Charleston is a city with so much rich history still embedded in it. I love this town. The hospitality is amazing, the food is really amazing, and it has such a great vibe to it. People there really just seem to love life and love living there. The oak trees with Spanish moss are just breathtaking, maybe my favorite part. The homes are really a work of art, I love reading about the history of them and how they are preserved and how much pride everyone takes in them. The doors and window sills are unlike any I have seen and are so quintessentially Charleston.
Where to Stay:
This is in my top 5 favorite hotels, EVER. I cannot recommend staying here enough. It is perfect location, right off of King Street. You can valet your car, because parking in Charleston is a nightmare, and walk everywhere you need to be. The rooms are amazing multi-level suites that I would be obsessed if I could live in. They have complimentary cookies & port at night, complimentary breakfast (served in a picnic basket!), a full kitchen, and a ceiling fan in the bedroom! (Obviously, super important to me!) They also have the most amazing common area for everyone to hang out in downstairs that is decorated perfectly. Really, can I please move in?!
Another great option is to find a home to rent out. This is a great option in any town, so you can really see how the locals live and Charleston is a great walking city. We have done this before and gotten an amazing loft on King Street!
What to Do:
Walk Around & Explore: Really I think you could walk around Charleston for days and still have more to gawk at. The homes are beautiful, all the doors, all the windows, the gardens. It is beautiful. Most people have limited time, so I would say walk around in The Battery (where the famous pineapple fountain is) and Rainbow Row (which is ridiculously close) and see the beautiful homes. Also, plan to do some walking throughout the day to admire the houses along the way, you won’t regret it.
City Market: Grab a coffee one morning and head here. This is a beautiful, historic building that spans 4 city blocks. It has hundreds of different local vendors. I love the famous sweetgrass baskets and roses that the locals make, be sure to check those out!
Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge: This is one of the most iconic Charleston landmarks. It is a beautiful bridge, make sure to check it out, even if it’s just riding over it. You can also, walk, run, or bike it.
Shop King Street: SO much shopping. I think I could spend all of my money in Charleston and still want to shop more! King Street is a great place to start. Stroll up and down and admire all the shops and duck in whenever you feel like it. My favorite shop is King Street Images, we were walking home from dinner last night and they were closed and I could not stop staring in. Ethan ordered me and image for Christmas and then I got to stop in this past week and pick out one of my own. They are gorgeous! Moon & Lola is next door and is a Raleigh,NC based company and I love those girls (and the store!) They have great jewelry, fun accessories, and a beautiful store. In the same area, M. Dumas & Sons is a fun spot to look around.
Where to Eat:
Halls Chophouse: You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl. Steak is my favorite food and we are always looking for the best steakhouse in town, even in a quintessential southern city. They have live music (every night!), impeccable service, and amazing food. There is true Southern hospitality here. Whatever you do, don’t skip the Pepper Jack Creamed Corn Skillet. We went for dinner, but I am dying to go back for the Gospel Brunch on Sunday’s. The reviews are amazing and I already know the food is perfect.
Tattooed Moose: Okay guys, this is a dive. Like a serious dive. Graffiti on the walls, questionable service, and AMAZING food. I swear I will dream about the roasted garlic & bleu cheese duck fat fries for the rest of my life. It comes with an entire bulb of confit garlic, flip it upside down, pick it up with your napkin and squeeze the bulbs on to your fries and dig in. They have a decent bottle list, but if I am being serious, just order a bucket of Miller Light High Life Ponies and just embrace the vibe. This place is open until 2 AM, so perfect for late night food or for lunch. The duck club is also amazing, you should get that, too. I have been for lunch and late night and it is amazing both times, so you choose when you want to go, just don’t miss it!
