I've had lots of requests for recommendations and "must see" lists for this beautiful southern city, so I wanted to create a resource for everyone! I had some lovely clients visiting Charleston this weekend for the first time who loved having this as a guide and I recently registered for the Creative at Heart Conference that takes place here this November, so I know this will come in handy for the other attendees! (So excited to meet all of you!)
I have only lived here for two years and this is by no means a comprehensive guide to Charleston. I am sure there are many amazing things that I am leaving out, I mean, is it even possible to list all of the great places to eat here?! This is a list of things that my friends and I have come to love, things we would do again, and things we definitely would encourage visitors to do!
(Oh and if you think I'm leaving something out, send me a note and I'll happily add it in!)
Most people visiting Charleston stay in the Downtown Historic District. Here are some suggestions for that area that you probably don't need a car for! (Charleston also has Uber, pedi-cabs and taxis if you'd like to get around that way!
What to do:
• Carriage tour: There are multiple routes and you always learn something awesome! I've personally used this company and had great luck with them!
•SC Aquarium: Great for kids!
•Ghost Walking Tour: Book the one that goes inside the Dungeon, it's pretty neat!
•Ft. Sumter: Ft. Sumter is located in the Bay of Charleston, it is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Tour leaves from Downtown or Patriot's Point in Mt Pleasant.
•Old Home Tours: More information on the Charleston Visitors Bureau.
Where to shop:
King Street Shopping:
THE place to shop downtown is on King Street. There are shops scattered throughout the peninsula, but King Street has a shopping district all it's own. Everything from Kate Spade to Victoria's Secret, to fun local places like Cooper Penny Shooz and Handpicked Jewelry and Gifts.
Second Sunday King St:
If you're lucky enough to be here on the Second Sunday of the month, the entire street is shut down from traffic and you can meander through the road, like an outdoor mall. Tables and chairs are set up to eat in the street and you'll find lots of musicians and artists wandering around.
East Bay Street:
Social Wine Bar - Great for larger groups, awesome happy hour!
Gin Joint -Tiny place with the most unique drinks around! Try the "bartenders choice"!
Rooftop at the Pavilion - Located in the Pavilion hotel, a rooftop bar with a luxury lounge feel with great views of the city!
Vendue Rooftop - Located in the Vendue hotel, a more casual rooftop with great views of the city. Closes between 10pm-midnight depending on the day.
Cocktail Club - Upstairs and definitely a throwback to speakeasy times!
Prohibition - Great if you're looking to dance to music from every decade. Awesome patio in the back.
Republic - Great patio and a good nightclub/lounge. Great for bachelorette parties or a crazy night out.
Stars - Restaurant with great rooftop bar. If you've seen Southern Charm on Bravo, you've seen this place.
Worth The Drive - Outside of the Peninsula
If you're not staying downtown or have a rental car and are feeling adventurous, here are some ideas for you!
Where to eat:
- Taco Boy at Folly Beach
Just North of Downtown:
- Magnolia Plantation - West Ashley - My personal favorite, we got married there!
- Drayton Hall - West Ashley - "Founded in 1738, Drayton Hall is the oldest preserved plantation house in America that’s still open to the public and a masterpiece of Georgian-Palladian architecture. "
- Middleton Place -West Ashley - "Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens. The Garden Club of America has called the 65 acres “the most important and most interesting garden in America”."
- Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens - Mt Pleasant - Allie's parent's summer home in The Notebook movie. Ryan Renolds and Blake Lively were married here!
- Cypress Gardens - Moncks Corner - Butterfly house and beautiful tree filled swamp that you can rowboat into, also featured in The Notebook!