Rent Bicycles

Riding bikes around Charleston is the best way to explore the city. If you drive a car around, you will miss all the quaint nuances and secret gardens, and if you walk, you can only go so far. Thomas and I have enjoyed biking around Historic Downtown and the South of Broad areas. We suggest you bike to one of Charleston’s largest public spaces: the beautiful, recently updated Colonial Lake. Another spot to reach by bike is Queen Street Grocery, a cute little lunch spot that offers signature crepes and smoothies. Anywhere you go, always be careful of the one way streets! If your hotel does not offer complimentary bikes, you can rent them at either The Bicycle Shoppe or Affordabike.

Walk around South of Broad

The area at the edge of the peninsula, South of Broad, is filled with beautiful historic residential homes and gardens. You will get lost in the fairytale of Charleston’s unique features… the bend at Church Street, the pineapple gates on Legare, and the candy-colored shutters on Lower King Street. We’ve walked around South of Broad quite a few times now and we always find something new. Take a peek behind the gates for a scene of European-designed gardens, go down the small alleyways, and rest under the massive trees at White Point Gardens at the end of your walk, while you look out over the Battery. Don’t miss the plaques that tell you about your stroll through American History.

Hampton Park

Across from the Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, in the area many locals call ‘Cross-Town,’ you will find one of the city’s largest parks, Hampton Park. The park is a parade of lovely florals. The Hampton Park neighborhood is charming and filled with history as well (this is a common theme throughout Charleston). We love gathering with friends and having picnics at this park.

Colonial Lake

Colonial Lake, a beautiful public space, is surrounded by historic Charleston houses. This is a great area to walk, run, or bike around, especially during the sunset. If you are looking for a scenic place to play tennis, there are tennis courts open to the public with great views of the lake and surrounding homes.

White Point Garden

White Point Garden is a historic waterfront park located at the Battery, on the Southern tip of the peninsula. The early Charlestown residents originally named White Point Garden after the white sand and oyster shells that had been bleached by the sun along the edge of the water. Massive trees provide shade for this public space that is perfect for a picnic. Don’t miss the lovely white gazebo in the park as well.

Kayaking/ Paddleboarding

Less than 10 minutes from downtown Charleston is the Shem Creek Shrimping Village. Here, you will find restaurants on the water, boaters coming in and out, and plenty of people paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing. You can rent a kayak, canoe, or SUP from Nature Adventure Outfitters on Shem Creek to take in the best of the salt marsh life. You can either purchase a rental to explore the salt marshes and crab bank island, or go on one of their guided saltwater or blackwater tours. It is so much fun to explore the barrier islands, black river swamps, and rivers Charleston offers. If you’re lucky you’ll spot a dolphin right before sunset.

Sailing

Set sail on the Charleston Harbor! There are a number of boat rentals and charters to choose from downtown, Mt. Pleasant, and James Island. One charter we like in particular is the Schooner Pride. There is nothing like sailing under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge at sunset. You can also take lessons or rent a sailboat from Charleston Sailing School. Your hotels may offer a sailing package as well, but either way make sure you take advantage of the open water while you are here!

Pickett Park and Pitt Street Bridge

East of the Cooper River, a few minutes away from the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, you will find Old Village Historic District in Mt. Pleasant. Pickett Park and Pitt Street Bridge are located on the south end of Pitt street in Old Village. Previously used to allow passage to Sullivan’s Island, the wooden fishing bridge now extends out to Cove Inlet.This is a wonderful spot to go after you enjoy a day kayaking out on Shem Creek or to watch the sunset before you go out to eat. The view from Pickett Park will take your breath away, as you watch the sunset over the Charleston Harbor and Intracoastal waterway. If you decide to go for sunset, bring bug spray or bug spray wipes (my personal preference). It can’t hurt to have it on you, but you’ll regret not having it if the bugs are out.

Rainbow Row

Along East Bay Street, right before you reach the Battery, is a long row of pastel-colored houses. You might as well be in Italy or the Caribbean. In fact, the pastel colors were originally intended to match a Caribbean color scheme. The eye-catching rainbow houses face the Cooper River. Walk down the cobblestone streets to a dock on the harbor where you can watch the sunrise and take in the views from the peninsula.

