Charleston, South Carolina is an absolute charm that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits! Charleston is one of the oldest and most historical American cities dating back to 1562. Everything from the cobblestone streets to the stately colonials, iron gates and European inspired gardens have a story to tell. I so quickly fell in love with the rich history of this beautiful city set in a garden.
Recommendations of places to visit from my Charleston Itinerary
Early breakfast at Vintage Coffee
Stop in at Vintage coffee & cafe for breakfast before exploring Sullivan's island. The cozy cafe has the most delicious avocado toast with tomato-onion
marmalade as well as specialty coffees.
Nestled just minutes outside of historic downtown Charleston is the charming island town. The Island was named for Captain Florence O'Sullivan, who was captain of one of the ships in the first fleet to establish Irish and English settlements in Charleston. Sullivan's island has a long military history of protecting the harbor from invaders. The beauty of the Island is much like it is described in Nicholas Sparks novel The Notebook, which made the Island a perfect set for the movie.
Enjoy lunch at the Obstinate Daughter
This charming restaurant was named after the Revolutionary War history of Sullivan’s Island in 1776 when the British attempted to capture the city. The menu tells about the first American Patriots' victory that inspired a London political cartoon,“Miss Carolina Sulivan, one of the obstinate daughters of America, 1776”. The restaurant says "The Obstinate Daughter is a beautiful reminder that a stubborn refusal to change one’s course of action can change the course of history."
Tour of the Aiken Rhett House
This beautiful virtually untouched home gives a wonderful introduction into the historical foundation and rich history of Charleston. What makes this property so unique is that it has not been restored; only preserved just as the residents left it. It is remarkable to walk through the home and see 150 years of living history. The most unique addition to the house came when Aiken had become the governor of South Carolina. Aiken commissioned an art gallery for the property that would be filled with items he collected while traveling through Europe. The gallery full of treasures quickly became famous as the only one of its kind.
Shop along King Street and stop in at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
Jeni's Splendid Ice cream is the sweetest little stop while exploring along King Street. Almost any flavor is possible and the waffle cone adds a special touch to the delicious flavors. I would definitely recommend lemon and lavender together!
Afternoon Cocktails and appetizers at The Darling Oyster Bar
The Darling has a beautiful atmosphere for afternoon cocktails after a walk along King Street. Enjoy a seat at the raw bar for delicious fresh low country oysters and a relaxing window view.
Dinner at Poe's Tavern on Sullivan's Island
Take a sunset walk along the beach front before heading to dinner at Poe's. Inspired and named after the iconic literary artist. This unique casual dining experience is perfect for any lover of literature! At the age of 18 Edgar Allen Poe enlisted in the army and called Sullivan's Island home while stationed on the island. Everything from the wallpaper to the decor is Edgar Allan Poe themed. All of the menu options are named after his poems and other writings.
Breakfast at Butcher and Bee
Have an early delicious bloody mary or mimosa filled breakfast with local farm fresh ingredients. The cheerful atmosphere and unique menu makes for a relaxing and great start to the morning.
Low Country Walking Tour
Take a walk through American history with a guided tour through the historic low country alleyways. The cobblestone streets are filled with beautiful architecture, interesting stories, secret gardens, and endless cultural details.
Visit the Gibbs Museum of Art
The Gibbs Museum of Art is a must see. Located in the heart of downtown Charleston the exquisite collection features a wide range of American art with an emphasis on Charleston's history. Pieces from the Charleston area include marble sculptures found buried at The Middleton Plantation, as well as many pieces of ornate furniture. Be sure not to miss the permanent collection including the the Veiled Woman, a European masterpiece, and the portraits of Colonel and Mrs. Elliott located on the pink wall.
Sugar Bake Shop
Tucked away on a side street in downtown Charleston is the most delightful little bakery! The bake shop’s fresh, local ingredients including farm fresh eggs, herbs, and seasonal fruits makes for the most delectable specialty cupcakes.
Along East Bay Street is a row of beautifully colored pastel homes dating back to 1740. After the Civil War, the area fell into disrepair until Judge Lionel Legge and his wife, Dorothy Porcher Legge, purchased and painted the row of homes in a Caribbean color scheme. Today the darling iconic row of homes is a must see stop in Charleston.
Pineapple Fountain & Water Front
Pineapples are a signature characteristic found throughout the city of Charleston. The pineapple has historically served as a symbol of Southern hospitality because of its bright and cheerful appearance. Many were used as centerpieces for Southern dinner parties, bringing warmth and joy to a home. Stroll along the Charleston harbor water front to find the lovely Pineapple Fountain landmark. This beautiful fountain is such a cheerful symbol of Charleston’s hospitality
Walk the Battery
Take a stroll along the historical waterfront Battery Park and see the cannons along the defensive seawall. Across the harbor is a view into the past where the battles occurred. The Battery is named for a civil-war coastal defense artillery battery at the site. Be sure and relax under the gorgeous live oak trees while admiring the grand historic mansions lining the harbor.
Explore the South of Broad
For Centuries South of Broad Street has been known as one of the finest residential showcases in the U.S. Located near the heart of Charleston’s historic downtown, you can enjoy the salty air breeze off of the harbor and the sound of church bells as you tour, walk, or bike. Each home has a unique history, style, and charm that will leave a lasting impression.
Stop in for an aged rum cocktail at this unique restaurant housed in a bank from the 1920's.
Dinner at FIG
A fine dining experience with creative entrees, exceptional service, and fresh table flowers. I was delighted with the wine selection and unique seafood parings. The menu selection changes daily with what is available locally. Definitely make a reservation far in advance.
Breakfast at The Daily
A great local spot for a quick breakfast. There is a wonderful selection of fresh breads and unique pastries. The homemade almond milk was my favorite, made by local farmers.
Tucked back in an alley, in a lovely old house is the exceptional Chez Nous. Each day the chef hand writes and dates the daily menu in a highly stylized script. The delicious French cuisine and romantic setting in this historic cottage is unforgettable. From the aged brick; vintage portraits; antique silverware; and distressed-wood bar downstairs, to the intimate second floor you will feel as if you are in the French countryside. The menu features a handful of farm to table dishes with exceptional wine pairings from southern France. Enjoy a glass of Rosé in the courtyard, or dine inside for an unforgettable culinary experience. This was a well-hidden gem worth finding.
The Eighteenth Century Historic Plantation is home to the Oldest Landscaped Gardens in the Country. The design was inspired by the gardens of Versailles and the beauty is truly breathtaking. While on a stroll sheep, horses, and peacocks can be seen roaming along the pasture and stables. The timeless beauty of the plantation gardens can be enjoyed throughout the year. Centuries-old camellias, endless azaleas, magnolias, crepe myrtles, and roses are displayed seasonally. The spectacular azalea display is a must see in the Spring!
Before leaving Charleston be sure to stroll through the Historic Downtown and make your way to the City Market. The Charleston City Market is an ideal place to purchase souvenirs and grab a bite of Lowcountry delights.