Top 10 Must-Dos in Charleston

Charleston painted ladies image

1. Hot Little Biscuit
This hole in the wall shop serves up an assortment of the best house-made biscuits you’ll ever have. The blackberry jam, cheddar and chive, black pepper bacon, country ham and cinnamon flavors are all to die for. Be prepared for a wait time— but it’s totally worth it!

hot little biscuit charleston image

2. Charleston City Market
Dating back to 1840, this open-air market stretches four city blocks and holds everything from the famous sweetgrass baskets and handmade jewelry to artwork and southern-style food. I highly recommend stopping in for lunch, as the South Carolina BBQ booth is melt in your mouth good.

Charleston City Market image

3. Waterfront Park
Home to the famous Pineapple Fountain, this picturesque park is perfect for a picnic or afternoon stroll. Grab a wooden swing and you may even catch a glimpse of dolphins jumping in the distance!

Waterfront park pineapple fountain charleston image

4. Rainbow Row
This stretch of East Bay Street is one of Charleston’s claims to fame. The series of thirteen Caribbean colored homes makes for some pretty vibrant photos, and instantly puts any passerby in a cheerful mood.

Charleston painted ladies image

5. East Battery Street
With some of the most breathtaking mansions you’ll ever lay eyes on, a walk down East Battery Street is a must! The scenic street runs parallel to the water and is filled with horse-drawn carriages and tons of historic monuments.

East Battery street charleston image

6. Christophe Artisan Chocolatier
This French themed chocolate shop has some of the best French-press coffee and hot chocolate I’ve ever had. But the beautiful macaroons, chocolates and pastries are what they’re really known for! Stop in for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up.

7. The Vendue Rooftop
Rated the best in Charleston, this boutique hotel’s rooftop bar is a prime happy hour spot. The quaint environment is ideal for grabbing a handcrafted cocktail while watching the sunset. P.S. The Gouda Mac N’ Cheese with braised short ribs is out of this world!

Vendue Rooftop Charleston image

8. Shopping on King Street
If you’re looking to do a little window-shopping, this is where you’ll want to be. King Street is home to some of the best antique, fashion and home furnishing shops in the country.

9. Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B.)
Holy smokes… Where do I start? I’m still dreaming about the shrimp and grits and apple tart I had at this restaurant. Everything was truly incredible, including the décor and southern hospitality. Request to sit at the chef’s table to get a front row view of the open-air kitchen.

Slightly North of Broad shrimp grits charleston image

10. Angel Oak Tree
If you don’t mind going for a drive, the Angel Oak Tree is definitely worth a visit! It’s believed to be over 1500 years old and is truly stunning. I’d recommend packing a little picnic and grabbing a shady spot under one of the massive limbs.

Angel Oak tree charleston image

Feel free to ask me any specific questions regarding Charleston in the comments. Happy travels!

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Top 10 Must-Dos in Charleston | Travel Guide

26 Comments

  1. duxinco April 25, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    Your list is good but we want to add a few more Must Sees:
    1) Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon — what a fantastic overview of Charleston’s birth
    2) Slave Mart Museum — mind-boggling, fascinating, and, of course, depressing
    3) Middleton Place and Drayton Hall (plantations) –gorgeous and insightful complementary tours — one of the gardens (but no house), and the other of the house but no gardens

    • Jenna Jenna May 11, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      Thanks so much for these tips! I’ll have to add in a little note with these recommendations. :)

  2. Jennifer May 3, 2016 / 3:57 pm

    We’re preparing to move down soon from NY so I LOVE these lists! How about one for must do’s for kids??

    • Jenna Jenna May 11, 2016 / 9:20 pm

      What a small world– I just moved up to New York! I’m not sure about must do’s for kids, but Charleston is a very family friendly town in general, so all of these activities should be fine with little ones. :)

    • Laura May 27, 2016 / 11:29 pm

      The South Carolina Aquarium and the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry are usually big hits with the kids. Also take them to the Saturday farmers market at MarionSquare. There are plants of beach towns around, too. You really can’t go wrong :)

  3. Susan May 3, 2016 / 6:48 pm

    We were in Charleston a couple of weeks ago. I like your list – did most of them – but the Charleston City Market was a huge waste of time. Seriously, how many spice-mix-and-hot-sauce stands does one market need? We preferred the shops surrounding the City Market, and of course King Street.