Husk: This restaurant is one I knew about long before I even thought about going to Charleston. I had to eat at the legendary, Sean Brock’s restaurant, and I did. I originally wanted to go for lunch to try the shrimp & grits and famous burgers, but we couldn’t get a reservation, so we settled on dinner. I really don’t think you can go wrong. The atmosphere is beautiful and the food is all locally sourced and made with lots of thought and care. The fire roasted oysters with FRIED CHICKEN BUTTER, and pepper mash are what dreams are made. The duck confit leg was pretty delicious, as well, but the star on that plate was the grits. They are officially the best grits I have ever had. And the rolls they serve before hand, with the most addicting butter in the world…. This place will not disappoint!
Hominy Grill: We came here for brunch one morning and got lucky enough to not have to wait in line! The shrimp and grits were incredible. The shrimp were so plump and lightly seasoned, they would have been perfect on their own, but add the grits, and bacon, cheese, greens onions, just wow… We tried the Charleston Big Nasty, but apparently are in the minority, and it wasn’t our favorite. The special of the day was double chocolate brownie pancakes and good thing Ethan ordered two entrees, because we had to split those, they were so delicious!
Lewis BBQ: This is a spot making Texas BBQ. We went with some friends and I was skeptical (since I am from TX), once I found out that he was involved with opening Franklin BBQ in Texas all my worries were gone. This place has an amazing outdoor seating area (that will remind you of Austin) and excellent Texas BBQ. This is a must-go spot, especially if you have never had Texas BBQ!
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: I had the cookbook and made her homemade ice-cream at home, until I could finally make it to one of her shops. This is a chain, but very small. We always can’t wait to stop here. My favorite is the brown brittle almond ice cream with salted caramel sauce. OMG. And you can order it online to your house!!! Make sure and ask for a few tastes before deciding. There are so many delicious, unique flavors!
Where to Drink:
Westbrook Brewing Company: This is a brewery that is actually in Mt. Pleasant, SC and most known for a stout called Mexican Cake. It is definitely worth the drive, but look up the unique hours. For serious beer nerds, check out the on-site bottle list. It is expensive, but there is no other way you would get to try these beers. I recommend Two Claw (a rye IPA), any Mexican Cake they have on draft, any Gose they currently have (the key lime pie version is my personal fave!) They don’t serve food here, so make sure to eat before or have plans after!
The Cocktail Club: Have you ever order a punch bowl? Usually they are ridiculously sweet in a hideous bowl with a zillion straws. Think of the most classy way to enjoy punch, out of a glass punch bowl (like your grandma had) with the matching glass cups and quality ingredients in the punch. If you go on Sunday they are 1/2 price. They recommend 4-6 people to drink them, if you only have 2, you should go ahead and get one anyway. And whatever you do, order the bacon fat popcorn. OMG. This is a swanky dark spot that is unlike any other, it goes down as one of my favorite bars in the USA.
The Bar at Husk: So, you read my raving review up there about the restaurant, if you can’t get reservations or if you just decided to go somewhere else, at least stop by the bar. It is a separate building, right next to Husk and serves excellent cocktails. You are in Charleston, so most will be whiskey cocktails, but talk to the bartender there are some much more smooth than others and disguised in a punch. They also serve appetizers and is a perfect pre-dinner spot.
The Macintosh: This is owned by the same group that owns Cocktail Club, so it’s no surprise that I am obsessed with this place. I think this restuarant should maybe go in the food section, because I am sure it’s amazing. I have only had the truffle fries and a few cocktails. I got the dirty martini with bacon-pimiento stuffed olives, what?!! It was amazing. We stopped by here one night when we had a late night (9:30) dinner reservation. Ethan enjoyed a whiskey punch and we had a great time at the bar, which is first come basis.
Edmunds Oast: This place has an outstanding on site beer/bottle list, craft cocktails, and an amazing patio to enjoy them on. We came with friends and tried a zillion different things and had a great time on the patio and then walked to the Tattooed Moose to end out night. It was pretty perfect.
Restaurants I Haven’t Been To (but want to!):
I felt like I couldn’t leave these off the list, because they have such great reviews and have been recommended to me. However, I have not personally tried them, as I do on my future visits to Charleston, I will either mark them off or add them to the top!
The Obstinate Daughter
The Charleston Grill
Happy Traveling, The Barbee Housewife