(Closed) Where to go? Charleston, Chicago or elsewhere?

posted 6 years ago in Honeymoons
  • poll: Where should we go?
    Charleston : (51 votes)
    54 %
    Chicago : (29 votes)
    31 %
    Seattle : (3 votes)
    3 %
    St. Louis : (0 votes)
    Orange County (Fullerton) : (1 votes)
    1 %
    Miami : (8 votes)
    8 %
    Boston : (3 votes)
    3 %
  • Post # 32
    1856 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2013

    @REchick:  Places we ate and enjoyed in Charleston…

    We mostly went to more casual rather than upscale places overall, but we had really good food at Fuel Cantina (really good tacos and that sort of thing), Hominy Grill (southern), Blossom (southern), Magnolias (southern). We ate at several different seafood restaurants, but I can’t remember which – I think it was Fleet Landing that we liked best. We also had a nice lunch (and really nice dessert…) at a chocolatier/bakery somewhere between King St and Meeting St, a couple blocks below Marion Square. That’s all I can remember offhand.

    We’re really into food and ate a lot of delicious things. There are several themed/touristy restaurants all over the main part of Charleston which may have good food (we never went to any), but lots of really excellent places if you look around. You can walk along and see somewhere to eat at just about every corner, and pretty much all had menus posted outside.

    Post # 33
    1342 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2012

    @REchick:  Chicago in the summer/early fall is the best city in the world!!  (yes, I’m biased)

    Post # 34
    1210 posts
    Bumble bee

    I live in Chicago, so of course I would recommend it, but I love Charleston as well. Its so romantic and charming. I would say for Aug-Sept choose Chicago and for Oct-Nov choose Charleston. The weather in Chi gets unpredictable and potentially yucky beginning in Oct. 

    I think if you are trying to stay on a budget, Chicago could be a better option. Although Charleston is in the south where things tend to be generally less expensive, I find that its an exception to the rule. The nicer hotels are just as pricey as Chicago and there are fewer “free” activities. You also would likely have to rent a car if you didn’t want to stay in the downtown Charleston area. In Chicago, if you fly into O’Hare, you can take the train into the Loop area and get around using Divvy bikes or public transportation for cost savings. You could absolutely blow your budget on food in Chicago though – some of the nicer restaurants cost $200-300 per person.

    You can’t go wrong with the food in either area. I love to eat!

    Chicago (nicer): Tru, Everest, Next/Alinea

    Chicago (more casual): Glazed and Infused doughnuts, Lou Malnatis pizza, Girl and the Goat, Longman and Eagle, RPM Italian (Guilana and Bill Rancic’s restaurant)

    Charleston: FIG, Magnolias, Circa 1886, Toast (for breakfast)

    Post # 35
    1342 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2012

    @boogiewoogies:  Ugly city and rude people?  Wow.  It’s a midwestern city…  Chances are if someone was rude to you, you pushed them pretty hard to be that way.

    Post # 36
    1342 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2012

    @Mrs. Fireworks:  Beautiful pictures of our beautiful city!!

    Post # 37
    1916 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    May I recommend Savannah.  I think Charleston has great food and is very charming, but any time I am down there for longer than a weekend, I run out of things to do.  Savannah is a great walking city and has nice beaches.  Lots of historical things to visit and I found it a lot more quaint.

    Post # 38
    552 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    @REchick:  i live near charleston and go all of the time. very romantic and a different-type city. if you want slow paced with yummy food – i vote charleston!

    Post # 39
    9766 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

    @REchick:  Chicago is gorgeous in September 🙂 If you go around Labor Day you might catch some festivals as well.

    Post # 40
    94 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: April 2014

    @REchick:  I would say Charleston for sure! I got engaged in Savannah (and it’s nice, but I think there’s a lot more to do in Charleston) and we’re getting married in Charleston so I’m a little biased, but it really is great. 🙂

    Some of our favorite places to eat are Fleet Landing (great brunch and it’s right on the water!), Rue De Jean, Juanita Greenberg’s (mexican), Jim n’ Nick’s (BBQ), and Poe’s on Sullivan’s Island is a cool place with delicious burgers.  Definitely stay away from anything too touristy – do NOT waste your money at Bubba Gump, go to a real local seafood place!

    As for Charleson being more expensive, I wouldn’t say that’s true. I loved Chicago when I went, but Charleston just seems more romantic to me.  There are lots of free things to do in Charleston – the Market (as long as you don’t buy anything), visiting the battery, King St, lots of adorable art galleries, and the Angel Oak just to name a few!  The Old Exchange building and dungeon is really cool and I think it’s like $8/person and the Confederate Museum above the Market is only like $2/person (when the Confederate flag is flying, the museum is open. A lot of people don’t know there’s anything up there!)

    ANYWAY, sorry this is so long – I hope you’re very happy with wherever you end up and if you need/want any other Charleston suggestions, feel free to message me!

    Post # 41
    9950 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2012

    Lol, glad to help…

    Ok lets see more great Charleston stuff…


    There are many great hotels in this city… so it is hard to go wrong.

    You want to stay in the Historic District, so you are close / convenient to everything.

    We like the Doubletree (not crazy expensive… particularly good if you join the Hilton Loyalty Program = Hilton Hhonors).  The Doubletree puts you right in the Historic District… half a block off of the City Market (Market Street).

