Charleston, SC favorites.

I found myself looking through my Charleston photos the other night, and I got really sentimental. I feel incredibly lucky that we got to live in such a beautiful city. Downtown Charleston is full of so much charm and history. And some of my favorite memories are of walking around downtown with H when I was pregnant -- and later with Violet getting lost looking at old houses and gardens. I can't wait to come back and visit with Violet so I can show her the city where she was born, and visit all of my favorite spots.
I would encourage anyone who wants to visit a walkable, friendly, and beautiful city to visit Charleston, South Carolina. Below are my favorite things to do and places to eat - Enjoy :)

My favorite things to do downtown:
WALK! It's the best way to really explore downtown and get a good look at all of the historic homes and beautiful gardens. Don't miss all the pretty homes along Rainbow Row!

White Point Garden (the Battery) — This landmark park has a great view of the Charleston Harbor and some of most impressive mansions in the city. There are monuments, statues, and war relics all over the park including canons from the Civil War. I love the white gazebo in the center of the park -- it would be the perfect place for a small wedding or family photos.

City Market — This is a pretty touristy spot, but it's worth visiting at least once. The four-block market is full of local artisans and vendors, and it's a good place to grab a souvenir or a sweet treat.

Waterfront Park — This is my favorite park and where you'll find the famous pineapple fountain and swings (!!) overlooking the water.

Shop on King Street — You'll find lots of major retail shops on this street: Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, JCrew, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, West Elm... and also some great local stores: Candlefish (the best place to shop for candles and gifts!), Sugar Snap Pea, and Pink Chicken (both cute places to find gifts and clothes for children), Candy Shop Vintage (beautiful jewelry!). Bonus: If you visit on the second Sunday of the month don't miss Second Sunday (1-5PM), the city shuts down car traffic on King Street to allow shoppers to walk on the street without cars and there are usually street musicians and food vendors.

Charleston Farmer's Market — Charleston has an impressive Farmer's Market on Saturdays 8-2PM (April - late November) at Marion Square (King + Calhoun Street). You can shop for produce, flowers, arts and crafts and there are lots of great breakfast and lunch vendors.

Visit a Plantation — Charleston has a number of historic plantations within driving distance of downtown. My favorites are Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation and gardens and Boone Hall.

Walk (or bike!) the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge — The famous white bridge is a great way to get a little exercise while you take in views of the water and the downtown peninsula.

Visit the beach! Sullivan's Island Beach and Folly Beach are two of my favorites. There is a long pier at Folly Beach which is perfect for fishing or people watching. Sullivan's Island is less touristy, so it has less of a "beach town" feel, but it has beautiful beach homes nearby. 

Favorite places to eat downtown:

Bull Street Gourmet And Market — This is H's favorite lunch spot! They also have a breakfast/brunch menu. My parents love the almond french toast and I always order the "Mozz" sandwich (marinated tomatoes, vine-ripe tomato, walnut pesto, balsamic reduction, ciabatta roll).

Callie's Hot Little Biscuit — I'm pretty obsessed with this TINY spot. It’s on upper King street and they have really good fiery, spicy pimento cheese biscuits and cinnamon biscuits. Prepare to wait in a long line during peak hours. 

Caviar & Bananas — This neighborhood gourmet market and cafe is located on the College of Charleston campus (there's another location in the City Market). They have the BEST avocado toast and a really good caprese panini. 

Cupcake Down South — I've loved this cupcake shop for years. They have a ton of sweet flavors -- my favorites are Lemon Blu and Southern Red Velvet.

Poogan's Porch — This cute little restaurant on Queen Street is inside an old house. It is a great brunch spot with delicious cinnamon french toast (and free biscuits -- yah!) It's also a nice place for a smancy dinner.

Queen Street Grocery — This is my favorite sandwich shop and probably our most visited restaurant while we lived in Charleston -- it's a great spot for a casual lunch. I always order the Happy Houdini sandwich (ham, avocado, goat cheese + red onions on ciabatta bread). 

