Foodie's Guide To Charleston
Food & Wine
Charleston, Chucktown, The Holy City, call it what you will, but there is a reason this coastal southern city is consistently named one of the best, if not the best, cities in the US year after year (just ask Conde Nast Traveler or Travel & Leisure). From the friendly locals to the picturesque historic streets to that fresh salty air, this city is bursting with southern charm. Charleston is a destination for all seasons - you can find shopping, tours, sightseeing, sandy beaches close by, and absolutely amazing food. I have traveled the world and Charleston is one of my favorite cities and I'm so grateful to live near it!
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Where to stay in Charleston
One-of-a-kind in Charleston, this style stay is packed with thoughtful features, from the destination restaurant to the well-curated boutique.
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The Charleston Place
Iconic Charleston landmark with lavish accommodations, legendary service and experiences to elevate your experience in the Southern city.
$100 food / beverage credit.
$60 daily breakfast credit for two.
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The Dewberry Charleston
Charleston’s reigning style stay overlooking Marion Square, with a popular terrace lounge and must-visit rooftop bar.
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Things to do in Charleston
The options of what to do in Charleston are endless. One of the best ways to see Charleston is to walk it. Take it nice and slow and make stops along the way!
Start in the French Quarter at the Charleston City Market - one of the nation's oldest city markets and grab a biscuit inside at Callies Hot Little Biscuit. Market Street also has many tour operators if you want to pop in and find a formal guided tour (carriage tours, food tours, ghost tours, historic tours and more!)
Head over to the waterfront and have a snack or drink at Fleet Landing. Continue on for a photo op at the Pineapple Fountain on Vendue Range. Go to the rooftop bar at the Vendue for a great view of the city and harbor. Head South to see one of the most iconic spots in Charleston - Rainbow Row - at 79-107 East Bay Street. Near Rainbow Row you can find The Tavern - the oldest liquor store in the country serving Charleston since 1686. Walk south to the Battery - the sea wall and park at the southern tip of the Charleston peninsula. Get "lost" as you walk and see the many beautiful and quaint historic homes.
Shopping - King Street is the major shopping corridor in Charleston, much of it between Broad and Calhoun. You will find a mix of unique and national chain stores for clothing, antiques, home goods and more. Start your shopping day with brunch or grab a coffee and pastry to go at Millers All Day Cafe or finish your day at 167 Raw.
Beaches - If you want to spend time at the beach you have options to choose from! Head SE to Sullivan's Island outside of Mount Pleasant. Pristine beaches that have a mix of gorgeous elegant beach homes and relaxed beachgoer vibes.
Grab lunch at Hometeam BBQ, Mex 1 or The Obstinate Daughter and take a tour of Fort Moultrie. You can also go SW thru James Island to Folly Beach, home to Folly Beach Pier and lined with surf and souvenir shops. Grab lunch at Jack of Cups, Lowlife Bar or Taco Boy. And finally Isle of Palms is known for its beaches, condos and eateries like Acme Lowcountry Kitchen. This beach is more a vacation destination spot. Stay at the Wild Dunes resort.
Other Nearby Things To Do - The South Carolina Aquarium can be found in Charleston. Want to get out on the water? Head to Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant and take a cruise with Palmetto Breeze. Have little kids and want to beat the heat?
Check out Splash Island Waterpark. Interested in a historic plantation or home tour? Boone Hall is in Mount Pleasant or Magnolia Plantation and Drayton Hall are in West Ashley. Civil War buff? Tour Fort Sumter.
Places to eat & drink in Charleston
Millers All Day Cafe - A delicious spot for brunch or lunch. Get there early because like 167 Raw, this place is also typically on a wait. If you can't wait, they do have a pastry bar and coffee counter for grab & go. The signature Fried Chicken Biscuit is worth the wait.
Queen Street Grocery - If you decide the wait is too long at Millers All Day and want breakfast, walk over to Queen Street Grocery where they specialize in crepes and omelets.
Butcher & The Bee - This sunny spot is open for brunch on weekends with Middle Eastern influenced plates and Southern Comforts. They have a high focus on locally sourced ingredients and sustainably raised meats. Try the whipped feta with fermented honey.
