Travel Love: Charleston, SC
Still pinching myself that I got to visit the beautiful city that is Charleston last month! No matter how quickly my weekend stay flew by, I endured humidity and hot temps to eat, drink and explore my way through this colorful and magical place. I already can't wait to go back, but next time, it won't be in the dead of summer. If you melt like a popsicle in humidity like I do then I assure you, late June isn't the time for you to visit. But since I was visiting North Carolina for a two-week work trip, I knew I had to road trip down to Charleston, a place that's been on my bucket list for YEARS!
Charleston is an amazing place to celebrate a bachelorette party (I believe I counted 8 during my weekend stay) or simply unwind and explore. The city is filled with history, stunning architecture and is extremely walkable (once again, humidity is a factor here).
I decided to round up my weekend highlights in this post in the hopes that if you're on the fence about visiting Charleston you're now as obsessed with this place as I am.
WHERE TO STAY
- King Charles Inn: I originally had a reservation at Elliott Bay Inn but there was a plumbing issue with my room so they were able to accommodate me at their sister property last minute (only a few streets away) at King Charles Inn. The hotel was conveniently located to everything I wanted to see and do AND parking was included with my stay, which was a huge plus. It's right off the main street so if you're not a fan of foot traffic and road noise, this may not be the best spot for you. If you like being close to the action and walkable to all the sights, this is a great hotel for a weekend trip.
FOOD + DRINKS
Rise Coffee Bar - Located a couple blocks away from my hotel, I loved starting my morning off here in this hip coffee bar. Not to mention, their iced lattes are to die for.
Poogan's Porch - I went here for brunch and was obsessed. Hands down the best eggs benedict (with a southern twist) I have ever had: pulled pork eggs benedict with a side of white grits...mmmm. This restaurant is located on the charming Queen's Street, a main street with lots of old buildings, shops and restaurants. I highly recommend making a reservation.
Cannon Green - I made reservations at this cute spot for my Sunday brunch before my road trip back to North Carolina. On Sunday's, a live DJ spins beats while you brunch making for such a fun experience! I indulged in pancakes, coffee and a mimosa while soaking in the lovely atmosphere, greenery and interior decor.
Sugar Bakeshop - After visiting the cutest stationary store the owner recommended Sugar Bakeshop down the street. I ventured over and treated myself to some sweet tea which helped my battle with the high (and humid) temperature outside. I was too full for cupcakes, but they looked spectacular.
The Darling Oyster Bar - I can't decide if I'm more obsessed with their oysters or their restaurant's branding and overall vibe. I stopped off here for a happy hour reservation to cool down during my shopping stroll on King's Street. I ordered a selection of oysters and a cocktail and was in heaven. A must visit if you're on King's Street, have a love of seafood and are looking for a fun dinner or pre-dinner stop off.
Lewis BBQ - I read online this place is a must-visit and I could see why when I found myself waiting in a 45 minute line just to order. I'm obsessed with good BBQ and Lewis does it right! Located in the more industrial district of Charleston, I came here later in the evening on Saturday and found the line to be crazy (on the weekends they also have live music performances so it adds to the popularity). I ordered some pulled pork sandwiches and a side of mac & cheese, collard greens and cowboy pinto beans. So delicious but SO filling! Also, pro-tip: Saturday's are the only days they serve beef short ribs, so plan accordingly!
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream: Stop off at Jeni's for an ice cream treat while shopping along King's Street. You won't regret it! I visited my first Jeni's while in Nashville so when I saw there was one in Charleston, I couldn't resist visiting. Cute ice cream shop with lots of amazing flavors to choose from!
EXPLORE - there are so many fun side streets and neighborhoods within Charleston you can explore (on foot or by car). While I recommend traveling the city on foot since it's extremely walkable, you can also choose to take a horse-drawn carriage or drive. However, when you drive, there are parking meters everywhere! I struggled with the humidity and high temps during my stay so I ended up driving through several of the streets, stopping off for photos after I sweated my way through an hour long walk after brunch the first day.
Here are my favorite streets and sights to see when in Charleston:
- Rainbow Road
- The Mill's House
- Waterfront Park (pineapple fountain)
Streets to Explore (I typed these into Google Maps and was able to navigate my way there by meandering through the streets)
- King Street (excellent for shopping and fun restaurants)
- Queen Street (scenic historical buildings, great restaurants and fun shops)
- Elliot Street (beautiful architecture and colorful homes/buildings)
- Battery Street (beautiful architecture and colorful homes/buildings)
- Bedons Alley (beautiful architecture and colorful homes/buildings)
- Pennsylvania Alley (beautiful architecture and colorful homes/buildings)
- South of Broad (beautiful architecture and colorful homes/buildings)
SHOPPING: While you could spend all day wandering up and down King Street (which I did and recommend doing if you're in the mood), I've decided to share my Charleston shopping highlights with you that are a must when visiting the city for the first time!
- Mac + Murphy: the cutest stationary shop located near Cannon Green and Sugar Bakeshop. Stop off here for cute wrapping paper, greeting cards, stationary and more!
- Candlefish: if you are candle-obsessed like me, then this is the shop for you. Selling an array of products and offering candle making classes, this is such a cute shop to visit!
- Fritz + Porter: I had read incredible things about this interior store so I decided to drive over and check it out for myself. From textiles to ceramics to furniture to lighting, I was in awe. Such a fun store to gather inspiration and shop around in. Interior lovers, add it to your list!
- Skinny Dip Charleston: Cute and on-trend clothing and accessories! They also have an entire back section of the store dedicated to local artisans that sell their products.
- Charleston City Market: This historic market (partially air conditioned in spots) is a great weekend stop-off if you're wanting to shop local products that artisans make and sell. It's larger than most city markets I've been to and most items are extremely affordable!