Charleston holds a special place in our hearts. My grandparents retired to Seabrook Island in 1980, a little island next to Kiawah and about 20 miles from the city. In 1985 my parents got married in a little chapel on the beach on Seabrook. It is a place I have visited every year since I was born. My grandfather used to always say, “if you retire somewhere good, people will visit.” Sure enough, it has become a place we visit frequently.
When my grandparents eventually moved to a retirement community closer to Charleston, their kids (including my mom) kept their house for all of the grandkids to visit as often as they could. Lucky for us, we are able to take advantage of this opportunity often! So although we don’t stay in Charleston, we know our way around pretty well.
I always get asked about our favorite things to do and see while we are there so here are some of our tried and true favorites. I usually go to my friend Chassity for suggestions (her blog is adorable!) – you can check out her Charleston City Guide here.
Where to Stay
Zero George: a quintessential boutique hotel with complimentary bikes to ride around town, beautiful rooms, a delicious restaurant and the most amazing complimentary breakfast.
The Mills House: you see a lot of photos of this hotel on instagram because it is pink and pretty and really central to everything you could want to see in downtown Charleston. Steps away from amazing restaurants, the Battery and shopping on King Street. Very kid friendly and it has a roof top pool for hot summer days.
The Sanctuary: if you make your way to Johns Island (Kiawah and Seabrook), I highly recommend booking a night or two at the Sanctuary. It is a beautiful little oasis on the prettiest stretch of beach.
Where to Eat
Leon’s Oyster Shop: I think this may be our favorite! Great vibes, great food, great cocktails and just a fun place to chill with friends. Get the fried chicken sandwich and the Siam salad. They also have rosé on draft!
Husk: Located in an old home on Queen street, this place is a great spot with delicious food. Book ahead because they fill up fast! Perfect for date night and we love going for brunch.
The Ordinary: We actually tried this for the first time on our last trip but had been meaning to go for awhile! It’s located in an old bank and seriously has the coolest ambiance. Known for their oyster bar, this place also has delicious cocktails served up at a huge bar stretching almost the entire restaurant. We went on Tuesday night for Lobster Roll night and they were insane.
The Rarebit: My family and I love going here for brunch. A little retro and so much fun to grab a cocktail in a pretty vintage glass. We love their huevos rancheros (my favorite), chicken & waffles, hot chicken and the po boy.
Butcher & Bee: Another place we tried for the first time on our last trip and LOVED IT. Serving honest to goodness food, coffee, pastries in a fresh space. We loved the veggie burgers, the chicken shawarma, the brown rice bowl and the hummus (so so good). They also own The Daily which I’ve been meaning to try, too!
167 Raw: This place is small but their food is fresh and delicious! We visited in the summer and sat outside under twinkly lights. They have a great raw bar, delicious tuna burger, lobster roll and tacos!
Xiao Bao Biscuit: Chassity took Dave and I here a few trips back and oh.my.gosh. Labeled asian soul food, this place is good. Also, the vibe is cozy and calm and makes you want to stay awhile. We got the cabbage pancake with pork candy…and other stuff that was so good but I don’t remember looking at the menu. I could never forget that cabbage pancake though…mmmmmmm.
Where to Shop
Hampden Clothing: Recognized as one of the top boutiques in the country, Hampden is what dreams are made of. Every brand you could possibly want in one place. The end.
Indigo Market: Dreamy vintage furniture, home decor, artwork and accessories.
Candy Shop Vintage: Jewelry that makes you happy.
Mitchell Hill: An unreal home decor store (you can see a preview on my instagram). Their art collection is out of this world.
Indigo & Cotton: Amazing store for men.
What to Do
Walk along The Battery and get lost wandering the streets of Old Historic Charleston.
Visit the Gibbes Museum.
Go see the Angel Oak.
Drive out to Kiawah Island and have lunch at the Ocean Course.
Go to the beach on Sullivan’s Island.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments! We have been to almost all of these places (not the plantations or the beach on Sullivan’s).
*side note: so many cute things at Anthropologie linked below!