Verde — If you're in the mood for a salad, this is a fast, casual spot where you can make your own. There are a ton of toppings and something for everyone. It's right on King street, making it the perfect spot to stop for a quick lunch. 

and the surrounding areas: 

The Americano (Mount Pleasant) — This restaurant has a fun 1960's Miami decor and the best Cuban sandwich and steak tacos I've ever had. It looks like a fun place for drinks too! 

Crust Woodfire Pizza (James Island) — This pizza place is in a strip mall next to a great independent movie theater, so it's a great date night spot. But back to the pizza -- it's really good and they use super fresh and unique ingredients. 

Poe’s Tavern (Sullivan's Island) — This is my favorite burger place, and we visited a LOT when I was pregnant! The restaurant is in an old house decorated with tons of Edgar Allan Poe stuff. It's a fun spot to visit after or before a day at the beach (which is only two blocks away).

White Duck Taco (James Island) — A restaurant with JUST tacos is such a fun concept and they offer lots of interesting options on their menu like Banh Mi Tofu, Duck with Mole, Thai Peanut Chicken and my favorite Lamb Gyro.

If you ever decide to visit Charleston and you have any questions about the city please don't hesitate to email me! 


  1. All of your pics of Charleston are so gorgeous! So glad I got to meet you while we were there last year and I already can't wait to make another trip back to Charleston. It's such a gorgeous city and the food is AMAZING! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  2. Such a fun few years you guys have had in Charleston!! It's such a wonderful city!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  3. All of your pictures are beautiful, and that food.. Drool! Haha. I would love to go there the next time we go and see my in-laws. I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!! :-)

  4. Such an amazing experience to get to spend a couple of years in Charleston! It's one of my favorite cities ever. Hope you guys have a safe move back to Chicago!!

  5. I need to favorite this for when we visit Charleston, something we keep talking about doing soon! So sad to leave such a beautiful place, but Chicago and the suburbs are a wonderful place to be too!

  6. What a fabulous City! It is on my list of places to visit for sure!

  7. giiirrrlll this post is definitely being bookmarked for anyone that has an upcoming trip! Hope ya'll have a great weekend!

  8. I agree with all of the above and am so glad you guys had the experience to live here and enjoy this city with precious V. Safe travels/moving and talk to you soon, love!!

  9. Charleston sounds like an amazing place. One day I'll make it out there.

  10. Oh I can't wait to go to Charleston! So fun that you got to spend some time living there! Great post too - definitely referencing this when trip planning sometime (hopefully) soon!

  11. Great post!! I love visiting Charleston - I feel like I am always stopping and snapping pictures too! It's so beautiful!!

  12. this is an amazing post! one day i will visit and i will totally use this post to plan it. i hope you are able to go back often with Violet. I've never been back to the place I was born and I wish my mum had taken me.

  13. I definitely want to visit Charleston one day! I pinned this post for future reference!
    Evelina @ Fortunate House

  14. charleston is one of my fave US cities!! i know you'll miss it. i'm going in august, so i see some new places to try!

  15. I'd love to visit Charleston - ah, what a great city:) Kisses, darling

  16. Charleston looks like such a great place to visit!! Beautiful and so many things to see/do!

  17. Going to have to bookmark this page for a future (hopefully!) trip to Charleston!

  18. I have never been to Charleston, but I'm dying to! Love this write up.


  19. Charleston is one of my favorite places and you mentioned SO many of my favorite restaurants and things to do! Xo, Stephanie

  20. Such a great list!! Makes me so homesick!

  21. Such a great city, and it was awesome you got a chance to live there. I loved walking the streets and cannot wait until we visit again, it's such a special place! Thanks for this list, going to refer to it. xoxo

  22. I haven`t been in Charleston, but I have heard so many beautiful stories. Absolutely will going there! <3 :)

  23. During my last pregnancy, we lived in Charlotte and I was craving Poogan's porch so badly that my husband drove me down there for the day purely to eat my way through the city. Love your list- hope to use it next time i'm there!

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