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Breathtaking Views

Rooftop bars and waterside dining

Mar 29, 2018

by Erin Perkins@EaterCHS  

It's no secret that Holy City sunsets and Charleston waterfronts are some of the most coveted views around (think of the Instagram likes), but where can you relax with a glass of wine or a plate of food while taking in these phenomenons? There's a few rooftop bars or spots nestled on the water worth visiting — many offer seafood, and all offer libations. Anywhere with a view is sure to attract tourists, so judge the menu on the number of fanny packs you see waiting at the hostess stand.

 

Bowens Island Restaurant...The setting at old-school oyster shack Bowens is perfect for grabbing a fresh bushel of bivalves, and watching a Lowcountry sunset. The interiors at Bowen's are rustic, but customers are there for views of the marshland and water, along with the buckets of oysters.

 

Harborview Restaurant & Lounge...For fans of breathtaking views and climate-controlled environments, Harbor View Restaurant & Lounge offers both atop the Holiday Inn on the Ashley River. Neither the gnats nor the humidity can get to customers from the enclosed rooftop bar. Bonus: house liquors are only $4 during happy hour.

Salty Mikes...With some of the cheapest drinks and best views downtown, Salty Mike's is a gathering for sailors, locals, and in-the-know tourists. The no-frills watering hole sits on the Marina, so guests can watch boats go by with beer in hand.

Fleet Landing...Fleet Landing is the only option for waterfront views on the Ravenel bridge side of downtown Charleston. The harbor views are best enjoyed at happy hour with a discounted drink and friends on the wraparound porch. The restaurant is popular with visitors looking for $18.99 fried shrimp platters.

Market Pavilion Rooftop Bar...Patrons can easily drop some serious money at Market Pavilion if they're looking to impress friends or celebrate a recent promotion. However, those $15 mojitos come with a spectacular skyline view of the Holy City and a bar-side pool. Visit for a splurge and take in the sights.

 

The Vendue Rooftop...What was once the vodka-soda-stained hangout for bachelorette parties and undergrads is now a nice stop for folks looking for sophisticated cocktails and rosé by the glass. The pre-sunset crowd at The Vendue Rooftop is a quiet bunch peering at the sight of the Charleston Harbor from above. The post-sunset crew might get a little rowdier.

 

Èlevé...Walk past the chandeliers and double bars of the Èlevé dining room to settle on the side patio for views of downtown Charleston in a hip, modern setting. Peek down at the Ansonborough neighbors with a glass of wine in hand.

 

The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits...The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits opened atop boutique hotel The Restoration on the seventh floor, so it currently claims the title of highest elevation for a public space and carries incredible views of the Lowcountry. Stop by at sunset for a Instagram-breaking photo opportunity.

 

Carolina Ale House...While it may be a chain restaurant, Carolina Ale House does stock local beers and has some of the best views of Marion Square that patrons can enjoy while gorging on $8.99 nachos.

 

Stars Rooftop...Visit the Stars Rooftop on Sundays for low-priced mimosas and Bloody Marys. If it's a nice day, sit in the sun, and peer over King Street. The roof is a nice place to settle for an outdoor Sunday Funday.

 

Revelry Brewing...The only rooftop brewery in NoMo, Revelry Brewing is popular with the after-work set for award-winning beers and breezy views of the neighborhood.

 

Freehouse Brewery...The backyard of Freehouse Brewery is almost like being in a nature preserve. Grab a pint and sit on the porch to admire the greenery and views of the

 

Charleston Harbor Fish House...Charleston Harbor Fish House has some of the best views in Mount Pleasant. The outdoor bar overlooks the Ravenel Bridge and most of the seats have views of the harbor. Spy on downtown Charleston from across the Cooper River.

 

Tavern & Table...Watch the dolphins play from the deck at Shem Creek restaurant Tavern & Table. The patio is a favorite with locals for an after-work cocktail and views of the sunset.

 

The Boathouse at Breach Inlet...The Boathouse is a Charleston institution. The menu reads like a throwback Southern seafood house — fried scallop platters next to crab cake appetizers and butter-poached lobster tails. Ask for a seat on the top deck for a cocktail (or two) while pondering the views of Breach Inlet.

 

Coda Del Pesce...Contemporary Italian eatery Coda del Pesce sits right on the beach at Isle of Palms. Watch the ocean while ordering from chef Ken Vedrinski's seafood-filled menu.

 

How Charleston Has Become a World-class Culinary Capital

Forget the city of old, or even five years ago. A new wave of restaurateurs, designers, and hoteliers have put the jewel of the Lowcountry on the global stage.

January 26, 2018

By Sid Evans , Travel + Leisure

 

When I was considering a move to Charleston to edit a new magazine called Garden & Gun in the summer of 2007, my wife and I went to McCrady's restaurant, just off East Bay Street, which was helmed by a young chef named Sean Brock. Having been spoiled by New York restaurants, we weren't expecting much, but it was hard not to be charmed by the entrance on a tiny cobblestoned alley, the long walnut bar, and the brick arch that framed the entrance inside. We couldn't get a babysitter, so we stashed our sleeping six-month-old daughter under the table in her car seat, praying that she wouldn't wake up and spoil a rare date night. Then the courses started coming — house-made charcuterie, sous vide scallops seared a la plancha, and something called country ham cotton candy. Here we were in a building that dated back to 1778, where George Washington once dined, and this mad-scientist chef was serving some of the most innovative, delicious dishes we'd ever had. For a couple debating a new life in an old city, that meal was a promise of exciting things to come. Our daughter slept peacefully through dinner, and by the end of the night (and after plenty of wine) we had decided to make the move.

Looking back, I realize that Brock was a messenger from the future — a devoted student of the region's culinary history as well as a brash, tattooed innovator. Within a few years he would be named Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation, and soon his tribute to Southern ingredients, Husk, which opened in 2010, would pave the way for an explosion of new restaurants and bars that would transform the city. Charleston is an international food destination now, like Paris or San Sebastián, Spain. You can't walk half a block without stumbling on some inventive new oyster bar, café, or barbecue joint, not to mention a Mediterranean standout like Stella's, where the calamari and keftedes draw a devoted lunch crowd, or a charming French bistro like Chez Nous. Eating is a sport there, a topic of conversation from the streets south of Broad to the suburbs of Mount Pleasant.

But something bigger than food is reshaping Charleston. There is more traffic, for one thing, but there is also an energy coursing through the city that reminds me of Nashville and San Francisco. Charleston is home to more than 250 tech companies now. Hip design shops are opening, like Fritz Porter Design Collective, where you can browse antiques selected by the South's best tastemakers. New events are crowding the calendar, like High Water Festival, "a celebration of music, food, and libations" from local artists Shovels & Rope. And the cocktail culture is keeping the city lubricated, from the tiki-themed South Seas Oasis, where you can sip mai tais in a space lined with bamboo and hula skirts, to the intimate, old-school Proof, celebrated for its crisp gin and tonic. On a Friday night, Upper King feels a little bit like a block party in Brooklyn, as people spill out of the bars, clubs, and restaurants. What not so long ago was a sleepy little town in the Lowcountry is becoming a city that never sleeps.

