A weekend in Charleston and you will feel right at home; it’s truly got to be one of the most charming places I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. With perfectly kept historic homes, roses on roses on jasmine bushes, amazing food, and hidden gems around every corner, it reminded me of home, just on a bigger scale. While I could have easily up and moved there, you can definitely see everything and experience the best that Charleston has to offer in a weekend trip.
What to do
Stroll through South of Broad | Prepare to ooh and ahh over every single perfect home.
Historic home tour | Both the Aiken Rhett house tour and the Nathaniel Russell house tour come highly recommended. Bonus: You can get a discounted ticket if you plan to visit both!
Rent bikes | Bike all over town, through South of Broad, along the battery, and if you are feeling adventurous, head over the Arthur Ravenel bridge to Mt. Pleasant.
Head to the beach | There are two main beaches in Charleston, Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. We visited and loved Isle of Palms, but I’ve heard great things about both.
Hop on a sailboat to experience Charleston from the water | The Schooner Pride offers afternoon, sunset, and moonlight sails, all for resonable prices ($40-50 depending on time of day). Bonus: you’ll likely see dolphins while you’re out on the water!
Historical city tour | Perfect for first-time visitors to the city and those history buffs who want to know more about this historical town. There are quite a few options for guides, but I would choose between two: Bulldog Tours or Say Charleston. Bulldog Tours was recommended by a local as the best non-touristy tour, and in my researching I discovered Say Charleston which is lead by a local photographer who provides the tour and takes your photos along the way! Perfect if you’re the type of couple or family who is always like “man, we never get any nice photos of all of us together!” It seems to be a great value: $40 for the tour and another $15 for the photos.
Visit a plantation | If you are spending more time in Charleston or are looking for a change in scenery, there are three plantations each located just a 30 minute drive from the city: Magnolia Plantation, Boone Hall Plantation, and Middleton Place.
Where to eat
Black Tap Coffee | Order the lavender iced latte, trust me!
Eclectic Cafe & Vinyl | Part coffee shop, part record store, such a cool atmosphere.
The Daily | Both grab-and-go and dine-in options | Average cost: $10
Hominy Grill | Good ole Southern fare | Average cost: $15-20
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit | A tiny shop with minimal seating and a bit of a wait, but this is where all your biscuit dreams will come true | Average cost: $5-10
167 Raw | Best meal we had in Charleston, hands down. Oysters, lobster roll, fish taco – all the best I’ve ever had | Average cost: $20-30
Leon’s Oyster Shop | Grab a seat on the colorful patio | Average cost: $15-20
Butcher & Bee | Open all day, this one makes a great choice no matter if you choose to dine for brunch, lunch, or dinner | Average cost: $10-35 (depending on the meal)
FIG | If you’re willing to spring for a more elegant meal | *Only open for Dinner* | Average cost: $50
Husk | With an ever changing menu, rave reviews, and a fantastic location in a renovated historic home, this one fills up fast so be sure to make reservations! | Average cost: $45
Caviar and Bananas | A gourmet market and cafe, you can find nearly everything here. Great if you have a larger group with varied tastes | Average cost: $10-15
The Darling Oyster Bar | Delightful cocktails in the most perfectly decorated space right on King St.
The Vendue | Grab a drink and watch the sunset at this rooftop bar.
The Cocktail Club | Speakeasy style lounge with an extensive cocktail list.
Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts| The lemon old-fashioned was fantastic!
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams | Decadent and delicious, Jeni’s mixes up fun flavors you won’t find anywhere else.
Sugar Bakeshop | Satisfy your mid-day sweet tooth with these impressive cupcakes.
Shops to check out
Skinny Dip | Complete with a wine and coffee bar, this collective boutique has areas dedicated to different up-and-coming brands and designers like KJP, Society Social, Inslee, Ellsworth & Ivey, Mott 50, Sail to Sable, and more.
Ben Silver | Best known for their customized blazer buttons that have been worn by countless Presidents and bigwigs, this traditional preppy boutique is interesting even just to stop in. Primarily a men’s store, they do also carry some women’s and even some children’s clothing.
Mac + Murphy | This stationery shop stocks unique, quality paper goods like cards and notebooks as well as little gifts and accessories.
Hampden Clothing | Well-edited selection of designer wears, this is the shop to visit for you fashion-forward gals.
Where to stay
Zero George | Quintessential boutique hotel, would love to stay here next time!
Airbnb | If you prefer to experience Charleston like a local, pick an Airbnb in the center of town. So many great options like this one, this one, and this one all in the heart of the city, or this one if you’re looking to spend time at the beach.
North Charleston Marriott | Conveniently located near the airport making it great if you arrive late or depart really early.
The humidity is no joke | Prepare for the humidity and dress in loose clothing.
Charleston is a “foodie” town | It’s hard to make a bad choice when choosing where to eat in Charleston because the city really takes pride in its food scene. Prepare to spend a bit more on food here, but know that it will be worth it.
Make restaurant reservations | Going off the last note, if there are any places you are dead-set on trying during your stay, be sure to make reservations beforehand. Many places book up weeks in advance.
Wear comfortable shoes | The city is a very manageable size and totally walkable so be sure to pack comfortable shoes; you won’t want to miss out on the walk because the town is full of pretty gems around every corner.
Most of the quintessential houses are in South of Broad | I had assumed that the entire town would be those perfect pastel townhomes that are always shown in pictures, but that’s actually primarily contained to the area South of Broad. The rest of the city is still equally charming, but might not be what you expect.
King Street is not overly touristy | If you are like me and tend to dislike “touristy” areas full of souvenir shops, etc, fear not! King Street was a pleasant surprise because it is not like that at all. Rather it is essentially their downtown area, where you’ll find incredible boutique shopping, designer brands, restaurants, bars, and local mom-and-pop shops. You’ll find yourself surrounded by both tourists and locals alike.
If you choose to bike over the bridge… | Be sure to strap in your hat and bag because it gets very windy at the peak of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. Almost lost my hat to the marshland.
Songs of the trip
Physical – The Aces
Magic – Thomas Gold ft. Jillian Edwards
Someone That Loves You – HONNE
^Absolutely zero filter on that sunset – so gorgeous!^