Walk/ Run the Arthur Ravenel Bridge

If you still desire a fun way to exercise after walking around the city, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge has a path to walk or run and bike lane. In fact, every year, Charleston holds the Cooper River Bridge Run, and blocks off the bridge so thousands of runners from around the world can take it on for the race. Enjoy the best views of downtown and the Cooper River. You can either enter the walking path from the downtown or Mt. Pleasant end. After you park off of East Bay Street, the downtown stretch starts with a long walk over the marsh. You can either walk the whole bridge, or come back after you reach the top. We usually start on the Mt. Pleasant side. You can park your car for free under the bridge at the Mt. Pleasant Waterfront park. At the top of the bridge, it is very windy, so make sure you hold on to your hat and bring an extra layer if you are walking in the early morning. Also, check out the Mt. Pleasant pier under the bridge after your run/ walk/ bike ride.

Boone Hall Plantation

When you walk around Boone Hall Plantation, you feel as though you are taking a step back into history. Boone Hall is one of the oldest working plantations, still growing and selling strawberries, tomatoes, and a few other crops to this day. The plantation is open to the public year round for tours. Tour the massive property and learn about the Gullah culture and working plantations. There is also a butterfly museum you can enjoy. There are two fun cultural facts about Boone Hall plantation: It was used for scenes of the Hamilton’s summer house in the classic romantic movie, The Notebook, and Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were married here. To learn more about Boone Hall and the tours offered, visit their website.

Middleton Place

One of the most beautiful Charleston plantations is the National Historic Landmark, Middleton Place Plantation. Arthur Middleton was born here, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. There is an award-winning restaurant on site, as well as a house museum filled with gorgeous antiques. Here, you will learn about the Lowcountry Rice Plantations. The plantation has an absolutely breathtaking garden with an array of different flowers. Be sure to check the website to find out what flowers are in bloom during your trip here.

Magnolia Plantation

Looking for a change of scenery? About a 25 minute drive from downtown is the stunning Magnolia Plantation. Founded in 1676, Magnolia Plantation has a rich history, having been right in the thick of both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. It’s also the oldest public garden in America, opening up to the public in 1870. The Plantation sits along the Ashley River in Charleston and boasts plenty of swamp land, including some in the garden area. When we were there we saw alligators, frogs, egrets and butterflies, but I’m sure there were lots more critters hiding amongst the thick natural landscape. The Plantation has a beautiful long, white bridge that crosses one of the garden’s ponds and combined with sun and still water, creates a beautiful reflection. Like most great gardens that we’ve come across during our travels, they have a wide variety of plants, ensuring that something will be in bloom all year long. I’m sure it’s even more beautiful during the springtime when the azaleas are in bloom (the Magnolia Plantation website says that the azalea bloom is the best time of year to visit).

Aiken Rhett House

We enjoyed our visit at the Aiken Rhett House. The house-turned-museum will introduce you to the rich foundation of history Charleston streets are rooted in. Any opportunity to expand your historical horizon and catch a break from the Charleston humidity is one you should take. The Aiken-Rhett House is open Mon-Sat 10a.m.-5p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, but visitors who are interested in visiting the Aiken-Rhett House and the Nathaniel-Russell house can save $6 on adult tickets by purchasing a combination ticket.

Nathaniel Russell House

Take a step back in history into the live’s of the Russell family, who walked the cobblestone streets of Charleston during the Early American Republic. The Nathaniel Russell House is one of the nation’s grandest antebellum townhouses. The estate is filled with exquisite antiques and beautiful interior architecture.

Historic City Tour

One of the fastest ways to grow your knowledge of Charleston would be by taking a Historic Tour. While lots of people take carriage rides, (which we don’t necessarily support) we would recommend a walking tour with a guide. Or, you could even do a self guided tour and stop to read the many plaque scattered throughout town.

Gibbes Museum of Art

This beautiful American Art museum on Meeting Street holds 6-8 exhibitions per year, featuring artists from all over the country. The museum offers guided tours, artist talks, concerts, and lectures throughout the year.