There is no better reflection of this changing city than the Dewberry Charleston hotel in a 1964 federal office building. I used to drop my kids off for preschool at the Presbyterian church across the street, and I barely noticed the monolithic Midcentury Modern structure that loomed over Marion Square. For years, cranky residents wanted it replaced with something more traditional. But in the eyes of former Georgia Tech quarterback and real estate magnate John Dewberry, it was a thing of beauty. "Most people wanted me to tear it down," he told me over coffee one morning in the lobby, which began welcoming guests two years ago. "But while a lot of people couldn't see it, a few of us could." Dewberry softened the building's façade with 35-year-old crepe myrtles, espaliered red maples, a walled garden, and gorgeous outdoor lighting that accentuates its vertical lines. More than any other hotel in town, the Dewberry is unapologetically modern, with Midcentury furniture that Dewberry and his wife, Jaimie, have curated from auctions all over Europe. The brass bar in the lobby (which they call "The Living Room") is the heartbeat of the hotel, always staffed by bartenders in white jackets who make a mean Old-Fashioned. If there's a better-looking bar anywhere in the South, I haven't seen it.

About a mile up the peninsula, the five-room 86 Cannon, the Poinsette House captures another side of the new Charleston. Modeled after other intimate properties in town, like Zero George and the Wentworth Mansion, the year-old hotel is set in a house dating from 1862. You can hear the wood floors creak under your feet on the piazza (pee-ah-za, as they say here), but everything about the experience is luxurious, from the décor to the sheets to the sleek Linus bikes that wait for you outside. Five years ago, the neighborhood was known for its sagging porches and rowdy college students who came for the cheap housing. Tourists had no reason to venture there, but now this tiny hotel is a destination for travelers from all over the world. When I asked the proprietors, Marion and Lori Hawkins, what these international visitors want to do, Lori answered without hesitation, "Eat."

It's a five-to-10-minute walk to some of the best restaurants in town, from Xiao Bao Biscuit, which serves inspired Asian dishes in a converted gas station, to Leon's Oyster Shop, where the fried chicken rivals any in the South. Or you can go for barbecue. Southerners have long nurtured a debate over whether Carolina-style pork or Texas-style brisket is the true king. Charleston has decided you can have it both ways. On Upper King Street, one year ago, Rodney Scott opened Rodney Scott's BBQ, a brick temple to the low, slow, whole-hog style that put South Carolina barbecue on the map. Less than half a mile away, at Lewis Barbecue, you can sit in a gravel courtyard under the shade of a live oak and enjoy some of the best brisket in the country, Texas-style. Like all real Texas barbecue, it's smoked for 18 hours and served on butcher paper with a couple of slices of white bread. You simply couldn't find brisket of this quality anywhere outside of the Lone Star State until the young, bearded pit master John Lewis decided to pack up his smokers and move here from Austin. What makes Lewis's even more interesting is that it sits in the emerging development of Half Mile North (a half-mile north of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge), with its contemporary architecture, car-charging stations, and cluster of tech companies. This is where another revolution has begun, driven by a wave of start-ups, like the e-commerce firm Blue Acorn, that have helped earn Charleston the moniker Silicon Harbor. At Butcher & Bee, Web developers and digital entrepreneurs talk tech over shakshuka and brown-rice bowls. Edmund's Oast has become an evening hangout, with sophisticated dishes like chicken-liver parfait and exceptional craft beers.

Still farther up the peninsula, at the Pacific Box & Crate office complex, there are no porches in sight — just chic industrial buildings with soaring windows. Inside couldn't be more modern, with Ping-Pong tables, a yoga studio, and dogs lounging among the workstations. Stephen Zoukis, the real estate mogul behind the complex, recognized that Charleston needed a home for these new businesses — as well as another culinary center. "For a lot of these young people, having an alternative to downtown is important," he told me one morning at Bad Wolf Coffee, the campus caffeine hub. And so Zoukis launched Workshop, a food court showcasing all kinds of global cuisine.

I only lived in Charleston for about four years, but every time I go back, I feel the city's magnetic pull. It's not the quiet Lowcountry town I first fell in love with, but underneath all these new places, the character and charm of the city are still there. Ten years after that memorable dinner at McCrady's, Sean Brock is busier than ever, now overseeing eight restaurants in five cities, including new iterations of Husk in Greenville, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. But McCrady's is where the chef is at his most creative. "That's my sanctuary," he told me recently.

A year and a half ago, he reimagined the restaurant as a 22-seat tasting-menu-only space, curating everything from the music to the silverware. McCrady's now serves 15 wildly inventive courses, such as a single Virginia oyster perched on a bed of smooth rocks with a cloud of steam rising from the bowl. I don't know what this portends for the next 10 years in Charleston, but I do take comfort in the fact that Brock is reinventing himself and his signature restaurant every day, just waiting for the next couple to come in and taste something out of this world.

CHARLESTON CHOSEN AS THE SOUTH'S BEST, PRETTIEST, AND FRIENDLIEST CITY OF 2018

MARCH 20, 2018

BY HOLY CITY SINNER

At this point, the Holy City's trophy case must be overflowing. Charleston garnered a bevy of honors from Southern Living's "The South's Best" awards. Around 32,000 readers voted Charleston as the gold standard in several categories - including, "The South's Best City of 2018." It's the second straight year the Holy City has won the award.

Here's what Southern Living had to say:

"It’s no great surprise that Charleston won the South’s Best City for the second year in a row. Our obsession with this jewel of the Lowcountry has only grown as the Holy City has expanded its culinary scene, added a bevy of hotels and inns, and opened glittery new shops."

In addition to the "Best City"

honor, Charleston was also voted as the South’s Prettiest and Friendliest City. It also placed second to New Orleans in The South's Best Food City category. As if that weren't enough, several local businesses, restaurants, public spaces, and festivals were also featured.

Charleston Named a Top U.S. City for 7th Straight Year

October 17, 2017

by Holy City Sinner

 

For the 7th consecutive year, the city of Charleston has been named a Top City Destination in the U.S. in Condé Nast Traveler's Readers’ Choice Awards.
 

For the third straight year, the magazine had separate categories for big and small cities. In the past, Charleston took home the top spot regardless of city size, but for the last three years it had to settle for winning the "small city" (population under 150,000) category. Chicago was chosen as this year's Best Big City in the U.S.

Here's what Condé Nast Traveler had to say about Charleston:

"With its beautiful gardens, vibrantly painted Georgian houses along Rainbow Row, and carriages clacking across cobblestone streets, Charleston remains one of the country’s most charming cities. Underneath its sleepy veneer, the city is known for its dynamic food scene—where destination dining reflects its English, French, and West African roots—along with a thriving theater scene, bustling King Street, and historic City Market. Come evening, stroll along The Battery and take it all in."

The magazine’s annual accolades have been around since 1986 and are based on each city’s rankings in several categories – Arts/Culture, Friendliness, Scenery/Sights, Restaurants/Food, Accommodations, Shopping, and Value. Charleston first appeared in the "Top U.S. Cities" list in 1993 with a sixth place finish. It first earned the #1 ranking in 2011.

