Those who've had the good fortune of spending time with Darius Rucker in his hometown of Charleston quickly come to understand one thing—the man knows his city. He also loves it and wants to share all the sights, sounds and savory delights that make the historical port city such a captivating destination. With that in mind, here are some suggestions that will take you by some of his favorite places.
Experience Darius Rucker's Charleston
There are many great ways to see this tightly packed city, including biking, walking, carriage rides, car, tour bus or even by boat. If you plan on driving, you'll want to hop out and walk at key destinations so you can really take in the city's finer details and charms. One such place is Colonial Lake, where you'll find locals relaxing with their dogs, running, fishing or picnicking on the lush waterside lawns. You might even spot a bench that Darius and his family donated in honor of his beloved mother. Other great walking destinations include White Point Gardens and the adjacent High Battery, where you can take in views of Charleston Harbor and the impressive 19th-century homes that look out onto it. As you head farther up East Bay Street, keep your eyes peeled for the entrance to Stoll's Alley, which beckons visitors with its alluring and mysterious path. Nearby, you'll find famous Rainbow Row, a stretch of colorful colonial-era homes, not to mention one of the city's most Instagram-friendly spots.
If you'd like to see a theater that featured Darius in a music video, stop by the beautiful Dock Street Theater, one of the oldest live performance venues in the country. There, you can take in the charming views of Church Street and the majestic St. Philips steeple as you ponder your next meal. Two great choices and local favs include Blind Tiger Pub and FIG, a multiple James Beard Award-winning restaurant that Darius cherishes as one of his absolute favorites. Considering Charleston was founded, in part, by French Huguenots, other great options are Chez Nous and Gaulart & Maliclet, or as locals call it, Fast & French, where a glass of wine comes standard with your French-inspired fare.
Shopping anyone? King Street runs for several miles through the heart of Charleston and is the city's premiere destination for boutiques, as well as lively bars and eateries. Take a slight detour down Market Street and pick up a souvenir from one of the dozens of local artisans who set up shop in the open-air Charleston City Market. Another open-air favorite is the farmer's market on Marion Square, where every Saturday you'll find a wonderful variety of local produce, foods and crafts, along with a free concert from local musicians. A couple of blocks north of Marion Square on John Street you'll find one of Darius's favorite venues, Charleston Music Hall, an intimate spot to listen to a show or other live performance. Continue north on King Street and you'll find yourself ensconced in an inviting haze of smoke at Rodney Scott's Barbecue.
It's a great place to sample his famous pulled pork, or for that matter, anything on the menu from the James Beard Award-winning pitmaster.
For those who want a good way to burn off some of that phenomenal Charleston cuisine, there are several options. A great way to see the city from a fresh perspective is by walking or biking Wonder's Way across the iconic Ravenel Bridge. This path is approximately 2.7 miles each way and affords panoramic views of the Charleston Peninsula, Mount Pleasant and Sullivan's Island, not to mention the entire harbor. Another great place to burn some calories is Hampton Park, where you'll find a wide pedestrian and cycling path that surrounds the beautifully landscaped grounds, which was once the site of an old horse racing track.
If you want to venture out for a change a scenery, nearby beaches are a great option. There are three main destinations to hit up, each one with its own distinct vibe. To the south of Charleston, you'll find Folly Beach. This laid-back beach town is considered the unofficial surf capital of South Carolina and is home to The Washout, a legendary break that receives regular waves when other spots are flat or too windy. Other great activities include beachcombing, fishing, paddleboarding and kayaking.
East of Charleston harbor, you'll find the quaint seaside hamlet of Sullivan's Island. Featuring wide, spacious beaches and elegantly shabby vacation homes, along with cute restaurants and boutiques, Sullivan's offers a quieter beach experience. Isle of Palms is the next island over and is a classic South Carolina beach spot, where it seems like everybody is living the good life—boating, fishing, sunbathing, golfing or paddleboarding.
Of course, you can't talk about Charleston without mentioning one of Darius's favorite pastimes, golf. While the most renowned Charleston-area course is The Ocean Course, host of the 2021 PGA Championship, Kiawah is also home to several other challenging and beautiful courses. Other nearby courses include the Links at Stono Ferry, Patriot Point Links or Wild Dunes, which offers both a links course and a harbor course.
With one visit, it will become clear why Darius Rucker's hometown was ranked the Number 1 Small City in the US by Conde Nast Traveler—for the 8th year in a row!