Charleston, a city of cobblestone streets, southern hospitality and seriously good eats. It’s no surprise that people are quick to fall in love with this city. It’s easy to wander from street to street oohing and awwing at the historic store fronts and beautiful homes. Eating your fill of pimento cheese, grits and fried green tomatoes is pretty easy to do as well, take it from me. With plenty to do during the day and into the night, what’s not to love about this South Carolina gem? If you find yourself in this beautiful city, below are the 10 things that you should be sure not to miss out on.
There are so many great tours to choose from in Charleston so you really can’t go wrong here. There are a number of walking tours, carriage tours and ghost tours to choose from. Decide what best fits what you’re looking for and go with that. OR if none of those sound fun, you could totally opt for the pub tour. How can you turn that down?
We’ve all heard of Rainbow Row or have at least seen photos, it’s on East Bay Street and it consists of pastel colored row houses. The houses really are beautiful and worth the visit. Rainbow Row is just a short walk from the Waterfront Park and The Battery. Most all of the carriage tours take you down past the homes so that’s also a great way to get to see Rainbow Row.
Don’t skip any meals, even eat EXTRA meals just to try everything Charleston has to offer. The food scene in this city is one of the best. I would definitely make reservations at the spots that you can because these places book up fast, especially the more popular restaurants. There are so many incredible places to eat you really can’t go wrong dining at any of them. Some of our favorites are Husk, Toast, 167 Raw, Hominy Grill, Poogan’s Porch and Hall’s Chophouse. You can read more about them here.
Charleston City Market
Located in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, the market is a great spot to explore. From food, to home goods, to books, to paintings, there are countless vendors to visit while you’re there. The market has been open since the 1800s and is still one of the most popular attractions in Charleston.
Sullivan’s Island or Folly Beach
Both beaches are just a short drive from downtown Charleston and are well worth the visit. I would even recommend staying at one of the beaches and just driving into Charleston for a day if you’re looking for more of a relaxing vacation. Be sure to stop by Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island and if you’re over on Folly Beach, be sure to stop in at Lost Dog Cafe. Both spots are great and worth the visit.
I know it probably goes without saying, but the park is right on the water (hence the name). It’s a beautiful area to walk along the water, especially in the evenings. Afterwards you can snap a photo at the parks pineapple fountain. You can also spot the Ravenel Bridge if you head to the end of the pier.
So if you’re going to go see the Ravenel Bridge, you should definitely rent a bike and take it across. We saw the bridge from afar but didn’t have time to do the bikes, which is already on my list for our next visit. You can ride over the bridge and into Mt. Pleasant for the afternoon. The bridge is a little over 2.5 miles so a bike ride is definitely the easiest for going there and back!
Put down your phone and just wander. You’ll stumble upon parks and historic houses you wouldn’t have seen staying on the main streets. There are so many beautiful homes throughout the historic district in Charleston and the best way to find them is to pick a street and just start walking. We found some of the prettiest parks and even stumbled across a historic home tour by simply wandering our way around.
This was one of my favorite things we did. You can rent bikes from a number of different places, we went with Affordabike and they were great. At $25 a day we were able to pick it up in the morning and then drop it off whenever we were finished. You can even keep them overnight and return them the next morning. Word of advice: stay off the cobblestone roads.
Once you’ve wandered down Rainbow Row, make your way over to East Battery. Some of the most beautiful homes in Charleston are situated along this street right on the water. Down in the East Battery area they also have some of the cutest inns and B&B’s along with another park to explore. You’ll want to take photos of all the houses so have your camera ready!