 

Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the United States

Trip Advisor, Fall 2017

 

1. Daniel, New York City, NY

2. Victoria & Albert's, Orlando, FL

3. Charleston Grill, Charleston, SC

4. Alinea, Chicago, IL

5. Chef and the Farmer, Kinston, NC

6. Hall's Chophouse, Charleston, SC

7. Geronimo, Santa Fe, NM

8. Mama's Fish House, Paia, HI

9. Restaurant Gary Danko, San Francisco, CA

10. Merriman's, Kapalua, HI

11. Fat Canary, Williamsburg, VA

12. Grill 225, Charleston, SC

13. Circa 1886 Restaurant, Charleston, SC

14. Kokkari Estiatorio, San Francisco, CA

15. Le Cirque, Las Vegas, NV

16. Per Se, new Yourk City, NY

17. Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar - Memphis, Memphis, TN

18. Zahav, Philadelphia, PA

19. Le Bernardin, New York City, NY

20. Del Posto, New York City, NY

21. Auberge du Soleil Restaurant, Rutherford, CA

22. Lahaina Grill, Lahaina, HI

23. Bavette's Bar and Boeuf, Chicago, IL

24. Bliss, San Antonio, TX

25. GW Fins, New Orleans, LA

 

The Best Cities in the U.S.

The best cities in the country are scattered from coast to coast. But readers gave one region in particular a lot of love in this year's World's Best survey.

by Melanie Lieberman, T+L  Worlds Best U.S.

March 2017

 

No. 1: Charleston, South Carolina

 

Score: 91.66

 

It’s not just the No. 1 city in the country — this year, Charleston is the No. 1 city in the world. (And the No. 1 city in the galaxy, if one were to believe proud resident Stephen Colbert.) Readers remarked on the warmth of its people, its private carriage tours, and romantic gardens. “Charleston, without a doubt, is the best city to visit in America." For a perfect weekend here, choose either a historic or a boutique hotel, fill up on award-winning Lowcountry fare, and head to Cannon Street to peruse the only-in-Charleston goods. 

 

Charleston named the No. 1 city in the U.S. again, No. 2 in the world

by Dave Munday

July 11, 2017

 

Charleston is the nation's No. 1 city again, and No. 2 in the world, according to the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.

The recognition comes at a time when residents are increasingly worried about the peninsula's capacity to handle more visitors. 

The results of this year's survey were released Tuesday morning. Readers were asked to rate cities they had visited on sights/landmarks, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people/friendliness, shopping and value. 

This is the fifth consecutive year the magazine's readers have named Charleston the nation's top city. Charleston was the top city in the world last year. This year San Miguel de Allende in Mexico took the top global spot.

Two of Charleston’s hotels, The Vendue and Zero George, ranked among the top 15 in the country this year. The city's top restaurants also consistently get national attention, but restaurants were not included in these survey results.

"Charleston is that rare destination that, on paper, seems to have it all — and then totally lives up to the hype," the magazine says on its website.

The Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau immediately posted the news on its website and social media feeds, with the invitation, "Plan your trip to the No. 1 city in the U.S."

"The No. 1 rankings continue to positively impact tourism, the number one economic driver to the Charleston area," the CVB said in a written statement.

The College of Charleston's Office of Tourism Analysis counted 5.1 million visitors in 2015, for an economic impact of $3.7 billion and 41,000 jobs. The number this year is likely to be closer to 6 million, and the latest estimate of the economic impact is $4.2 billion. Without a doubt, the tourism industry is a major employer.

The concern is how many more tourists the city can handle without sacrificing the charm that has made it such a popular a destination. There's also the concern that hotels and the businesses that cater to them are driving up real estate and rental prices.

Mayor John Tecklenburg has unsuccessfully tried to slow a wave of new hotel construction and is asking council at least to require developers to include parking plans in future hotels to minimize traffic problems.

USA Today noted concerns over the city’s increasing popularity last month, in an article that led with the sentence, “We’re flattered, but please stop.”

The article cited worries not only over increasing traffic but rising rental rates and restaurant staffing shortages because of the tourist influx.

"The people who live here are frustrated and don’t want to see Charleston continue to be number one on these lists,” Jamee Haley, executive director of Lowcountry Local First, told the newspaper. "I want to see local businesses prosper in our community, but we must be careful of not killing the goose that laid the golden egg."

Actually, Charleston residents have been concerned about the effect of the growing tourist industry for quite some time. The city adopted its first tourism-management plan in 1978, becoming the first in the nation to do so. A 2015 update noted that the goal is to preserve "the equilibrium between residential life and tourism activity."

World's Friendliest Cities

World'sriendliest cities, according to Conde Nast Traveleria Hetter, CNN

August 31, 2016

 

One reader put it perfectly: “People speak to each other!" (Ha. All those poor Northeasterners not used to a 'hello' on the street.) "The city is so lovely and easy to get around on foot.” “Charleston is by far my favorite city!" says another reader. "It has the charm of the South, the sophistication of the city, and a warmth and friendliness that is unmatched.”

 

"Everything in Charleston is perfectly designed for visitors to be comfortable, safe, and well taken care of," said another. In short, even as the city grows, Southern hospitality lives.

 

Charleston, South Carolina is all the rage this year.

 

The southern town where the US Civil War started is now the friendliest city in the world, according to Conde Nast Traveler's 29th annual Readers' Choice Awards.

 

"More and more people are going to Charleston," Conde Nast deputy digital editor Laura Redman tells CNN.

"Europeans are heading to Charleston because they've heard about the food and the architecture. It's getting great press, and it's having a moment."

 

Sydney came in second place, followed by Dublin in third place.

 

Conde Nast, which just published lists of the friendliest US cities and friendliest cities in the world, created one combined list for CNN.

 

More than 100,000 readers responded to the travel magazine's reader survey of favorite cities, hotels, resorts, islands, airlines, cruise lines, future travel destinations and, for the fourth year in a row, reader opinions of the world's friendliest cities.

 

To arriving travelers, a city can get a reputation for friendliness through its locals and its appearance.

 

Charleston, Savannah and Nashville, all southern US cities, stand out as spots where locals are quick to offer directions and other assistance -- and where the locals talk to each other.

 

"They haven't lost their Southern charm," says Redman.

 

Hotel or resort staff greeting guests on arrival with an easy check-in process and refreshing beverages, sometimes specifically for the children, also stands out.

 

Cities that are easily navigable and offer guests the chance to feel like a local also feel friendly to visitors, she says.

 

The Best Small Cities in the U.S.

by Katherine LaGrave

October 17, 2016

 

Condé Nast Traveler readers cast more than 100,000 votes for their favorite cities in the U.S. in the 2016 Readers' Choice Awards survey—in fact, we got so much feedback, we had to divide our list in two. This roundup features the country's smaller cities, with populations under 150,000.

 

Charleston, S.C. 1/15

Charleston, South Carolina

With its beautiful gardens, vibrantly painted Georgian houses along Rainbow Row, and carriages clacking across cobblestone streets, Charleston remains one of the country’s most picturesque cities. Underneath its sleepy charm, the city is known for its dynamic food scene—where destination dining reflects its English, French, and West African roots—along with a thriving theater scene, bustling King Street, and historic City Market. Come evening, stroll along The Battery and take it all in.

