Charleston Travel Guide

Adam and I just got back from a much needed four day trip to Charleston, SC. We visited Charleston for the first time a little over three years ago right after we got married, but honestly, we were so worn out from the wedding that it was a bit foggy. This go around we were able to squeeze in some new items on our itineraries along with a few repeats of our favorite things from the last trip. One nice thing about Charleston is that it’s an easy city to visit without too much of plan. We came with a few dinner reservations and places written down that we wanted to hit but not too much of a set agenda. We wanted to share some of our highlights from our trip in the form of a travel guide to this beautiful city.

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Zero George Street Inn, which was in a great location and absolutely lovely. We’d read a lot of great things about the inn and remembered passing it and finding it so charming on our last visit. The premises is comprised of various buildings from the early 1800s along with some wonderful outdoor spaces. The Zero George has a bed and breakfast feel while feeling a bit more secluded and private from other guests. We stayed in the Veranda Queen guestroom and were totally in love with the classic design of the room and all of the little details throughout. Each morning, a delicious breakfast is available complete with three choices of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits! In the evenings, they offer a happy hour, which we attended on our first evening there. There’s a good chance we consumed someone’s leftover cheeseboardĀ in the siting room by mistake while trying to figure out what was free during said happy hour. I don’t know; it’s hard to say. I’m going to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. All in all, I’d definitely stay there again, and we got a great leather luggage tag at the end of our stay.

Favorite Walks

We love places that are walkable and interesting to see by foot. Charleston is definitely one of those cities with endless strolling possibilities. Some of our favorite places to take a walk while there were: King Street, especially near the Battery; Meeting Street; and the College of Charleston.

Eating

It’s no secret that Charleston is full of great dining options. Here were some of our favorites.

The Darling Oyster Bar: We had dinner here on our first night. In addition to the classic decor, the food was absolutely delicious. We ordered oysters, fries with clam chowder on top (kind of weird but also really tasty), and a lobster roll.

167 Raw: The worst part of this restaurant is that they don’t take reservations and are on a first com first serve basis. We tried to stop by one day for lunch but were deterred by the 1.5 hour wait. We came back the next night for dinner and walked right in. We were so glad we did! The staff were so friendly, and the food was incredibly fresh and flavorful. Even their side salad was layered with flavors. I’d especially recommend the lobster roll with came on butter brioche and a selection of their many oysters. Yes, we love lobster rolls and oysters.

Xiao Bao Biscuit: Amazing. Located in a converted gas station, they specialize in Asian Soul Food with tons of flavor and complexity. We both ordered the Bo Bo Ji, which is a cold chicken dish with “strange flavored sauce.” While that might not be the most appealing name for a sauce, it was quite addictive.

The Obstinate Daughter: This restaurant is actually located on Sullivan’s Island, which makes it the perfect stop after an evening walk on the beach. It’s cozy and lively with nautical feel and great pizza. I ordered the The Lieutenant Dan with shrimp, arugula pesto, olives, artichokes, and lemon, which was fresh and flavorful, and Adam ordered The Baller with meatballs and red onion.

Sugar Bakeshop: Adorable exterior and classic baked goods. Adam a got a caramel cupcake that had the best caramel icing I’ve ever had. If this had been closer to our hotel, it could have been dangerous.

Black Tap Coffee: This was our go-to coffeeshop on our first trip, and it was just as good as we remembered. It’s a great placed for iced coffee to fend off the Charleston heat. We like to find a bench at the nearby College of Charleston to enjoy our coffee while we admire the beautiful campus.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: There’s a location in Nashville, but we’ve never gotten around to visiting because we’re always busy getting popsicles. However, we made it a priority to visit the Charleston location, and it easily became a nightly stop. My favorite combo was Bramblebery Crisp and Vanilla and Adam’s was Salted Caramel and Vanilla. It’s hard to go wrong with those.

The Daily by Butcher and Bee: This market and cafe specializes in fresh, locally sourced ingredients. It’s a bit more on the outskirts, but it was a great stop for a quick lunch and coffee on our way back home.

Antiques

Antique shopping is a big thing in Charleston, and the majority of well-known antique shops are located along King Street. I’m not even going to pretend I can afford a single thing in those shops (the number of items I saw well over my annual salary was unreal), but they’re still fun to visit and window shop. One of our favorites was the charming Alexandra French Antiques shop. It didn’t hurt that the whole shop smelled like a Diptyque candle.

Activities

The Aiken Rhett House: We knew we wanted to tour at least one historic home and are so glad we went with the Aiken Rhett House. It’s preserved rather than restored, and the more rugged nature really shows the history of the home. It’s minimally furnished, which allows you to focus on the beautiful bones and to imagine the space throughout the ages. The audio tour allowed you to walk through at your own pace and was very well done. One of our favorite home tours we’ve ever done.

Sullivan’s Island: About 15 minutes from downtown Charleston, Sullivan’s Island allows you to easily sneak in some beach time. Because the island mostly has homes for rent as opposed to hotels, it wasn’t overly crowded and had a laid back feel.

 

In case it’s helpful, I’ve outlined our schedule day by day below.

 

Day One:

-Travel to Charleston, 3:00 arrival

-Check-in: Zero George Street Inn

-Quick walk down King Street

-Zero George for wine and cheese

-Evening stroll around the College of Charleston

-Dinner at the Darling Oyster Bar

-Dessert at Jeni’s Ice Cream

-Walk down King and Meeting Streets

 

Day Two:

-Breakfast at Zero George

-Coffee at Black Tap Coffee

-Walk to The Battery

-Walk around the South of Broad area and down Legare Street in search of this lovely house by Gill Shafer III

-Shopping on King Street

-Lunch at Kitchen 208

-Sunset at Sullivan’s Island

-Dinner at the Obstinate Daughter

-Evening walk

Day Three:

*We spent much of this day in the Cannonborough Elliotborough neighborhood, which felt a bit like the Williamsburg, NYC of Charleston.

-Breakfast at Zero George

-Coffee at Black Tap Coffee

-Tour of the Aiken-Rhett House

-Lunch at Xiao Bao Biscuit

-Shopping at Indigo and Cotton and at Mac and Murphy Paper

-Afternoon snack at Sugar Bakeshop

-Beach time at Sullivan’s Island

-Dinner at 167 Raw

-Dessert at Jeni’s Ice Cream

-Evening walk

Day Four:

-Breakfast at Zero George

-Coffee at Black Tap Coffee

-Visit to the Corrigan Gallery

-Final stroll down some of our favorite streets

-Lunch at The Daily

-Travel back to K-town

 

Have you ever been to Charleston? What are some of your favorite things?

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