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There’s a reason Charleston has been received such accolades as #1 city in the world, #1 city in the U.S., and friendliest city in the world. Once a best kept secret of a sleepy little town nestled on the coast of South Carolina, Charleston now boasts over 7 million visitors a year. It’s no wonder with its historical charm, expansive and beautiful beaches, amazing food scene, and quintessential southern hospitality.
The best thing to do here is to tour historic Charleston! Notable places include The Battery, Charleston City Market, Waterfront Park, and Rainbow Row.
How to Get to Charleston, SC
Most people fly to Charleston. As a relatively small airport, Charleston International Airport is easily accessible and easily maneuvered. It has been recently remodeled and offers onsite parking, car rentals, dining and bars inside. Downtown Charleston is roughly 25-35 minutes from the airport depending on traffic. Hwy 17 goes right through Charleston and is the main highway to connect you with Charleston for driving from coastal areas, or many people hop off of Interstate 95 to connect to Interstate 26 and down to Charleston.
Much of the downtown area in Charleston is very walk-able. There are also bike rentals and rickshaws as a great way to get around! There is ride sharing transportation such as Uber and Lyft, which is also very prevalent. There is also the CARTA bus that has stops around town and even to neighboring Mt. Pleasant, West Ashley, and North Charleston. Driving around Charleston is doable but can be a little tricky with many one way streets and throngs of tourists walking around.
Where to Eat in Charleston for Dinner
Delicious food abounds everywhere in Charleston. There are too many places to name! However, some hot spots you don’t want to miss include the following:
39 Rue de Jean // French inspired, amazing atmosphere. Amazing nibbles include escargot and truffle pommes frites.
82 Queen // Lowcountry Cuisine staple. Grab a seat in the beautiful courtyard and have their award winning She Crab Soup
Poogan’s Porch // Southern Cuisine. Open for dinner but also has a killer brunch and drink specials.
Hall’s Chophouse // Charleston’s notoriously fantastic restaurant for mouth watering steaks cooked to perfection.
Husk // Another Southern cuisine favorite and quaint and cozy upstairs bar.
What to do in Charleston at Night
Riverdogs Baseball game // If you are around in the spring and summer, catch the local Yankees affiliated minor league baseball game at the picturesque Joe Riley stadium.
Rooftop Bars // Charleston has some pretty epic rooftop bars including my two favorites, the Rooftop Bar at Vendue and Henry’s Rooftop Bar. Other notable rooftops include Market Pavillion Rooftop Bar with poolside cocktails, Eleve at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, and Stars Rooftop Bar.
Shem Creek // Soak up the lowcountry feel in Mt. Pleasant dockside on an active shrimp boat laden creek. Good eats, great sunsets, and a nice park to walk around in for an evening stroll.
Harbor Cruise // Sunsets on the harbor are amazing and you are almost guaranteed to see some fun loving bottlenose dolphins! Check out Charleston Harbor Tours or Spirit Line Cruises for more info.
Catch a Play, Comedy Show, or Live Music // Charleston has a great artistic scene. Some of this may require planning ahead, but you get a great sense of local culture. Check out the historic Dock Street Theatre for plays, Charleston Music Hall for some fun music events, or Theatre 99 if you are in the mood for some improv.
Exploring Charleston in the Afternoon
You can’t come to Charleston without touring around it’s beautiful and charming downtown. Whether it’s by a horse drawn carriage tour or by foot, you won’t want to miss the antebellum mansions, the historic churches and buildings, and iconic vistas. Some notable places to see in downtown Charleston include:
Charleston City Market // Charleston’s own semi open air market dating back from the early 1800s. Originally a place to buy your fresh meats, fish, and vegetables it now serves as a place to buy all things quintessential Charleston. From sweet grass baskets, to jewelry, clothing, sweet treats and everything in between the market has you covered!
Rainbow Row // As it’s title implies, a pastel color popping row of historic Charleston homes. Highly instagram-able!
The Charleston Battery // Perfect sunset spot! Walk the oak tree lined pathways of White Point Gardens, take in the vistas of the Ashley and Cooper rivers aside the majestic antebellum mansions
Waterfront Park // Don’t miss Charleston’s famous pineapple fountain and take a moment to soak it all in on the riverside dock swing
Happy travels and may you enjoy the beautiful town of Charleston, SC!
Also check out:
- Baltimore, MD After 5:00 pm
- Las Vegas, NV After 5:00 pm
- North Shore, Oahu, HI After 5:00 pm
- St. Petersburg, FL After 5:00 pm
- River North, Chicago After 5:00 pm
- San Francisco’s Financial District After 5:00 pm