I’m so excited to share my Charleston travel guide post with you all! My best friend and I decided Charleston was the spot for our annual girls’ trip and it was definitely the right choice. I had heard great things about the city and of course watching Southern Charm did make me want to visit too ;). The people were all so nice, the food all delicious, and can’t forget about the long history either. Every single one of our Uber/Lyft drivers mentioned that Charleston was voted the #1 tourist destination in the world for like the fourth or so year in a row by Conde Naste. I had to google this, and they were correct! I’m sharing with you the places we ate at & the tours that we went on to hopefully convince you to book your next vacation to Charleston!
Do & See
Mixology Tour – great way to discover local drinks at local bars on King St. We went to Prohibition (gin based drink w/ white vinegar), Smoke BBQ (Rum/st. Germaines/lime for daily daiquiris hour), Republic Garden & Lounge (gin ale fizz punch bowl). The tour company, Charleston Culinary Tours, also offers food tours if that is more along the lines of your interest!
Shopping on / around King Street – there are many retail chains (Madewell, Urban Outfitters) to boutiques (MOSA Boutique). We were there during tax free shopping weekend! First time I’ve heard of such a thing.
Rainbow Row – 83 E Bay St. Super close to King St. We walked over to Rainbow Row after brunch at Fleet Landing, which was about a 7 min walk. Rainbow Row is a row of colorful pastel houses! I did get 3 mosquitoes bites within 10 mins of taking pics there…not a happy camper about that.
Fort Sumter Tour – if you’re into history or just want to explore Charleston and need a break from eating/drinking the definitely check out Fort Sumter! It is super windy in the ferry to the fort though and at the fort itself so I recommend wearing shorts/jeans and NOT a dress like I did. 30 min ferry ride there, one hour at the fort to explore/listen to a guide give you the background history, 30 min ferry ride back to liberty square. We walked from king street to liberty square and that took about 20 or so mins. You can purchase tickets ahead of time online or at the window prior to the ferry/tour.
Charleston Strolls Walking Tour – we booked our stroll through Bulldog Tours ahead of time. Honestly if we had known it was going to be humid and basically 100 degrees, we probably wouldn’t have booked the walking tour. It was 2 hours and our guide, Ann, who had lived in Charleston her whole life, was an amazing guide. She knew so much history about Charleston and was super enthusiastic the entire time. I would definitely recommend if you would like to learn more about Charleston and want to take a walk, however, so monitor the weather though. There are other Tour options available that we saw, such as the horse carriage Tour, which may have been a better idea given the hot temp since you get to sit! But we still had a great time with Ann and sat for 2 hours inside the AC after the tour haha.
We unfortunately did not make it to Folly Beach or Sullivan’s Island, but it is on our list for the next Charleston trip. Also, Ann, our tour guide from the Charleston Walking Tour recommended that all of us visit the the Old Exchange Building & Provost Dungeon…we didn’t have time to check it out this time around but definitely on the list for next time.
Food & Drink
Five Loaves Cafe –43 Cannon St. Five Loaves Cafe offers a half sandwich and half salad option, great for trying multiple things. I had half the Mushrooms & Quinoa “ruffage” aka salad, and half the Mediterranean garden burger on sour dough bread. Just the right amount of food for waking up at 3:30 am and traveling all morning!
Ice & Pan – 567 King St. Get your Thai rolled ice cream at Ice & Pan! I had the Cookie Monster & Dana got the strawberry cheesecake, both were delish. Also perfect too because it literally started pouring the second after we walked into the ice cream shop.
Magnolia’s – 185 E. Bay St. Magnolia’s was exactly what I had hoped for in a southern meal. Taste and look-wise. For the appetizer, we ordered the boiled peanut hummus with house made flatbread…the hummus was a bit salty but still tasted different and great combo with the corn that was on the side. We both got the tomato bisque soup too. For entree I got the Smoked salmon…which came with creole grits, shrimp, tomato butter…the taste was just amazing…spicy, sweet, deliciousness. No room for dessert. Dana got the Bourbon fried catfish and she said it was delicious! Both of us ate as much as we could and left as little as possible on our entree plates. I suggest making a reservation ahead of time!
Fleet Landing – 186 Concord St. It was such a great atmosphere at Fleet Landing! We loved the decor inside! And the restaurant is located right next to the water, so great views too. We choose to sit inside because it was literally 90 degrees outside and super humid. I decided to order a brunch special, the Pan Roasted Crab Cake which came with poached eggs and creamy grits and a biscuit! I don’t each runny eggs so I asked for fried eggs, and the restaurant was super accommodating about that. Also, I’m usually not one to order crab or creamy food in general but decided to go outside of my comfort zone and boy am I glad I did! The crab cakes were amazing and the grits were delish…not too creamy at all! By the time we left brunch around 1 pm, there was a huge line, so I suggest making a reservation ahead of time!
Husk – 76 Queen St. I want to go back already. Husk was amazing and we were both so pleased with everything we ate! Husk changes their menu daily…one for brunch and another for dinner. We got a bottle of Rosè to split between the two of us. I got the heirloom tomatoes appetizers, soooo good…perfectly seasoned and it was so colorful! Also not too filling. For entree, I’m super thankful the restaurant was accommodating because the snapper I wanted came with ham which I don’t eat and they weren’t able to leave out the ham…so I got the snapper with veggies instead, which was actually the fried catfish veggies but since I don’t like catfish, I substituted with snapper and the restaurant allowed me to do that! We also got the grilled cabbage side to share and loved it! Pickled nicely and tasted SO good. Dana’s entree was the Carolina heritage pork and she said it was sooo tender. For dessert, we split a chocolate tart, which had caramel corn ice cream and sorghum (basically popcorn and toffee)…delish!! P.S. we told our Uber driver that we were going to Husk and she was saying reservations are super hard to get! We made our reservations a month ahead of time.
Hominy Grill –207 Rutledge Ave. Anthony Bourdain visited Hominy Grill for his travel show, No Reservations. We ordered the fried green tomatoes as our appetizer. I got the grilled eggplant sandwich (w/o cheese) and substituted my side for a homemade buttermilk biscuit….I love biscuits!!!! Dana got the Charleston Nasty Chicken and said she no regrets at all getting it and finished nearly every bite. I ended up putting a fried green tomato into my grilled eggplant sandwich and that was a good call! Love the crunch and tomatoes!
Thanks for reading! What are you favorite spots in Charleston?