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Chicago or New Orleans?

Advice for a summer road trip

From Joshua Counsil
Posted February 8, 2011 at 7:32 PM
My friends and I are planning a trip to a major American city this summer. We've narrowed down our choices to Chicago or New Orleans.

What are your recommendations?


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:22 PM
Chicago, but then again I am bias!

New Orleans is supposed to be really cool though! I would like to go there myself.

If this is theme park related though, Chicago has SFGA (well, actually Gurnee)

From Victoria Jurkowski
Posted February 9, 2011 at 4:57 AM
New Orleans is fantastic! I've never been to Chicago though. But NO has a lot of culture, and it has the rebuilt city and Katrina devastation still, so it's really interesting to take a bus tour and see the difference and see how they are rebuilding. And the above ground cemeteries are awesome.

From Joshua Counsil
Posted February 9, 2011 at 3:20 PM
One vote from a Chicagoan for Chicago, one vote for New Orleans from someone that hasn't seen Chicago.

The vote is dead even and I'm back at square one.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted February 9, 2011 at 3:57 PM
I've been to Chicago twice, not New Orleans. I was a kid back in 1979, and was concerned only with establishing the high score on the pinball machine at the hotel and didn't see the sights. In '07, I was meeting an "online friend" which was disastrous, and going to SFGAm with her. The park was decent at best, with two very good wooden coasters and a wonderful double deck carousel. Depending on how long you're there, you could take in a Cubs game, Navy Pier, and the Field Museum. Watch the Blues Brothers (my favorite movie) before you go, and pop by some of the film's locations. Go to GAm, and hit the building that may or may not still be known as the Sears Tower. I know it was sold, but I dunno if the name changed.

From Tony Duda
Posted February 9, 2011 at 5:31 PM
I've been to Chicago twice and New Orleans about 8 times. If you are going just for mindless fun and not for baseball games, museums or to see tall buildings, New Orleans is the choice. Being on Bourbon Street at night, drinks in hand, music and other crazy people is a must-do experience. You actually can drink booze openly outside on city streets in NO. Chicago has so many great big city things but everything has a high price and must be constrained inside or in the parks during festivals (like Taste of Chicago). Every day and night is like that in NO.

But the weather can be unbearably hot and humid in summer in NO. Have fun in either place.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted February 9, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Yeah, you can't drink and walk around in Chicago, but, then again, you really can't do that outside of NO.

If you choose Chicago, you can come to the Taste of Chicago as well along with a ton of other fun things going on in the city. There is a festival every week during the summer in Chicago. There is also Great America in Gurnee!

I can meet up with you guys too if you want (especially Six Flags). I will be a good "online friend!" LOL

From Robert Niles
Posted February 10, 2011 at 2:42 PM
Been to them both on a roadtrip last summer. I'd pick Chicago.

I love New Orleans, but in the summer the heat and humidity are just awful. Chicago's bad, but not New Orleans bad. You could always visit New Orleans at another time of year, but if you're going to Chicago, you want to go in the summer.

Chicago: Museums, concerts, lakefront, baseball, amusement park, Rush Street bars, good restaurants (pizza and hot dogs are strengths).

New Orleans: French Quarter history, concerts (especially jazz), river, no major pro sports in summer, no amusement park, much better bars and restaurants (better on just about everything except the pizza and hot dogs).

FWIW, New Orleans is the only place in America I've seen where the bouncers are throwing people into the bars.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted February 10, 2011 at 4:37 PM
Not to mention Chicago is probably cheaper to fly to (or drive!)

From Derek Potter
Posted February 10, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Yeah...I'd go Chicago too. Nothing against New Orleans at all, but aside from Bourbon Street, French Quarter, and some good jazz there really isn't much else. Chicago is loaded with things to do. Cubs game, Navy Pier, Downtown, Six Flags, good music, etc...etc...etc. Might I suggest a visit to the Signature Room at the top of the Hancock Building for lunch, dinner, or a drink.

It is not cheap to drive in Chicago though. Parking isn't easy to come by and obscenely expensive (around $50 a day just for hotel parking). Better to fly and take shuttles/cabs/trains or walk if downtown.

From James Koehl
Posted February 11, 2011 at 5:43 AM
Joshua, if you doing this as a road trip from Ottawa, drive along the south shore of Lake Erie and you could include Cedar Point on the way to or from Chicago, or even both ways!

From Joshua Counsil
Posted February 11, 2011 at 1:17 PM
Great suggestions, guys. Much appreciated.

We've done Cedar Point several times - twice last summer, in fact. We enjoyed it a lot, and Cleveland, too (bit of a surprise there).

We visited Orlando in August 2009. The heat was bad - is New Orleans even worse? The summers in Ottawa can get hot and immensely humid, so if it's the humidity that's bothersome, we may be able to take it.

From Victoria Jurkowski
Posted February 12, 2011 at 7:14 AM
When I was in NO it was over the summer and yes it was HOT. and humid. But we walked everywhere, literally miles at a time [were there for a conference, walking between the superdome and riverwalk conference center multiple times a day]. So i think that's why it was so unbearable. If you used some sort of air conditioned transportation I doubt it would be so bad.

From Joshua Counsil
Posted February 13, 2011 at 2:41 AM
Both sound fantastic for different reasons. Again, though, I must ask - is New Orleans more humid than Orlando in the summer months?

From Anthony Murphy
Posted February 13, 2011 at 8:16 AM
I think so because it is more "swampy" than Orlando.

From Robert Niles
Posted February 13, 2011 at 4:55 PM
Don't have the official humidity data in front of me, but I find Orlando's weather much more bearable that New Orleans' in the summer.

From Joshua Counsil
Posted February 16, 2011 at 1:05 PM
Thanks to everyone. I think we're going with Chicago.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted February 16, 2011 at 5:51 PM
Yay!

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