This February, my husband I visited Charleston and totally fell in love with the city! Charleston, also known as the Holy City, is a place with so much to offer – amazing restaurants, tons of history, stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and (usually) pretty nice weather! Here are 10 things you don’t want to miss when visiting Charleston, South Carolina!!
bike ride around charleston
The best way to see the city in my opinion is by bike! We rented these cute blue bikes from Holy Spokes. Day passes are $20 or you can pay by the hour.
We opted for day passes and spent the whole morning biking around the city. Our favorite spot was around the Battery! There are so many gorgeous historical homes to admire.
The Battery is a defensive seawall used during the Civil War to protect the city. Many of the homes in this area are gorgeous and full of history with quintessential Charleston touches – side porch, shutters, and beautiful architectural details.
Charleston has a lot going for it and food is no exception! When I researched things to do in Charleston, I quickly realized how many restaurants in the city are well known and considered must-eats! My favorite dining experience in the city was definitely Husk! I loved it so much I wrote a whole blog post on our experience at Husk! But here are a few more options you should definitely try while you’re in the city!!
- Poogan’s Porch – southern food, breakfast / lunch / dinner
- Xiao Bao Biscuit – multi-cultural asian food, lunch / dinner
- Leon’s Oyster Shop – oysters and fried chicken, lunch / dinner
- Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit – grab and go eatery, breakfast / lunch
If you have a sweet tooth, make sure you get some ice cream in Charleston! Jeni’s Ice Cream is well known and for good reason!
I loved the dairy free Texas Sheet Cake chocolate ice cream!
Another spot for sweets I would highly recommend is Sugar Bake Shop!
Arguably one of the most iconic and instagram-worthy spots in Charleston is Rainbow Row on East Bay Street! This spot is well-known for it’s thirteen colorful, pastel homes right near the Battery.
Fun Fact: While these houses were built in the mid-1700’s, they weren’t painted bright, pastel colors until the 1900’s!
While you’re checking out Rainbow Row, make a short walk to Pineapple Fountain! This unique fountain in Waterfront Park is a tourist attraction that first opened in 1990. You might be wondering why the fountain is shaped like a pineapple… apparently pineapples are a symbol of hospitality in the south!
Charleston has some great happy hour options! Mitch and I’s favorite happy hour spot in Charleston was Edmunds Oast (pictured below). They had a fun patio area (some of which was also covered)! And we loved the drinks and appetizers. We got the cheese plate, wine, & slushy drinks! Other great happy hour options are:
shopping on king street
If you love to shop, head to King Street! This major street in the heart of downtown Charleston has tons of shops – including so many amazing local stores, as well as several known chains like Anthropologie, Kate Spade, and Kendra Scott.
My favorite shop find was House of Nomad – an interior design studio and shop with a modern style inspired by the female founders’ global travels! Oh, and they also have an online store 😉
From downtown Charleston, you can get to the beach rather quickly. It only takes about 20 minutes to get to Folly Beach and 30 minutes to Isle of Palms.
Folly Beach has a fun vibe and lots of eclectic shops and casual dining options. We spent an afternoon in Folly Beach walking along the water and had lunch at a fun Mexican restaurant – Taco Boy! Folly Beach also has some nightlife. I went here for a bachelorette party a few years ago and had a blast!
Isle of Palms is a beautiful beach often visited by locals and families. This beach has a more “upscale” feel than Folly Beach and is usually less crowded.
Since Charleston was incorporated as a city nearly 250 years ago, back in 1783, the city has a long and complex history. There are so many things to do and see in Charleston to learn about its history including walking tours and plantations.
Another historical place to visit is Fort Sumter.
Originally built to defend against the British in the War of 1812, Fort Sumter marks the location of the first shot fired in the American Civil War. The fort is situated at the entrance of Charleston Harbor and is a short 30 minute boat ride from Charleston. It is a great place to visit for those who want to learn more about a significant place in American History as well as for those who want to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the Battery and Downtown Charleston.
The tour, including the boat ride, takes ~2 hours. While you can buy a ticket at the dock, I would recommend booking a spot in advance to ensure you have a spot. Mitch and I booked our tour in advance through Fort Sumter Tours.
Charleston is truly a gem of a city with so much natural beauty, history, architecture, and fun things to do! I hope if you plan a trip to the Holy City you’re able to check out these 10 can’t miss things in Charleston (and much more!).
Mitch and I adored our time in Charleston and hope to go back sometime soon!
Looking for more fun cities in the US to plan a weekend trip to? Check out these articles below!!
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