Charleston, South Carolina is one of the most charming cities you’ll visit. Filled with rich history, picturesque streets, and home to the friendliest people, you’ll want to spend days wandering the Holy City. In fact, you’ll probably need more time than that just to eat at all of the city’s restaurants… Charleston is a culinary delight. And, it’s got a special place in my heart since I attended college here and fell in love. I was so glad to be back and I’m so excited to share my favorite things to do, see and eat!
Being one of the most picturesque cities, Charleston has many must-sees. From the colorful mansions along the Battery and the historic plantations to the many shops, restaurants and nightlife, this city is full of beauty. Charleston is walk-able so pack some comfy shoes and get exploring!
WHAT TO DO
There are many things to do and see, but make sure to slow things down and take in all the beauty!
- The Battery – this is a quintessential stop in Charleston and you’ll see the brightly colored mansions on many post cards around town! Stroll by the historic homes, check out Rainbow Row (which looks to be straight out of a watercolor painting!) and take in the view of the water, sailboats and (sometimes!) dolphins.
- King Street – from cute, little boutiques to high-end retailers, King Street has all your shopping needs covered!
- Marion Square – while strolling along King Street, make sure to check out the Marion Square happenings. This is where Charleston Fashion Week, Charleston Food + Wine and the Farmer’s Market (on Saturday mornings) are held.
- Plantations – there are a number of plantations in the area with Magnolia Plantation and Boone Hall being two of the most frequently visited. Tip: they are located off the peninsula so you’ll need some transportation for these!
- Angel Oak – located on John’s Island, this beautiful tree is estimated to be over 400 years old and stands at over 60 feet tall.
- The beach – head to Folly Beach or Sullivan’s Island for some fun in the sun.
WHERE TO EAT
Charleston is becoming known as a foodie destination and it’s no secret why…
- Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit – biscuits are a staple of southern cuisine and Callie knows how to make them. Savoury or sweet, these buttery biscuits are to die for.
- Husk – hands down one of my favorite meals in Charleston! So much so that I dedicated an entire post on my brunch experience there.
- 167 Raw – this cozy spot on East Bay is the perfect place to stop in for some oysters after a stroll along the Battery.
- Hominy Grill – the quintessential Lowcountry breakfast spot! Make sure to try the shrimp and grits and get there on the early end to beat the crowds.
- Leon’s Poultry and Oyster House – fried chicken, oysters and frosé (yes, frozen rosé!)… need I say more?
- Fig – an upscale and well-known restaurant located in the Ansonborough neighborhood serving seasonally inspired, southern dishes. Reservations recommended.
- Poe’s Tavern – after a day at the beach on Sullivan’s Island, make sure to stop at Poe’s for a burger and beer.
- Xiao Bao Biscuit – Asian comfort food with a Lowcountry twist! It’s in a renovated gas station with a unique, charming feel.
- 492 – New American set in a historic building with swanky vibe.
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – delicious ice creamery serving up unique flavors like Wildberry Lavender and Bangkok Peanut.
- Chez Nous – make a reservation at this quaint neighborhood spot for delicious French food with a menu that changes daily. Check their Instagram to see what they’re serving up daily.
- Butcher & Bee – this yummy spot on Morrison Drive serves up creative dishes with Mediterranean + Middle Eastern influences.
WHERE TO DRINK
There’s no shortage of places to enjoy a beverage in Charleston!
- Élevé – this swanky rooftop bar located in the Grand Bohemian hotel not only offers great views but has unique and delicious cocktails as well.
- The Cocktail Club – located in the heart of upper King Street, this spot is known for its craft cocktails, lively atmosphere and back patio.
- The Belmont – this sophisticated spot on upper King Street is known for its cocktail selection.
- Proof – right in the heart of King Street, this intimate bar is the perfect spot for a night cap.
- The Gin Joint – this watering hole is conveniently located on East Bay. Serves up delicious cocktails and offers outdoor seating.
WHERE TO STAY
This city has preserved many of its historic homes, some of which have been renovated into hotels.
- Airbnb – with so many beautiful historic homes, why not book one for your stay? (New to Airbnb? Get a credit on me!)
- Zero George – if a hotel is more your style, this boutique hotel is a unique find. Set in 5 restored homes from the 19th century.
- Belmond Charleston Place – looking to splurge? The Belmond is your luxury hotel located right in the heart of downtown.
- The Mills House – located in the historic district, this pink palace is the perfect base for exploring at a mid-range price.
- The Restoration – this lux hotel is ideally located right in the heart of downtown, and bonus, they have their own rooftop bar.
Planning a trip to Charleston? Check out my packing essentials: