South Carolina · Travel

Charleston Travel Guide | The Top Things to See, Do, and Eat

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Charleston Travel Guide

I spent my Spring Break and Birthday Week with my mom and Olivia in Charleston, South Carolina! Charleston is a beautiful southern town, and everyone we met was extremely welcoming! To say that this was a much-needed trip is an understatement. Olivia and I both have about a month and a half left of school (being teachers) – bring on the Summer! Here is a full recap of our trip in the form of a Charleston Travel Guide, I hope you enjoy!

 

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Where to Stay:

We stayed 3 nights at the Bluegreen Vacations Hotel called 583 King. I highly recommend it, because it was in a great location downtown, but yet affordable. Most downtown hotels are over $300 a night; Ours was around $170 a night. I always book my Hotels through Hotels.com because it is usually the cheapest – and they have a rewards program where you get a free night after 10 paid nights.

 

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Where to Eat:

Charleston is definitely a foodie’s dream city! Every time we asked someone for a food recommendation, they replied and said “everywhere is good”!

Places that we ate:

  1. Sticky Fingers – Ribs and BBQ  (pictured above) – We only ate an appetizer as a snack here, but I feel like they probably have amazing Ribs! They also have half-priced bottles of wine on Mondays!
  2. Prohibition – Upscale with everything from burgers to steaks – We split a few burgers and had some excellent cocktails here!
  3. Tbonz – Laid Back burgers, sandwiches, chicken, and steaks – We had lunch here one day. I got an entrée with cheese grilled chicken and shrimp, and it was amazing!! They also have excellent cheese fries.
  4. Indaco – Italian – I HIGHLY recommend eating here! Indaco is an upscale Italian restaurant, where they made all of their pasta fresh and by hand! It is a bit pricey – but it is so worth it!
  5. Cane Rhum Bar – Caribbean style bar and grill – We only had bar snacks here on a Pub Crawl that I will explain more about later, but it’s worth mentioning here because if you go during happy hour (4-7 I believe) then you get a drink and an appetizer for $10 total! Their Rum Punch was absolutely amazing!
  6. Mellow Mushroom – Pizza – I’m sure that I don’t need to explain what mellow mushroom is. Their pizza is always amazing. We ended up here on our last night because everywhere else had closed!
  7. Eli’s Table – Brunch – They serve more than brunch – but brunch is all that we experienced here. The brunch was very tasty and they have a nice outside seating area in the back!

 

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Places that we wanted to eat, but didn’t get to:

  1. Henry’s  – (Pictured above) We had drinks as Henry’s and they have a beautiful rooftop area.
  2. Magnolia’s – Several people recommended Magnolia’s

 

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Where to Drink:

Pretty much all of the bars in Charleston serve food, but I am going to highlight our favorite places for grabbing a cocktail!

 

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Bars that we went to:

  1. Eleve’ – Wine Bar (pictured above) – They have a gorgeous rooftop bar and restaurant! I highly recommend going up to the top for a glass of wine! I recommend the white wine from Chile that has a hint of jalapeño (I can’t remember the name). Yes, it sounds crazy, but it is sooo good!
  2. Prohibition – I mentioned here in the places to eat section as well, but their cocktails are excellent. So, even if you don’t eat here, drop in for a drink! Olivia had the best mojito of her life here!
  3. Henry’s – (pictured above) – Henry’s has a GORGEOUS rooftop bar and patio. We sat here for a long time! We wanted to eat here, but we ran out of time! They have a pretty good happy hour!
  4. 5Church – (pictured above) – Yes, this really used to be a church. It is beautiful inside! I’m not exactly sure what the story behind it is, but it is a neat place to see!
  5. Cane Rhum Bar – I mentioned Cane earlier, but this was a super neat place! I loved the Caribbean feel that it had! Also, it was one of the most affordable bars that we went into! Try the Rum Punch!! (pictured below)

 

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Bars that we wanted to go to but didn’t get to:

  1. Cat Wine Bar – I’m not even sure if it has an actual name or not, but it’s literally a wine bar, with cats running around LOL. I don’t even really like cats, I just thought the concept was cool.
  2. The Vendue – This is a rooftop bar on top of one of the hotels downtown!

