Occasionally, when we’re feeling especially bored, Jeff and I will plan a last-minute trip the very same day we plan to leave. And this Charleston trip was one of those times.
We still hadn’t made a decision on where to go for our first official 12 trips in 12 months project on the morning that we were planning to leave! If this sounds crazy to you, you’re probably right. But honestly, we kind of like it that way.
Soooo…Saturday morning we woke up, narrowed down our options to 3 places we wanted to visit (that were drivable), basically did a rock paper scissors for the answer, packed our bags, and jumped in the car. With a figurative ‘Charleston here we come’ banner hanging out the car window.
This South Carolina city ended up being an awesome choice and I honestly cannot wait to go back. If there were just a few more cool shops in town, I think we’d probably consider living there. We liked it that much! But for now, there aren’t, so we’re staying put in ATL for the time being.
What Charleston does have though is a whole lot of is amazing food, cool coffee shops, and friendly people. And there are a couple of really great shops too, don’t get me wrong. I’m talking to you Indigo and Cotton. So, there’s a little bit of shopping on the list too!
Here’s my travel guide for must-visit spots in Charleston, South Carolina…
Full disclosure – On the drive up, I looked at a couple of other travel guides for Charleston to start making a list of must-stops. But as we quickly discovered when we arrived, a lot of the places others had mentioned had unfortunately closed up shop or were relocating, but had yet to reopen. Boo!
So, we walked and ate our way through the entire city and discovered a whole bunch of cool spots on our own that you’ll definitely want to check out. Here’s the breakdown…
Must-Try Charleston Food Spots
The Darling Oyster Bar // I was in it for the branding and I stayed for the oysters…and the cocktails. This is a must-visit.
The Park Cafe // We went here for breakfast one day and it was AMAZING! Get the fried egg sandwich. Get it!
Butcher and Bee // Good food, cool atmosphere. You might have to hop in the car to get to this one, depending on where you’re staying. But definitely worth a visit.
The Macintosh // This one was recommended it to us by the hotel – farm to table approach from a five-time James Beard semifinalist. Can’t argue with that! Everything was super fresh tasting and delicious.
Husk // This restaurant seems to be on every Charleston travel guide imaginable. So, of course we went. Their burger is one of those things that everyone loves. And if it’s not available at the restaurant when you go, just pop by the Husk bar next door and you can get one.
Henrietta’s at The Dewberry // If you’re looking for a fancier option with a really cool vibe, this is the spot.
Sugar Bakeshop // This super cute bake shop is on Cannon Street, which is within walking distance of 2 shops on my must-visit list. So, you can grab something sweet before you hit up Indigo and Cotton and Mac & Murphy.
Coolest Coffee Shops in Charleston
Black Tap // Relaxed coffee spot with a neighborhood vibe. If they have the nutella banana turnovers when you go, be sure to get at least one. So good! This was probably my fave coffee shop in Charleston.
Revelator // There’s one in Atlanta, so we knew it would be good, and we popped in a couple of times during our stay. Love this one too and everyone is insanely nice.
The Daily // Another cool coffee shop. This was probably my least favorite of the three, but it was still great. I just liked the other two a little better.
Best Charleston Shops
Worthwhile // Such a beautiful shop, curated with a handful of housewares and a whole lot of unique designer fashions. It’s right on King Street, so chances are you’ll walk by it eventually anyway. Definitely worth popping in.
Indigo & Cotton // This is a guys clothing shop on Cannon St, so there isn’t a ton for the ladies on this one (though I did pick up a keychain and a couple of bottle openers for myself), but it’s really well curated. And Jeff really liked it, so it made the list.
Mac & Murphy // Also on Cannon Street is Mac & Murphy, a tiny little paper goods shop. So cute! It’s right across the street from Indigo and Cotton. So you can hit them both up at once.
Beckett // This shop is on King St too, though it’s the opposite direction of Worthwhile. I was torn about putting this one on the list because it’s not totally my style, BUT the shop itself is really cute and there were definitely a handful of pieces in the shop that I would have bought…including clothing from Elizabeth and James, Herbivore beauty goodies, and more.