 

The 25 Best Things to Do in Charleston, S.C.

by Claire Gallam

October 21, 2016

 

Condé Nast Traveler readers have named Charleston, South Carolina their favorite small city in the United States, and there are more than a few reasons why—here are 25 of the best restaurants and bars, shopping streets, and strolls to plan your next trip around.

 

1/25 Shop along Upper King Street.

King Street is the core of Charleston’s retail district—but Upper King hasn’t always been the site of high-end boutiques or art galleries. Thanks to millions in renovations and a push from the locals, this stretch has turned into one of the best spots to find a more authentic gift. Stop into Blue Bicycle Books for an early edition Hemingway or head to Felice Designs to pick up a handblown glass bead necklace.

 

2/25 Read a book beneath the Angel Oak Tree.

Spanning more than 1,700 square feet and reaching 65 feet at its upper branches, the tentacular Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island is one of the area’s most treasured natural landmarks. Said to be almost 1,000 years old, the weaving, winding branches stretch in all directions. The tree sits in a small park that’s outfitted with benches and tables so you can picnic beneath its umbrella. Just don’t forget your phone: Angel Oak has become one of the most Instagrammable sights in the entire city.

 

3/25 Make a reservation at Husk.

It’s hard to be consistently good in a city that’s evolving as quickly as Charleston, but Husk is It’s hard to be consistently good in a city that’s evolving as quickly as Charleston, but Husk is just that. Despite being open for about six years, the restaurant swells with eager eaters almost nightly, and reservations still require at least three weeks' lead time. The menu thrives on Southern classics like fried chicken and grits, but can get clever with dishes like Carolina heritage pork and peas or skillet-fried cornbread with a salty bacon crust. If you’re in the mood for a quick bite, head next door to the far less crowded Husk Bar, a locals' favorite with an award-winning bourbon collection (try the Gentry).

 

4/25 Order the fried chicken sandwich at Leon's.

Leon's Oyster Shop has been a Charleston favorite since it opened on King Street in 2014. Often overlooked by tourists because it doesn't fit the mold with a traditional Charleston facade, Leon’s is still known across the South for its fried chicken sandwich, which has the power to send a vegetarian tumbling off the wagon. The breading uses seafood seasoning and the tender filet is topped with Duke’s mayo and Asian slaw tossed with fish sauce. Plus, the brioche buns are baked daily and have that perfect crispy exterior and soft, pillowy interior.

 

5/25 Take a picture of a pineapple at Waterfront Park.

If you’re not sure how to get to Waterfront Park, just ask a local where the "pineapple fountain" is. One of the most photographed fountains in the region, the multi-layered pineapple flanks the palmetto-lined boardwalk along the Cooper River and Atlantic Ocean. For the best photo ops, get there just before sunrise or sunset, when the sky does its thing. Along with the fountain, which is open for kids to splash and play in, the park has running trails and oak-lined pathways for wandering.

 

6/25 Spend a night or two at the Belmond Charleston.

One of the original innovators in the city’s hotel scene, Charleston Place (owned and operated by luxury hotelier Belmond) has been around for almost 30 years. The entire hotel underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation, updating 434 guest rooms. The new look—rooms are airy and elegant, with new bathrooms and updated furnishings—is just phase one; another $3 million is being allocated to update the spa, meeting space, and lobby in the coming year.

 

7/25 Try the fresh catch at 167 Raw.

It’s not hard to see why Charleston is a seafood town (just check a map). You can’t get better fresh catches than at 167 Raw, a small restaurant and fish market on East Bay. With most of the food sourced locally, it also enjoys the advantage of having a sister property in Nantucket that ships some of the world’s best oysters for Charleston consumption.

 

8/25 Order a "tweed jacket brown ale" at Edmund's Oast.

Edmund’s Oast, located on Morrison Drive, has been a favorite mingling spot for locals since its opening. Don't expect greasy pub fare: Edmund’s takes its food just as seriously as its beer, with a highly rated charcuterie program (nearly everything cured and made in house) and brews that are a mix of American and English. The Tweed Jacket English Brown Ale is a crowd favorite.

 

9/25 Bring your appetite to Marion Square Farmers Market.

The Marion Square Market, the first farmers market in the area, is the place to be on a Saturday morning. It's stocked with fresh seafood, local produce, and sustainably farmed meats from farms just 20 minutes from the city. In addition to the photo-worthy bounty, there are food stalls throughout serving everything from gyros to made-to-order huevos rancheros. If you can't make this market, head to Johns Island's famous Sunday Brunch Market behind the Pour House for freshly made pastas and veggies, or West Ashley's brand-new farmers market, which takes place every Wednesday until 7:30 p.m. at Ackerman Park.

 

10/25 Cross the Ravenel Bridge on foot or bike.

You can’t go from Mount Pleasant to downtown Charleston without crossing the iconic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, although most people only see it as they speed along in Ubers. Locals prefer to cross by running, biking, or meandering on foot. The main span of the bridge is a little over 1,546 feet, but you get truly memorable views of the Cooper River, especially during sunset, from the middle. If you’re a runner, the entire walkway is just 2.5 miles across, but the Southern heat and uphill trek proves to be challenging.

 

11/25 Ask for the bartender's choice at the Gin Joint.

One of the few places on East Bay that’s as frequented by locals as tourists, the speakeasy-themed Gin Joint has become a Charleston staple for after-work cocktails and people-watching. The menu changes by the season, but opt for the bartender’s choice, where you pick two flavorful descriptors (tart, citrusy, refreshing) and watch the bow-tied bartender play with fresh herbs and the fruit of the day.

 

12/25 Go big at Lewis Barbecue.

It's worth the ten-minute drive from the downtown corridor to Lewis Barbecue, one of the city’s newest BBQ spots, in the city's up-and-coming Upper Peninsula. Led by renowned Austin pit master John Lewis, the menu is simple, but portions abundant, with large slabs of slow-smoked, melt-in-your-mouth brisket; smoked sausages; pulled chicken and pork; and sides of corn pudding and tangy coleslaw. On Tuesdays, the menu goes full Tex-Mex, with brisket tacos or a pulled pork burrito—follow the restaurant on Instagram to see what it's serving that week.

 

13/25 Catch a show at the centuries-old Dock Street Theatre.

The historic Dock Street Theatre in Charleston’s French Quarter district is a thriving piece of the city's original history. Its earliest incarnation likely burned down in the mid-1700s; the building that stands dates to 1809, though some of its most famous additions came in 1835 (look closely at the ornately scrolled wrought-iron on the top balcony, and the pillars adjacent to the dark green doors). Dock Street recently went through a three-year, $19 million renovation to add state-of-the-art sound quality, air conditioning (a must), and new seats—you can now see local and touring Broadway productions at one of the longest-standing, still-operational theaters in America.

 

14/25 Nap on the beach of Sullivan's Island.

