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Which city would you recommend, Charleston, Savannah, or New Orleans?

Which city would you recommend, Charleston, Savannah, or New Orleans?

Old Nov 21st, 2022, 08:29 AM
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Which city would you recommend, Charleston, Savannah, or New Orleans?

I'm going on a trip with my 60 year old mum in mid-April. We'd like to spend 3-4 full days somewhere but I can't decide between those cities. Just to provide some context, these are the things we'd like from the trip:

1. Somewhat safe: I know cities can be sketchy in general but we don't want to feel like we have to run back to our hotel as soon as the sun sets.

2. Good food, seafood is a plus.

3. We're interested in plantation tours, and ghost/voodoo tours. Lots to do and see would be great.

4. While we don't want to go out and party at night, one of the draws of NO for us is the live music and jazz, we'd like to be able to go out one night or two to have a drink and listen to live jazz.

5. Lots of shopping available and walkability or good public transit.

Also, we have a mid-range budget so we're not too worried about affordability.

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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 09:38 AM
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Any of the three will most likely satisfy your wishes; obviously New Orleans as the biggest will offer the widest variety of options. Charleston is very beautiful in the spring, and Savannah's appeal is its size and proximity of attractions to one another. Music might be the decider. Charleston for low country and seafood.

Along those lines, however, I'd also nominate Memphis. It's got tremendous history, and if you can spare a day, a tour down into the Mississippi Delta is a marvelous experience. Visit the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksville and maybe get some ribs at Abe's BBQ at the Crossroads of the Blues. Back in Memphis, you've got Graceland, of course, and Sun Records, but also the moving Civil Rights museum. Probably not much on the plantation front, but I'm unsure. And there's walking in Memphis, with your feet ten feet off of Beale.


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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 10:34 AM
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Hi trianglellama,

I agree with Gardyloo that all three would work for much of your criteria. Maybe an ever so slight advantage to New Orleans given your mention of voodoo and jazz (although jazz can be found in the other two). Iíve enjoyed my visits to all three and there are lively areas at night in all.

Best wishes

Daniel
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 03:27 PM
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I vote for New Orleans. The Crescent City has French Creole culture, food and architecture. The historic French Quarter has French Creole architecture and Bourbon Street is famous for its Uber party atmosphere. Of course, the French Creole (and Cajun) cuisine and as Jazz originated in the Big Easy in 1890s, high-quality Jazz can be heard throughout the city. Bon ton roule (let the good times roll) is the city’s motto.

Ride the historic St. Charles Trolley to Audubon Park; explore the 1791 French Market; visit the 1794 St. Louis Cathedral; drink rich coffee with sweet beignets in 1840 Antoine’s; explore the Longue Vue House and Gardens; wander around the lush, subtropical New Orleans Botanical Garden which has 2,000 varieties of plants; listen to Jazz where it was created in the 1890s at Maple Leaf, Le Bon Temp Roule and Tipitinas; take a swamp tour; take a tour of the plantations on the Old River Road. Take the streetcar up Canal to Carrollton, get ice cream at Angelo Brocato's, and then walk a few blocks to the art museum.

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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 04:52 PM
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I've been to Charleston, liked it, and New Orleans several times because I love it. I haven't been to Savannah.

Some places are just unique, Venice in Italy comes to mind and New Orleans is, too. Go to New Orleans.

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Old Nov 22nd, 2022, 02:48 AM
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My vote is for New Orleans as well. Check out the Preservation hall. The concerts are almost every night!
And I'd recommend to eat at Acme Oyster House, do not forget to book a table in advance
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Old Nov 22nd, 2022, 05:25 AM
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I'd vote for Charleston as the most walkable to see a lot of things. I have always considered it to be the most "European" of our cities in this respect. It is really just so easy to navigate--and lots of plantations to choose from Middleton is my favorite--and Drayton Hall is basically in the town of Mt. Pleasant.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2022, 12:38 PM
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Hmmm? I've been to all 3 and really enjoyed all 3 cities. They all have beautiful architecture and are very different from each other visually. We visited Charleston and Savannah about 20 years ago so my memory is a bit fuzzy. We visited New Orleans this past October so my memory is more fresh. We loved it! I agree with the other posters. I would choose New Orleans because it's larger and there is more to do. Bourbon Street is honky tonk with its neon lights but it's a lot of fun. Very lively at night; the city blocks the streets off so it's pedestrian only in the evening. We stayed in the Warehouse District and felt comfortable walking back to our hotel at night although we don't stay out very late at our ages (70's). Most of the food was delicious (we had a few misses). Our favorite for breakfast is the Ruby Slipper Cafe. We enjoyed our meal at Acme Oyster House but we were disappointed in the po'boys at Felix's. LOVED the biegnets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde. Had a "free" walking tour of the French Quarter. Well worth it for the history and to see the more quiet areas of the French Quarter. We took the streetcar to the Garden District. Rented a car for a day to visit 2 plantations along the Mississippi River. There are lots of street performers, musicians, etc. So much fun! I don't remember that Savannah and Charleston had street performers but as I said, that was 20 years ago.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2022, 05:15 PM
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It's not clear where the OP is traveling from but if it's a one-off or almost one-off opportunity to visit that part of the US, I'd easily give the nod to New Orleans. No disrespect intended to the other two cities. Both are very worthy destinations.

