What We're Loving: Charleston Edition
A city best experienced by weaving through its historic streets tasting your way through her innumerable restaurants and bars, Charleston offers foodies and history buffs the best of both worlds. Join us for a jaunt through the “Holy City,” consistently voted a top destination worldwide.
For a stay marked by the #TheArtOfBelmond, look no further than Belmond Charleston Place, located in the heart of the city. Beyond the ample dining outlets right on property, guests will love that they can take advantage of facilites like the spa, pool and rooftop bar. We love a stay on the Club Level for the ultimate treat; the Club Lounge on the 8th floor has free-flowing beverages (served with the friendly banter of their incredible staff!), afternoon tea, pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres and a generous dessert spread in the evenings. Plus, for families on property, Belmond doesn’t miss a beat, offering daily kid-friendly rooftop movies at both 4pm and 6pm. | Full Property Review >>
For something more intimate, consider a stay at boutique hotel, consider a stay at Hotel Zero George. Named after the property’s actual street address, the property is comprised of sixteen lush guest rooms and studios in three painstakingly restored historic residences and two brick carriage houses that surround the property’s private garden courtyard. The team has infused it all with a sense of intimacy and warm personality, honoring the buildings’ solid 1804 bones and graceful architecture with measured, timeless design. At Zero George, you’ll find both period millwork and Charleston’s best contemporary art, original heart pine floors and rooms full of heart. | Read agent feedback on our Stateside Hitlist >>
- Bike Rental: While the city is still working on becoming more bike-friendly, it certainly begs to be explored on two wheels once you’ve gotten the general layout down. Download the app, “SoBi” and elect to rent either hourly or daily. There are biking stations throughout the city and the app makes it super simple to plot out where you’ll take out and return yours. The Battery2Beach path is definitely recommended!
- Hampton Park: Situated in the northern portion of the city, this sprawling park is a great spot to stroll through and admire the majestic oak trees. We love combining it with a visit to Rodney Scott’s BBQ nearby as you’ll want to get moving after indulging in all that cornbread.
- Rainbow Row: A trip to Charleston is barely complete without a stroll past the colorful houses aptly named after their full spectrum of hues. Wander from East Bay Street toward the waterfront for prime real estate dreaming and photo-worthy moments, all wrapped into one!
- The International African American Museum: Slated to open in 2021, the groundbreaking institution aspires to honor the past, present, and future on the spot where thousands of enslaved Africans first set foot in the United States.
- Beaches: For a day trip, rent a car and hit the beach! Both Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island are fantastic options, with the former being great for surfing and the latter offering a bit more isolated area to relax on miles of sand.
- Walking Tour: Particularly for the history buff, Charleston is the kind of city where you can really revel in its past as you walk through her storied streets. Opt for either a self-guided walk or work with your travel advisor to secure a certified guide to show you the highlights.
- The Battery: A great landmark to stop at while you’re exploring via foot or bike, this park is right at the foot of the peninsula, allowing you you can soak up the history behind the cannons on display or simply admire the waterfront.
- Plantations: Charleston has long been known for its plantation scene and offers several within a short drive of downtown. Magnolia, Boone Hall, Drayton Hall or Middleton Place are all options dependent upon how far you’re willing to venture outside the city. (This Travel Channel guide helps break it all down for you.)
- Schooner Pride Sail: With the water surrounding the city, there’s a fair chance that you’re going to want to get on it! Schooners Pride makes it easy with several departures throughout the day, including afternoon dolphin sails, sunset sails and moonlight sails. On special days, wine tasting sailings are also available.
- Waterfront Park: If you’re keener to stay on land for sunset, this area just beyond The Vendue Hotel makes for the ideal vantage point. You can start by taking in the iconic pineapple fountain and then meander over to the pier where there are several swinging benches for the ultimate chill spot to watch the sky turn to cotton candy.
Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts: The perfect spot for a mid-morning sugar rush, this King Street institution is frying up tasty artisanal donuts throughout the AM. Just be sure to come before they run out!
Basic Kitchen: While so much of Charleston’s cuisine can err on the heavier side (bring on the gravy and biscuits, please!), this is a great place to visit when you’re craving a bit cleaner meal. From the light, bright interiors – dare we say, Instagrammable wall art? – to the friendly staff, you’ll love this break from the norm in CHS. Don’t leave without trying their housemade kombucha.
Pearlz Oyster Bar: Barely 24-hours into your time in town and we guarantee that you’ll find yourself on a mission to try (and rank) every local oyster you can get your hands on. Luckily, there are no shortage of places to do it. We love the oyster happy hour at Pearlz, with a location downtown as well as in Avondale, an up-and-coming neighborhood just over the bridge.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: Let’s face it, no matter what, it’s going to be hot during your visit. Let Jeni’s help with that. Their artisanal scoops are constantly being updated based on the season – so you can expect fun options ranging from Boston crème to dairy-free peanut butter and jelly. Oh, and the waffle bowl is excellent.
167 Raw: With the potential to be a highlight of your entire trip, it’s easy to say that 167 Raw is worth the wait. We mean that literally as you can’t make a reservation at this tiny seafood joint, but fear not, the only thing standing in between you and that dozen oysters is a glass of rosé while you wait. Just promise us you won’t leave without having the melt-in-your-mouth buttery lobster roll. Not to mention, whatever tacos are on the menu that night, you won’t be disappointed!
