A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America New Orleans vs. Charleston for Food, Nightlife, Music, and Old Town

Should you visit New Orleans or Charleston?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between New Orleans and Charleston can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

New Orleans

New Orleans is a vibrant, energetic, and fun-filled city. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include food, nightlife, and live music.

Charleston

Charleston is a historic, classic, and picturesque coastal town. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. Other reasons to visit include beaches, shopping, and museums.

How is New Orleans different from Charleston?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is New Orleans or Charleston better for Food?

Foodies will find both New Orleans and Charleston both to be unique destinations.

Many restaurants in New Orleans have been singled out for their culinary prowess. It's the birthplace of bananas foster and popular for it's gumbo, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and red beans and rice.

Known for it's food scene, Charleston is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. Food lovers will enjoy the city's low country classics. Local favorites include she crab soup, shrimp and grits, cornbread, and fried green tomatoes.


Is New Orleans or Charleston better for Nightlife?

The nightlife vibe is much better in New Orleans than Charleston.

People head to New Orleans just to party. The nightlife scene is at its best during Mardi Gras. But year-round you'll find Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, spring breakers, and anyone who wants to enjoy a crazy time heads to New Orleans.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Charleston. As a college town, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs around town. There's also a lively music scene.

Is New Orleans or Charleston better for Music?

More people head to New Orleans to see live music than to Charleston.

New Orleans is known as a music capital around the world. The city is known for its music festivals that feature jazz, blues, and many other types of live music. The Jazz Festival is a great time to visit.

The music scene helps keep Charleston active and fun. You can hear a number of local bands or enjoy a more widely known group at larger venues in the area.

Is New Orleans or Charleston better for its Old Town?

Both New Orleans and Charleston have historic old towns worth visiting.

New Orleans is an extremely popular place to visit the historic old town area. The French Quarter is filled with old architecture and beautiful historic landmarks.

Charleston offers visitors a world-class historical old town to explore. Charleston's downtown is one of the most charming and well preserved Old Town's in the United States. It's easy to see why it's become a world class destination.

Is New Orleans or Charleston better for Shopping?

While New Orleans and Charleston are both popular shopping destinations, overall Charleston is considered to be better.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in Charleston. The city is famous for its historic market in the center of town. Local goods, foods, and crafts are sold daily here. There are also many clothing and local shops throughout town.

New Orleans has some good spots for those that want to go shopping. New Orleans shopping is mostly centered around malls and chain stores.


Is New Orleans or Charleston better for Families?

Both New Orleans and Charleston are fun to visit with kids.

New Orleans is not always a place people visit with their families. While there are some family-friendly activities in New Orleans like a zoo and several great parks, the city is more known for its parties and nightlife scene.

Charleston is a family-friendly place to visit. The area has a number of family friendly activities like carriage rides and boat rides. The nearby beaches also make it a wonderful place to visit with kids.

Is New Orleans or Charleston better for Couples?

There's generally more to do as a couple in Charleston than New Orleans.

Charleston is a great coastal town for couples, as it has plenty to offer. This beautiful city is one of the most popular wedding destinations in America. It's a very romantic setting with beautiful hotels and bed and breakfasts that are perfect for couples on their honeymoon or looking for a romantic setting.

New Orleans is a good city for couples to visit. Couples who enjoy a lively evening, fun festivals, and exploring absolutely amazing restaurants will enjoy a visit to New Orleans.

Is New Orleans or Charleston better for Students?

Both New Orleans and Charleston are popular destinations for students.

Plenty of students visit New Orleans. Students head to New Orleans to enjoy spring break and Mardi Gras.

Charleston is a good city to visit for students. The city is a college town with a young vibe that is perfect for students.

Is New Orleans or Charleston a more walkable city?

New Orleans and Charleston are similar when it comes to walkability.

New Orleans is somewhat walkable. If you stick to the French Quarter and downtown areas, most things are walkable in New Orleans.

Charleston is a very walkable destination. The downtown area is very walkable, but once you leave the historic heart, it's best to have a car.


New Orleans and Charleston: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good nightlife
  • Good music scene
Cons
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Cons
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less active music scene
  • Less popular with backpackers


Should I spend more time in Charleston or New Orleans?

How long in New Orleans or Charleston?

Both New Orleans and Charleston have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Charleston than New Orleans.

The ideal length of time for a trip to New Orleans is 2-3 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Charleston is 2-7 days.


  • How many days in New Orleans or Charleston? Ideal Length of Stay
    New Orleans 2-3 
    Charleston 2-7

One day in New Orleans or Charleston?

With food and nightlife around the festive city of New Orleans, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the classic coastal town of Charleston. It's also a great beach destination, too. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire area has lots to do.

A weekend in New Orleans or Charleston?

With nightlife and live music around the destination of New Orleans, there's plenty to do. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the picturesque destination of Charleston. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. This coastal town offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend here when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in New Orleans or Charleston?

New Orleans, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Visiting the old town is also a must. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Visitors enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the southern coastal town of Charleston. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A week in New Orleans or Charleston?

New Orleans is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the quaint destination of Charleston. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for one week. Most people come for the beaches. In one week, you should have a good grasp of this coastal town.

