Weekend in Charleston, South Carolina
Weekend in Charleston, South Carolina
As far as cities go, Charleston’s got it! Charleston, South Carolina is a city of undeniable charm, fascinating history, and it has some of the best culturally significant food in the region. We spent a weekend in Charleston back in August, and we loved every minute. Founded in 1670, it became a major seaport and international trading hub which helped create the unique culture Charleston possesses. Historically, an astounding 40% of all enslaved Africans transported to America were said to come through the port on Sullivan’s Island right outside of Charleston to eventually make their ways to different places throughout the region.
Charleston is a walking city. During our weekend in Charleston, I think we walked about 15 miles all together. The two main streets, Market and King, form a T shape, and it’s possible to do a walking tour of the area they encompass by using Rainbow Row and The Battery to make a giant loop. This is quite a bit of walking, but there is plenty to look at along the way. Ah, Rainbow Row…my favorite little row of houses! The houses close to town are painted vibrant colors of green, pink and blue. As you go further from the downtown, the houses become more and more lavish, complete with private gardens and giant wrap-around porches.
Charleston’s food and nightlife is POPPIN. Both King and Market Streets have a wide selection of restaurants, bars, rooftop clubs, and much more.
For rooftops that have great views, check out The Vendue, or The Market Pavilion Rooftop Bar in the Market Street area. From the rooftop of The Vendue, we counted 15+ church steeples. It really put perspective on the nickname Holy City!
For all the PBR lovers out there, The Recovery Room sells the most 12-ounce cans in the world. It’s a great little semi-college dive bar on the northern end of King Street. There’s tons of entertainment options at The Recovery Room, including darts, pool, and pinball. Another great dive bar that I highly recommend going to is The Griffin, as featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.” Every inch of wall space is covered by dollar bills that people staple up. The bartender will give you a sharpie to write a message, and then find a space to put it up! See if you can find ours. 🙂
The slave trade brought a rich culture that can be seen in many ways around the city. For us, it was most notably found in the delicious food of the low country. The Southern influence is mixed with a blend of flavors that leans on creole and French to create super distinctive dishes that blow you out of the water. Throughout our weekend in Charleston, we were able to sample some of the best dishes we’ve had in the region.
Lowcountry Bistro has an amazing and creative menu selection with a cute patio atmosphere overlooking Market Street. I ordered the scallops paired with duck wings as an appetizer, and it was a wonderful and unique culinary experience. Fleet Landing has decent dishes, but an even better view overlooking the ocean. Try their Shrimp&Grits, a classic southern dish you can’t go wrong with. Fig is an excellent choice for seafood menu options, and the restaurant is known for sourcing local ingredients. Five Loaves is Cazzie’s favorite, and they have an awesome menu full of fresh vegetarian options.
For breakfast, we recommend Hominy Grill. The menu favorite is the Charleston Nasty Biscuit, a wonderful combination of fried chicken, cheddar cheese and gravy. YUM! There’s usually a line that’s out the door, so prepare to wait if you’re going to eat here.
Oyster bars are a popular option in Charleston. The Darling is conveniently located on King Street. Their interior reminds me of a cute but very classy diner with a black and white tile interior. Pearlz is also a good choice for oysters, and is one of the most popular places in Charleston. Eat your hearts out, people!
Located 30 minutes drive outside of Charleston on John’s Island, is the beautiful and awe-inspiring Angel Oak Tree. We were mesmerized from the minute we saw it. The tree is estimated to be 400-500 years old, and some of its branches are so heavy they have to be supported. Its massive trunk gives way to a tangle of branches that spew in every direction and reach out like the snakes on medusa’s head. From tip to tip the longest branches stretch 187 feet! The circumference of the trunk is so big it would take multiple people to wrap themselves around it. Any weekend in Charleston should include a trip to see this mega-beauty.
Closest to the actual downtown is Folly’s Beach. Although it’s very popular, the beach is large so it prevents overcrowding. There are surfers in the waters here, even though the waves don’t compare to the West Coast. You’re also able to drink here if you use plastic cups, which is a big draw for a lot of people. Isle of Palms is another good beach that is a bit of a hike from the downtown area. The great part about Isle of Palms though is that it has its own little community built up around it. Going into the downtown area is fun but unnecessary if you stay out here. Windjammer’s Beach Bar is a good time if you’re out that way. Sullivan’s Island is a quaint option, and there’s a classier selection of restaurants and establishments compared to other beach options.
You really can’t go wrong with Charleston. Hopefully this guide to a weekend in Charleston helped fellow travelers out there trying to decide what to do. There really is something for everyone, and I barely even took a tiny dent into everything it has to offer. I can’t wait to get back!