PRO TIP: They stop taking names closer to 7pm as the small space can accommodate a limited number of guests per night, so try to arrive on the earlier side to get your name in for dinner.
Darling Oyster Bar: For a bit more diverse menu with lots of Southern fixings (hello, fried chicken on a biscuit during their Sunday brunch!), Darling does the trick. Not only are their shuckers serving up incredible oysters from all over South Carolina, they also do a mean seafood platter for the guest that’s craving lobster and beyond. The fried clam strips are also incredible.
Chez Nous: Oh là là, where do we even begin? First, with a reservation. Then, with the fact that you won’t know the menu until the day of your res. Each afternoon, Chez Nous’ staff posts their handwritten menu with just two options per course to Instagram; what follows is simply magic, we promise. Perfectly paired with a variety of options from their extensive wine list, this spot is tailored for the Francophile foodie of your group. Just don’t skip dessert!
PRO TIP: Resy allows you to book a table in the dining room, bar or terrace. If you’re cool with the humidity, the outdoor tables bathing in candlelight make for a truly romantic experience.
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit: Did you even go to the South if you didn’t have a biscuit? We think not. There’s a reason Callie’s is famous – just be sure to hit it before their 2pm closure.
Rodney Scott’s BBQ: With a name that may look familiar thanks to appearances on Top Chef and mentions in the NYT, Rodney Scott rose to critical James Beard acclaim after year of perfecting his BBQ technique alongside his family. Today, he’s established his smokehouse as a neighborhood institution, drawing crowds from far and wide. Whether you are craving ribs, a catfish po boy or even wings, Rodney has you covered.
- City Market: Right in the heart of the French Quarter, you can’t miss the market; particularly for guests of the Belmond Charleston Place, it’s just steps from the hotel. With over 100 vendors selling clothing, jewelry, crafts, artwork, spices, silver as well as prints and paintings of Charleston, there are tons of local goodies to bring home. The traditional sweetwater basket weavers are definitely worth checking out!
- Amanda Lindroth Designs: With roots in Nassau, this interior designer completely transformed her newest retail outpost on Upper King Street, sure to leave homeware-lovers swooning.
- Candlefish: For the candle-fanatic, there’s no better spot to peruse dozens of brands and fragrances all in one spot. They also sell some fun artisanal jewelry and self-care products.
PRO TIP: Looking for an interactive activity while you’re shopping? Participate in one of their BYO candle-making classes! Learn how to pour your own candle while sipping on your beverage of choice in stunning space; that’s what we call a win-win.
Looking for even more Charleston shopping? Take a look at our guide with stylist Erica Hanks, here.
Rarebit: Did someone say Moscow mules on tap? No, just us? Okay, well here’s your spot for it. Or, on the chance you want to keep it booze-free, they also have their homemade ginger beer on tap!
Fig: Notoriously a tough dinner reservation to score, we’re putting Fig on the bars list with the caveat that you arrive at 4:45pm – 15-minutes prior to opening – to score bar seating. Their seasonal, artisanal cocktails are worth stopping alone. But, if you’re also in the mood for some bites, this is the place to do both! We love the “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” cocktail for a spin on a negroni and the yellowtail crudo for that extra punch.
Uptown Social: A great nightcap spot on King Street, not only are the cocktails lovely, but the vibe is even better. Later in the evening, a trio band really kicks things up a notch, so it’s the perfect spot for that live music fix.
Charles Towne Fermentory: Out in Avondale, this distillery is a great spot for beer-lover of your group. They’ve got a bunch of great options on tap, but the Tropical Creamsicle Sungazer IPA is a real crowd pleaser.
No matter where you end up in Charleston, you’re sure to be swooning over its endless Southern charm. So, what are you waiting for?
Belmond Charleston Place, 205 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401
Holy Spokes Bike Rental, 7 Radcliffe St, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 480-9859
Hampton Park, 30 Mary Murray Dr, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 724-7324
Rainbow Row, 83 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401 | (803) 528-8317
Magnolia Plantation, 3550 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414 | (843) 571-1266
Boone Hall, 1235 Long Point Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464 | (843) 884-4371
Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts, 481 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 577-5557
Basic Kitchen, 82 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401 | (843) 789-4568
Pearlz Oyster Bar, 153 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401 | (843) 577-5755
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, 501-A King St, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 212-5113
167 Raw, 289 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401 | (843) 579-4997
Darling Oyster Bar, 513 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 641-0821
Chez Nous, 6 Payne Ct, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 579-3060
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, 476 1/2 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 737-5159
Rodney Scott’s BBQ, 1011 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 990-9535
City Market,188 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401 | (843) 937-0920
Goorin Bros Hat Shop, 377 B King St, Charleston, SC 29401 | (843) 518-4287
Candlefish, 270 King St, Charleston, SC 29401 | (843) 371-1434
Amanda Lindroth Designs, 445 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 371-1581
Rarebit, 474 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 974-5483
Fig, 232 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401 | (843) 805-5900
Uptown Social, 587 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 | (843) 793-1837
Charles Towne Fermentory, 809 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407 | (843) 641-0431