Sullivan’s Beach is only a few miles long, but is owned by the town of Sullivan’s Island—which means every grain of sand is protected. After a day of sunning, wander into town for a bit—maybe to Poe’s Tavern, known for its burgers, or The Obstinate Daughter, a Restoration Hardware-styled brunch and lunch spot that has some of Charleston’s best mussels. For a history lesson, explore Fort Moultrie National Monument, which was built during the Civil War to protect the city from invasion.

 

15/25 Have a cocktail on the rooftop of The Restoration.

The recently renovated Restoration is easy to miss, but a must-visit regardless. This boutique hotel has just 54 guest rooms, including 20 condo-style suites, with décor best described as Icelandic contemporary: think beige love seats, navy slingback chairs, fuzzy pillows, oversized photos of wild horses. If it's booked up, you can go just for the rooftop bar, the Watch, which offers 360-degree views of the city and is the ultimate place to watch the sun dip into the Cooper River.

 

16/25 Cool off in the Charleston City Market.

One of Charleston’s oldest landmarks, the 200-year-old Historic City Market is easily the most distinguishable landmark here. It's been recently renovated and equipped with air conditioning (a sort-of obvious addition for those hot Southern summers); the chaotic inside is filled with local vendors selling She-Crab soup mixes and the city's iconic handmade sweetgrass baskets.

 

17/25 Battle the monster Bloody Mary at the Darling Oyster Bar.

The Darling Oyster Bar, one of King Street’s newest seafood bars, turns heads thanks to its airy open design—and its impressive shucking station, where you can watch them prepare thousands of East Coast oysters every day. Start with a big platter of Carolina oysters, then dive into creamy shrimp and grits, made a little spicier than other places in town. The star of the menu, though, is the monster Bloody Mary—topped with a hush puppy, lobster tail, king crab leg, Old Bay spiced shrimp, and a pickle.

 

18/25 See another side of Charleston's past at Boone Hall Plantation.

You might recognize the half-mile drive leading up to historic Boone Hall Plantation—it had its Hollywood moment in films like The Notebook and North and South. Both sides of the road are decorated with symmetrically planted, live-oak trees laden with Spanish moss. The still-functioning plantation is also a museum, so you can tour the 1936 mansion and gardens, visit the horse stables, and in the summer and fall, pick seasonal fruits (strawberries, peaches, pumpkins) from the working farm.

 

19/25 Have a semi-religious experience at 5Church.

A surprising gift on touristy Market Street, next to chain eateries and candy shops, is 5Church. The restaurant/cocktail bar is getting a reputation for bringing locals back to Market thanks to an astounding space in a former church (complete with feathery chandeliers and a stained glass window) and entrées like the A5 Kobe ribeye and zesty Snead’s Ferry clams.

 

20/25 Look for a hint of Paris at The Dewberry.

Opened just a few months ago in the Mendel Rivers Federal Building, the Dewberry Hotel is one of the city’s most interesting properties. In addition to 155 guest rooms, including Grand Suites overlooking the park, the most talked-about element is the main restaurant, Henrietta’s. The black-and-white checkered floor and dangling bulbs give the place a Parisian bistro vibe—it's formal, but approachable. The food is a mix of French technique and Southern ingredients, with dishes like duck in preserved rhubarb sauce, steak frites, and, of course, fresh oysters.

 

21/25 Try Southern-Asian soul food at Xiao Bao Biscuit.

Beyond the fried-green-tomato beat is fusion favorite Xiao Bao Biscuit, on the corner of Rutledge Avenue and Spring Street. It marries Southern and Asian comfort food—dishes inspired "by kick-ass grandmothers everywhere"—and delivers on the Thai yellow curry with mung bean cakes, Japanese cabbage pancakes with pork "candy," and local snapper prepared with Chinese spices and seasoned greens.

 

22/25 Ring for the butler (and don't feel guilty about it) at The Spectator.

Just minutes from the busy city market, the 1920s-inspired Spectator Hotel feels like a step back into Charleston’s golden era. Elevators are gilded; the bar has wood-paneled walls; and guest rooms are outfitted with velvet headboards, crafted side tables, and white marble bathrooms. Some come with a French balcony and views of the market or the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. The best perk, though, is the service; this is the only hotel in Charleston with butler service for every guest.

 

23/25 Please (please) order the fish stew at Fig.

Old enough to be considered an institution, but still creative enough to impress locals who have favored it for years, the Mike Lata-owned Fig is one of the city's biggest success stories. The kitchen is run by James Beard winner Jason Stanhope, who brings his South American background and French technique to Southern cuisine; we keep going back for the fish stew Provençal, made with locally caught white shrimp, squid, mussels, and Carolina gold rice.

 

24/25 Take a walking tour of 18th-century architecture.

One of the first things you should do in Charleston is head out on foot. You don't need a map; you don't need a guide. You just need to follow the cobblestones in any direction south of Broad: maybe to East Bay Street and its "Rainbow Row" of side-by-side historic Georgian homes in bright pastels; or to the Nathaniel Russell House, a richly detailed mansion-turned-museum on Meeting Street. Tradd Street's home to the Colonel John Stuart House (built in 1772) and three-story mansions with verandahs for days. Or make for the Battery and stroll the waterfront between palatial "beach estates" and the sea, dreaming of which grand villa you'd buy in an alternate universe.

 

25/25 Enjoy bluegrass and Benedicts at High Cotton.

For a true Southern brunch, make your way to High Cotton on East Bay Street. The menu is available on both Saturdays and Sundays (a rarity in chilled-out Charleston) and comes with an assortment of signature items, like the Bellini Bar, flaky crab cake eggs Benedict, seafood crepes, or a crispy fried chicken sandwich. As a bonus, your brunch is set to bluegrass by a local band.

11 Things "Charlestonites" Want You To Understand

If you're from Charleston you understand, if you're not, you need to understand.

Judithanne

Dec 21, 2015

1. THE Bridge There are many bridges in Charleston: The Ravanel, Grace Memorial, Don Holt among many other but when we say “the bridge” we mean the Cooper River and we know exactly which one that is.

2. Husk Don’t get me wrong, Husk Seafood is great, but it is not the best Charleston has to offer. Husk is what we give the tourists to stay away from the dives and local seafood we love.

3. Parking Bring your sensible shoes (jk people from Charleston do not know what sensible shoes are). Close parking is hard to come by, so bring an extra $15 for the parking fee you’ll be given at the end of your day.

4. Tourists It is not that we hate tourists, but rather we aren’t a fan of the tourists that stand in the middle of the street taking a picture of that pretty pastel downtown home. FYI, those flags on the outside of those houses you’re taking pictures of are from the anti-cruise group in Charleston.

5. Share the Love It is not all about Downtown, Charleston. Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, and Mount Pleasant are just as charming.

6. The Humidity Rock your natural hair because the humidity will see to it that you do.

7. Our Accents They’re not simply southern, they’re Charleston. Our dialect is unmistakable to other Charlestonites. (Sumter: SUMP-tur, Legare: Le-GREE, Moultrie: MOOL-tree)

8. Landmarks We love The Battery, our Pineapple at Water Front Park, and Rainbow Row, don’t get me wrong but our favorites remain the heart of Charleston. The painted boat at Folly Beach, the American Theatre where Noah and Allie laid down in the street in The Notebook, and our churches, why do you think we are called the “Holy City”?

