After visiting Charleston, SC twice for a weekend getaway, it’s safe to say it’s my new U.S. favorite. If you haven’t visited this charming city, I’m positive you’ll fall for it too. Charleston is one of the most “European cities” on this side of the Atlantic. Plus, it has great weather year-round!
Charleston, SC Weekend Getaway
The neighborhoods have bold and inspiring homes, window boxes, cobblestone streets, and all the greenery you can imagine. Not only is the town beautiful, but they also have some of the best food we’ve ever had. We tried a lobster roll and a coconut cake that will definitely have us driving back to Charleston one day.
Where to Stay in Charleston, SC
I loved our stay at the King Charles Inn located in the historic district. Our second visit was in January and the weather was around 60ºF. At the same time, Chicago’s high was only 1ºF. Needless to say, I was in the mood for a fireplace.
King Charles has a cozy lobby with a fireplace you can lounge by while enjoying a cocktail from their bar. They also offer complimentary parking with your stay which is rare to find in downtown Charleston. Since the hotel is within walking distance to many areas, we never had to move the car.
2021 UPDATE: I just saw that King Charles Inn has unfortunately closed their doors. However, a brand new hotel, The Ryder, has taken over its location and will be opening its doors in Spring 2021. It seems like it’ll have some tropical vibes and modern, laid-back rooms. Considering it’ll be a brand new hotel, you know you can expect that extra clean feel. Plus, the location cannot be beaten. So if you’re traveling to Charleston this spring, definitely be on the lookout for The Ryder.
If you prefer something a little more private or lowkey, be sure to check out Airbnb’s in Charleston. I love staying at Airbnb’s when possible. I always filter my searches to “superhost” and choose “entire place” to make sure I have the privacy and hosting that I’m paying for.
Things to do in Charleston, SC
The downtown/historic area is easily walkable (or driveable). So, if you only have a weekend you can still cover a lot of ground. We’ve explored the city on our own, but I will also list some cool tours if you prefer a guide.
WALK THE HISTORIC DISTRICT- This is an outline of the route we followed. We walked those main points and lots of streets in between.
To find some of the prettiest spots head over to the French Quarter and walk toward Broad Street.
South of Broad has so many beautiful streets including the famous Rainbow Row, which cannot be missed if you’re in Charleston.
Here’s the ever so famous Pink House in Charleston. You’ll find it on Chalmers Street between Church and State.
The even more famous Rainbow Row will be on E Bay Street between Tradd and Elliott.
You’ll find Philadelphia Alley nestled between Queen Street and Cumberland Street.
Don’t miss the Pineapple Fountain located in the peaceful Waterfront Park.
If you’d rather a guided tour, this 2-hour walking tour with a city expert will take you all over Charleston’s Historic District: check availability here.
SHOP ON KING STREET- Their main shopping area located all down King Street is one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen, and it goes on for several miles.
BROWSE THE HISTORIC CITY MARKET- It’s one of the nation’s oldest markets located in the historic area. There you’ll find hundreds of vendors selling unique and sometimes handmade products. Also, you’ll see food stalls including Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit!
VISIT THE ANGEL OAK TREE- The legendary Angel Oak Tree is located on John’s Island, a 30-minute drive from Charleston. It’s hundreds of years old, 66 feet tall, and its longest branch is 187 feet.
CHECK OUT CHARLESTON’S BEACH TOWNS- If you’re a beach-goer then you’ll love Charleston during the warmer seasons. Charleston has 5 beautiful beach towns offering a different scene for visitors. The towns are as follows:
- Kiawah Island
- Folly Beach
- Isle of Palms
- Sullivan’s Island
- Seabrook Island
FUN TOURS TO CONSIDER- Cruise along the Charleston harbor as you learn the history of the city. You’ll hit 75 landmarks in this 20-mile trip. The tour is 90 minutes long: click here for the latest prices.
Places to Eat in Charleston, SC
Second State Coffee– Jorge loves this cafe. He drops in anytime we’re in Charleston.
Sassyass Coffee– You’ll find them somewhere along the Charleston streets. Follow their social media pages to see where they’re going to set up for the day. They’re normally close to the historic district. Great coffee from an outdoor cart. They come with great reviews!
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit– It’s our go-to breakfast when we’re in the south. Delicious biscuit sandwiches made to order.
Peninsula Grill– We decided to splurge on Peninsula Grill’s famous coconut cake. We only ordered one slice to go and that thing set us back $13, but it was the best slice we’ve ever had. It’s a hefty portion and it’s plenty for two. It’s been in tons of magazines and reviewed highly by many. We went back for seconds when we were in Charleston again.
167 Raw– BEST. LOBSTER ROLL. EVER. We’ve tried them in Chicago, Boston, and now Charleston and cannot deny that Raw is winning the game.
Smoke BBQ– Delicious BBQ in the middle of Charleston. Very comparable to our great spots in Chicago! Go for the combination platter to try a little bit of everything.
Cane Rhum Bar– This bar was amazing! We had a whole nook to ourselves and loved the service, atmosphere, and especially the drinks. It’s a rum-based bar and they also serve Caribbean-inspired dishes. My favorite cocktail was the piña colada old fashioned!
If you’re into food tours, this guided small-group tour is 2.5 hours long. They’ll take you to various Charleston hot spots while sharing more on the city’s history: check availability here.
As you can see, Charleston is filled with Southern charm and incredible food. It’s worth a visit and usually leaves people wanting more. I know I’ll be heading down for a third time sooner or later.
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