The Commons // Okay, I didn’t actually get to visit this one because they were changing locations while we were visiting, BUT I know it’s good! And it opens back up in collaboration with Workstead very, very soon, so be sure to add it to your list of spots to visit.
Cutest Charleston Hotels
We stayed at The Dewberry, thanks to a recommendation from Ash, and it was amazing! Not sponsored, just awesome. 🙂 The building was once a federal building and has since been brought back to it’s mid-century glory. All of the furniture, decor, etc is spot on. And since the hotel is one street away from King Street (which is the big street in Charleston where many of the restaurants are), it’s a good location too, for walking around.
Other places that we looked into before settling on The Dewberry were… The Spectator Hotel, Zero George, and The Mills House. The Mills House had a good Hotels Tonight price (I think it was $120?) when we were looking – so you may want to check there if you’re booking last minute.
Other Things of Note
Rainbow Row // Probably one of the things that you’ve seen most in photos of Charleston are the old colorfully painted buildings. And there is a high concentration of them on Rainbow Row, as you can imagine. If you have time, it’s kind of fun to see…it’s only a handful of houses, but still. And then you can walk one block over to the water and get a good view of Ravenel Bridge.
Folly Beach // Technically, this is outside of Charleston. But Folly Beach is a super quick drive (about 20 minutes from Charleston), if you want a change of scenery and a a little beach atmosphere.
So, that’s my cool girls travel guide to Charleston. Let me know if I left anything off the list that you really love. Would love to hear add a few more options for next time I visit.
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I went to Charleston for the first time about a year ago, and I loved it. It’s such a pretty, walkable town.Ryan McGurl
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While it is not the most impressive spot in Charleston, I believe everyone should visit the Market at least once. It is an attraction in Charleston and if for no other reason to see the ladies weaving the sweet grass baskets. This is a part of their history. Additionally, especially, the ladies with age, will tell you about the history of the baskets and their history. I so enjoyed talking to them and when I purchased one it seemed as the lady who made it and I made some sort of kinship. If that makes sense?? I really enjoyed my time there.Stephanie Wethington
Charleston is truly a gem of a city to visit-we found lower King Street (below Calhoun) to be a shopping paradise-small boutiques and multiple antique shops. Gibbes Museum of Art is fabulous, Boone Hall is a wonderful respite from the city and HOME TEAM BBQ on Willamon isn’t to be missed. We’ll be back soon.Anita bowen
Next time you are in Folly Beach check out a performance of Charleston Performing Arts, 873 Folly Rd. Fabulous original musical productions in a cabaret setting. Check them out on FB and online.Ellie Wood
So fun! Charleston has been my list for a while, but since I’m in MA, it’s a little harder to just go for a weekend. I’m originally from Atl, though, so maybe I should go up there when I’m home next! Also, can I ask where your sweatshirt is from? It looks so cozy!Melanie
I grew up in Charleston and it’s where my heart will always be. Beautiful city. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.Sharon
Xiao Bao Biscuit and 167 Raw are my favorite restaurants in town and Sullivan’s Island is fun for a short trip outside the city.Gillian
I want to visit Charleston so bad! Thanks for the recommendations!
Love the photos, as always ; ) Looks like you had an amazing time!Jared
Nice of you to share your trip with the world and it seems a lovely place as well.Ms. Ainee C. Beland
You totally should, Julia. I think as an adult you’d really love it.Brittni
Charleston has been on my travel list for years now! I went as a kid for one day and obviously didn’t appreciate it for it’s true glory. Maybe I will finally make the trek this year – thanks for sharing your tips!
Julia – http://bunnybaubles.comJulia
Didn’t get to check out Candlefish, but the one in Atlanta is cool. Next time for sure, Kimberly. 🙂Brittni
My favorite Charleston shop is Candlefish. We have one in Atlanta now, but I initially fell in love when visiting the flagship location.Kimberly
I think you’d love it, Michelle. Really a cool city.Brittni
What a beautiful place! I wish I lived in the US so I could see this!Michelle
Hi Sophie. I got that suggestion a few times before I left and I totally forgot to check it out while we were there. Next time for sure though!Brittni
When I went to Charleston, I loved Taco Boy.Sophie