What to Do in Charleston.
A couple of weeks ago, we spent the weekend in Charleston and absolutely loved it! I grew up in the south and somehow I never made it to this charming city until now. And turns out, I was seriously missing out. The city is full of rich history, secret gardens and alleys, and picture-perfect houses. It is truly one of the most perfect cities in the south.
Charleston was recently ranked number two on The World's Top 15 Cities by Travel + Leisure, and we absolutely know why. It's full of rich history, beautiful architecture, delicious food, and the most adorable houses. Plus walking around the city feels like you're walking through your very own Nicholas Sparks novel, and what's more magical than that? There is so much to do in Charleston and so many places to eat, that we definitely couldn't fit it all in one weekend, but we will absolutely be going back.
What to Do:
Explore all of the adorable houses South of Broad Street: Charleston is full of adorable houses. They're pink and blue and green and covered in flowers and honestly, they're perfect. Get lost wandering through all of the different streets and read all the signs that tell you the history of the houses. That was one of our favorite things we did on our trip. We also pretended like we were house shopping and picked out all of our favorite parts of each house. Give me all the shutters, pastel walls, and colorful doors please.
Go to the Farmer's Market: We LOVE finding a good farmer's market and strolling through it while picking up fresh fruit and delicious drinks. Every Saturday from April to November, there is a farmer's market in Marion Square Park where you can browse through stands from local food vendors and artisans.
Rent Bikes: Charleston is pretty small and easy to get around, especially on a bike. If your hotel doesn't offer complimentary bikes, use the Charleston bike share program. Ride through the adorable streets and along the water front and take in all the city's quaint charm.
Stroll along Rainbow Row: Arguably the most iconic street in Charleston, Rainbow Row is a must during your visit to Charleston. It's literally a row of houses that are all different colors. I'm not sure who the architectural design geniuses behind this were, but they deserve so much praise! Now who else wants to move in and be neighbors with us?
Shop along King Street: Everything from quaint clothing shops to home goods stores to shops solely dedicated to honey, King Street has it all. Be prepared to spend all of your money. Or if you actually have self control, just go crazy window shopping.
Swing at Waterfront Park: Waterfront Park has Charleston's famous pineapple water fountain along with swings on the pier. It's the perfect place to spend the afternoon relaxing and enjoying all of Charleston's southern charm.
Walk Along the Battery: The Battery is full of some of the most iconic and historic homes in Charleston. It's right along the water and a perfect place to take a sunset stroll or have a picnic in the park.
Take a Candle making class at Candlefish: Candlefish is an adorable little shop dedicated to candles and fragrances. You can even take a candle making class and bring home your very own candle.
Magnolia Plantation: Okay so Noah and Allie might not be rowing through the river, but wandering through this Magnolia Plantation and Gardens will make you feel like it should start pouring down rain and you should be screaming, "It still isn't over!" Haha, okay maybe not, but there's plenty of interesting southern history and some of the beautiful gardens in the country to walk through and spend the day learning about the good ol' south.
Enjoy a day at the beach on Sullivan's Island or at Folly Beach: As far as we're concerned, every trip should include at least one day at the beach. When we were there, we went to Sullivan's Island and loved it! It's a short drive from downtown and a classic east coast beach. The water is perfectly warm, and if you're a dog person, it's very dog friendly!
Angel Oak Tree: Supposedly this tree is around 500 years old! Pack a lunch and have a picnic in the shade under this incredible unique tree.
Where to Eat:
Get treats from Sugar Bakery: We're all about finding delicious bakeries, and Sugar is definitely high on our list. They have the most incredible flavors, like honey cupcakes, ginger molasses cookies, and lemon blueberry tarts--it's like sugar heaven.
Callie's Little Hot Biscuits: Nothing feels quite as southern as biscuits and gravy, so don't miss an opportunity to try these mouth-watering biscuits while you're in Charleston. Callie's Little Hot Biscuits has everything from cinnamon or country ham biscuits to bacon, egg, and cheddar biscuit sandwiches. The good news is, they ship nationwide, so even after your trip you can order them straight to your home.
Eat Dinner at Fig or Husk: If you're a real foodie and looking for delicious local seafood (like crab spaghetti) and seasonal cuisine (peach and blueberry tart anyone?), you must eat at Fig. If you want more of a true southern food experience, be sure to eat dinner at Husk and order the boiled peanuts and fried chicken with a skillet of cornbread. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time, because they're very popular and it's pretty well-known how delicious their food is.
Grab Brunch at Magnolias or Poogan's Porch: Brunch is our favorite meal of the week, so the first thing we look up when we're traveling is where to eat brunch. Both Magnolias and Poogan's Porch will give you the true southern breakfast experience. Get the Banana Pudding Stuffed French Toast with the Peach Fritter Poppers from Magnolias and the Lowcountry Omelet or Chicken and Waffles from Poogan's Porch.
Eat Ice Cream at Jeni's: If you're going anytime soon, it's going to be hot and humid, so believe me, you will be dying for some ice cream. And Jeni's is SO good. Try the Wildberry Lavender or Almond Butter Brittle. We promise you won't be disappointed.
Where to Stay:
Stay at Belmond Charleston Hotel: We stayed at the Belmond Charleston Place and absolutely loved it! It is definitely a luxury hotel, but it has the perfect touch of Southern charm, and the location alone definitely makes it worth it. It is right in the middle of town, which makes it so easy to walk to everything. They don't have complimentary bikes, which was a bit of a bummer, but they are right down the street from a bike rental store. However, because it's so centrally located, you don't really need a bike, because it's so easy to just walk around.
The hotel is absolutely beautiful with a grand staircase and sparkling chandeliers. The rooms are relaxing with incredible views of the river and the city. And if you get a club room, they have complimentary breakfast, snack, afternoon tea, cocktails, and dessert. I mean there is honestly nothing like coming home from a long day of exploring, going up the elevator to your room, and finding a table full of cookies and plates just waiting for you to devour. They also have the most beautiful marble bathrooms that make you feel right at home.
Also, be aware that parking is not complimentary and it's pretty pricey--$17 per night to self-park or $34 a night for the valet. If you don't think you're really going to use a car, I wouldn't recommend driving there, just because parking is so expensive and not the most convenient anywhere in the city.
They have a beautiful clocktower terrace that overlooks King Street and a pool area with a retractable roof. The pool is technically inside, but it's surrounded by plants and decorated beautifully, and the retractable roof allows you to enjoy the sun! Plus they can easily close it up, so you can still swim when the weather isn't great. There is also a full spa and fitness center, making it easy to get in your workout and relax while you're away. We absolutely loved our stay there and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Charleston!
If you're planning a trip to Charleston, you definitely won't be disappointed if you stay at Belmond Charleston Place!