9. Our Porch Ceilings They aren’t just painted that pale blue for looks. It is a southern tradition to paint porch ceilings light blue to rid unwanted spirits and even worse, the wasps. That is just a little insight into the culture and traditions we value.

10. DINNER Dinner is not just about eating; it is a social ordeal. Bring a nice outfit because we take our dinner plans very seriously.

11. Unity The acts of terror at the AME Church shook our city, but we became a family and more unified than ever. Take your best shot because the harder you try, the stronger we become.

101 THINGS TO DO IN CHARLESTON SC BUCKET LIST

Local Adventurer

 

Charleston, South Carolina is just under four hours away from our home in Asheville and it’s become a place we love to visit. There’s so much to love about this city on the water. For starters, it’s often a little warmer in the winter months than it is in the mountains. It also has tons of outdoors activities for you to participate in such as kayaking, hiking, bird watching and horseback riding. In addition, Charleston is rich with history and unique architecture, incredible restaurants and of course, southern hospitality. There is no shortage of fun and interesting things to do in this city.

ATTRACTIONS

  • South Carolina Aquarium 

  • Blue Bicycle Books

  • Boone Hall Plantation

  • Bulls Island Ferry

  • Calhoun Mansion

  • Charleston Harbor Tours

  • Charleston Pirate Tours

  • Charleston Tea Plantation

  • City Market

  • College of Charleston Campus

  • Cypress Gardens (currently closed to flooding)

  • Deep Water Vineyard

  • Ghost tours with Bulldog Tours

  • Gullah Tours

  • Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

  • Joseph Manigault House

  • Joseph P. Riley Jr Park

  • Magnolia Plantation

  • Marion Square Farmer’s Market

  • Massage at Amethyst Spa

  • Middleton Place

  • Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon 

  • Pitt Street Bridge

  • Rainbow Row

  • See a Charleston Battery soccer game

  • Walk the Cooper River Bridge / Ravenel Bridge at sunrise

  • Shop on King Street

  • Visit the ‘Charleston Light’ / Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse

  • Charleston Visitor Center

SHOWS / VENUES

  • Barn jams at Awendaw Green

  • Charleston Music Hall

  • Dock Street Theatre

  • See a flight demonstration at the Center for Birds of Prey

  • See a local band at The Music Farm

  • SouthEastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE)

  • Theatre 99 – Improv Comedy

  • Watch a play at Black Fedora

OUTDOORS / PARKS

  • Adventure Harbor Tours

  • Angel Oak

  • Audubon Swamp Garden

  • Battery Park / White Point Gardens

  • Boneyard Beach

  • Bulls Island

  • Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site

  • Colonial Lake

  • Folly Beach and Pier

  • Gateway Walk at St. John’s Lutheran Church

  • Hang out at Isle of Palms Beach

  • James Island Dog Park

  • Kayak the Edisto River

  • Kiawah Beachwalker County Park

  • Kiawah Island Golf Resort

  • Mount Pleasant Palmetto Islands County Park

  • Pickett Park

  • Picnic at Riverfront Park

  • Rent fishing gear Mount Pleasant Pier

  • Seabrook Island Horseback rides on the Beach

  • See the first true canal at Old Santee Canal Park

  • See the sunset from the Schooner Pride

  • Sk8 Charleston Skate Park

  • Sullivan’s Island

  • Take a paddleboard tour with Nature Adventure Outfitters

  • Waterfront Park Pineapple Fountain

  • Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park

FOOD

  • Charleston Food Tours

  • Pounce Cat Cafe

  • Bowens Island Restaurant (James Island) – All-You-Can-Eat oysters served to you on a shovel in the basement

  • Fig (Downtown, American (New), $$$)

  • High Wire Distilling

  • Kudu Coffee & Craft Beer

  • Little Jacks Tavern (Westside) – burgers

  • Obstinate Daughter (Sullivan’s) – A short hop over the bridge for exceptional Italian style seafood

  • Sunset drink at The Watch, on the rooftop of the Restoration

  • The Darling (Downtown) – Oysters. Raw Bar!

  • The Ordinary (Downtown) – Smoked oysters and oyster sliders

  • Edmund’s Oast – Great outdoor patio with killer fries and a beer

  • Martha Lou’s Kitchen – Soul food for your southern soul

  • Hominy Grill – Lowcountry grits for days

  • Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters – Fried chicken sandwich

  • Xiao Bao Biscuit (Downtown) – Okonomiyaki with pork candy

11 Reasons Why The New Charleston Should Be Your Next Weekend Trip

April 29, 2018

Leslie Ryann McKellar

Yes, Bill Murray is one of them.

A friend once said to me, “Oh, you were just in Charleston? That’s a place I’d take my Mom.” Ouch, dude. I just told you I went there with my wife. But I knew what he meant. The most beautiful city in America has a reputation for being popular with the olds and the foodies, and especially the old foodies. That reputation was not unearned. It is, however, badly outdated.

Paradoxically for a town as singular as Charleston, what makes the city so dynamic right now is what’s not that unique about it. For decades an insular, almost impenetrable place that felt more like a World Heritage Site than somewhere people actually lived, Charleston is energized by new people (including civic mascot Bill Murray) and ideas that often have zero connection to the city’s past.

Today’s Charleston is still delicious, but in ways that have nothing to do with she-crab soup (no disrespect) and less and less to do with the New South fine-dining revolution led by Mike Lata at Fig (still great) and spread by Sean Brock (Husk, McCrady’s), who became one of the most celebrated chefs in America by Jurassic Park-ing lost varieties of rice, tomatoes, and other heirloom crops that he coaxed back to life. Those are the restaurants that vaulted Charleston to the top of a thousand “best food cities in America” lists, but these days they represent only a part of the picture—and not the most relevant part.

I had one of the best Italian meals of my life at Le Farfalle, owned by Michael Toscano, a Houston-born chef who worked in some of NYC’s top kitchens before heading back south. Xia Bao Biscuit is a flavor bomb of a restaurant, Momofuku-esque, carved into a converted gas station in Cannonborough-Eliotborough, one of several young-people-driven neighborhoods that are redefining the city. Even further north of Broad Street (both geographically and culturally) is Edmund’s Oast, a sprawling indoor-outdoor beer hall that would be mobbed even if the food menu wasn’t so inventive. Across the street is Butcher & Bee, a modern sandwich shop and restaurant in a shed-like space, and a couple blocks from that is Lewis Barbecue, a Texas ‘cue joint whose owner-pitmaster was raised in El Paso and helped open Franklin’s Barbecue in Austin. Aware of Charleston’s tendency to assume outsiders are suspect until proven otherwise, John Lewis spent a year just hanging around town, eating his way into the city’s heart before opening his place to an ecstatic, lines-around-the-block reception.

All this new blood is giving Charleston something it never had much of before: unpredictability.

