Ahh, Charleston. One of my favorite cities! The streets are lined with brightly colored buildings that make you smile just by walking past them. The entire city is full of rich history and more importantly, delicious food! There are plenty of things to do, places to shop, and sights to see. There really is something for everybody in this town!
After countless messages and texts asking for recommendations, I’ve complied a list of my top 25 things you MUST do & see while in Charleston. This list is perfect for a girls weekend, but it can also be used for a couple’s trip or a solo adventure. No matter who you are traveling with, you are sure to have the time of your life in Charleston!
There are SO many great spots in and around this city, but this list focuses mainly on the French Quarter in Historic Downtown.
Where to Stay:
I’m obsessed with this hotel! I stayed here once and it was beyond incredible. Not only was the room beautiful but they serve wine and desserts during happy hour in their library (yeah, they have a library), you can enjoy dinner at their rooftop restaurant (highest rooftop in Charleston), or grab a cup of coffee at the coffee bar attached to it.
I LOVE staying in Airbnbs, especially in this city. Each one is so unique and full of character. I stayed in a charming, one bedroom complete with hardwood floors and two gorgeous fireplaces right in the French Quarter off of Queen. It was quiet but still close to everything. I’m giving away $40 in travel credits to all my friends! It doesn’t even have to be in Charleston either! >>Save $40 on your next adventure!<<
The Spectator Hotel
Another gorgeous hotel! Inspired by the 1920s this hotel is “a mix of the captivating charm of the Southern belle, the flair of the flapper, and the elegance of the socialite.” Enjoy a carefully crafted cocktail in their bar or take advantage of The Butler Service they offer. You’ll feel like a real queen!
Where to Eat:
I could make an entire list of all the restaurants to visit in this city, because there are hundreds of amazing ones. But Husk is one of my all-time favorites! Enjoy their classic Southern food with a modern twist.
Right next to Husk, is a Charleston’s staple, Poogan’s Porch. Delicious Southern food and the restaurant is full of rich history. Oh, and it’s super haunted! The ghost story alone is worth a stop.
A fabulous oyster bar right on King! Their food was amazing and the restaurant itself is gorgeous. Housed in a 115-year-old storefront, you can’t help but feel happy and at home here.
If you love traditional Southern bbq, then this is the place for you! I enjoyed their Sloppy Smoke sandwich along with their hash & grits and fell into an amazing food coma. So good!
Brown Dog Deli
The perfect sandwich shop! They have the best sandwiches (you have to try the Apple “Butter” Jeans or the Pig ‘N Fig) plus great vegetarian options. If it’s nice out, ask to sit outside on their patio.
My friend, Sirena, introduced me to Mellow Mushroom and I’m so glad she did. It’s this hippie-inspired pizza place that I’m obsessed with. Good vibes and yummy pizza!
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
If you like breakfast, brunching, and biscuits, you have to stop at Callie’s! There will probably be a line out the door because it’s a small little place, but it’s SO worth the wait!
Charleston is full of dessert bars and bakeshops. My favorite is Sugar Bakeshop. This cute little shop is stocked full of yummy treats and delectable delights. Try their cupcakes, they are incredible!
Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe
After dinner or a spooky ghost tour, head on over to Kaminsky’s with your friends for a sweet treat. It’s better than just a bar because you can enjoy cake, pie, and old fashion root beer floats!
Carmella’s Dessert Bar
Another amazing dessert bar right on East Bay! Carmella’s is also a lovely wine bar! Desserts & wine in one location? Yes, please! Try their triple chocolate mousse cup or a scoop of their gelato, it’s perfection!
Where to Grab A Drink:
Black Tap Coffee
I am such a sucker for cute and unique coffee bars! I try to visit at least one every time I travel. Black Tap Coffee was my first one in Charleston and I loved it. It’s located in this adorable little building and I could have sat there all day.
This place is fabulous. You can just grab a drink, order food, or enjoy the live music, you’ll love it here! This rustic-chic yet modern American bar/restaurant celebrates with a Jazz Age theme, creative cocktails, and wonderful music!
The Rise Coffee Bar
This is the coffee bar attached to The Restoration Hotel. They have great coffee, a super friendly staff, and the cutest little shop. The tile flooring and the marble countertops made me so happy.
The way the Gin Joint describes their place is so spot on – “Cozy, intimate bar/eatery serving cocktails & eclectic small plates in a 1920s-inspired setting.” What could be more perfect?!
What to Do & See:
You can’t go to Charleston and not visit Rainbow Row! Head on down East Bay to view all the beautifully painted Georgian row houses. I suggest walking there because there isn’t much parking and you can discover all the side streets and hidden alleyways best by foot.
Palmetto Carriage Tours
These 60-minute horse-drawn carriage tours take you around the city as you sit back, relax, and learn about the history of Charleston. I’m a huge history nerd, so I was obsessed with this.
Charleston City Market
If you only have a little time in Charleston, the City Market is a must-stop! Stroll through the market, find awesome treasures, and meet all the local vendors. The sweetgrass baskets are my favorite.
Dark Side of Charleston Tour & Ghost Tours
These are unlike your normal history tours. The ghost tours take you around the city, share stories, and discuss ghost sightings. On the Dark Side Tour, you learn about the uncensored history of Charleston – full of brothels, prostitutes, corruption, crime, scandal, and sordid affairs. Both tours are absolutely fascinating! Thanks to my cousin, Elizabeth, who recommended the dark side tour!
Escape to Folly Beach
Pack a beach bag and take a day trip to Folly Beach! Sit in the sun and splash around in the Atlantic Ocean, then grab dinner at one of the cute crab shacks or seafood spots. It makes for a perfect day!
Shops on King
If you are in the mood for shopping, stroll along King St. Miles and miles of cute boutiques mixed with name brand stores. This is where I always pick up my gifts for friends and family.
This twelve-acre park along one-half mile of the Cooper River is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Grab a scoop of gelato and go for a little walk. My favorite part is the pineapple fountain!
Churchs & Alleyways
There are SO many beautiful churches and hidden streets in this city (I’m obsessed with the pink French Huguenot Church.) Most churches are open for tours and I highly recommend checking them out!
Drop a comment if you enjoyed this guide to Charleston! Let me know what other cities you would like me to explore!