If you're a fan of seafood and particularly oysters, the Acme Oyster House is everything. No need for a res if you arrive early during lunch service and are willing to sit at the bar. Easy peasy with two people. Less so with three or more.

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Old Nov 23rd, 2022, 09:01 PM
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There is no bad choice here. You will love whichever you choose.

Charleston is beautiful in Spring, SC being a gardener’s delight. Dogwoods, Azaleas, tulips, etc, trees draped in Wisteria, all blooming at once. Charleston still has old South elegance, Interesting history, good food too.

Savanah is total Southern charm with gardens, fountains and trees dripping with moss. Watch the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for a taste of its character, and characters.

New Orleans, however is my favorite.
It can seem a bit gritty at first because in the French Quarter, houses sit right on the street and streets are not in good repair because of so much flooding. They are also busy. Balconies overlook the busy streets so citizens could/can easily see all the activity. The many beautiful courtyards and gardens are at the back of the homes, offering spaces of peace and quiet, where people could sit and enjoy company and children could play safely. There are some wonderful homes that are definitely worth taking a tour to learn the history and see the interior courtyards.
Streets are filled with music, people, art and lovely, unique shops. It is lively, but we did not feel unsafe, though we did avoid streets that looked too dark or too rowdy at night. If I were alone, I would ask people at my hotel about any places to avoid. I would stay in the French Quarter anyway. Food is fabulous.

The Garden District is quite the opposite, very quiet, with large, beautiful, unique homes surrounded by lovely gardens, often set in spacious grounds. Take a tour or DIY walk there. I might consider staying in a BnB there, but then you have to take the trolley or a taxi to the French Quarter.

The trolley is fun though and you will pass by the Garden District as you go to the cemeteries..

The cemeteries are extremely interesting. It is really worthwhile to hire a guide. There are usually some waiting around near the entrance to offer their services.



Last edited by Sassafrass; Nov 23rd, 2022 at 09:10 PM. Reason: Change a word
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Old Nov 24th, 2022, 05:18 AM
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I haven't been to NOLA. Between Charleston and Savannah, I prefer the latter. Charleston feels like it's full of beautifully restored but empty row houses that are occupied part time by wealthy people from somewhere else. Savannah has the feel of a more lived in 24x7x365. Neighborhood gathering places, locally owned shops, real life, and less picture post card.

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Old Nov 25th, 2022, 06:20 AM
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Looking at a spring calendar for Charleston there is a caveat in the articles for Charleston AND Savannah--maybe new Orleans. Make reservations now--and it is probably the most expensive time of year to visit.
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Old Nov 25th, 2022, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Looking at a spring calendar for Charleston there is a caveat in the articles for Charleston AND Savannah--maybe new Orleans. Make reservations now--and it is probably the most expensive time of year to visit.
Because it is the perfect time to be in those cities, warm enough to enjoy being out, but not like Summer when it can be hot and miserable.
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Old Nov 25th, 2022, 07:28 AM
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Garden tours, plantation tours, azaleas and dogwoods in bloom. Yes.
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Old Nov 25th, 2022, 08:19 AM
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We visited New Orleans in October, and I found that the hotel prices are high, especially on weekends. The rates doubled on Friday and Saturday nights. People on this forum told me it's because the weather is perfect, not too hot, which would be the case for the spring, too. And it is/was football season.
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Old Nov 29th, 2022, 09:24 AM
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I have been to all three cities and spend a lot of time in Charleston and Savannah. Based on what you described, I vote for Savannah. It is much more walkable with lots of little shops sprinkled along the way. There are 21 squares to explore that are close to each other. With the Telfair Museum group, and SCAD there is a lot of see. With respect to your specific wishes, here are my recommendations:

1. The Savannah Music Festival runs from March 23 to April 8 so if you can change your dates, you could catch some great jazz. Even if you can't change your dates, I recommend the fairly new River Plant District for music. I was just there on Friday night and heard some great music. There are wonderful rooftop bars in the area and many feature music. The new Eastern Wharf also has music and drink options. The Starland District also has some nice music options. All of these neighborhoods are safe for you and your mom.
2. Ghost Tours-there are a lot of options. My family loved when I took them to the Ghost Tour at the Sorrel Weed house. This home was featured on the Ghost Hunters tv show.
3. Bonaventure Cemetery is another great place to visit. Many tours are offered at this place. Wormsloe Planation would satisfied your plantation tour wishes too.
4. The food scene in Savannah is wonderful. Mashama Bailey of The Grey was just voted top chef in the US by the James Beard Foundation. I recommend reservations two months out being made for the Grey. Other recommendations are The Garage at Victory North, Ardsely Station, Common Thread, Husk, Collins Quarters, Elizabeth at 37th, Trayer Park, Public House and The Olde Pink House. Your mom may enjoy Gryffion, a restaurant run by SCAD students that serves a great afternoon tea and lunch. For breakfast, Clary's Cafe is an institution especially due to the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
5. Definitely visit the Telfair museums. I especially like visiting the Bird Girl statute. SCAD has a great museum nearby.
6. Although it might sound corny, do the hop-on, hop-off trolley tour on your first day. It will explain a lot of sites and give you some good bearings for a visit. They film a lot of movies in Savannah so that is an added benefit.
7. For shopping, I like the stores along Whittaker like One Fish, Two Fish, Madam Chrystameums. Along Bull Street, I love E. Shaver Books and Red Clover. There are a lot of places along Broughton for shopping too.
There are lot of nice hotels and B&B's in the area at all price points. Since Spring is a nice time to visit, be sure to make your reservation early. Lots of events and festivals take place in Savannah so be sure to look to see what else is happening during your visit. You might stumble upon house or garden tours.
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Old Nov 29th, 2022, 12:37 PM
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Itsv, What a great review of Savanah! Thank you for all the details. I had planned on trying to do another trip to NOLA next Spring. Still may, but you made me re-think it.
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Old Nov 29th, 2022, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by itsv View Post
I have been to all three cities and spend a lot of time in Charleston and Savannah. Based on what you described, I vote for Savannah. It is much more walkable with lots of little shops sprinkled along the way. There are 21 squares to explore that are close to each other. With the Telfair Museum group, and SCAD there is a lot of see. With respect to your specific wishes, here are my recommendations:

1. The Savannah Music Festival runs from March 23 to April 8 so if you can change your dates, you could catch some great jazz. Even if you can't change your dates, I recommend the fairly new River Plant District for music. I was just there on Friday night and heard some great music. There are wonderful rooftop bars in the area and many feature music. The new Eastern Wharf also has music and drink options. The Starland District also has some nice music options. All of these neighborhoods are safe for you and your mom.
2. Ghost Tours-there are a lot of options. My family loved when I took them to the Ghost Tour at the Sorrel Weed house. This home was featured on the Ghost Hunters tv show.
3. Bonaventure Cemetery is another great place to visit. Many tours are offered at this place. Wormsloe Planation would satisfied your plantation tour wishes too.
4. The food scene in Savannah is wonderful. Mashama Bailey of The Grey was just voted top chef in the US by the James Beard Foundation. I recommend reservations two months out being made for the Grey. Other recommendations are The Garage at Victory North, Ardsely Station, Common Thread, Husk, Collins Quarters, Elizabeth at 37th, Trayer Park, Public House and The Olde Pink House. Your mom may enjoy Gryffion, a restaurant run by SCAD students that serves a great afternoon tea and lunch. For breakfast, Clary's Cafe is an institution especially due to the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
5. Definitely visit the Telfair museums. I especially like visiting the Bird Girl statute. SCAD has a great museum nearby.
6. Although it might sound corny, do the hop-on, hop-off trolley tour on your first day. It will explain a lot of sites and give you some good bearings for a visit. They film a lot of movies in Savannah so that is an added benefit.
7. For shopping, I like the stores along Whittaker like One Fish, Two Fish, Madam Chrystameums. Along Bull Street, I love E. Shaver Books and Red Clover. There are a lot of places along Broughton for shopping too.
There are lot of nice hotels and B&B's in the area at all price points. Since Spring is a nice time to visit, be sure to make your reservation early. Lots of events and festivals take place in Savannah so be sure to look to see what else is happening during your visit. You might stumble upon house or garden tours.
Thank you for all this info! I think we're leaning towards Savannah now!
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 12:58 AM
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TriangleLlama, Glad to help. I bought a beach house nearby, but the added benefit of Savannah has really been wonderful. All my visitors really like the city. It seems like there is always something going on (today Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansen were feeling a movie about the Space program just down the street). My daughter lives in Charleston so I get to visit that city a lot (it is just two hours away). I like Charleston, but my visitors find more to do in Savannah.
-I forgot a couple of things. Another restaurant I like is Cotton and Rye. It is in the midtown/Starland District. The famous bakery "Back in the Day" by Cheryl Day is also in this area. Forsyth Park has a Collins restaurant where people enjoy brunch.
-I haven't done this tour, but the tour "Tour with a Teacher" I have heard good things about it. The Savannah Garden Club has their annual tour in mid-April and those tickets are on sale now.
-I also like the book store, Lady Book Shop. Check out their schedule because they have special presentations that are worthwhile.
-Two bars that have character and some history which my company enjoyed this weekend are Pinkie Masters and Lone Wolf Lodge. Pinkie Masters is off one of the squares. Be sure to look for the Jimmy Carter chair and plaque. Lone Wolf Lodge is in the Starland District. It is very non-descript-I think the sign is just "LWL" but it has great drinks.
-Check out the Ships of the Sea Museum. Patty Callahan Henry wrote a book "Saving Savannah" and they currently have an exhibit about the ship featured in her book
-If you want to get some Savannah flare before your trip, give your mom a book by Mary Kay Andrews such as "Savannah Blues" or "Savannah Breeze". MKA is a local author featured on the NYT Best Sellers List. Her books are set in the area and it is fun to see some of the sites she refers to in her books.
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