20 Reasons Why I Love Charleston, SC

Charleston Vignettes

If there's one thing you can count on when it comes to visiting Charleston, SC, it's that you couldn't possibly run out of things to do. It has been named one of the Top US Destinations by many different publications many times over, and for very good reason. It's no wonder that the charm of Charleston manages to captivate so many people because it really is an amazing place to spend time. There's so much to do, in fact, you might have trouble deciding where to start! To make things a little easier, I've compiled a list of my favorites to share, so that it may help you figure out what you might like to see and do while in town.

Window & Walkway

Happy Hour @ Pearlz
  • Hominy is Not Hype: Arguably the best shrimp and grits in the state, maybe even the east coast, can be found at Hominy Grill. I didn't have much to compare them to since it was my first time having this quintessential southern breakfast, but it was delicious! If you're feeling really brave you can try the super tasty Big Nasty biscuit w/ a fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese & smothered in sausage gravy. It was a scary beast, but it was awesome! 207 Rutledge Ave., 843.937.0930, hominygrill.com

  • Happy Hour Hideaway: In the heart of Charleston's historic district is a great place to hideout for happy hour. Pearlz Oyster Bar offers a variety of oysters and other fresh and local seafood for those who have a penchant for shellfish. If slurping down sea creatures isn't your bag, you might like their corn fritters ($2.95). They weren't like other fritters I've had, theirs were more like hush puppies, but they were still yummy. 153 East Bay Street, 843.577.5755, http://www.pearlzoysterbar.com

Kaminskys Brownie Sundae Cake
  • Where Seafood Reigns Supreme: This place is more of an institution than it is a restaurant with the history of this family-run business going back to 1890 when they operated a wholesale company. Over the years, that has changed and they now run Hyman's Seafood and Aaron's Deli from the same location. It is an extremely busy place, and rightly so, because it's been voted the Best Seafood in the Southeast by Southern Living Magazine for the past 9 years. The food was excellent, the prices were very reasonable and the portions were enormous. One of the owners came walking by at some point wielding a pan of the absolute BEST hush puppies I have ever tasted in my life. No joke! 215 Meeting Street, 843.723.6000, http://www.hymanseafood.com
  • The Icing on the Cake: Due to a freak flood in downtown Charleston, we had to wade through knee deep water in order to get our slice of cake before saying farewell to the city. The dessert offerings change on a daily basis, but we tried the Brownie Sundae Cake, which was shamefully decadent. Kaminsky's is a tasty escape that has an entire display case of sweet treats that could keep you full for days! You don't want to miss it. 78 N. Market St., 843.853.8270, http://www.kaminskys.com

City Lights Coffee

  • Jump Start your Day: City Lights Coffee is situated in a small yet cozy little corner and is the perfect place for slipping in to fuel up with a frappe. Although, if a froufrou drink isn't your cuppa tea, they have an extensive list of other coffee related items to help power your day. 141 Market St., 843.853.7067
  • Savor the Flavor: A great reprieve from the summer heat was found at Teavana. The free samples offered out front were a surefire way to get you through the front door of this unpretentious tea utopia. It would have been a lot better had there been more than two stools to pop a squat for a spot of tea, but the wall of flavors made up for the lack of seating tenfold. 304 King St, 843.723.0600, http://www.teavana.com/

  • Southern Spirit: Before our trip to Charleston, I had never actually tried Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka let alone knew that it existed. It only took one drink, though, and I was hooked! 6775 Bears Bluff Road, Wadmalaw Island, SC 29487, http://www.fireflyvodka.com/

  • Bar hopping with a bunch of strangers was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Our gladsome guide was highly knowledgeable about the history of Charleston and told stories of, not only the pubs we visited, but some of the buildings we passed and the ghosts that haunted them. The Charles Towne Pub Stroll was the tour we chose to tagalong on because the price was right and the reviews were stellar. $15 per person (does not include the cost of drinks) 78 Broad Street, 843.345.9714, http://www.pubstroll.com/index.html

  • Sneak a Drink: Yet another establishment dating back to the 1800's, The Blind Tiger Pub was in operation during Prohibition. Today, this former speakeasy (or “blind tiger”) is the closest thing to a dive bar you'll find in Charleston – we visited quite a few. The patio out back offers seating amidst ruins from an old building that further adds to the charm of a lovely outdoor space. 36-38 Broad Street, 843.577.0088
  • Shiver me Timbers! One of the bars/restaurants we stopped at during our pub stroll, called the Buccaneer, houses one of the largest collections of authentic pirate memorabilia in the USA. Pirate tales were told during our tour of this tavern while we munched on a bowl of sweet potato chips ($5). I sipped on a Crazy Arnold ($7) made with cucumber infused lemonade and Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, their spin on this southern cocktail will totally knock your socks off. 5 Faber Street, 843.805.5065,  http://www.thebuccaneerrestaurant.com 
Pastel Details

