One of my main goals when leaving my day job was to start traveling to places I wanted to explore. I even started a bucket list of places I’d like to visit and am slowly working on crossing some of them off with a few upcoming trips I have planned. With Charleston being a place I’ve traveled to quite a bit over the last few years both for work and pleasure, I feel like it’s my home away from home. More recently, I had a close friend move to the Holy City and now when we visit, we get a closer look at the city from the eyes of a local. We’ve discovered old favorites, new hidden gems and everything in between.
This list is full of the best Charleston restaurants and my favorites, to the best things to do and see. Here are a few of my favorite things to do while in the Holy City.
PS this post has been updated countless times as every time I go back to visit, I add my new favorite spots. With roughly 2 trips to the Holy City a year, a best friend now living downtown, this list is constantly growing! Be sure to bookmark this post as I’m sure there will be something new added soon!
Where To Stay In Charleston
THE BEST CHARLESTON RESTAURANTS
This city is without a doubt, one of the best foodie towns I’ve ever been to. I dream about some of the dishes at these Charleston restaurants. With the seafood being insanely fresh, combined with the comfort that southern food can be, it’s a winning combination. Below are my favorite restaurants from breakfast to brunch, great lunches and dinners and even must visit bars. You truly you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at any of these spots.
Breakfast & Brunch
Park Cafe Palmetto Cafe Lost Dog Cafe – Folly Beach Whisk Toast Poogan’s Porch Basic Kitchen
Lunch & Dinner
167 RAW Edmunds Oast Basic Kitchen The Ordinary Charleston Grill The Darling Oyster Leon’s Bakers Bar Felix Cru Cafe Little Jacks Zero George Tavern & Table – Mt Pleasant
Drinks & Sweets
Sugar Jeni’s Ice Cream Off Track Ice Cream City Lights Coffee The Daily Normandy Farm The Watch Rise Coffee Bar The Gin Joint Vintage Lounge The Bar at Spectator Hotel Graft
Anytime I travel I like to connect with a local photographer to capture images. Why not get great photos together and also get to spend time with a local for a few hours.
With Charleston being the biggest wedding destination behind Vegas, it’s safe to say there’s a slew of photographer options in the area. Grab your bikes and snap photos around King Street, The Battery and at your favorite seafood spot to capture all the colorful memories.
PS all of the photos in this post are by Kim Graham. She’s also my favorite Instagram account I follow.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
The Battery – This is down by the water and a great place to relax, walk around and take in the views. There’s the popular pineapple fountain and Rainbow Row is just a block from here. Be sure to check out Tradd Street for the most Instagrammable homes and cobble stone streets too.
King Street Shopping – Shopping up and down King Street is a great way to spend an afternoon. From stores you know and love, to also great local shops like Hampden Clothing.
Rainbow Row – Only the prettiest homes to snap a pic in front of!
Kayaking/Paddle Boarding – We did this tour on Folly Beach
Ride Your Bike – Many hotels have them available, or rent one. It’s the best way to get around the city.
Plantations – The one thing I haven’t done in Charleston is visit a historic plantation. These are about 20-30 minutes outside of the city. I recommend scheduling a tour in advance during the busy season.
Charleston Wine + Food Festival – In March, this city transforms to the ultimate food town for a full weekend. You can learn more about my experience here.
Charleston is home to several great beach towns that are a short drive (15-30 minutes max) and are great for a change of scenery from downtown. Plus, if you’re looking to visit some history at the plantations, most of them are going to be outside of historic downtown.
Folly Beach – Possibly the most popular beach out of the three, this is home to The Rathershacks where I highly recommend staying. Be sure to also get brunch at Lost Dog Cafe
Mount Pleasant – Not a beach town, but Mount Pleasant is home to many plantations and historic sites. This is also where you would access Sullivan’s Island. Lunch at Tavern & Table which is right on the water.
Isle of Palms