Last week Daniel and I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for a long weekend trip. We left L.A. on a Friday and were able to stay for a long weekend, until Tuesday. It was the perfect length to allow us to see lots of what we wanted to as well as relax and work a bit. Charleston is such an up-and-coming city with a ton of history and charm, so today I want to share where we stayed, what we did, where we ate, and what I wore to help you if you are planning a trip there soon!
Where to Stay
When looking for a place to stay in Charleston, we knew we wanted a boutique-y feel that fit the charm of the historic city. We could not have been more pleased with every single aspect of Zero George! There are only 16 rooms in five different “houses” or buildings and we stayed in the Anson King. There is free breakfast every morning (the cinnamon biscuits are amazing) and a complimentary wine and cheese hour from 5-6 each night. They have water bottles for you downstairs at all times to grab as you leave for the day and free bikes to explore the city with.
The staff was amazing, and it totally felt like we were a (very well taken care of) guest in their home. They take so much pride in everything they do from the amazing kitchen and chef they have to their turndown service with bottled water on your nightstand each night. Daniel and I both agree it was one of our top five favorite hotels we have ever stayed in!
Where to Eat
This place came extremely highly recommended to us from several sources. Daniel and I both ordered pizzas; we got the Old Danger and The Rutledge. It is located on Sullivan’s Island, so if you are heading there for the day make sure to stop in for lunch or dinner (reservations are best because it gets packed).
On our first night while we were shopping on King St. and exploring the downtown area, we stopped into Stars for drinks and appetizers. We got the truffle fries with bacon and chesse (yum!) and I got a peach bellini which I would highly recommend. They also have the coolest rooftop bar if you just want to go for drinks!
Seafood, particularly oysters, are extremely popular in Charleston. Daniel and I are not seafood eaters so we had a tough time finding restaurants at times, but if you love oysters we hear this is the place to go! We stopped in because of all the hype, and the atmosphere definitely lived up to it.
This was the restaurant right in our hotel that is serviced by the smallest kitchen right when you walk in the front door. It is definitely a “foodie” spot with super fun but kind of crazy options (like a fully edible potted plant!). They are known for their five course meal with wine pairings, but since Daniel and I don’t like seafood (two of the five courses) or wine, we opted for a non-seafood three-course meal. The dessert was a tres leches cake with honeycomb bark that we ordered seconds of!
This was the most highly recommended restaurant by our Uber drivers. We didn’t get a chance to visit just due to time, but we love steak so I am sure we would have loved it!
The number one brunch spot everywhere I looked! Daniel and I aren’t the biggest brunch people (I feel like we are the only ones that exist in 2017 haha), but if you are make sure to check it out.
Another very highly recommended spot. Husk books up so far in advance so we weren’t able to get a reservation. Had I known earlier, I definitely would have made one a few weeks before we left. Their menu changes daily for lunch and dinner and they have both seafood and non-seafood options, but the hostess told me they are known for their pork!
Daniel and I were surprised by how yummy biscuits are in the South, and after hearing about this place over and over, we decided to try it. They are open in the mornings for breakfast and for a late night snack on the weekends (King St. location), and the cinnamon was by far our favorite flavor!
Located right on King St. Jeni’s is central to most of the restaurants in Charleston, which makes it all too convenient to “stop by” after dinner. We came here two of the four nights and our favorites were the Cream Puff and Lemon Blueberry Frozen Buttermilk Yogurt.
What to Do
The morning of our first full day in Charleston we scheduled a walking tour. It seemed like a total tourist thing to but I can’t recommend it enough. The timing was perfect because we were able to get a feel for the layout of the city and note things we wanted to go back to during our stay. We used Bulldog Tours, and our guide was great and knew tons of history about Charleston.
Explore the city on bikes
Our hotel had bikes that we could take out, but if yours does not, I still would highly recommend renting some and exploring the city this way. It is the easiest way to get around (renting a car would be kind of a nightmare and expensive) and allows you the flexibility to check out many of the cute housing areas and alleys that you wouldn’t get to in a car. Your feet get tired from walking quickly, but on a bike you can see so much! Daniel and I loved doing this so much that we tried to do it daily!
Take a Photo on Rainbow Row
Rainbow Row is one of the most photographed spots in Charleston and it really is adorable in person. Make sure to get a photo here, but try to do it in the morning because the mosquitos in this area were horrible in the evening!
Explore the neighborhoods South of Broad
The homes in this area are iconic Charleston style homes and all look like they are straight out of a movie scene. We rode our bikes down here several times and just loved looking at all the charm and character that they had. This was by far my favorite thing to do and we did it a couple of times!
Visit a Plantation
On our last day, we visited Boone Hall which is one of the most famous plantations in Charleston. During the walking tour, we learned a bit about the history of Charleston and plantations so we were curious to check it out. You actually get to tour inside the main home (so neat) as well as see the once slave homes on the property. The history is very interesting and the grounds are absolutely gorgeous. Others that were recommended are Magnolia Plantation and Middleton Place. Just a couple of tips: wear closed shoes (I wore sandals and the paths are dirt) and bring bug spray! Not just here but pretty much everywhere!
Shop on King Street
There is some of the best shopping all on this one street, including stores you know and love as well as small boutiques exclusive to Charleston. We would recommend heading here for a few hours in the afternoon to shop before dinner because most of the restaurants are located at the end of King Street!
Spend the day on Sullivan’s Island
Definitely make a “day trip out to Sullivan’s Island during your stay in Charleston. It is only about 20-25 minutes from downtown, so it is close enough that you can just spend part of the day as well. We brought drinks and a book to the beach and were so excited to go in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time! We were shocked by how warm the water is! While we were there, we had lunch at The Obstinate Daughter , and heard great things about Poe’s Tavern as well.
Shop the Charleston Market
The Charleston Market is always bustling with people and is a small strip right in the center of town with local vendors and small shops loaded with souvenirs. One of our traditions is to get a Christmas ornament for our tree on every vacation and we found ours in the Charleston Market! This is also a great place to find the sweetgrass baskets that Charleston is known for.
What I Wore
The weather was hot and humid while we were there (second week of July in the South will do that 😉), so I stuck with a lot of lightweight flowy fabrics and dresses. We did a lot of walking as you probably noticed, so I stuck with flats and sandals the entire time. I packed a pair of heels but never even took them out of my bag. For a more detailed look at what I packed, check out this post!
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