Never before have I visited a city and felt so much at home than when we first visited Charleston. Alex and I almost convinced ourselves within minutes of being there, that we would uproot our lives and book a moving truck to permanently live in the most beautiful city we’d ever seen. Then, reality settled in, and while Charleston is definitely somewhere we would want to live one day, for now we’ll settle on it for regular weekend getaways.
I cannot recommend Charleston enough for those of you who haven’t gone there before, and I hope this guide helps you move Charleston up to #1 on your places to visit. And for those of you who have gone before, hopefully this guide will provide you some new places to explore. I always suggest for people to go during the Christmas season if possible, because with all of the decorations, it turns into a magical winter wonderland (minus the snow of course). It reminds me of the beautiful Christmas toy villages that you decorate your house with during Christmas time, only it’s a real place. But, no matter when you decide to go to Charleston, I suspect you will find it just as magical despite the season.
Where To Stay:
Honestly, I am not the person to stay at the same place multiple times, because I always love to see what else is out there! But, with the Vendue, I make an exception. This hotel has everything and more-it is the ultimate experience. You are welcomed with a glass a champagne, given a food voucher for you to try their delicious food, and escorted to your room where you will find a hand written note welcoming you to their hotel. Not only is their service impeccable, the location is a hard one to beat- you can literally walk everywhere your heart desires in downtown Charleston. The charm of the city seems to flow into the hotel seamlessly, with every detail carefully thought of. They are even the only hotel dedicated to the arts with unique art pieces thoughtfully placed throughout the hotel and even an on-site artist. They have beautiful rooms with Sherry and snacks left for each guest, and do a turn down service at night with milk and cookies. Not only that, they have an amazing rooftop bar with some of the best views in Charleston. Y’all the first time we visited here-we couldn’t believe this place was REAL! It’s so magical, and it makes your visit to Charleston that much more special.
Where to Eat:
I’m drooling right now just thinking about the food here. If you are an avid french toast lover like myself, you’ll want to order seconds. The have the perfect brunch menu with options for everyone and it is potentially the best brunch food I have ever had.
For the true southern food lover, this one is for you. We have gone there for both brunch and dinner, and I swear they don’t have a bad meal. The inside is exactly what you picture when you think of Southern charm, fully equipped with fireplaces (yes plural) and a great front porch.
This one is a classic. Now, I will say it does have some great food, but be prepared for a wait. They do have a bar outside where you can grab drinks while you wait, which makes the time go by a bit faster. However, it is a Charleston staple with the iconic mural that is perfect for the “gram.” P.S: Make sure you get the grits (they’re good for you) 😉
Talk about a beautiful interior! This restaurant has a rustic feel to it paired with modern flair. Not only that, the food is absolutely fantastic.
Alex and I stumbled upon this one the first time we came to Charleston, and now we cant stop going back! The interior is obviously an old church transformed into a restaurant/bar. The ambiance and character of this place just draws you in and makes you never want to leave.
This is a great bar to go to at night! They have an amazing outdoor patio where you can go grab a drink, sit down, and relax with some of the coolest hanging lights over the bar that I have ever seen.
This is the bar you never knew you needed, but once you go, this one will be on repeat. It has a speakeasy vibe to it, and plenty of drink specials to keep the night going.
Views, on views, on views! Not only is the bar in a great location-right off of King’s street, it has some of the best views of the town. Go to Kings street to do some shopping, and then stop by here and have a cocktail or two to refuel 😉
Another reason I love staying at the Vendue, is that you have priority access to The Rooftop at all times. It is the perfect indoor/outdoor area with spectacular views, especially at sunset.
Time for Dinner:
The absolute definition of upscale Southern charm and the best part is that it’s within walking distance of the Vendue! This is the perfect place for a nice, romantic dinner. With plenty of options for every food lover, and great drinks and service, this is a no brainer for anyone visiting Charleston.
Ohh how I love Poogan’s Porch. Yes, you saw this name earlier for the Brunch suggestions-it’s so good it’s on here twice! I love the ambiance here for a romantic dinner. The have this beautiful fireplace that they put on in the winter that sets the perfect mood for a dinner with your loved one. And yes, the food (and the biscuits..cant forget the biscuits) are just as delicious at dinner as they are at brunch.
This restaurant is right on the water and is always packed-for a good reason too! It has great views, with good deals on drinks and food. Definitely make a reservation here in advance or expect a wait. They even have a happy hour Monday-Friday from 4-6pm!
This is one we still haven’t made it to, but it is definitely on our list. If you are in the mood for a fancy date night, every review points to here.
Casual and comfort food=Southern perfection. The BBQ here is unmatchable, and you’ll probably want to order some to go to take back home with you.
Things to Do:
There is something here for everyone! There are hundreds of vendors to choose from and it is open every day of the week, so you have no excuse not to go 😉
A lot of people do the carriage rides for a tour around Charleston-which is great, but I always like finding something fun and unique. This tour is from a professional photographer who is a tenth generation Charlestonian that takes you around the town sharing it’s history, all the while taking professional pictures of you.
Iconic and beautiful. We love going there every time we visit Charleston because it is truly unique. Grab your coffee and go visit the most talked about view in Charleston.
This is such a fun thing to do-especially in the summer time! Whether you are a couple on vacation, or it’s the whole family, it is definitely worth the drive. It is typically less than a 30 minute drive from Charleston, and they have plenty of things to do there-whether you want to just lay out on the beach, rent a jet ski, or stop at the pier’s bar, you have plenty of options.
This is the pure definition of “Shop till you drop.” I have never seen so many stores in my life! King’s street has something for everyone and be prepared to do some walking! I tried to be cute the first time we tackled King’s Street and wore heels-bad idea. We had to stop into Forever21 halfway through and buy me some new shoes because my feet were literally bleeding! HA! So, don’t make the same mistake I did-go for comfort over anything else!
These water taxi’s look amazing! This is one thing I haven’t gotten to do yet, and it is definitely on my list for the next time we go back. You can take the water taxi to and from places like Patriot’s Point, Aquarium Wharf, and Waterfront Park, or you can use it to do some dolphin watching (YES PLEASE!). Either way, its a fun way to see the city in a different light.