Visit Art Galleries

Visit the the incredible fine art galleries in Charleston’s beautiful French Quarter District. One of our favorite galleries downtown is the Meyer Vogl Gallery (pictured above) on Meeting Street, which is run by one of our friends. You can find lots of galleries on Lower King, Broad Street, Meeting and East Bay.

Candle Making at CandleFish

The Scented Candle Making Classes at Candlefish are so much fun! This is a wonderful date night idea or a great class to do with friends. They have tons of scents to choose from and you customize your own candles throughout the whole process. There is a break during the class when you can shop for candles and cards created by local companies. The class is BYOB so grab a bottle of wine before the class to enjoy.

Lily

Inspired by French culture, Lily is a unique, carefully-curated and styled boutique. You could explore this little shop for hours. Lily holds bespoke French perfume, charming stationery, jewelry, and bath and home provisions. Check out their men’s section as well. Last Christmas, I bought Thomas the Eight & Bob cologne, exclusively sold here.

Hampden Clothing

Hampden Clothing has the most beautiful and chic selection of pieces ranging from Tibi to Self Portrait, Ulla Johnson and Roksanda. You must stop in to shop at their newly renovated shop on King Street on your next visit!

Mac & Murphy

This sweet little paper shop, Mac & Murphy, will brighten your day. There are bright and cheery cards, calendars, journals, and prints galore to fill your household and leave you feeling encouraged and organized.

Charleston City Market

Charleston City Market is consistently one of the busiest areas in downtown Charleston. Close enough to the water and historic buildings for sightseers and filled with local artisans for shoppers, you will not want to miss this classic destination on your trip. This is where you will find the famous Lowcountry Sweetgrass baskets and any Charleston souvenir you wish to bring back for friends and family.

Palmetto Bluff

We absolutely love Palmetto Bluff. Thirty minutes outside of Savannah and two hours from Charleston, this treasure cove is a mix of cottages, vacation homes, and thousands of acres of water, marsh, land, and forest. We explored the area by riding our bikes through the forests and along the river on the property. This is a great location to bring family and friends because there is so much to do. We stayed at the Montage Inn at Palmetto Bluff. To find out more about what we did on our trip check out these blog posts: Southern SummerPalmetto Bluff,
Summer Memories

Day Trip to Savannah

About 2 hours outside Charleston, if you take the correct route, you’ll come across the charming Spanish Moss-lined streets of Savannah, Georgia. While we were there we walked down Bull Street and explored the adjacent parks filled with beautiful flowers and scenery. We loved Monterey Square Park, which was full of Hydrangeas and tall Spanish moss.
We walked around Chippewa square park and went right to the spot where Forrest Gump told strangers his life story. Make sure to have iced tea or water bottles on hand if you go in the summer because you just can’t beat the heat in the South.
For more information about one of our road trips to Savannah, see our blog post here, A Day In Savannah.

Sullivan’s Island

While you’re in Charleston, you must take a trip to the beach. Although there are a few beaches to choose from outside of downtown, Sullivan’s Island is our favorite. While only 20-25 minutes from downtown, some might not consider this a day trip, but there’s plenty to do for an entire day. Thomas and I will go here to eat and to watch the beautiful sunrise and sunsets. There are a bunch of awesome restaurants along the main drag when you enter the island, such as Obstinate Daughter, Poe’s Restaurant, Salt, Mex 1, and The Co-Op grocery and deli.

Congaree National Park

Hike, camp, canoe, or kayak through Congaree National Park that offers a wealth of history and biodiversity. One of the main attractions is the sheer height of its grand forest canopy. This is a wonderful place to hike because the park lies within a floodplain, so the majority of land is very flat. There are a number of walking trails to choose from, as well as guided canoe tours under the massive trees. Be sure to go on their website and plan your trip ahead of time so that you can make the most out of your time here. If you find yourself headed to Columbia, SC or even Charlotte, NC, Congaree offers a nice detour.

Kiawah Island

Only 21 miles from Charleston, this luxurious barrier island offers a pristine beach and lots of shopping and dining options. The 2016 Condé Nast Traveler Magazine named Kiawah Island No. 1 Island in North America in its latest Readers’ Choice Poll. A scenic causeway joins the private island to the mainland. Visitors and locals take advantage of the tennis facilities and golf courses on the island. Be sure to check out the Sanctuary Hotel Spa, recently ranked as Best Hotel Spas in the country by Travel and Leisure.