  • 5 Nights for the Price of 1: Conveniently located 10 minutes outside of Charleston is a great place to save money on accommodations. That is, if you're not afraid of mosquitoes and extreme heat! Ideally, campers looking to save some money won't be crazy enough to camp in the dead heat of summer like we were, but James Island County Park offers a high class camping experience at any time of year. The 643-acre recreation facility has more than any normal campground offers with a waterpark and a climbing wall on top of the other amenities.
    We opted for the primitive sites at $25 a night and set up our tent in a shady alcove on a huge lawn. It was really nice to find that the bathrooms in the primitive camping area had AC, and we could pop in and cool off as needed. Needless to say, we didn't spend a whole lot of time at our campsite, because we were too busy checking out the rest of Charleston, but it was a great homebase and saved us a ton of moola! 871 Riverland Drive, 843.795.7275, http://www.ccprc.com
Fire Engine Red
  • Sun and Sand: Fondly referred to as the “Edge of America”, Folly Beach is a great place to kick back and relax for a day of fun in the sun. The sandy beaches are long and narrow, but there is plenty of room for beach goers to stretch out. This destination is top choice for tourists and locals because the ocean views aren't spoiled by large highrises and remains mostly undeveloped. Parking can be found at Folly Beach County Park for $7 per car (we didn't have to pay because we were staying at the state park!). They also have outdoor showers, restrooms, picnic areas and a snack bar. 1100 W. Ashley Ave., Folly Beach, 843.588.2426, http://www.follybeach.com/
  • Taco Time! After a day of playing in the waves on Folly Beach, we headed over to the local taco shop affectionately known as Taco Boy. I can't say that nearly $4 per taco is a great deal, but my Grilled Fish & Carnitas Norteno Tacos were both full of flavor and they left me pretty satisfied. 15 Center Street, Folly Beach, 843.588.9761, http://www.tacoboy.net/

  • Tree Hugging: Having survived countless catastrophes over the last 1400 year, the Angel Tree still stands tall. Actually, I take that back, it's not tall, it's stubby at a height of only 65 feet. While the height of the majestic Angel Tree might not be impressive, the 25 foot circumference and gigantic limbs stretching 160 feet are. It is thought to be one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi. Getting there does require a short drive from downtown, but admission is free. 3688 Angel Oak Rd, Johns Island, 843.559.3496
Delightful Details

{See & Do}
  • Delightful Details: Charleston is comprised of many historic buildings and homes that are best appreciated by foot. One of the most enjoyable activities was simply wandering around in search of whatever catches your eye, which is nearly everything. Don't be afraid to stray from downtown, though, as time seems to be steadily standing still in the picturesque neighborhoods surrounding the city as well. It is well worth the effort and exercise necessary to reach them in order to get a glimpse of the well-preserved past.

  • A Walk in the Park: At the edge of the city you will find a landmark promenade stretching along the shore called White Point Gardens, it is also referred to as The Battery. From the center of town, it does require a trek for those traveling on foot, but you won't be disappointed by the beauty that awaits. The shear grandeur of the Antebellum homes lined up along the river was a little alarming. Honestly, I really don't know what people do with that much house, but they sure were beautiful to observe from the outside.

  • Set your Feet Free: When you think your aching feet can't take another step is when you're likely hoping that a rickshaw peddler comes your way. The modified bike has a cozy caboose perfect for two and is a great way to get across town without having to hoof it manually. Plus, it's much more humane than loading up in a carriage with 14 other people to be pulled by an overworked horse. I much rather humans suffer instead :D ($9 ask for Joey) Charleston Rickshaw Co, 843.723.5685, http://charlestonrickshaw.net/

  • Open Your Eyes: Found in odd places these urban pieces of art break free from the confines of a typical brick and mortar gallery. Okay, so they're vandals, but I still think it's cool. If you are watching closely while walking around town, these fragments can be found where you least expect them, and in many different forms. We had fun hunting for the elusive OBEY stickers and spotting the many spray painted quotes stenciled on miscellaneous surfaces.

  • It's raining, it's pouring: After a heavy rainfall it's common for some of the city streets to transform into canals. I never knew that an impromptu flood could be so much fun to wade through. I'm sure that the last thing in the world that should be considered a fun time would be when the streets of downtown Charleston are flooded with cars under water and wot not, but it was. I may have enjoyed it too much! The locals acted like it was normal it happens so often. For me, it was like getting a snow day. Ending our trip on a wet note was definitely one of the highlights, especially since I had never been in such a situation before.
  • Tiny Tidbits: Other moments we treasured while gallivanting through Charleston included walking along the old cobblestone streets that are still in use, inspecting the intricate designs found in ironwork on fences and elsewhere, unexpectedly falling into hidden alcoves where we gladly got lost & forgetting where we parked our car (there are LOTS of parking garages, too!) on more than one occasion (It's true, we didn't learn our lesson :D).
So, there's my list of some of the things we did while on vacation in Charleston, SC. It doesn't cover everything, but it's pretty dang close! I do have more pictures to share, however, if I posted all of the ones I'd like to share, this post would be a mile long. No lie.


  1. Come up here and do my town already. :D

  2. definitely one of my favorite cities - it's been too long since i've been there and now i really am wanting to go back. did you go to the music farm? is it still in business? and did you go to over to the other side of the bridge to the island?

  3. @Prin: I know!

    @Char: No, we didn't go to the music farm. Hadn't even heard of it. And, we intended to do a bike ride across the bridge to the other side, but we were having way to much fun exploring downtown. Next time!

  4. I've never been, but you are making me want to go!

  5. We've been there a couple of times and can't get enough! It's a beautiful place! :)

    WW: Goofy Contortionist

  6. Beautiful photography! Your post has made me hungry! lol Love the details....the red brick, the wrought iron finials, the menu signs, and staircase. Hopped here from Wordful Wednesday! :>

  7. Great pics, great commentaries. Make me so wanna visit Charleston, and I'm from India!