It’s no wonder that Charleston was voted 2016’s #1 City in the World by Travel + Leisure. Charleston literally has it all. Charm, history, architecture, top-notch shopping, an incredible foodie scene and beaches just miles away. I’ve compiled a weekend guide to Charleston with help from some of my local friends, and my own weekend experiences in Charleston. If you haven’t been, start packing your bags now because this guide combines the best of what you need to do, eat and drink and Charleston.
Tour a plantation.
One look at Boone Hall’s Avenue of Oaks, and you’ll be swooning with southern charm. It’s no wonder why The Notebook featured this location as Allie’s summer home, and why Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds chose to get married here. This stunning plantation is one of America’s oldest working plantations. Just outside of Charleston, this is the perfect place to spend a long afternoon or relaxing morning. One admission price includes tours of the historic home, an open air coach tour around the grounds, garden tour and a tour of the former slave quarters.
Take a walking tour of the city.
Skip the lines and the cheesy horse and buggy tours of Charleston. Charleston has so much to offer, and there’s no better way to submerse yourself in the history and the architecture than on a walking tour of the city. This is hands down the highlight of the weekend. Mary Helen and Therese of Two Sisters Historic Walking Tours are absolutely wonderful, and I would definitely recommend their tour.
Shop till you drop.
King Street boasts some of the best shopping in the South. From upscale spots like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, to artfully created boutiques, you can’t go wrong with a stroll down this street. Pick up a book to enjoy on your trip home at Blue Bicycle Books. Mac & Murphy, an artfully curated stationary shop, and The Commons, a one-of-a-kind home store, are more than worth a venture off of King.
Breakfast at The Daily.
The Daily by the Charleston-beloved Butcher & Bee, is just the perfect casual, friendly spot you’d want to spend your morning. From delicious coffee to the best damn avocado toast in town, you won’t be disappointed starting your day off with a visit to this local hotspot.
Brunch at Cannon Green.
Cannon Green takes weekend brunching to a whole new level. From the perfectly-mixed pitchers of mimosas (Yes, I said pitchers.) to the drool-worthy menu selection, this is one the best brunch experiences I’ve had. Not to mention, the most fabulous patio, open-air restaurant seating and a live DJ spinning beats for their Beats & Brunch… you can’t help but get lost in the food and atmosphere here.
Lunch at Goat Sheep Cow North.
Goat Sheep Cow bills itself as Charleston’s premiere fromagerie, and anyone who has ever visited knows this be an absolute fact. The original Goat Sheep Cow location is a wine, cheese and charcuterie shop with a few grab-and-go options. Their second location of Goat Sheep Cow North offers a full-service restaurant, as well as a wine and cheese shop. The atmosphere and the lunch menu are to die for. Pro tip: On your way out, grab a bottle of wine and some artisanal cheese to enjoy in your hotel room while you get ready for dinner.
Lunch at 167 Raw.
A trip to Charleston isn’t complete with amazing seafood and a few raw oysters. Don’t let the lines at 167 Raw deter you from what you’ll find inside. (And let’s face it, those lines exist for a reason.) This tiny, eatery doesn’t accept reservations. The raw oysters are second to none, and the lobster roll will leave you in a state of ecstasy. Pro Tip: Go at an off time and avoid the lines. We had no problems getting in for an early dinner or a late lunch.
Dinner at Chez Nous.
Set in an old home in downtown Charleston, Chez Nous is one of the most quaint and romantic restaurants around. This place is meant for lazy, 3-hour, European-style dinners. And you will absolutely enjoy every second of it. The menu at Chez Nous changes daily, and only consists of two appetizers, two entreés and two desserts. Not to mention, their wine list is out of this world. You cannot go wrong with anything you order.
Dinner at HUSK.
HUSK is a Charleston staple. When I was researching restaurants in Charleston, HUSK kept popping up on a number of lists. I was skeptical that it may be too touristy, and not worth a visit. Boy, was I wrong. HUSK definitely lives up to the hype. Perfect for a night out with your girlfriends or for a romantic date night. Pro Tip: Stop by the Bar at HUSK, which is adjacent to the restaurant, and enjoy a cocktail before your dinner reservation.
Coffee at Black Tap Coffee.
This place is well-known for their lavender and brown sugar lattes. Their space may be small and cozy, but Black Tap Coffee is the perfect place to enjoy your morning joe, or grab a quick iced coffee to go as you stroll the shops on King.
Coffee at The Rise Coffee Bar.
The Rise Coffee Bar is what Instagram dreams are made of. Amazing coffee, white and gray marble, natural lighting… seriously, what more could you ask for? Connected to the boutique Restoration Hotel, The Rise Coffee Bar is ultra chic. Pro Tip: Grab your coffee and peruse the offerings at the artfully-curated Port Mercantile shop next door the Rise Coffee Bar. This shop is also run by The Restoration Hotel.
Day Drinks at The Vendue Rooftop.
Continually rated Charleston’s best rooftop bar, The Vendue offers some stellar views of the city. Hey, if it’s good enough for Goop, it’s good enough for us. Order a strawberry basil lemonade (the adult kind), and sip the afternoon away as you soak up the sunshine and charm of Charleston.
Cocktails at The Gin Joint.
Perfect for a night cap after dinner, The Gin Joint offers upscale and artful cocktails. Fair warning, you won’t find any vodka here. Don’t know your gin? No worries. Order the bartender’s choice, and he’ll mix up something based on two selected adjectives.
Cocktails at The Belmont.
Come to The Belmont if you want to sit back, relax and enjoy a damn good drink. If that’s not enough to reel you in, the black and white films projected on the wall just may be. According to Thrillist, The Belmont was named “The Bar Most Likely To Be Frequented By Your Favorite Bartender,” and you can expect the drinks the drinks to be strong and smooth.
There are so many wonderful spots in Charleston. If you like to eat and drink, you really cannot go wrong with this city. If you’re planning a trip to Charleston, feel free to reach out with any questions. If you found this Weekend Guide to Charleston helpful, I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to send a note or comment below. Also, let me know if there’s anything I’m missing on my list. I’ll be sure to add it for my next trip. xo