The best new place to sleep in town was the vision of an outsider, too. It took John Dewberry, an Atlanta real-estate investor and former star quarterback at Georgia Tech, eight asbestos-challenged years to convert an old Federal building on Marion Square into The Dewberry, whose mid-century modern décor is obsessively on-point. A year or so after it opened, the hotel’s lobby bar has become one of the city’s most popular meeting places for locals looking for a quick transport out of the 1860s and into the 1960s.

During the pre-drinking hours, or at least the daylight ones, you should probably go outside. Water is everywhere—the city’s a peninsula—and the beach on Sullivan’s Island is a fifteen-minute drive or hour-long bike ride from downtown. Stop en route at The Daily, a takeout spot from the Butcher & Bee people, for a matcha mint smoothie and a sandwich, if you’re craving something healthy-ish.

And speaking of Sullivan’s, that’s where Bill Murray lives, although the minor-league baseball team he co-owns, the Charleston RiverDogs, play their games back on the mainland, just a few blocks from The Citadel. Murray sightings are common at the ballpark (his title is Director of Fun), where on opening day last season he was caught by a news crew trying to bribe the umps. Will he be there when you go? Maybe! Like everything else about the New Charleston, it’ll be a surprise.

 

The Top 15 Cities in the United States

From food-loving New Orleans to artsy Asheville, North Carolina, Southern destinations continue to be big with T+L readers.

PETER TERZIAN 

JULY 10, 2018

On the surface, the skyscrapers of New York City couldn’t feel more different from the sun-washed pueblo buildings of Santa Fe. Likewise, the crystalline beaches of Honolulu seem worlds apart from the oak-shaded squares of Savannah. But despite their striking contrasts, the American cities beloved by T+L readers share a similar spirit. They seduce us with their charisma and friendliness. They endeavor to preserve their rich histories. They offer restful green spaces, a wealth of cultural institutions, and innovative restaurants that aim to satisfy the most adventurous palates.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.

Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards

Carmel-by the-Sea, one of two West Coast entries, has broken into the top 15 for the first time in years. The California town measures a little over a square mile, but it packs a lot into its size, from intriguing boutiques housed in storybook cottages to art galleries and wine-tasting rooms. And with the ocean close by, it’s a paradise for fitness enthusiasts and wellness seekers. “Carmel is a magical little place surrounded by some of the most amazing landscapes in the country,” writes a fan. “It’s pricey but worth it.”

As in past years, the South continues its charm offensive, with eight cities appearing on the list. Savannah wins readers over with meticulously preserved architecture, winsome gardens, and inviting inns. New Orleans is a foodie mecca, with endless variations on gumbo, po’ boys, and shrimp. Readers call out Asheville, North Carolina, for its crisp mountain air, lively music venues, and an artsy vibe that recalls the heyday of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. “Asheville is a happening place with great local beer, chocolate, potato chips, and just about anything having to do with food,” writes one reader. “It’s still a good value, but hurry — it’s getting very popular.”

Which Southern city continues to beguile our readers year after year, maintaining the top spot in our list for six years running? Read on to find out, and see how the other 14 winners scored with our readers.

1. Charleston, South Carolina

Score: 87.79

The jewel of the South Carolina coast has crowned our list of favorite American cities since 2013. But that doesn’t mean the Lowcountry destination isn’t evolving. Thanks to an influx of business, Charleston is bustling with revitalized energy. A new generation of restaurateurs, helmed by Sean Brock of Husk and McCrady’s, is turning the city into an international food destination. Writes one reader: “I love the history, the art, the grits, and the proximity to Kiawah and other beautiful coastal areas. This is the perfect city for a girls’ weekend, a family vacation, or a romantic getaway.

Charleston Makes List of Most Livable Cities

by Dave Munday

Post and Courier

 

Charleston is one of "America's Best Cities To Live," based in part on its diverse economy and high population growth, according to a Northeastern financial news website.

 

Charleston was No. 33 on the ranking released this week by 24/7 Wall St.

 

It was the only South Carolina representative on the list. Last year, Mount Pleasant was the only Palmetto State city to make the cut.

 

The website said it analyzed data for 550 U.S. cities with populations of 65,000 or more. The comparisons included crime rates, employment growth, access to restaurants and attractions, educational attainment and housing affordability.

 

"Americans who prefer inexpensive housing and warm climates often relocate to the Southeast," the website said. "Charleston’s population has increased by 13.1 percent over the past five years, more than three times the national five-year growth rate.

 

"Many new residents are likely attracted by the low cost of real estate in the city," it continued. "Housing in Charleston is 20 percent cheaper than the national average. Charleston also has a warm, temperate climate, and the air quality is close to the best of any major city."

 

The website also said that while the city "is tourist friendly, with some of the most restaurants, museums, and hotels per capita in the country," it also boasts a strong talent pool and manufacturing sector.

 

The report specifically cited the region's nearly $14 billion a year "booming aviation sector" that includes the Boeing Co., which employs about 8,000 workers in the area, and the Air Force base. Both of those facilities are in the city of North Charleston. 

 

The website went on to note that more than half of Charleston adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, well ahead of the U.S. average of 31 percent.

 

23 Reasons to Visit Charleston Now

by Jessica Mischner

 

Almost 350 years old, this coastal South Carolina gem has bewitched travelers from every corner of the globe with its cotton-candy-colored homes, cobblestone lanes, wild salt marshes, and walled gardens.

 

The real secret to Charleston's enduring appeal is not its timelessness, but rather its skill for reinvention. After the earthquake of 1886, the city dusted itself off and rebuilt. In 1977, a small performing arts festival called Spoleto became a catalyst for cultural change. Then just over a decade later, in 1989, Hurricane Hugo dealt the city a brutal blow–but not a knockout punch. The building boom that followed the storm laid the foundation for the current transformation spearheaded by a growing group of young creatives—artists, chefs, and entrepreneurs. Discover the best of classic and contemporary Charleston. Then plan your trip. ASAP.

 

1. The Dewberry

An abandoned mid-century government building, where bartender Ryan Casey uses quail eggs to froth up his classic libations, and Lydia Mondavi's spa program includes field-to-massage-table treatments using native plants such as Carolina rice and Atlantic seaweed.

2. 86 Cannon

The boutique hotel's interiors, dreamed up by Charleston designer Betsy Berry, are fresh not fussy, but our favorite part of this restored 1860s single-house is the third floor library and round-the-clock honor bar.

3. The Blind Tiger Pub

When this longtime Broad Street barroom changed hands last year, locals worried renovations would erase the soul of the place. But other than kicking the stale beer smell, pumping up the menu, and adding a few subtle updates (like the marble bar tops), the new guys were careful to preserve the patina. Most importantly the brick-lined courtyard is as full of off-the-beaten-path charm as ever.

4. Leon's

If the weather is nice, count on the patio being as packed as area beaches. Natives gobble chargrilled oysters by the half dozen and bite into crispy, fish sandwiches, but they also know to save room for the retro vanilla soft serve. Perfectly pulled, Instagrammable cones come topped with housemade rainbow jimmies.

5. Little Jack’s

Or, head just up the street to Brooks Reitz and Co’s newest restaurant, where juicy, forearm-slicking burgers are tempered by platters of fresh veggies with housemade green goddess dressing.

