Bogdan and I just got back from Charleston, South Carolina and we absolutely loved it! It is the perfect place for a relaxing weekend getaway. The city is full of gorgeous architectural gems and the food was amazing. If you love great food, seafood especially – Charleston is for you.
We’ve had so many friends ask us for recommendations since we’ve been back that I thought I would put together a little guide of our favourites. Enjoy!
Where to Stay
When we started planning our Charleston trip, we decided to shy away from big hotels and look for something more quaint and private. 86 Cannon fit the bill. It is a brand-new Charleston Boutique Inn located in the heart of Charleston. Beautiful and full of charm, 86 Cannon is actually a restored single-family home from the 1860’s. The inn has only five guestrooms making you feel like you’re on a private getaway in the city. Our room walked out to a large open-aired piazza where we enjoyed the inn’s nightly complimentary wine and cheese.
Where to Eat
If you’re anything like me – to have dined well, is to have travelled well! My travels are often times planned around great food and restaurants that spark my interest. Charleston is home to many world famous chefs and the food scene is remarkable! If you’re planning a trip to Charleston, be sure to make dinner reservations as soon as you book your trip. Many restaurants book up months in advance.
Husk – With a romantic two-storey porch, Husk is apparently THE place to dine. We managed to steal the very last reservation available during our time in Charleston. The menu changes daily but their Shrimp and Grits was a home run for us!
FIG – FIG stands for Food Is Good – and the food is definitely good… Outstanding really! This was our favourite restaurant by far! Start with a glass of the Amaro and be sure to order the Fish Stew Provençal if it’s on the menu. The harisssa aioli makes it an unforgettable dish.
The Ordinary – A sister restaurant to Fig, The Ordinary is a great place for cocktails and a casual, laid-back meal. Our favourite dish was the King Mackerel Crudo, the combination of lemon, horseradish and caviar are amazing!
The Darling Oyster Bar – If you happen to visit Charleston during the week, be sure to stop by and grab a seat at their raw oyster bar. Select oysters are only $1 during happy hour from 4:00pm to 7:00pm during the week and they also have a great selection of cocktails. We loved their oysters so much, we ended up here twice during our trip.
Leon’s Oyster Shop – Three words to remember: Fried Chicken Sandwich. Perfectly seasoned and oh-so juicy! Leon’s char-grilled oysters are another big hit as well.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – With odd sounding flavour combinations that actually taste delicious like moonshine with corn syrup, goat cheese with red cherries or cocoa curry coco – Jeni’s ice cream is the perfect mid-afternoon treat to cool off from a warm day.
Lewis Barbeque – We didn’t make it here, but I decided it was worth a mention since it came highly recommended by three of our Uber drivers!
Poe’s Tavern – Named after the famous Edgar Allen Poe, Poe’s Tavern is famous for their delicious fish tacos and beer selection. If you have a chance to head out to Sullivan’s Island for a day-trip, be sure to order their Citrus Marinated Mahi Mahi tacos with a side of guacamole. Delish!
Beardcat’s Sweet Shop – After your visit to Poe’s, take a stroll down to Beardcat’s and order their Carrot Cake Gelato. Think mini-pieces of super moist carrot cake blended with cream cheese flavoured gelato.
What to Do
Picturesque cobble-stoned streets, horse carriages and classical architecture are just the start of what Charleston is about. The oldest city in South Carolina has a variety of shopping, beautiful parks, dolphin sails, plantation visits and beaches to suit everyone’s needs.
South of Broad – Be sure to take a morning bike ride down to this historic neighbourhood and wander through the streets. The area is filled with beautiful colonial and Antebellum homes, as well as mansions and secret gardens. Ride along Colonial Lake and end your tour on the Battery at White Point Garden. This is a great spot to enjoy the Charleston landscape.
Rainbow Row – This series of 13 colourful historic homes is located along East Bay. They represent the longest row of Georgian homes in the United States.
King Street – Lined with restaurants and boutiques, King Street is a great place to spend an afternoon. My favourites were Hampden Clothing and Beckett Boutique. Lily is another great shop with a curated selection of perfumes, jewelry and other home goods.
Hampton Park – Pack a blanket and head over to the largest park in Charleston for an afternoon picnic. Hampton Park is one of the prettiest parks with it’s extensive floral display and live oak trees.
Sullivan’s Island – Located along the Atlantic Ocean, Sullivan’s Island is a short 20 minute ride from Charleston. It is a great spot to catch the sunrise if you’re an early riser and catch some afternoon rays along the vast beach.
Charleston is an extremely pedestrian and bike friendly city. Many hotels in the city provide complimentary bikes to use, if not, you can easily rent them. If you need a car to head out further in the city or to the airport, Uber provides quick and inexpensive service.
We had such a wonderful time in Charleston – we can’t wait to visit again. If I’ve missed any Charleston gems, be sure to let me know!