    BUT there are other great places too… check out TripAdvisor for Hotel Reviews


    When choosing a Hotel, keep transportation in mind.  You don’t need your car so much if you are in the Historic District (parking is expensive… both on Lots and at Hotels… this comes down to little to NO Room… as the city is old and compact, with narrow streets etc).

    Another reason we like the Doubletree (or that general area) is convenience to the FREE DASH Trolley.  And the Doubletree is also close to a large number of the Starting Points for the Carriage Rides… we walked over to Palmetto Carriage House (stable)… you cannot miss it, it is the BIG Red Barn and went with one of their tours (but there are many others).  We enjoyed it thoroughly… the Guide was great (as were the Mules, lol).

    Overall Charleston is a very walkable city (flat).  But do wear shoes meant for walking an extended period of time, as you’ll want to do a lot of exploring… and there are cobblestones in places !!

    Charleston is a gorgeous city… and very romantic.  The Historic area is beautiful with the Battery along the waterfront and the scenic promenade.


    As I said in my previous post, there is TONS to see… if the weather is good a visit to Fort Sumter is a must (do this BEFORE you do a lot of other historical stuff, cause it is where the Civil War started, and so can put a lot of other things into context for you)

    A visit to Charleston Museum is a MUST DO too… oldest Museum in the USA.  We enjoyed the exhibits there… Revolutionary War – Civil War – Charleston Silver – and the Textile / Fashion Section… expect to spend a few hours exploring (good for a rainy day if you should get one)

    Going to Charleston, and one MUST see historic homes… be it the one’s “in town” (2 are associated with the Museum… but there are several others)… or the nearby grandiose Plantations… as I said above, they all offer up something different.  Mr TTR & I spent 2 full days just Plantation exploring…

    Our faves are Drayton Hall… start here as it is one of the oldest Plantations in the USA (1738) and escaped the burning by Gen Sherman’s troops by utilizing a “smart idea” to keep the Unionists off the property (I’ll save that tidbit for the Tour Guide).  It is still owned by the Drayton Family… altho not lived in.  The house is “preserved” not restored.  So you can see it as it was, and how it has faired over the years.  It is a National Historic Landmark, and the National Trust does the Tours… and they also have talks they do about the History & Times (we attended one on the Slaves Come to America, and it was excellent).  The history here is incredible.

    You’ll get a real understanding of how the Plantation Owners & their Families (and Descendents) lived.  And the relationship between the Manor House, the Plantation, the Slaves, Society and the River all functioned.

    Next door to Drayton Hall on Ashley River Road is Magnolia Plantation (and Gardens).  This one dates back to 1600s (and was owned by John Drayton’s Father, and where he was born).  The Manor house was burned down during the Civil War… but the fantastic Gardens remain.  The beauty here is unbelievable (altho I’m not sure what will be “in season” say in November).

    Boone Hall Plantation (this is where Ryan Reynolds got married) is over in Mt Pleasant… and it offers up another view of Plantation life.  The Manor House is long gone here too… but the Live Oaks Avenue here is stunning !!

    The unique thing about Boone Hall is that there was a brickyard on the property… so many buildings that would have long ago been detroyed if they were made of wood… (like Slave Cabins) still remain.  So altho they aren’t “the norm” they do convey important history.  And Boone Hall excells at this… they do Gullah Presentations that are fabulous.  This is the Plantation where you will learn the most about life as a Slave… and also hear about their progression to being Free Men.  By far the most “moving” educational experiences for us happened at Boone Hall.  Their Black History (and in some case Slave Descendents from the area) were fantastic !!


    Charleston is chock-a-block filled with GREAT Eats.  From casual fare to fine diining.  Some of our faves:

    Like @kittyface:  another vote for Fleet Landing… they have excellent She Crab Soup, Fried Green Tomatoes, Lump Crab Cakes, Hush Puppies… for starters… and Fish & Seafood for mains… they even have a Low Country Boil on the menu.  This is a regular stop for us.

    If you want a fancier Fish & Seafood meal (and more expensive), check out Hank’s Seafood on Church (practically next door to the Doubletree).

    Other than that we went low key (we were there only a few nights last trip).  Most of the Restaurants post their menus outside, so you can take a look and decide what you are in the mood for and can afford.  Most places take Reservations, and for many of the more popular places (or if it is a touristy time) they are smart to have.

    Hope this helps,


    Post # 42
    3000 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2012

    @REchick:  I think it depends on your preferred type of cuisine and budget, but here’s a list of some of Chicago’s most famous places (these range in price and cuisine):



    Au Cheval

    The Publican


    Girl & The Goat





    And for some more Chicago-centric cuisine:

    Lou Malnati’s

    Gino’s East


    Hot Doug’s


    Billy Goat Tavern

    Post # 43
    300 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    @REchick:  You can’t go wrong with either!  I have lived in both and they are probably my two favorite cities in the US, and those are great times to be visiting either! 

    Post # 45
    9950 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2012

    To @REchick:  Sounds like a plan.  Agree you should put Charleston on the list… lol, just if you can go Spring or Fall… Summer in South South Carolina can be brutally hot.

    GORGEOUS but a real steam bath !!


    Post # 46
    1344 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2013 - Vine Street Church

    Seattle FOREVER. Definitely one of my very favorite cities in the country, if not the world.

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