Charleston Travel Diary

The last (but certainly not least) leg of our trip through the south was Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve been dying to visit ever since one my favorite bloggers, Gal Meets Glam, moved to this charming city about a year ago, and am so excited we were able to squeeze it into our trip.

Like me, my best friend Calli had Charleston high up on her travel bucket list, so we invited her to join us for an extended weekend. Because there were three of us, we opted for an Airbnb to cut down costs but were so, so, so pleasantly surprised by how nice it ended up being. We really could not have asked for anything nicer, even from a hotel.

In total, we were in Charleston for four nights and three full days. And while there were still a few restaurants we weren’t able to try (looking at you, Xiao Biscuit!), we had plenty of time to do and see all that we had heard so much about.

Colonial Lake: This small lake reminded me a lot of Oakland’s Lake Merritt, so needless to say, I loved it.

South of Broad: I could spend the rest of my days just wandering through the South of Broad and probably never grow tired of the views. Around every bend is another stunning, historical home and photo op. Every single detail of the homes is breathtaking—from the porches to the landscaping to the shutters to the balconies, they are perfection. We particularly loved walking up Church Street, as well as peeking through the pineapple gates of the Simmons-Edwards House.

White Point Garden: As you’re walking down Broad, you’ll eventually run into White Point Garden along the water. Some say this park is haunted, but I say it’s magical. We even saw a proposal happen in the gazebo!

Rainbow Row: The houses along Rainbow Row are basically Charleston’s version of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco—but possibly even more colorful and charming. You have to get a little creative with your positioning to take a proper photo, but once you nail it, it’s social media gold.

 

Sullivan’s Island: The beach will be calling your name in sunny Charleston and when it does, drive right over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge and into Sullivan’s Island. We parked our car right near the lighthouse and spent the afternoon swimming in the incredibly warm water and popping into the shops on the island.

Middleton Plantation: There are quite a few plantations to choose from when visiting Charleston, but we received several recommendations for one in particular: Middleton. This old rice plantation in the lowcountry is nothing short of gorgeous, thanks to its oak trees draped in Spanish moss and views of the Ashley River. We purchased a general admissions ticket and so enjoyed our time spent wandering through the gardens.

Beckett Boutique: Calli and I wanted to buy just about every piece in this clothing boutique—that’s how good it is.

The Skinny Dip: Somewhere between a bar, café, and a clothing boutique is this cute shop. Don’t miss the patio on the second floor if you stop by!

Lily: This store will basically summon you in by the smell of the fragrant candles and perfumes inside.

Indigo Market: This charming furniture store is a bit of a ways from shops listed above, but just across the street from the delicious Butcher & Bee (more on that below).

Candlefish: Local to Charleston, these candles not only smell divine, but also come in a very stylish jar.

Charleston City Market: This place is tourist city, no doubt. But it’s also one of the country’s oldest public markets and spans four city blocks (!!!), so it’s worth a quick visit. Plus, I just loved the sweetgrass baskets galore.

Mac + Murphy: Can you say stationary heaven? The planner-obsessed organizer in me fell head over heels for this store.

Breakfast and Coffee:

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits: Picture a scrambled egg, crispy bacon, and melted cheddar all sandwiched between two biscuits—hungry yet?

Black Tap Coffee: I don’t usually drink coffee, but I had to make an exception for the iced lavender latté. It did not disappoint.

 The Daily: If you’re in need of another breakfast spot in Charleston, look no further than here. Their homemade bread is incredible, so I highly recommend the avocado toast.

The Park Café: Without a doubt, this was my favorite breakfast in Charleston. The space is very cool—yet also very casual—and packed with locals doing their local things. Order the fried egg sandwich with a side of grapefruit and walk off the meal at the nearby Hampton Park.

Lunch:

Butcher & Bee: Funnily enough, we actually didn’t have this spot on our itinerary because it’s a bit of a trek on the north end of King Street (about a 10 minute Uber ride from Rainbow Row). But when nearly every person we met recommended it, we shuffled things around to make it work—and I’d recommend you do the same, too.

The Obstinate Daughter: If you make it out to Sullivan’s Island, be sure to also make a reservation here. The decor is beautiful, and the food is even better.

Leon’s Oyster Shop: All I can say is this place is worth the hype. Don’t leave without trying the stiam salad, fried chicken sandwich, and soft serve to finish it off.

Dinner:

The Grocery: The thought of the spaghetti squash and roast chicken is *almost* enough to make me book a flight out to Charleston tomorrow. In fact, as I write this, I’m simultaneously attempting to recreate this insanely delicious meal at home!

Le Farfalle: The patio filled with twinkly lights, and the focaccia bread filled with all things delicious, make this spot unforgettable.

Husk: We had heard so much about this restaurant before heading off on our trip, and while we certainly enjoyed our meal, it was not my favorite. If you only have a couple days in Charleston, I’d recommend taking a look at the menus for the places I’ve listed here to see what you’ll enjoy the most. If you do decide to come here, be sure to make your reservation long in advance and ask if they can set you on the second floor balcony!

The Ordinary: Even though I’m not much of a seafood person, this spot managed to leave me feeling full and impressed.

Drinks:

Chez Nous: This place wins the award for sweetest ambiance, bar none. I mean, just look at that handwritten menu! Though I do think it’s worth nothing that we had a pretty poor experience with the service here. We made a reservation long in advance and made sure to specify in the notes that we just wanted to order wine while there. When we arrived however, the hostess and waitress were both very confused by our decision to only order wine, which left us feeling unwelcome and awkward. That aside, the wine selection is fantastic and the outdoor seating cannot be beat.

The Darling Oyster Bar: This is the perfect place to come for a pre-dinner drink and app. If you enjoy a sweet cocktail, I’d recommend the Paloma.

Zero George: Yet another magical spot that falls high up on my list of musts for Charleston. We came for cocktails at sunset on the porch, and sipped them as we admired this stunning hotel.  

The Watch Rooftop Bar: A rooftop bar is an automatic win in my book, and this one did not disappoint. But then again, was it the rooftop or was it the fact that they were filming Southern Charmed while we were there? Guess we’ll never know.

Goat Sheep Cow: Cheese? Check. Wine? Check. Insta-worthy ambience? Check. This place has it all—just be sure you go to the one on north King Street, as the other one is just a to-go location.

Sweets: 

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: The flavors here are out of this world, and they’ll let you sample as many as you want! Which, for me, is crucial because I like to sample no less than 10 flavors before deciding on just 1.

Sugar Bake Shop: This adorable little bakery is just up the street from the aforementioned cutest stationary store of all time. So basically, it’s cuteness overload in this corner of Charleston.

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