Zero George

This award-winning, charming little hotel, Zero George, is within walking distance from restaurants, shops, bars, and lovely neighborhoods. It was the first hotel we stayed in before we decided to move to Charleston. They offer complimentary bikes that we took full advantage of to explore the city. The contemporary, pristine rooms were wonderful for our stay. The Zero Restaurant + Bar is open to the public throughout the week and offers a European continental breakfast for hotel guests. The furnished outdoor piazzas and landscaped courtyard provides a tranquil escape for those on vacation. Zero George also offers customized packages for you to create your perfect Charleston experience. Check out their Sunset Harbor Yacht Sailing Package and Cooking Class Package to add to your incredible trip!

86 Cannon

86 Cannon, one of our favorite boutique hotels, is a charming restored home from the 1860’s. While the hotel isn’t as full service as others, that’s ok because there’s plenty to eat and explore in the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood. It’s also owned and operated by the sweetest couple that live on the property with their two dogs. Enjoy complimentary wine & cheese in the afternoons and take in the neighborhood scene on their classic Charleston piazza. If one of their 5 rooms are available, make sure to seize the opportunity to stay here.

The Restoration

All your needs will be met at this exquisite, artistic hotel on Wentworth Street, The Restoration Hotel. The modern, luxurious compound is made up of several shops: The Port Mercantile, The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits, The Culture Library, The Amethyst Spa, The Rise Coffee Shop, and beautiful rooms and suites. There is art throughout the hotel, constantly entertaining the eye. The swanky interior design within each room is a pleasant touch to an all-encompassing luxurious Charleston retreat.

Two Meeting Street Inn

You simply can’t beat the location of Two Meeting Street Inn. If you have a chance to stay in this elegant historic bed and breakfast for a few days, treat yourself. Situated right in the heart of South of Broad, you truly experience the Charleston charming architecture and landscape. Views of the beautiful trees in White Point Gardens and the waves splashing against the battery wall will fill your mornings and afternoons. This corner lot, with a gorgeous wrap-around veranda, is breathtaking along the picturesque waterfront Charleston mansions. Enjoy breakfast in the airy dining room or out in the beautiful courtyard.

The Mills House

The effervescent pink, large, and iconic Mills House is a wonderful hotel to stay in during your time in Charleston. Only a few blocks from the Market, the Battery, and King Street, the Mills House is situated so you can explore Charleston by foot. The Mills House has a big outdoor pool to relax by (an amenity that you will definitely appreciate if visiting during the summer), and a restaurant, The Barbadoes Room. Request to say in one of the private balcony, poolside, or sun deck rooms.

The Dewberry

The Dewberry, an elegant, mid-size boutique hotel in the middle of downtown Charleston on Meeting Street is a getaway we highly recommend you consider for your next stay here. All of the bedrooms have picturesque views of Charleston. The Dewberry has its own dining establishment, Henrietta’s at the Dewberry, which is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Wes Morton, Henrietta’s head chef, mixes his south Louisiana roots into this southern brasserie restaurant. Guests can enjoy cocktails in the Living Room, a private space to rest between activities. Don’t miss your chance to spend a restful afternoon at The Dewberry Spa. One of the most luxurious room offerings, The Charleston Flat, offers the best views of the Holy City and an in-room bar.

Belmond Charleston Place

The Belmond Charleston Place is in the middle of King Street Shopping District. This luxury hotel has shops inside, as well as three dining locations: The Palmetto Cafe, Charleston Grill, and Thoroughbred Club lounge. You can enter the hotel through Market or King Street, so you are seconds away from wonderful shopping, restaurants, and sightseeing. If you are in town around Christmas time, be sure to check out the Charleston Place lobby because there’s always a gorgeous Christmas display.

Eclectic Cafe and Vinyl

Eclectic Cafe & Vinyl is a fun coffee shop with an atmosphere that you want to spend a few hours in. That’s why you probably see people on their laptops working from this cafe.

