Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina! I just got back from a wonderful 3-day girls trip to Charleston and super excited to share all about the beautiful city in this blog post.
Cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, pastel antebellum houses and cute restaurants & cafes – Charleston is the absolute charm of the South. It is a popular destination for a girls trip, bachelor/bachelorette parties and a romantic getaway. There is so much to do in this city(nightlife, carriage tours, ghost tours etc) that 3 days might be a little short of a trip – So I know I’ll be going back again!
But before that, let me share all the details with you, so that you can plan your next trip to this charming city.
Where to Stay
Hands-down my favorite place to stay in Charleston. Located on King Street, this place is super close to all the restaurants and activities in the French Quarters, SC. And the rooms are SO beautiful – each of them feature a glam standalone tub and contemporary furnishings that add to the southern charm.
The Hotel Bennett building used to be a public library and was just opened as Charleston’s newest luxury hotel. From the grand lobby lit with chandeliers to European design accents to a stunning rooftop pool – This is the best of southern luxury Charleston has to offer.
And, even if you’re not staying at Hotel Bennett, make sure you pop in for a meal at their restaurant (Gabrielle, a Parisian style outdoor/indoor eatery started by an acclaimed chef from New Orleans), or their ultra-instagrammable Champagne Lounge (Also a pink themed tea room with delicious pastries and exotic tea options).
Set in Charleston’s charming cobble stoned Historic District, The French Quarter Inn is a sophisticated southern gem located right in the heart of the King Street action. Most of the restaurants, high-end art galleries , carriage tours and activities are within walking distance. The best part about this inn is the unparalleled hospitality—upon arrival, guests are greeted with Champagne and in the evening, and turndown service comes with complimentary port wine and cookies.
A luxe modern stay at a historic landmark – The Mills House is located right on Museum Mile. Featuring a coastal-inspired palette, the modern rooms boast private balconies with breathtaking city views.
After a day of exploring, revitalize with a dip in the pool complete with a sun deck and unmatched downtown views or indulge in their award-winning courtyard restaurant- The Barbadoes Room, and a nightcap at First Shot Lounge.
I love the “beachy” vacation vibe of this place! It has a gorgeous pool right on the marina and has a ferry that takes you to downtown! It is a great place to stay, if you are traveling with family – big large rooms and fun activities for everyone to do at the resort.
What to do in Charleston
Charleston is a city packed with activities- whether you’re here on a bachelor or bachelorette party, a girl’s getaway, a romantic couples’ weekend, or a family vacation there is no short of fun things to do in this charming city. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in and around the city:
Head to this famous flea market in central Charleston for the ultimate local shopping experience. Established in the 1790s, the market stretches for four city blocks and features everything from handmade pottery, to gorgeous paintings, unique art pieces, souvenirs and more. It’s open 365 days a year, so definitely worth checking out.
One of the most iconic spots in Charleston! This area is located at 83 E Bay Street and includes multiples blocks of gorgeous, colorful historic homes! Find a house that matches with the color of your dress(there are 14 houses in a row are painted in bright pastels all of the colors of the rainbow) and don’t forget to snap some pictures. It’s one of my favorite places in all of Charleston, and a must for any trip to the city.
Right around the corner from Rainbow Row is a strip called “The Battery” – Lined with beautiful, multimillion dollar homes – its a perfect place to stroll after lunch!
Charleston is a city rich with a haunted history, and the Charleston ghost tour is a great way to learn more about it and listen to all the spooky tales. The tour is about 75 minutes, where a guide walks you through many tales of intrigue, tragedy, and lost love which reveal the dark side of Charleston’s character that isn’t apparent during the day.
There’s no better way to learn about the history of Charleston than on one of its famous horse-drawn carriage rides. Experience all the beauty and history and learn everything about “The Holy City” and its Civil War history. The highlight of the tour – you get to see all the gorgeous mansions in the city including one of the largest mansions ever build – The Calhoun Mansion. Although the house remains a private residence, it is open to the public daily for viewing. Read more about it here!
We booked the Old South Carriage tour, which was about a 75 minute tour around the downtown area. You can book your tour here.
Pineapple Fountain & Charleston Harbor
The Pineapple fountain is the focal point of the Charleston Waterfront Park. Designed by Stu Dawson, Jay Faber, Varoujan Hagopian, and Mark Dawson, this enchanting fountain (shaped like a pineapple) has become a must-see monument since its opening in 1990 proceeding Hurricane Hugo. Its iconic pineapple acts as a familiar symbol of hospitality in the Lowcountry. Best times to visit the park is during the sunrise, to catch the action of the fountain springing to life as the sun rays hit the horizon.
One of the must do things while in Charleston – visit the absolutely gorgeous Magnolia Plantation & Garden! Perfectly manicured gardens, countless species of flowers & blooms, beautiful Spanish moss, romantic bridges, tranquil marsh ponds & dancing peacocks – this place is definitely a piece of heaven on earth.
Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, It is the oldest public gardens in America. It is a perfect spot for a fun family day trip – walk around the gardens, interact with a variety of animals & birds or do some tours of the property!
Where to Eat
The ultimate courtyard dining, amidst the garden blooms and a trickling fountain – This spot was one of my favorites in Charleston. Located in the Mills House Hotel, it is perfect for an early evening romantic dinner or brunch. Headed by the acclaimed chef – Justin Hunt, all the dishes are super creative, made of fresh seasonal ingredients and super delicious.