 

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What to Do:

Charleston is a huge tourist destination, so there is no lack of things to do. However, being the planner that I am, I booked all of our “touristy” things ahead of time. I highly recommend doing this, because your times will be set in stone and you won’t get to town and feel overwhelmed and end up not doing anything.

 

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Things that we did:

  1. Carriage Ride with Old South Carriage – I highly recommend doing a carriage ride early in your stay in Charleston! We did our tour the day that we arrived. It is an hour-long tour of the city – so it helps you to get used to the streets of Charleston, as well as, learn some history about the area before your start your journey! Our driver was very friendly and informative! We got to see and learn about a lot of the gorgeous historic houses in Charleston (pictured above)!
  2. Haunted Pub Crawl with BullDog Tours: There is a lot of history in the city of Charleston, and with that comes a lot of ghost stories and legends. On this Haunted Pub Crawl we had a guide take us to three different bars and tell us different legends and stories about the city and the bars. We also had little gadgets that were supposed to light up when a ghost was nearby (pictured above). Of course, I took most of the information with a grain of salt, but it was a lot of fun! We learned some interesting facts about the area! Also, the tour starts at 4pm, so you get to hit the bars during happy hour!
  3.  Sunset Boat Tour with Sandlapper Tours: This was probably one of my favorite parts of our trip! I love being on or near the water! There are many different companies and boat tours in the Charleston area – but I STRONGLY recommend doing the sunset boat tour with Sandlapper Tours. The sunset was absolutely stunning (pictured below)! The tour lasts about 2 hours and you get to go around the entire Charleston Harbor.
  4. South Carolina Aquarium: I am a sucker for an aquarium or a zoo! This was a nice aquarium though! It was slightly geared towards kids, and there were a TON of children there. However, they did a better job than some of the aquariums that I have visited in making it an enjoyable experience for kids and adults! We also got to see some wild Atlantic Bottle Nose Dolphins right outside of the aquarium in the Charleston Harbor when we were coming out (pictured below)
  5. Theatre 99 Comedy Club: This place is a total hole in the wall, so you need to look it up and plan when you are going to go ahead of time. You will need to put it in your phone gps when you are walking there, because it is very hard to see and get to. BUT, it is so worth it. It only cost $5 and it was about an hour and a half long!
  6. Charleston Distilling Company – There are several distilleries in the area, but this is the only one that is downtown, so it is the only one that we went to! We didn’t drive anywhere during our entire stay! We did uber a few times to get across town quick, but other than that, we walked everywhere! But anyway, I was super impressed by the Charleston Distilling Company! First, they have two dogs in-house that just lay around and enjoy life. They sold me the instant that I saw them (pictured above)! Their spirits are absolutely delicious though! Each of us tried a different drink with a different spirit and they were all delicious!
  7. The Charleston Market – If you have ever been to the Caribbean and gone to a local straw market, this was very similar to those! It is a space for tons of vendors to set up and sell handmade items! I did not buy anything, but I do recommend walking through it!
  8. Rainbow Row – You HAVE to walk down Rainbow Row! The colorful houses are gorgeous (pictured below)! Plus, towards the end of the row is the Battery (the end of the peninsula that used to store gunpowder) so you can walk over and see the water while you are here!

 

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Some History:

Turns out, the Caribbean had a huge impact on how Charleston was settled. The settlers from England did not know how to farm the land because the weather was so different. Therefore, they brought people over from the Caribbean (Barbados, in particular) to teach them how to tend to the land. I am excited to travel to Barbados this summer and see what characteristics that I see that might be similar.

 

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Outfit Deets:

Most of my outfits are from an online boutique called XO Mandy Sue! All the rompers from this trip are so comfortable and super affordable! You can save 35% by using promo code KATIE35 at checkout! Let me know if you have another outfit questions!

 

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Thank you for checking out my Charleston Travel Guide! I hope you learned something about the beautiful city of Charleston and are inspired to go visit! If you have any questions at all, please reach out! I love talking with you guys about travel ideas and tips! Stay tuned for my next adventure!

 

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XOXO

Katie Church

A portion of this trip was complimentary, with thanks from the Charleston CVB – However, all opinions are honestly and organically my own.

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11 thoughts on “Charleston Travel Guide | The Top Things to See, Do, and Eat

  1. Definitely saving this!! It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Charleston, but I’m going again this July so will definitely have to check these places out.

    Thanks!!

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