Black Tap Coffee

The best coffee in Charleston arguably comes from this shop. In fact, we buy their coffee beans to make at home when we can’t justify the 15 minute drive downtown. During our summer trips we stopped in for an Iced Lavender Latte almost every single day.

Vintage Coffee Cafe

Vintage Coffee Cafe is one of our favorite coffee spots near our neighborhood for a quick caffeine rejuvenation or breakfast. It’s a bit out of the way if you are staying downtown, but it’s definitely worth trying if you are on your way to or from Sullivan’s Island.

The Daily

Also on our list for Breakfast, The Daily makes some great coffee drinks. Their Iced Almond Milk Latte is not to be missed. Their homemade Almond Milk is so good you’ll wish you had ordered two of them.

The Daily

We frequent The Daily when we are walking around downtown. The Daily has locally sourced provisions for your on-the-go needs. Located on Upper King, The Daily is a combination of a coffee shop, bakery, and lunch spot. All of their breads are made in-house, providing fresh baked goods and sandwiches for the neighborhood. The coffee is great quality, and the fresh-pressed juices are a wonderful pick-me-up. When Thomas and I went here on one of our first trips to Charleston, we split the combo of the avocado toast, egg toast, and breakfast tacos with a side of coffee and green juice.

The Park Cafe

Across from Hampton Park, in the Wagener Terrace neighborhood off Rutledge Avenue, is the Park Cafe This cozy, casual lunch spot, with a green + white natural aesthetic, is a laid back spot for a healthy brunch or dinner. The Park Cafe reminded us of some of our favorite go-to restaurants in San Francisco, so we appreciate the West Coast flair in the historic CrossTown area. We recommend the Fried Egg Sandwich off the Breakfast Menu.

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit is your go-to breakfast dive-in or your late night spot for a sweet, savory biscuit. After you go to one of the wonderful restaurants we’ve mentioned on Upper King, be sure to stop into this little shop with the sweet aroma of your grandmother’s kitchen.

Butcher and Bee

Butcher and Bee, with its creative and innovative menu, is one of our favorites. We often find ourselves at B&B for brunch. I always get the Brown Rice bowl filled with rice, veggies, egg and almond butter. Also, you can’t go wrong ordering any one of the honest-to-goodness sandwiches on the menu. B&B offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends. If you don’t believe me, ask Leonardo DiCaprio. The Oscar-winning actor ate at B&B for lunch when he visited Charleston.

167 Raw

This tiny, unassuming restaurant delivers every time. Inside, 167 Raw is perfect for a romantic date night or special lunch. You and your date can sit next to the bar and watch the chefs prepare your plates for a private dining experience feel. Be sure to try the lobster roll, it’s incredible. Thomas and I visited 167 Raw this past summer for lunch and enjoyed their guacamole, chips, and fish tacos. Stay tuned for 167 Raw’s new location on King street, come spring 2019! Currently, you cannot make reservations at 167 raw, so make sure you plan to get there in advance or go during off hours, because there is sure to be a wait.

Obstinate Daughter

Less than 25 minutes away from downtown Charleston, Sullivan’s Island offers wonderful restaurants a few blocks from the beach. One restaurant on the island you must try is The Obstinate Daughter. O/D offers Italian dishes and seafood, as well as a mix of both. A classic example of this convergence is the wood-fired pizza with local clams. Thomas and I went here for lunch during one of our afternoons on Sullivan’s Island this past summer. The King’s Honey cocktail was tasty and refreshing, since we came in on a hot Charleston day. We split a pizza and the lowcountry shrimp roll. O/D is one of the restaurants that we bring our guests to that are first time Charleston visitors.

Poe’s Tavern

Thomas loves tacos, and Poe’s Tavern is one of his favorite taco spots. Named and inspired by the famous literary genius, Edgar Allan Poe, Poe’s is laced with traces of his craftsmanship. All of the menu items are named in reference to his works and there are pictures of Poe throughout the restaurant. Best known for great burgers and drinks, Poe’s is a popular spot for beachgoers and city-dwellers alike.

Hominy Grill

Hominy Grill encapsulates the Lowcountry Southern meal. From fried green tomatoes to the fried cat-fish Po-Boy, here you will pick from a delectable home-grown variety. For those who come to Charleston craving the best bowl of she-crab soup, look no further, this Charleston classic will provide your southern fix.

