You knew it was coming, right? A bombardment of photos and food talk from our recent trip to Charleston?
Buckle up, friends, because Charleston took us by storm.
There are two things I’m going to do in this post: the first is share my ten favorite things slash recommendations for anyone traveling to Charleston in the near future. These are the foods, sights, and experiences worth finding. The second thing I’m going to do is just blast the world with vacation pictures, some of which relate to the top ten list and some of which are just regular vacation pictures, because looking at pictures is one of my favorite hobbies in all the land.
Thank you a million times over for all your recommendations for our few days in Charleston! I would be lying to say that I didn’t have a full page in my planner dedicated to restaurant notes from all your comments and emails. Y’ALL ROCK.
Also, can I start saying y’all now that I’ve been in the South? Kthanks.
Ten Awesome Things To Do in Charleston
Easily one of the best meals of my life. We had homemade pimento cheese on crackers, crispy fried chicken skins with hot bourbon honey, cornmeal-dusted catfish with Carolina gold rice (ohmygosh) and roasted chicken with farro, squash, and the most incredible crispy kale I ever did eat. Bjork and I literally both started laughing when we took our first bites of food because IT WAS SO GOOD. Is that a normal reaction to really good food? Whatever.
For me, Husk was the perfect combination of extremely thoughtful and complex foodie flavors and a “fancy dinner” ambiance balanced with good old approachable, familiar, comforting soul food. It was a total stroke of luck that we were able to get in without a reservation. Thanks to Rachel for the phenomenal recommendation!
2. Charleston Sole Walking Tour
Thanks to this tour, we saw 99% of the major Charleston attractions within two and a half hours, all while walking around in the perfect 60-degree weather enjoying the sun and the nice Charleston breeze (related: go in the springtime). Our group was only about 6 people and our guide was super knowledgable. Bjork stayed right up in the front near the guide at all times to learn and be a rule-follower, and I meandered around towards the back of the group to take pictures and daydream about the lives of people who live in this charmed city. Something for everyone!
This was hands-down one of our best decisions in Charleston. Charleston Sole Walking Tours – highly recommend.
3. Isle of Palms
We actually didn’t stay IN in Charleston during our trip – we rented a little condo on the beach on Isle of Palms, about a 30 minute drive from downtown. We loved staying here – it allowed us to experience both the beach AND the city in the same trip. Since we usually work a little bit when we’re on vacation, this was the perfect place to settle in and get some stuff done before heading in to the city to gorge ourselves on Southern food I MEAN UMMMM SIGHTSEE. Every morning we would get our work done while sipping on green smoothies and coffee and listening to the waves roll in. I won’t even complain about it being 35 degrees (seriously) because it was still that wonderful.
Our rental condo was a part of Wild Dunes – and I think if we ever went back with a bigger group, we’d look at renting one of the incredible houses that are on the Wild Dunes property. We drove past these beachy mansions every day on our way “home” to the condo and just gazed at the old-fashioned balconies and big waterfront windows with dreamy eyes and our next vacation on the mind.
This place rocks the rentals.
4. Hominy Grill
This place was recommended to me by a few readers (thank you Amanda and The Mrs.) and it did not disappoint.
Did you guys know collard greens are SUPERDELICIOUS? Yeah. Hominy Grill taught me that. This is the perfect place for Southern food – we got crab soup, fried chicken and gravy, collard greens, barbecue ribs, cornbread, and fried green tomatoes. Because sometimes you just can’t not.
5. Butcher & Bee
While on the topic of incredible food, you MUST MUST MUST go to Butcher & Bee if you are any percent hipster or foodie. And if you are both? Run. Run there right now. Thank you, Nik (and I think there might have been others but I can’t remember?) for the stellar recommendation.
I ordered some kind of a pita sandwich called a Sabich – which I definitely called Sah-beech like a total nerd and was promptly corrected to Sah-beeeeeh, thank you very much – loaded with roasted potatoes and eggplant, pickled cabbage, eggs, harissa, tahini, and Israeli salad. It was so bizarre and wonderful all at the same time. Is it weird to say this? –> I didn’t even necessarily love it the same way I might love, say, a cheeseburger, but I thoroughly enjoyed eating it to experience all the flavors and textures. It was an incredible food experience.
Bjork, predictably, ordered a cheeseburger, and it was, predictably, really really reeeeeally good. And I, predictably, ate half of it as well as a few fistfuls of his fries. We seriously love cheeseburgers.
Go to Butcher & Bee and be your Happy Hipster self! It’s a local, veg-friendly foodie paradise that’s just way too cute.
6. Charleston Waterfront Park
Since by now we’ve had enough to eat for a few hours, let’s go to the Waterfront Park.
This includes a pier where you can watch the ships and sit on the bench swings (!), lots of cute coffee shops and regular shops in close vicinity, several old and fancy-looking fountains, and a walking path that leads you along the waterfront to the White Point Garden Park from where you can find yourself wandering the most charming cobblestone streets and admire the historically beautiful houses. I WANT TO LIVE HERE.
Back to food! Toast was recommended by Mary and Maia, and it made for a perfect brunch spot.
Details: I ordered a crab cake benedict-type thing with crab cakes and fried green tomatoes and poached eggs and remoulade sauce which came with the most buttery, pillowy biscuit with orange marmalade and beautiful cheesy grits (it really didn’t seem like that much at the time?) and I ate most everything on my plate. Ohmygosh. Bjork ordered the French toast made with currant bread and topped with an apple and peach sauce, plus a mimosa for good measure.
We ate our food next to an old-school picture window and looked out at the people of Charleston being adorable. Hello Charleston brunch, we love you.
8. The Historic City Market / Shopping on King Street
If we would have had time, I would have loved to make it to the Farmer’s Market about which I have heard many incredible things.
But since we didn’t have time on Saturday, when it’s open, we walked King Street instead and admired all the fancy shops – I even went into Anthropologie for like five minutes – and then meandered our way down into the Historic Charleston City Market. King Street has a touch of class and the Historic Charleston City Market has a touch of kitschy, so it all made for an entertaining lil’ walk that ultimately brought us directly to the famed Caviar and Bananas cafe (recommended by sweet readers Meg and Mary Ann – thanks y’all!) where we then ordered coffees and a raspberry lemon bar.
All’s well when the story ends with a good, strong, steaming hot Americano with a shot of cream. Ahyes.
9. Poogan’s Porch
Also recommended to me by a lovely reader (heyyyy Laura!), Poogan’s Porch was our last meal in Charleston and it gave us the perfect Southern food farewell. I ordered shrimp and grits and Bjork got the chicken and waffles, but the thing that really made me swoon was the biscuit. Just a plain, buttered biscuit. What kind of food voodoo is this?
Kind of a cheater move, for sure, to include a different city on the list of ten things to do in Charleston, but it’s worth the cheating because A) Savannah is a short two hour drive from Charleston, and B) Savannah is beautiful.
I left Savannah with serious plans to come home and put Spanish moss all over our trees. We spent half of our time on the waterfront (Huey’s for lunch! shrimp and grits again!) and half our time sipping coffee and watching dogs and squirrels in Forsythe park. It was totally idyllic and magical.
If you’re going to Charleston, if you have a car, and if you have at least one extra day, Savannah is calling.
And now, we move on to picture overload.
Enjoy the virtual recap of lovely Charleston!
Have a favorite place in Charleston that I didn’t mention? Please share! Because WE WILL be back.