6. Le Creuset Atelier

Inside the tricked out test kitchen at the French cookware company's North American headquarters on the Ashley River, you can stand elbow to whisk with some of the country’s best chefs during monthly cooking classes.

7. The Gibbes Museum of Art

The South's oldest art museum is looking better than ever after a two-year, $13.5 million overhaul, which included expanded gallery space for cutting-edge exhibitions that explore everything from race and gun violence to the intoxicating beauty of the Lowcountry landscape.

8. Pancito & Lefty

Chef Robert Berry explores the breadth and depth of genuine Mexican cuisine with imaginative dishes rooted in tradition—think chilaquiles topped with quail eggs—plus a ridiculous tequila and mezcal menu at this new South-of-the-border-inspired outpost. Bonus: Carlos Santana gifted one of his guitars to the restaurant so if you’re feeling sufficiently inhibited, an impromptu singalong is not out of the question.

9. The Alley

No one does front-of-the-house charm like Jimmy Poole and his team, whose modernized bowling concept draws in all-day, multigenerational crowds (kids’ birthday parties in the AM followed by tailgaters around mid-day followed by a good-time crowd come evening).

10. Hampton Park

Situated on the site of the historic Washington race track, this sixty-acre, Olmsted-brother-designed green space adjacent to the Citadel cries out for picnickers. Grab lunch to-go at any number of walkable restaurants—Park Cafe, Harold's Cabin, and North Central Deli.

11. Open Door

Whether it's a set of hemstitch linen cocktail napkins, a pineapple-shaped serving dish, or funky champagne flutes, this light-flooded home goods boutique on Line Street has got a Southern hostess covered on all fronts.

12. Marina Variety Store

The Sunrise Starter, the Holy City's answer to Waffle House's All-Star breakfast, comes with two eggs, grits, hash browns or toast, a buttermilk biscuit or short stack of silver dollar pancakes, and your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham. And if you're up early enough, a front row seat to the morning light show.

13. Hannibal's Kitchen

Chef Sean Brock, of Husk and McCrady's, is a vocal fan of the crab rice—buttered rice topped with a mess of fresh crab pan-fried with bell pepper, celery, onion, and bacon—at this soul food stalwart on Charleston's Eastside. But the Maco Shark steak (you read that right), might be the dive's most popular order.

14. Charleston Library Society

A haven for book-lovers of all ages since 1748, the historic Library Society hosts twice weekly story hours in the Rabbit Hole for the kiddos as well as regular conversations with international authors and tastemakers for their parents. Stop in to watch the book binders at work or sign up for a class in the traditional art.

15. The Joe

Root for the RiverDogs with team co-owner Bill Murray, whose role as "Director of Fun," means the comedian can often be found in the stands at Joseph P. Riley Park, situated on the banks of the Ashley River.

16. Mac & Murphy

Stock up on quirky cards, letterpress calendars, custom stationery and other stylish office necessities at this sophisticated paperie on Cannon Street—it's next to impossible to leave empty-handed.

17. Nathaniel Russell House Museum

The cantilevered spiral staircase ascending three stories is an architectural marvel and the centerpiece of this painstakingly restored circa-1808, Federal-style town home at 51 Meeting Street.

18. Rodney Scott BBQ

Hemingway, South Carolina's favorite son and internationally acclaimed pit master Rodney Scott joins the Holy City's mini barbecue boom—Lewis Barbecue and Home Team BBQ are just around the corner—serving up the state's signature slow-smoked pulled pork. Scratch-made hush puppies, mac and cheese, cornbread, and greens all make worthy additions to a plate.
19. Callie's Hot Little Biscuit

It's hard to eat just one of Callie Morey's buttermilk biscuits that come topped with everything from country ham to black pepper bacon to blackberry preserves, which is why they're sold in pairs. This spring, Morey will open her second peninsula location in the City Market.

20. Butcher & Bee

Two words: whipped feta. Served with fresh baked pita bread, the creamy Mediterranean cheese spread, topped with chili oil-tinged local honey is a favorite at this former sandwich shop and late-night hot spot turned full-service restaurant.

21. Fritz Porter

Sarah Hamlin-Hastings's 6,500-square-foot (and growing) antiques and design shop at the Cigar Factory—which carries everything from 18th-century chests and crystal decanters to Erin Connelly Reitz’s American made home goods—caters to both interior designers and do-it-yourself style mavens.

22. The Darling Oyster Bar

Pair the Fish House Punch (derived from a circa-1732 recipe made with rum, cognac, and lemon)–so popular its kept on tap—with a dozen Hatteras Salts and a seat at the always-festive, King Street-facing raw bar.

23. (Even Cooler, Newer) Food Trucks

Like its brick-and-mortar cousins, Charleston's food truck fleet is headed in creative new directions. At BKeD, hot hand-twisted pretzels—both mini and standard—come in flavors like Charleston sea salt and benne-seed. You can indulge your inner 8-year-old at Pure Fluff, a roving cotton candy wonderland. La Morra is a gorgeous Neapolitan-style, wood-fired pizza oven on wheels.

 

Sixteen Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Charleston

Sixteen Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Charleston

by BRENDAN VAUGHAN, Charleston FYI

  1. Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality in Charleston. Years ago, sea captains would announce their arrival and invite people into their homes to hear their story by sticking a pineapple prominently outside their homes.
     

  2. All of American theatre history began in Charleston at the Dock Street Theatre, which is also the very first theatre built in the country.

  3. The first flag considered to be an American flag contains no red. The Moultrie flag, flown at the battle on Sullivan’s Island, is navy blue with a white crescent emblazoned with the word “Liberty.”

  4. The College of Charleston is the oldest city-sponsored college in the country. And is also the 13th oldest college in the country. Three of its founders helped found our country (Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward).

  5. The show “Army Wives” had an actual fake town constructed in North Charleston for filming purposes.

  6. Charleston likes to call itself the “Holy City” thanks to the crazy number of steeples making up most of the skyline.

  7. Not only is it the most expensive structure in Charleston (at nearly $700,000,000), but The Arthur J. Ravenel bridge is the longest cable-sustained bridge in the country (at precisely 1,546 feet).

  8. The first time the game of golf was played in America was played in Charleston.

  9. Charleston has been a victim of nearly every natural disaster: Hurricane Hugo, the earthquake in 1886, the decade of fire at the turn of the century, the catastrophic flooding in 2015, and a tornado in 1938.

  10. All of the homes in Charleston have verandahs that face either south or west because it is the direction of prevailing wind, and we all know what life would be like without AC in the summer.

  11. The official craft of the state and one that Charleston is known for is the art of sweetgrass basket weaving.

  12. Travel & Leisure named Charleston the Friendliest City in America in 2011 and Conde Nast Traveler has given Charleston the same honor for many years.

  13. It wasn’t always Charles-TON. It was originally Charles Towne, named for King Charles II, but in 1783 they dropped the ‘w’ and the ‘e.’

  14. Charleston is located exactly halfway down the South Carolina coast.

  15. The very first museum instituted was The Charleston Museum in 1773.

  16. When the British first saw what would now be Charleston, a mess of white oysters was seen where the Battery now is, hence the name White Point.