Chez Nous

With its handwritten menus, unique French cuisine, and quaint space, Chez Nous is the ideal location for a romantic date night or a leisurely lunch in their courtyard.

Xiao Bao Biscuit

Top chefs across the Charleston dining portfolio rave about Xiao Bao Biscuit, so we had to try it out for ourselves. Let me tell you, this unique Asian Soul Food dive-in on the corner of Rutledge and Spring Street does not disappoint. You have to be strategic as to what time you go to XBB because I can guarantee it will be packed. XBB offers a small menu, but it is packed with flavor and everything is superb. The dishes are designed to be eaten family style, so be sure to order up to 4 dishes for two people. We highly recommend the famous Okonomiyaki, otherwise known as the Cabbage pancake, which can be customized with a variety of toppings.

Lewis BBQ

BBQ lovers listen up: Lewis BBQ is the place for a hearty Texas BBQ meal. If you aren’t keen on BBQ, you may want to check out Lewis BBQ anyway because their big backyard, with a massive tree dressed in lights and large bulb ornaments, is a scene you will enjoy.

Leon’s Oyster Shop

Nothing beats sitting outside on the patio at Leon’s on a sunny day. Despite Leon’s location on Upper King, you will often find a long line out the door. Known around town for their fried chicken sandwich, fresh seafood, and Siam salad, Leon’s will not disappoint. With its laid back atmosphere, this is the spot to be for an afternoon lunch with friends.

The Park Cafe

Across from Hampton Park, in the Wagener Terrace neighborhood off Rutledge Avenue, is the Park Cafe. This cozy, casual lunch spot, with a green + white natural aesthetic, is a laid back spot for a healthy brunch or dinner. The Park Cafe reminded us of some of our favorite go-to restaurants in San Francisco, so we appreciate the West Coast flair in the historic CrossTown area. We recommend the Fried Egg Sandwich off the Breakfast Menu.

Goat Sheep Cow

Wine and beautifully-arranged cheese plates galore. Goat Sheep Cow (North) offers tastes from around the globe in their constantly evolving menu. Take a look around at the carefully crafted interior design, as it creates a unique atmosphere to match the variety of tastes.

The Darling Oyster Bar

Energetic, modern, fresh, flavorful… all descriptions that come to mind when thinking about The Darling Oyster Bar. We highly recommend the raw bar menu, where you can choose from an array of oysters from the Lowcountry. Pair one of their House Mimosas with a Smoke Salmon Benedict for brunch. If you choose to stop in for dinner, you can’t go wrong with ordering one of their Lobster Rolls. A few other favorites are their grits, fries topped with chowder, and the Paloma to drink.

The Ordinary

Also included on our list of places for dinner, The Ordinary is one of our favorite stops for a cocktail. If you’re looking for a suggestion, ask them to make one of their special daiquiris. If you are lucky they will have their banana daiquiri, which is one of our favorites. (Image Courtesy of The Ordinary)

The Watch Rooftop Bar at The Restoration Hotel

The Watch Rooftop Bar in the hip Restoration Hotel may have one of the best views in all of Charleston. We sampled a few of their signature cocktails and appetizers. We can’t wait to go back to enjoy an evening, sipping drinks, eating appetizers and watching the sunset over the city.

Edmund’s Oast

Edmund’s Oast has plenty of great beer options, including sour beers, which are Thomas’ favorite when he can’t decide between a beer or a cocktail. We sampled a few of there cocktails which we really enjoyed. They have a great outdoor seating area for enjoying a drink or meal with parties large and small.

The Ordinary

At this point, we have deemed The Ordinary our favorite overall dining experience in Charleston. You will thoroughly enjoy your time here from the bar to the table. The rum-based cocktails are delicious and the seafood is clearly fresh. They are known for their oysters, and they pair the different types of locally sourced oysters together, offering visitors a variety of different tastes. (Image Courtesy of The Ordinary)

Xiao Bao Biscuit

Top chefs across the Charleston dining portfolio rave about Xiao Bao Biscuit, so we had to try it out for ourselves. Let me tell you, this unique Asian Soul Food dive-in on the corner of Rutledge and Spring Street does not disappoint. You have to be strategic as to what time you go to XBB because I can guarantee it will be packed. XBB offers a small menu, but it is packed with flavor and everything is superb. The dishes are designed to be eaten family style, so be sure to order up to 4 dishes for two people. We highly recommend the famous Okonomiyaki, otherwise known as the Cabbage pancake, which can be customized with a variety of toppings.

