With so many award-winning restaurants, unique attractions and charming historical sites to see, there's always something new to discover in the Holy City. Whether you're planning a romantic weekend getaway or taking a break from the beaches, these Charleston gems are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike - and are sure to satisfy your craving for authentic Southern charm.
There are plenty of places to accommodate you downtown, and the Francis Marion Hotel is at the center of it all. Just across the street from Marion Square and a quick walk to King Street shopping and more restaurants than you can count, this historic hotel is a must-see - even if you're not staying there.
Be sure to take advantage of Charleston's many pedicabs, a great way to get around the city and enjoy the outdoors all at once! The "drivers" are quite friendly and are always willing to spill some of their favorite local hotspots.
Have breakfast at Caviar and Bananas, a gourmet market and café that offers artisanal coffees, teas, and bakery selections made fresh daily by their in-house pastry chefs. Afterward, stroll over to the historic Charleston City Market, one of the Holy City's most famous attractions, where you're sure to find some great souvenirs, artwork and handmade sweetgrass baskets.
For an unforgettable lunch, try Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ on Upper King Street. This James Beard award-winner is famous for his artisan barbecue slow cooked on a pit and mopped with a secret sauce that keeps the meat juicy and gives it a salty tang.
After lunch, stroll on over to Lower King Street, where you'll find Charleston's historic Antiques District and treasure troves like South of Market. Or, if you feel like relaxing indoors, catch a 4-D movie at the South Carolina Aquariumon East Bay Street.
For dinner, make reservations at FIG, a local favorite that has garnered national acclaim for its farm-to-table cuisine and inspired wine program.
No trip to Charleston is complete without a weekend brunch. Plus, a great way to enjoy some of the more expensive restaurants in town on a budget is to take advantage of their ever-popular but less expensive brunch menus. Husk is the perfect place to start, where James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock serves up quintessential Charleston farm-to-table dishes and can't-miss brunch cocktails.
If you're lucky enough to be visiting on the second Sunday of the month, enjoy downtown Charleston's Second Sundays, where King Street restaurants, shops and vendors take it to the streets for alfresco dining, family-friendly fun and special deals.
Next, take in some culture at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston's Historic District, or walk down a cobblestone street to the Battery & White Point Gardens for a stroll along the historic waterfront. You might also consider one of the many walking tours offered by Bulldog Tours.
If you're staying for dinner, be sure to check out one of the many trendy spots on Upper King Street like The Macintosh, where you'll find classic cocktails and casual, yet elegant surroundings.