    • Jenna Jenna May 11, 2016 / 9:19 pm

      Oh no! Sorry you didn’t enjoy the City Market. I LOVED the South Carolina BBQ sandwich I got there, though I didn’t buy anything else. It was just nice to stroll around. I’m glad you liked the surrounding shops though! :)

  4. Patricia Wilson May 4, 2016 / 12:23 am

    I visit Charleston every year now! Looking for new places to visit and love.

    • Jenna Jenna May 11, 2016 / 9:18 pm

      It’s such a charming little city! Thanks for dropping a note :)

  5. Amanda May 24, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    Thanks for the awesome tips – we’re planning a fall trip around the East/South coast that includes Charleston and I was at a loss for what to include. I don’t suppose you saw any particularly toddler friendly areas? Also, where do I find that tree – it looks amazing!

  6. Emily July 18, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    Thanks for the great trips! My sisters and I are planning a girls weekend in October- we’re all in our early/mid twenties and was just wondering if you had any suggestions for going out, or any other fun girls trip activities??

  7. Rachele July 20, 2016 / 4:02 am

    Ahh! I am headed to Charleston this weekend and have been scrambling to find lists of what are must-sees. Thank you so much! If you have any extra recs that you felt you missed on here, I would love to hear them!

  8. Elisa July 24, 2016 / 1:24 pm

    Hello! I am planning a bachelorette weekend for my cousin in Charlston. Any recommendations?

  9. Stephanie August 9, 2016 / 6:34 pm

    How about a beautiful spot to say our wedding vows at. Small family second wedding.

    • Jenna Jenna August 15, 2016 / 7:50 pm

      Definitely the Angel Oak Tree! So beautiful and peaceful.

  10. Cassey September 8, 2016 / 7:16 pm

    My husband and myself will be visiting Charleston for the first time in October and we are staying near Kings street. I was just curious if there is a walking map that shows all the great suggestions that you named? Or is this City pretty easy to get around once you start walking?

    • Cory September 18, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      Unless you want to go out to the beaches or Angel Oak, Charleston is super walkable.

  11. Kathryn Reale September 24, 2016 / 7:14 pm

    Awesome tips girl! Personally will be ordering those shrimp and grits the second I land.
    Cannot wait to visit in November, thanks!

    Cheers!

    Kathryn, therealeadventure.com

    • Jenna Jenna September 28, 2016 / 12:49 am

      You won’t regret it! Have the best time :)

  12. Lisa November 6, 2016 / 5:10 am

    I’m a single woman in my 30s and I’ve dreamed for years about living in Charleston. Ironically tho, I’ve never actually been there….something is very appealing about it tho. Just curious what the residential areas are like? Any little family neighborhoods?

    • Nicole April 20, 2017 / 10:49 am

      I too dreamt of living in Charleston. My husband and I moved there in 2006. It is a great town, but also has a lot of cons to living there. It’s hot and humid 10 months of the year- which also brings out some interesting bugs. Be prepared for a high AC bill! The surrounding suburb of North Charlestown has a pretty high crime rate, do your research before you decide where to live- I’d recommend Mt. Pleaseant or West Ashley. If you are going to be working don’t plan on making a lot of money- they pay next to nothing there- although yes, the housing market is cheaper. Another negative was I noticed an abundance of racism. It made it very uncomfortable for me. Their education rankings are among the worst in the US.
      On the plus side- they have great beaches, lots of sunshine, food options, and a laid back slow paced lifestyle.

  13. Jennifer December 8, 2016 / 2:04 am

    Good list, but I would add a parade at The Citadel Military College. They are held on Fridays during the school year. Parade schedule is posted on the school’s website. My son is a cadet, so I’m biased but it is very entertaining and free. They do fire the cannons near the end, so be prepared to cover little ears. 😮

    • Jenna Jenna December 8, 2016 / 5:37 pm

      That sounds so interesting! Thanks for the suggestion. :)

  14. Laurie Brady January 6, 2017 / 3:20 am

    Thanks for great tips! Very helpful in trip planning. I was also wondering, if one were to combine a beach trip with a trip to Charleston, which of the beaches would you recommend? I’ve been reading about Folly, Sullivans, etc. Looking for a quiet, laid-back, and pretty place.

  15. Leanne March 15, 2017 / 11:39 pm

    In Charleton at the moment,, the Angel oak is 400+.years old not 1500. The market is great, battery park is a must,, the Unitarian Cemetery is also a must. A big complaint tho…..parking is an absolute nightmare. Be prepared to pay, alot. Beautiful city though.

    • Jenna Jenna March 16, 2017 / 4:36 pm

      Nice insight on the Angel Oak! It definitely is a beautiful city. I’m hoping to return soon!

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