Church and Union - Located on historic Market Street, dine in this former church - a large airy space with beautiful stained glass windows. Chef partner Jamie Lynch was featured on Top Chef. Try Chef Jamie's lamb burger or the Holy $h*t breakfast. Also open for dinner and a great cocktail bar if you don't make it for brunch.
Callie's Hot Little Biscuit - Both in City Market and on Upper King, you are sure to be near one location. Your trip to the south isn't complete without a biscuit, and this is a great place to check off the box. Grab a solo biscuit or a sandwich. And just when you start to feel sad you can't indulge in the buttery goodness anytime you want, know that Callie's Hot Little Biscuit products are sold in many groceries, or you can order online direct to your home.
Mercantile & Mash - Plenty of seats, plenty of parking, and free wifi - the makings of a great breakfast.
167 Raw - Delicious food, impeccable service, fantastic drinks. Good enough for the cast of Southern Charm you can be sure it will charm you too. Make sure you put your name down and plan to do something else first because there is a reason this place is always on a wait. Order all of it. It's all good.
Poogan's Porch - Tucked away on Queen Street and next to the well known Husk - this restored Victorian house is the perfect setting to enjoy Lowcountry cuisine. Named for the little dog Poogan who was a neighborhood fixture on Queen street, this spot was his favorite.
Rodney Scott's BBQ - Located in North Charleston this eatery specializes in whole hog bbq. Rodney Scott grew up in Hemingway, SC working at the family business - Scott's BBQ. His story was featured on A Chef's Table BBQ. The pulled pork, smoked chicken and mac n cheese are worth the trip.
Fleet Landing - One of the few spots that you can dine at and actually be out on the water, this casual eatery is a great place to relax and enjoy the view.
The Ordinary - This restaurant is anything but. It's a seafood hall and oyster bar located in a former bank. Get the crispy oyster sliders or the smoked fish pâté with buttermilk crackers.
Little Jack's Tavern - Every city needs at least one spot to get an amazing burger. In Charleston that spot is Little Jack's Tavern.
FIG - Food Is Good and that motto has carried this restaurant for 20 years now. Upscale bistro setting + quality local ingredients is their formula for success. (and the ricotta gnocchi).
Halls Chophouse - In the mood for a great steak then this is where you need to go. Proudly serving only USDA Prime Steaks, hand selected, meticulously aged and cooked to perfection.
The Rooftop at the Vendue (an art filled boutique hotel in the French Quarter) -Consistently awarded "best rooftop bar", once you experience the views and drinks for yourself you will understand.
Citrus Club - Perched atop the swanky boutique hotel, The Dewberry, this chic space offers amazing 360 views of Charleston (after all it's the holy city's highest rooftop). With many citrus inspired cocktails to choose from, we suggest you try the spicy coconut margarita. Even better stay at the Dewberry where we can offer you some great perks!
Frannie & The Fox - Located in Hotel Emeline (stay here and get perks!), this is a beautiful setting that opens to the outdoors which features a large fireplace. Self described as a wood fire eatery with Italian sensibilities. Make sure to try the beef & pork meatballs with whipped ricotta.
The Gin Joint - Featuring classic and unique cocktails, they can also make something up on the fly to suit your tastes - including alcoholic drinks.
The Griffon - English Pub meets dive bar at this craft beer spot with dollar bills covering the walls. Great pub food and a casual laid back
Henry's On The Market - Established in 1932, Henry’s is the oldest continuous restaurant in Charleston and the state of South Carolina. They feature a dining room, whiskey room, music call and rooftop deck so there is something for everyone.
Little Palm - This bright tropical beachy cafe and cocktail bar is located in the Ryder Hotel (stay here and we can offer perks!) Enjoy deliciously fun cocktails like the Seven Day Weekend or Paid Vacation as you relax next to the pool.
Need to Know
Looking for more Charleston travel inspo? Check out Fora's guide, Local's Guide to Hotels & Restaurants in Charleston.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Charleston.