Chez Nous

Chez Nous, with its handwritten menus, unique French cuisine, and quaint space, it’s the ideal location for a romantic date night or a leisurely lunch in their courtyard.

The Macintosh

The architecture in Charleston is so interesting and entertaining in its own right. The Macintosh, located on Upper King, dotes exposed brick juxtaposed with modern light fixtures, creating a warm ambience. As a Charleston restaurant staple, the Macintosh has been known for its specialty brunch menu, your go-to stop for biscuits and gravy. Be sure to look into their Happy Hour menu offering $5 plates and specialty cocktails. For dinner, the Mac Burger with the Pecorino Truffle fries is a crowd favorite. They have several delicious dessert options as well including their Bone Marrow Bread Pudding.

The Darling Oyster Bar

Also included on our list of best places for cocktails and appetizers is The Darling Oyster Bar. You’ll probably feel compelled to stay for an entire meal once you arrive. We love their Fry Basket (with fried oyster, shrimp or flounder), the Blue Crab Tagliatelle, the Shrimp & Grits or the Fresh Catch.

FIG

FIG provides fine dining in a relaxed, bistro setting. Defined by its seasonally-inspired Southern cuisine, foodies flock to FIG to try the dishes created by a few of Charleston’s top chefs, Jason Stanhope and Mike Lata. Be sure to try one of their signature dishes, the Ricotta Gnocchi. On our last visit the Cottage Cheese and Burnt Eggplant Toast was impeccable. (Image Courtesy of FIG)

Le Farfalle

Le Farfalle boasts hand-made Italian food in the heart of Harleston Village. Chef Michael Toscano creates fresh Italian dishes for your authentic Italian craving. We’ve enjoyed each visit to Le Farfalle and their Focaccia bread is not to be missed. (Image Courtesy of Le Farfalle)

The Grocery

The Grocery is an open, airy restaurant set in an urban and modern space and stands out among Charleston’s fine dining restaurants. We enjoyed the family-style meal here and shared the Wood Roasted Whole Fish and Half Roasted Chicken. (Image Courtesy of The Grocery)

Cannon Green

You know you’ll have a dreamy experience at Cannon Green when you hear the whole restaurant doubles as a well-regarded wedding and event space. The moment we walked through the doors, we felt as though we were in an oasis of sort, miles from the busy street behind us. The open, airy restaurant features colorful works by local artists, Lulie Wallace, Teil Duncan, and Blakely Little, creating an inviting atmosphere to gather. The lovely back courtyard is a great setting for a brunch with friends, and the string lights provide a romantic backdrop for a classic Charleston cocktail hour. Be sure to check out Cannon Green’s happy hour specials- Ranging from Taco Tuesday (a day worth celebrating!) to Beats and Brunch on your leisurely Sunday afternoon.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

If you are coming to Charleston in the spring or summer, you are going to want to know where you can find the best ice cream. We try new flavors every time we go in for a treat and we always leave happy. What’s great is that even if you don’t get a cone, your cup still comes with a little piece of waffle cone.

Sugar Bakeshop

Off the beaten path from the Charleston tourist district, there are a couple different treasures you will not want to miss on your trip to Charleston. Sugar Bakeshop is one of those places. A block down from Coming and Cannon, you will find a sweet little bakeshop that satisfies the lively Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood’s sweet tooth. The humble square building sits subtly beside busy Cannon street – be careful because you just may miss her. She beckons you in with one irresistible calling painted across her facade: Sugar.

I swear the aroma of fresh, seasonal baked goods will fill your lungs when you first walk in. Sugar offers an array of specialty-crafted cupcakes and cookies, as well as delicious cakes for weddings and events. Don’t miss the little courtyard where you can sit and enjoy your sweet treats with friends and loved ones while admiring the quaint borough so many Charlestonians call home.