enjoy live jazz performances, indulge in delicious Creole cuisine, and learn about the city’s rich musical heritage. Let the rhythmic melodies transport you to the heart of New Orleans’ vibrant jazz scene.

City Tour #2: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

Experience the thrill of a high-speed airboat ride through the swamps and marshes surrounding New Orleans. Hop aboard a small, nimble airboat and zip through the waterways, taking in the breathtaking scenery and spotting alligators, turtles, and various bird species along the way. This adrenaline-pumping adventure offers a unique perspective on the natural beauty and wildlife of Louisiana’s wetlands.

City Tour #3: Ghosts, Vampires, & Voodoo French Quarter Tour

Delve into the mysterious and supernatural side of New Orleans with a guided tour through the historic French Quarter. Explore the haunted streets, visit eerie locations, and learn about the city’s ghostly legends, vampire lore, and voodoo practices. This tour offers a fascinating glimpse into New Orleans’ dark and mystical past, blending history, folklore, and spine-chilling tales.

City Tour #4: Cemetery Bus Tour At Dark with Exclusive Access

Discover the unique above-ground burial traditions of New Orleans on a cemetery bus tour at dusk. Visit historic cemeteries, including the famous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, and learn about the city’s distinct burial customs and folklore. With exclusive after-hours access, you’ll have the opportunity to explore these captivating resting places and gain insight into New Orleans’ rich cultural heritage.

These are just a few examples of the many non-running activities that New Orleans has to offer. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the city’s music, embark on an adventurous swamp tour, explore its haunted history, or delve into its unique burial traditions, there’s something for everyone in this captivating city. So, take a break from running, embrace the diverse experiences that New Orleans has to offer, and create unforgettable memories.

Where Will You Run Next?

New Orleans is a city that offers a plethora of running opportunities, from scenic parks and historic neighborhoods to waterfront paths and challenging races. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s always a new route to discover and explore in this vibrant city.

We’ve shared some of the best places to run in New Orleans, including the picturesque Audubon Park Loop, the tranquil Tammany Trace Bike Trail, the historic Garden District, the serene Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, and the expansive City Park Loop. Additionally, we highlighted the exciting running tours and races available, giving you the chance to experience the city’s culture and history while staying active.

Consider the weather and seasons when planning your runs in New Orleans, opting for milder temperatures in the fall and spring, or adjusting your routine to accommodate the summer heat and humidity. And when you’re ready for a break from running, indulge in the city’s non-running activities, such as an evening jazz cruise, a thrilling airboat ride, or a tour exploring the city’s supernatural side.

Looking for more run adventures? Check out our guide to run travel experiences throughout the US!

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