Two southern gems

Savannah or Charleston? Where do you like better?

I've been getting this question a lot lately since we recently spent 4 nights in each city and the answer is - it depends! I liked both but for different reason

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is a college town full of green squares, local restaurants, lively bars and "haunted" buildings. They are proud of their waterfront area which now houses shops, restaurants, bars and a couple hotels (on the Savannah River)  - worth a stroll for the views and people watching (just watch your step - walkways very uneven!)
Savannah was rougher around the edges compared to Charleston but that was part of its appeal. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has helped develop this once-forgotten town into a party town set in old, renovated buildings with gorgeous ironwork and gardens. Their St Patrick's Day celebration is one of the biggest in the country perhaps due to their open container laws. Ghost tours are a popular activity especially for the evenings (and even for non-believers). We didn't see anything supernatural but we were on the lookout!

What I liked best:
The food!  And it isn't all Paula Deen (which we didn't go to). Instead, we went to an modern Vietnamese restaurant near our hotel and it turned out to be one of the tastiest vegetarian curries I've ever had. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We also enjoyed spending time (and eating fried green tomatoes) in the beer garden at the Moon River Brewery, eating tasty breakfasts at Goose Feathers Cafe, trying new martini combinations at Jen's and Friends (they have 100s of combinations!) and fueling up with coffee from The Coffee Fox.
I also enjoyed just walking aimlessly around the historical center - beautiful houses with large trees and architectural details. We did the hop-on/off trolley as well which was entertaining and informative. I always like doing them in a new city to get some history while also getting my bearings.
And of course we did a haunted walking tour which just happened to be a pub crawl as well (wink wink). Our guide has been leading skeptics on haunted tours of Savannah for 25+ years and he was a really good story teller. He took us to several pubs and had a ghost story about each one. But we didn't see any ghosts.

Recommended for:
Foodies, wine lovers, beer drinkers, cocktail enthusiasts, couples, groups

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is the belle to Savannah's beast - a gorgeous city also on a river with quaint shops, local restaurants, and cocktail bars. I expected it to be a much larger, grittier city than it is and was surprised when I saw that the skyline was, well, pretty non-existent (I pictured tall buildings not beautiful homes!)
Charleston is home to Fort Sumter, a Naval museum, a cute aquarium, and an open-air arts & crafts market. We enjoyed strolling along the riverfront and even saw dolphins multiple times! The city is clean, the people are friendly and it is just so pretty.

What I liked best:
OK so maybe not a big surprise - but the food! And also the drink. Our last meal on the trip was at Pawpaw, a modern Southern-inspired restaurant with a lot of vegetarian options (vegetarian options not always available in Charleston - my husband had no trouble finding fresh seafood though! I was happy as Pawpaw has homemade pasta with fresh veggies). We also stumbled upon the Coleman Public House after walking around ships including a submarine and (huge) aircraft carrier at Patriots Point. It was across the bridge in Mt Pleasant which seemed to live up to its name (would return to explore further). We also had some interesting cocktails (and cheeeeese!) at the Gin Joint - again something we just stumbled upon but couldn't resist with the word "gin" in the name. Seriously - check out their menu. It is interesting!
I also loved visiting the sea turtle hospital at the SC Aquarium (also home to a bald eagle, playful otters and lots of other sea critters). Was a nice way to spend the afternoon. The daily arts and craft market was also a highlight - the buildings were stocked full of local artisans and their products - was overwhelming! Great place to holiday shop.

Recommended for:
Foodies, wine lovers, beer drinkers, cocktail enthusiasts, couples, groups, families

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