Visiting Charleston? Check out some of my favorite things to do and places to eat in the area!
Charleston has become a foodie’s paradise, offering all sorts of eats and new restaurants are popping up so quick we haven’t tried everything yet. As long as you don’t go to Hyman’s or a chain, you can’t go wrong.
- The Grocery: The epitome of ‘farm to table,’ The Grocery determines the daily menu by what ingredients they get locally. Always have fresh and inventive plates. Family style is the best way to eat. $$$
- Fast & French: Literally what their name says – the best French cafe, super fast & right on Broad. Fondue night is the best, hands down. $
- 5 Loaves: With locations downtown and in Mt. Pleasant, as well as great lunch specials, local ingredients, half off wine nights and now brunch on Sunday (egg sandwich with pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes is my jam), what’s not to love? $
- Hall’s Chophouse: Expensive, but worth it if you want the best steak you can get. Hunter described his prime rib as ‘Meat butter’ that melted in his mouth. Their creamed corn and collards are great family sides too. Hall’s also has a gospel Sunday brunch which is hard to beat. $$$
- Poe’s Tavern: Whether you’re coming off the beach or going to an engagement brunch (woohoo Maggie!) Poe’s has something for you. Burgers, apps, fish tacos and cold drinks 2 blocks from the beach. Try to count the number of Edgar Allen Poe items.. $$
- Monza: Pasta, pizza and salads that are fresh and made right in front of you. I can’t get enough of their pizza with prosciutto and some house wine. $$
- Mozzo Deli: No frills, just great food. Breakfast and lunch items. Saturday and Sunday mornings you can find all the locals here. I love the BEC on a croissant and the Creek sandwich. Hunter’s fav is the steak, pepper jack & cheese on everything bagel. $
- D’Allesandro’s: In my opinion, the BEST pizza in Charleston. The luau is my fav and the shop was started by some Cofc grads. If you can’t tell, I love supporting local! $
- Sol: Sol is an “upscale” Mexican joint with great margaritas (habanero grapefruit, yum), tacos (chicken with manchego) and apps (bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeños). Definitely a new neighborhood favorite.
- Obstinate Daughter: Favorite restaurant that’s out on Sullivan’s Island that I liked so much I had to add here. Great atmosphere, drinks and pasta (gnocchi with the short rib, omg). $$$
- The Watch: My favorite rooftop bar downtown. Truffle fries & a great cocktail over looking the city? Yes, please. $$
- Grace & Grit: Just over the bridge in MtP and truly have the best grits in Charleston. Get the sampler as an app (seems weird, bu trust me on this). I love all their seafood plates. Tons of food – you won’t leave hungry and will likely have a to go box too. $$$
- Charleston Culinary Tour: Can’t decide on what to eat, or want to try it all? Check out a food tour! We did one in 2016 and LOVED it.
Yes, brunch gets it’s own area because it’s quite possibly my favorite meal and involves Charleston’s favorite pastime (drinking and eating). There are lots of places to brunch around the Charleston area, but these are some of my favorites.
- The Shelter: Quite possibly my second home after college, Shelter is great for brunch ($6 carafes of mimosas! And delicious specials..), lunch, happy hour or dinner – trust me I’ve been there for all meals, multiple times. And it’s just across the street from Shem Creek.. Sit on the patio if it’s not raining. $
- Triangle: Triangle is one of the first brunch spots I went to during college (because they had unlimited mimosas), but I kept coming back for their “bennys”and atmosphere. It’s one of those places you can post up at on a Sunday, especially in the fall, and enjoy the day. $
- Red Drum: I’ve probably been to Red Drum for brunch wayyy more than any other meal. Their menu has a Southwest flair, which makes it unique and I’ve enjoyed quite a few items on the menu. Hunter loves the quail and sausage, and won’t order anything else. $$
- Lost Dog: Lost Dog is the best brunch spot on Folly, hands down. They serve breakfast all day, so you can always get your fix of bennys, bagels and even burrito bowls. It’s popular, too so be ready for a wait. $
- Fat Hen: Fat Hen is out on John’s Island and just plain delicious. You know if a restaurant has great southern food, then their brunch will also be a winner. Definitely worth the drive.$
- Blind Tiger: Typically bars aren’t known for good food, but Blind Tiger is an exception. It’s known for it’s history, but I love eating in the courtyard out back. The benedict is my favorite, but other dishes are great too! $
- Toast: You go to Toast for the bottomless mimosas, and you come back for the food. I’ve enjoyed a few of their dishes and have never been disappointed. Since it’s near Market and they’re known for mimosas, make a reservation on Open Table, just to be safe and beat the crowd. $$
- Early Bird Diner: A Charleston landmark, Early Bird is a classic in West Ashley and you can always count on a great breakfast. $
Originally settled in 1670, Charleston has had it’s share of history. There are historic markers and sites all over the Lowcountry, but here are some must sees.
