As beautiful now as she was 350 years ago, Charleston is a perfect juxtaposition of centuries old charm and cultured sophistication. Shaped by the city’s two rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper, Charleston bristles with an energy and vibrancy reserved for only the finest cities in the world. Glorious weather shines down, while locals and visitors alike amble down narrow cobblestone streets in search of reluctant artists, boutique shops and the country’s best restaurants. Whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, it’s easy to be seduced by Charleston’s charm. Crowned the Number 1 City in the United States for the last ten years, read on for the must-visit spots in Charleston.
Ready to plan your Charleston itinerary? These are the Top Twelve Things to Do in Charleston, SC
Savor Rooftop Cocktails
The perfect trip to Charleston starts with cocktails al fresco. Rooftop bars are plentiful and our Pool Bar is one of the few in town that offers a perch overlooking historic King Street. Sip a Lowcountry Lemonade while you admire views of the city skyline. Then, set out in search of local delicacies. Oysters are a crowd-favorite and can be found on menus throughout the city. Two of our favorite spots for fresh seafood? The Ordinary and The Darling, both located a few short blocks from The Charleston Place.
Visit Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park
The next morning, set out at first light with one of our private trainers for a run or bike ride over the Ravenel Bridge. See if you can spot Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, and the Sullivans Island lighthouse in the distance. After your workout, consider taking a tour of Fort Sumter, only accessible by boat, and located in Charleston harbor.
Peruse the Historic City Market and Purchase a Sweetgrass Basket
Head the historic City Market for classic Charleston souvenirs. The sweetgrass baskets which have been made by hand according to Gullah Geeche traditions for years are a highly coveted item. Be sure to stop by Corey Alston’s stall, a fifth-generation sweetgrass basket weaver who’s beautiful creations are in the Smithsonian. After working up an appetite, head to Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, for a true taste of the South. Located in the historic City Market just steps from The Charleston Place hotel, their biscuits have garnered a cult-like following.
Explore Historic Downtown Charleston
Then, plan to wander away the morning exploring historic Charleston. The hotel’s cruiser bikes are a wonderful way to explore the peninsula. Head South of Broad as you pass cobblestone streets, admiring window boxes, gas lanterns and Charleston’s iconic historic architecture.
Have a Picnic in the Park
Ready for your next adventure? Allow us to pack you a picnic lunch to take on your bike ride and then sit a spell under the enormous oaks of White Point Gardens. Our Concierge has a pocket map that shares our favorite places to picnic and the perfect route to take.
Take Photos at Rainbow Row and the Battery
While out and about, stop by Waterfront Park to see its famous Pineapple Fountain, stroll past the candy-colored homes of Rainbow Row, Charleston’s most picturesque street and then onto the Battery, where Antebellum mansions overlook Charleston harbor.
Make time for King Street Shopping
Continue your downtown adventure by spending the afternoon on one of the country’s most famous streets – King Street. Peppered with national labels, boutique shops, art galleries and antique stores also dot the shopping district. Peacock proud locals delight in showing their wares and sharing the unique stories behind their products with curious travelers.
Stop by a Charleston Beach
A city surrounded by water, rise with the tide the next morning as dawn breaks over the Atlantic. Embrace the Lowcountry lifestyle, take a walk on the wild side, and uncover secret sea islands with Coastal Expedition. Admire the sculpture like branches of Boneyard Beach, one of Charleston’s best beaches. Stroll along the maritime forest, gathering shells and spotting alligators and bottlenose dolphins. After a full day of exploration, relaxation is in order. Laze away the afternoon at our horizon-edge mineral pool or indulge in a signature spa treatment.
Enjoy Award-Winning Charleston Restaurants and Nightlife
After shopping, take a rickshaw ride back to The Charleston Place. Start your evening off with a cocktail and live music at the clubby Thoroughbred Club before indulging in some of the city’s finest fare at Charleston Grill. Perfectly paired wines compliment the cuisine that celebrates the purveyors and makers of the South, while live jazz sets the tone for a vibrant night. After dinner, head to the Gin Joint, for a cozy cocktail in their 1920s-inspired setting, or head up King Street where lively bars awat, like the speak-easy Cocktail Club. If you aren’t ready to say goodnight, a nightcap at Halls Chophouse is in order..
Take in a Charleston Sunset
Then, wander hand in hand down cobblestone streets as gas lanterns flicker in the evening light. End your Charleston adventure as the sunset casts pink and orange hues over the Ashley River. You may just spot a bottlenose dolphin while a local jazz artist serenades the setting sun on his trumpet. These are the precious moments through which memories are shaped, endearing Charleston to locals and visitors alike.
Allow our Concierge Team to craft the perfect itinerary. While these are our Top 12 must-dos, there is plenty here to delight in, whether you are a first time visitor or a Charleston expert.