It seems like everyone is going to Charleston lately — and for good reason: it’s an incredibly beautiful city that’s full of southern charm, picture-perfect streets, and incredible food! We visited the city back in April for a celebratory “vaxication.” It was our second time in the “Holy City,” and with roundtrip flight prices dropping substantially from Madison, I don’t think it’ll be our last time in the sweet South Carolina city. Below, you’ll find some snapshots from our recent trip, along with suggestions of what to see and do, and where to eat and drink.
SEE & DO:
- Rainbow Row & The Battery & Pineapple Fountain – If you’re heading to Charleston, I’m sure these photogenic areas are already on your radar.
- The Beach – We visited Folly Beach both times we were in South Carolina. It’s a quaint beach town for an afternoon of swimming. Head to Lost Dog Café for breakfast and Taco Boy for lunch.
- Aiken-Rhett House Museum – There are two main historic house tours in Charleston. There’s the Aiken-Rhett House, which is a historic preservation project, and the Nathaniel Russell House, a restoration project. Each has an audio tour available through the Historic CHS app (bring headphones). I preferred the Aiken-Rhett museum as it did an excellent job going through the historic features of the house, as well and discussing the lives of the enslaved people on the property.
- Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site – There were a lot of recommendations for this online and it was a nice place for an afternoon hike. I don’t think I’d go out of my way for it, but it was a good option to break up all of the eating and drinking!
- McLeod Plantation – We decided to do this tour because it’s a county park and that seemed more ethical than some of the other plantation tours. We had a wonderful tour guide who lent insight into the enslaved people who lived on the property and what they did once gaining freedom.
- Fort Sumter – We did this on our first trip to Charleston and it’s worth taking an afternoon to take the ferry out to see it.
EAT & DRINK:
- Kudu Coffee & Craft Beer – A café that also serves beer with a cute outdoor patio. Check their schedule for live music.
- Blind Tiger – The best outdoor patio with plenty of seating areas.
- Brown’s Court Bakery – Fantastic iced coffee and pastries (both sweet and savory). Ask them for their recommendation of the day. A lot of things sell out quickly, but whatever is left is still going to be amazing. We took our coffee and breakfast to a nearby park. If you’re visiting in the spring and they have their fresh strawberry rolls, get one! (It’s pictured above.)
- Uptown Social – Head up to their rooftop patio! There’s a full cocktail program, a decent beer lineup, and good pizzas. They usually do a lunch special with a select pizza, too.
- The Darling Oyster Bar – This was by far our best meal in the city and worth the splurge. We had oysters to start and I had scallops for my entrée. Loved ’em! Hot tip: they do have matchboxes, but you’ll need to ask for one.
- Bay Street Biergarten – Lively atmosphere and a lot of outdoor seating. Skip the food, though, and just go for drinks and the ambiance.
- Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits – Delicious, but don’t let their miniscule size fool you. They’re incredibly filling! That said, between this place and Brown’s Court, I’d suggest Brown’s Court for breakfast.
- Little Jack’s Tavern – Their burgers are expensive, but it was delicious. We had actually wanted to go to Leon’s Oyster Shop instead, but they didn’t have any seating available and suggested Little Jack’s as it’s their sister restaurant. It was charming inside and the service was excellent.
- Breweries – Three of the brewery stops we liked the most were Charles Towne Fermentory, Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co., and Westbrook Brewing Company.
STAY: I wanted to make a quick note about accommodations. We stayed at the Hyatt this time around and it wasn’t great. It looks nice enough online and while I prefer boutique hotels, hotels and Airbnbs were so expensive when we traveled. We assumed the Hyatt would be good enough for what we needed. The first room we were given was, shall we say, “well worn” and had the most awful sewage-y smell. I did ask to change rooms and the new room was better, but it wasn’t as nice as the online reviews led me to believe.