Which city is cheaper, Charleston or New Orleans?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in New Orleans is $191, while the average daily cost in Charleston is $136. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for New Orleans and Charleston in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    New Orleans $100
    Charleston $72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    New Orleans $200
    Charleston $144

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    New Orleans $41
    Charleston $26
Typical Local Transportation prices in New Orleans

Some typical examples of transportation costs in New Orleans are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in New Orleans

Also for New Orleans, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel or Cruise Port to New Orleans Airport: $20
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel or Cruise Port to New Orleans Airport: $26
  • Private Transfer from New Orleans Airport to Hotel or Port: $32
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel or Cruise Port to MSY: $40
  • Shared Roundtrip Transfer: Hotel or Cruise Port to New Orleans Airport: $40
  • New Orleans Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $48
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel or Cruise to MSY by Executive Sedan: $48
  • Private Arrival Transfer: MSY to Hotel or Cruise Port by Executive SUV: $50
  • Luxury Transfer from New Orleans International Airport to Downtown Hotels: $59
  • Private Roundtrip Transfer: New Orleans Airport to Hotel or Cruise Port: $64
  • Departure Private Transfer New Orleans to New Orleans MSY or Port - Business Car: $67
  • Private Departure Transfer to Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport MSY: $72

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

  • Private transfer: Charleston to Charleston Airport (CHS): $622
  • Private Departure Transfer to Charleston Airport (CHS): $52
  • Charleston city to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer: $124

Is it cheaper to fly into New Orleans or Charleston?

Prices for flights to both Charleston and New Orleans change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    New Orleans $36
    Charleston $46

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in New Orleans

For New Orleans, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • New Orleans Cooking Class: $34
  • New Orleans Lunch & Lesson: Cajun & Creole Cooking Class: $35
  • French Quarter Food Tour: $42
  • New Orleans Food Tour: $44
  • Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise with Dinner Option: $50
  • Paddlewheeler Creole Queen Jazz Cruise with Optional Dinner: $52
  • Dinner at Tujague's Restaurant in New Orleans: $68
  • New Orleans French Quarter Food Tour: $69
  • French Quarter Food Tour: $75
  • New Orleans' Lower Garden Food Tour: $75
  • French Quarter Food Tour: $75
  • Lower Garden District Food Tour: $75

Typical Food prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of dining costs in Charleston are as follows:


  • Lunch in downtown Charleston for two
    $21
  • Breakfast
    $26

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charleston

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Charleston.

  • Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour: $73
  • Savor the Flavors of Charleston Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston's Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston Chef's Kitchen Guided Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise: $77
  • Savor the Flavors Upper King Street Food Tour: $95
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Charleston: $129
  • Undiscovered 1/2 Day Food, Wine & History Tour with Cooking Class: $154
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour in Charleston w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    New Orleans $44
    Charleston $17
Typical Entertainment prices in New Orleans

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for New Orleans's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Zoo & Aquarium Tickets (2)
    $75
  • Riverboat Cruise
    $70
  • French Quarter City Tour
    $100

Tours and Activities in New Orleans

For New Orleans, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • New Orleans City Park Private Tour and Exploration Game: $3.72
  • Your new addiction! The best women’s shoe shopping experience in NOLA!: $5.00
  • Struttin' Down Royal Street Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • New Orleans Esplanade Ridge: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.34
  • Metairie Cemetery Stories Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • A Walk in the Park: City Park New Orleans Audio Tour: $5.34
  • Walking the Tremé: A Self-guided Audio Tour of New Orleans: $5.34
  • Bywater Stroll: Explore the Evolving Neighbourhood on an Audio Walking Tour: $5.40
  • Beyond the French Quarter: New Orleans Off the Beaten Path Audio Tour: $5.40
  • New Orleans Virtual Self-Paced Guided City Tour: $5.99
  • One Hour Saint Louis Cemetery Number One Walking Tour: $10
  • Skip the Line: Historic House Tour Ticket: $10

Typical Entertainment prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Charleston are as follows:


  • Patriots Point (for 2)
    $60

Tours and Activities in Charleston

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Charleston are as follows:

  • 2-Hour Guided Kayaking Eco Tour in Charleston: $48
  • 2-Hour Paddle Board Eco Tour of Charleston Lowcountry: $48
  • 90-Minute Historic Walking Tour of Charleston: $25
  • Amazing Ladies of Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Best of Historic Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston: $61
  • Bruce Knows Insider Walking Tour of Downtown: $26
  • Car Service: Airport to / from Cruise Port: $130
  • Charleston Attraction & Tour Pass for 1, 2, or 3 Days: $73
  • Charleston Boo Hag & Brews Walking Ghost and Bar Tour: $29
  • Charleston Chicora Walking Tour: $26
  • Charleston City Bus Tour with Charleston Museum Admission: $32

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    New Orleans $48
    Charleston $28

Sample the Local Flavors in New Orleans

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in New Orleans:

  • New Orleans Bar Hunt: New Orleans Ballin' Bar Crawl: $12
  • Big Easy Ghost and Vampire Pub Crawl: $20
  • Haunted Pub Crawl in New Orleans: $22
  • New Orleans Haunted Pub Crawl: $25
  • Haunted New Orleans Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $27
  • NOLA Distillery Tour: $28
  • Pub Crawl & Historical Chronicles Walking Tour: $30
  • Haunted Pub Tour: $35
  • Frenchmen Street Live Music Pub Crawl: $48
  • Frenchmen Street VIP Live Music Pub Crawl: $49

Sample the Local Flavors in Charleston

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Charleston:

  • Charleston Bar Hunt: Charleston Chase Bar Crawl: $12
  • Ghost Walking Tour and Pub Crawl in Haunted Charleston: $27
  • Haunted Pub Crawl of the Market: $37


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between New Orleans and Charleston, we can see that New Orleans is more expensive. And not only is Charleston much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Charleston would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Charleston and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in New Orleans would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in New Orleans than you might in Charleston.

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New Orleans vs. Charleston Travel Comparison

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