Must try: Tagliatelle & Wild Mushroom Flatbread
A swanky bar with a beautiful courtyard underneath a breathtaking Southern Magnolia tree, puts it on a must-try restaurants list in Charleston. They serve a delectable menu of Lowcountry cuisine but with a modern take. You have to try their She Crab Soup, they are famous in Charleston for it and it was undoubtedly worth all the hype – it was SOOO GOOD.
Must try: The Ultimate Bloody Mary, She Crab Soup & Jambalaya
James Beard award-winning HUSK features an ever-changing seasonal menu of locally sourced Southern dishes served in a gorgeous restored Victorian-era home. Dining at Husk is on every traveler’s list when you visit Charleston hence it can also be hard to get a reservation, So I’d recommend booking one atleast a week ahead.
The entrance beckons with a rustic wall of firewood to fuel the wood-fired oven in the open kitchen, and a large chalkboard listing artisanal products currently provisioning the kitchen.
Led by the Executive Chef Travis Grimes, the food boasts a modern touch to rich southern flavors like- South Carolina Shrimp and Chopped Okra Stew with Carolina Gold Rice and Flowering Basil, Kentuckyaki Glazed Pig’s Ear Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Vinegar Cucumber and Red Onion and Southern Fried Chicken Skins with Pimento Cheese “Ranch” and Scallions.
Right next door to Husk – is Charleston’s oldest and most famous restaurant – Poogan’s Porch. Set in a Victorian townhouse with porches & a massive wine cellar this place has its fair share of history and a spooky tale which you will learn on the Ghost Tour.
And now onto the food – Whether it’s a warm homemade buttermilk biscuit and sausage gravy, a bowl of she-crab soup, or their signature buttermilk fried chicken, your meal at Poogan’s Porch will be unforgettable. Check it out for brunch, lunch or dinner – you won’t be disappointed.
For good bites and chill brunch vibes in downtown Charleston, Virginia’s on King is your spot. We LOVED everything we ordered from loaded French Toasts to Chicken Wings to Country Fried Steak and Eggs. And can’t stop raving about their Bloody Mary – spicy & absolutely delish.
Enjoy a bespoke cocktail and taste the soul of the region in a bowl of incredible shrimp and grits, while taking in breathtaking views of the city, from the iconic 350 year old church. (The Restoration). We stopped by for dinner & drinks and had a great time. It gets busy in the summertime but so worth a quick stop, even if just for the view!
Must Try: Alaskan Halibut with roasted veggies & Raw Oyesters
Coffee & Tea Room
If you are in Charleston for a girls trip or bachelorette, you cannot miss Camellias. Located in Hotel Bennett , Camellias is Charleston’s premier Champagne Lounge featuring an extensive collection of bottle and by-the-glass offerings paired with a decadent selection of caviar, Charcuterie and local seafood. The egg-shaped pink room, inspired by the famous Faberge jewel boxes showcasing four pieces of art that depict the Camellia flower with a grand chandelier is a treat to the eyes.
Friday through Sunday they offer Afternoon Tea session – which includes an exclusive selection of teas, premium sparkling rose and a collection of delectable desserts, scones and pastries. Book this experience with your girls and you can thank me later!
For the most charming (and most DELICIOUS) coffee shop in Charleston, head straight to Clerks Coffee Company. Set in Hotel Emeline, this airy and vibrant coffee shop is the perfect place to pick up a Chai latte or a steaming cup of coffee. It has gorgeous brick walls set with accent lighting which paints a romantic ambiance for coffee or brunch dates, you guys have to check it out!
Nightlife in Charleston
Republic is a must-do for any bachelorette party going to Charleston. Its more of a club than a dull lounge on King Street – think sophisticated dress code, innovative cocktails, luxurious settings and happening dance floor. Its also a great spot for brunch parties – with live entertainment every day of the week, the city’s best happy hour transforms into an evening swarm of Champagne and cocktails.
Charleston is famous for Rooftop bars and this is the best spot yet! After a day of exploring the city, hit this spot during sunset, to enjoy a beautiful perspective of the city with a rejuvenating cocktail in hand. Its a hot spot among bachelor and bachelorette parties in Charleston.
A Casual bar that will blow your mind! Tucked away on Vendue, as soon as you enter you will be astonished by the ambiance – all the walls are covered in signed dollars ( thousands of them). It’s a cool spot to hang out for a couple of beers and chips.
Hit this place for some of the best creative cocktails in the city. It’s a French-inspired spot that is famous for their Raclette burger and cocktails. My friends and I went there late friday night and spent a few hours snacking on delicious small plates and of course their amazing burger!!
Must Try: Raclette burger, Soupe à l’Oignon (french onion soup) and lobster deviled eggs
Located on King Street – this is a hot spot at night or in the mornings for their frozen Bellinis and Bloody Mary’s. This place is great for groups, with tons of large tables and couches set up lounge-style outside on the rooftop and indoors. It’s an extremely popular spot in town, and you can find a DJ after 10 pm spinning some top charts music and the bar area quickly turns into a buzzing dance floor. Fair warning, on a Friday/Saturday night, you might end up waiting in a ridiculous line just to get in.
Know before you go
Do I need a car in Charleston?
Charleston is extremely walkable, and you will not need a car during the days you are exploring the city. It’s small, and you’ll find yourself walking all around it, getting lost in the magnificent architecture and cobblestone streets. But, if you want to head out to the beaches and plantations, it helps if you have a car but there are tons of Uber, Lyft and Taxi services for that.
What time of year is best for visiting Charleston?
Spring and fall are the best times for Charleston, but there really is no bad time to travel to this charming city. It is absolutely stunning year-round.
Thank you for reading along. Hope this helps you plan your next weekend trip to Charleston! If you have any questions, you can leave a comment, or slide into my DMs @preksharaj.