It’s easy to lump the southern states together into one big antebellum throwback. Honestly, I did that and I was wrong.
Charleston, South Carolina is beyond charming to look at… and from what I witnessed, a relatively progressive place despite its despicable past as the hub of the Atlantic slave trade. (Charleston processed 40% of the imported slaves, in 1770 half of its inhabitants were slaves, and it was the wealthiest city in British North America.)
Despite being so darn good-looking, Charleston has more prodigiously preserved its historical architecture than most U.S. cities, making it instantly attractive to visitors and residents alike.
Charleston’s food and entertainment scene is alive and well, though the city has a decidely buttoned-up nightlife, which is just fine with me.
[slogan]Charleston is a big little city with a delightful downtown paved with ancient stone roads, colorful antebellum houses, and Deco neon lights.[/slogan]
There are no skyscrapers, but there’s plenty of modern shopping and dining.
Charleston is first and foremost a walking city. Safe and easy to navigate, it’s really best explored on foot. Historical carriage rides are hugely popular and available on virtually every corner in the center of town. Watch my live broadcast from a carriage tour.
Secondly, Charleston is a port city which means visiting its piers and beaches is an added charm.
5 Things to Eat, See & Do in Charleston, South Carolina
- Take a historical carriage tour. I went with Charleston Carriage Works and had an informative and entertaining tour guide. Once you finish with the tour, walk back to your favorite spots to explore further. I loved all the Spanish moss laden graveyards.
- Dine al fresco at Henry’s rooftop pub. Go before sunset, order the she-crab soup, and watch the candlelight dance on your hot date’s softly lit face. (Damn, I should write romance novels!)
- Speaking of drinking, I had the best Bloody Mary at Gilligan’s, a kitschy seafood joint with no restraint. Never had a better Old Bay rim. Seriously.
- Stroll the pier at Folly Beach. Everything is better at sunset, so grab your camera and go then.
- Get 360 views of downtown at Market Pavilion Hotel. Head to the roof to dine with the beautiful people. Sit by the pool and order the crab sandwich.
It’s no exaggeration to say I fell in love with Charleston, nearly as much as I did with Savannah. Its unhurried pace and friendly locals make it easy to see why it tops “best-of” lists year after year.