- Ft. Sumter: I feel like it’s obligatory to have Ft. Sumter on this list, but it is a really cool place. The place is brimming with history and it’s crazy that the Civil War started off the coast of Charleston. Bonus: Go to the Citadel Museum to learn more about the Civil War and Charleston’s involvement.
- Randolph Hall: Randolph Hall and Porter’s Lodge on the College of Charleston campus were built in the 1700’s and have scars on their exterior from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Cofc graduation occurs here each spring and graduates walk through both buildings.
- Charles Towne Landing: Located off the Ashley River, Charles Towne Landing is the birthplace of the Carolinas. Colonial life is depicted across the park and you can learn about the struggles early settlers encountered. Several weddings and events are held at the Legare-Waring House too.
- White Point Gardens: This is the green area on the very tip of the peninsula. Lots of action happened here from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and just general Charleston life.. even pirate hangings. They still have some cannons set up like they were in the olden-days.
Once you come here, you’ll fall in love with the beauty of the Lowcountry – from beaches, to marshes, rivers to the Atlantic.
- Angel Oak: Angel Oak is one of the oldest living things, east of the Mississippi. With over 17,000 feet of shade provided by the canopy and considering all of the wars, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and people, Angel Oak is astonishing. You can’t help but take pictures of this beautiful tree.
- Morris Island: You can only get to Morris Island by boat, but it’s worth it. During the summer boats anchor up on one side with Ft. Sumter in the background, but the other side (my personal favorite and secret beach) is great for shark teeth and sand dollar hunting. The lighthouse actually is no longer part of the island, but conservationists are preserving it.
- Shem Creek: Most of the shrimpers in the area bring their catch to Shem Creek, so all the restaurants there have the freshest seafood – literally watch it come off the boat. Watching dolphins swim by at sunset can’t be beat.
- Cooper River Bridge: Technically it’s not nature, but walking or driving across the bridge gives you the best views of downtown Charleston and the Harbor. Every year the Bridge Run, which is the most popular 10k behind the Peachtree Road race, utilizes the bridge to bring runners from Mt. P to downtown.
- County Parks: Charleston has county parks all over the lowcountry, and they offer some of the best views and ways to experience nature. There’s even a few with dog parks! Islands County Park in MtP is my favorite.
- Cypress Gardens: It’s a short drive north out of Charleston, but the nature is worth it! Canoe around the swamp, walk the trails, go in the butterfly center or just have a picnic. Parts of The Notebook were filmed there too.. Learn about our Cypress Gardens adventure here.
Although there are no formal malls (I don’t count Citadel mall since it has Target as an anchor), Charleston has some great local stores for all your shopping needs. Districts: King St (avoid Market unless you want tourist junk), Town Centre in Mt. Pleasant and Tanger Outlets in N. Chas.
- Las Olas: Obviously I’m going to kick this section off with my old stomping ground. Las Olas is quite literally the king of swim with all the hot, new bathing suit brands as well as the essentials. Clothing, sunglasses, watches, boards, sandals and accessories for guys and gals.
- M. Dumas: If you’re looking for the ‘Charleston’ look complete with seer sucker, polos and stitched belts, Dumas is the place for you. It looks like a mess, but they have the best frat-tastic brands, all in one place.
- Celadon: If my entire house could be filled with items from Celadon, I’d be ecstatic. They have a mix of eclectic, natural, beachy, unique items for your home.
We’re no major city, but we do have professional (and amateur) sports plus a stop on the women’s professional tennis tour.
- Joe Riley stadium: ‘The Joe’ is the home of the Charleston Riverdogs, the Yankees’ A feeder team. The stadium is on the banks of the Ashley River and right next to the Citadel. During the off-season, they host concerts and beer festivals here too. Plus we won Bud Light Fan Camp at this stadium, so it’s a favorite.. Did I mention dollar draft beer on Thursday night games?
- College of Charleston: My alma mater has a slew of Division I college athletic teams to choose from, but I personally love going to the basketball games in the TD Arena. Bobby Cremins was the first to coach there and there’s not a bad seat in the place.
- Charleston Battery: The Battery plays on Daniel Island in Blackbaud stadium which is the biggest (and nicest) privately owned soccer stadium in the country. Get your beer fix at 3 Lions Pub.
- Charleston Sports and Social Club: Throughout the year you can find me playing kickball and flag football, but they have plenty other sports to choose from.