I’m so excited to finally have this post up! If you have ever considered visiting Charleston, South Carolina I wouldn’t recommend you hesitate – DO IT NOW! The city is just so inviting and magical, from the Gullah ladies weaving sweetgrass baskets to the cute floral window baskets, the hubby and I have already decided that we’ll definitely be going back. And because it’s only an eight hour drive south, the trek would be manageable with the kiddo’s, too. But I bet y’all are itching for me to get on with this post and share a tourists’ perspective to where to eat, what to do and what to see in Charleston. There are still so many places the fella and I want to visit the next time we’re in town but read on for a few of my favorites from our anniversary trip a few week back.
For reference, I broke down the guide into two sections – Where to Eat and What to Do/Where to Go. In my list of where to eat, I included the restaurants we visited and loved and shared what I’d recommend ordering. The what to do/where to go section is pretty self explanatory.
Where to Eat
Gaulart & Malicet Cafe (Fast and French): This french cafe is nestled in the French Quarter off Broad Street. It’s the tiniest space but the food packed a bunch of flavor! The o’salmon (rye bread with salmon and goat cheese) paired with the french onion soup is the perfect mid-morning meal. The classic croq- momsieur was also pretty tasty. You also can’t leave without trying their french press coffee with a chocolate croissant on the side.
Stars Rooftop & Grill: Located in the upper part of the infamous King Street, this restaurant has a cool upscale, downtown vibe. The mushroom bruschetta is a fun twist on the traditional bruschetta and I highly suggest ordering yourself a spiked lavender lemonade! The spit roasted prime rib melts in your mouth, literally, and while the seared scallops and pimento cheese risotto was part of their ‘specials’ menu, my thoughts are that it should be a restaurant staple! To die for!
Kilwins: Looking for sweet treats, this is the place you’re looking for! Amongst the many shops near the Old City Market, Kilwins holds all sorts of chocolates and candies and things dipped in more chocolate. Don’t leave here without bringing back fudge.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: I’m not a sweets person but this shop had my heart. Located right next to Stars on King Street, Jeni’s had the most delectable flavors of ice cream including churro flavored with chunks of caramel. Oh, and the pumpkin five spice was amazing!
Tattooed Moose: Another mouth-watering meal that cannot be missed! About a 10 minute walk from King Street, the Tattooed Moose offers a fries cooked in duck fat and OMG, they are life changing. We got them smothered in roasted garlic and blue cheese, too! I highly recommend you order the Lucky #1 sub – pork belly and kimchi for the win!
Republic: Another upper King Street gem, if you’re looking for a place for good drinks you’ll want to hit up Republic. Order the picket fence which is basically a vodka soda, with style. And you must get the duck confit wings for sure.
Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts: Looking for a quick breakfast? Gah, go here! Another not-to-miss spot, Glazed offers modern flavored doughnuts for all. Maple bacon glazed, lemon old fashion, raspberry glaze, honey buns, AND SO MUCH MORE! And their ice vanilla latte wasn’t a sleeper either, so good!
Prohibition: Placed within Charleston’s iconic downtown dining and entertainment district, Prohibition is a trendy spot with really good food and live music! The deviled eggs are to die for, especially because they are garnished with crab. The pork belly plate and the burban burger (with burban bacon jam) are delicious and wash it all down with a Moscow mule.
Early Bird Diner: A little ways outside of the city, about 15 minutes south on 17, you’ll find the Early Bird Diner in all it’s kitchy glory. The chicken and waffles are an obvious choice, especially because it’s crusted with pecans – yum! And I’d been searching for fried green tomatoes everywhere on our trip and the diner does not disappoint!
167 Raw: I can’t say enough good things about his place, the seafood is fresh and the atmosphere is great. From their jumbo shrimp cocktail to the mouth-watering lobster roll, it is all good. I also loved the shrimp and carnitas tacos. Oh, and you gotta get yourself a glass of the sparkling rosé.
Halls Chophouse: I’m happy we left this restaurant for last, amazing! Placed right in the heart of King Street, Halls is a good place to go if you’re looking for a fancy (expensive) dinner. The Lowcountry fried green tomatoes, complete with crab, bacon and shrimp, are delicious. And while it was a part of the specials, their bison with mushroom risotto is what dreams are made of.
What to Do/Where to Go
The Battery/White Point Gardens: Located at the southern most tip of the Charleston Peninsula in the city’s historic district, The Battery and White Point Garden is a must visit. If you have time to walk around and explore, I highly recommend heading to the prominent landmarks. The scenic park holds historical statues, 18th century cannons and spectacular views of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor. Amongst the harbor are the most beautiful mansions with the most intricate exterior designs.
Rainbow Row: Built between the 1720’s-1790’s, the infamous, Instagram-worthy spot is nestled on East Bay Street was considered the ‘slum’ area of Charleston after the Civil War. In the early 1900′s, the buildings were renovated painted the most beautiful, bright and cheery Caribbean colors.
Marion Square Park
Farmers Market: On Saturdays Marion Square Park hosts the farmers market from April through November. Offering all sorts of local goods, from food vendors to crafts, the market provides tons of Charleston’s charm.
Waterfront Park: The park is known for the gem of the city, the pineapple fountain. The park is lined with other intimate gardens and paths along the water’s edge so it’s a nice place to walk around and take in the sites.
Charleston Old City Market: Right off Market Street, the Old City Market features independent merchants selling their treasures in an open air setting. It’s a great place to walk from vendor to vendor and have a look at all their goods.
Middleton Place and Magnolia Plantation: Apparently Middleton Place is America’s oldest landscaped gardens and stable yard and oh man is it amazing! The plantation holds a museum of the Middleton Family home and the grounds have gardens upon gardens of camellias blooms. Magnolia Plantation, which is only a few minutes down the road from Middleton, has the most scenic lakes and hidden gardens that hold beautiful statues and monuments.