Brick sidewalks, historic churches, Spanish moss and top-notch seafood–there’s only one place you can find all these things, and that’s Charleston, South Carolina. The oldest (and largest) city in the state, Charleston has been known for everything from its friendly locals to its incredibly well preserved historic architecture. Waterfront views and old time charm are almost a guarantee when you’re walking the streets. And, of course, it’s been the setting of many historical romances (hint: The Notebook and North and South).
If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Charleston or even making the move, you won’t be lacking in things to do. But we’ve got a few suggestions on the city’s must-see sights, picture-perfect settings and lip-smacking restaurants to die for. Wherever you go, you can count on a friendly conversation or quick “hello”—southern hospitality certainly isn’t lacking in this city.
Have a picnic under the Angel Oak Tree
Thought to be around 400 years old, the Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island is a revered Charleston landmark. The tree produces shade over 17,000 square feet–not bad for a sultry summer day–and the gnarled oak’s branches reach up to 183 feet in length. Rumor has it the tree is haunted, but rest assured you won’t have too many ghostly encounters having a quick (and scenic) picnic beneath its limbs. The attraction boasts another great feature; it’s free!
Go on a walking tour around the city
Charleston has history along almost every street corner. Cobbled streets, old Southern mansions and lots of local lore make a walking tour almost essential to city newcomers. Walk through the French Quarter and learn about the city’s rich history—or even go on a ghost tour,, for something a little spooky. If you opt out of having a guide don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of fun adventuring the streets
Eat South Carolinian BBQ at Lewis Barbeque
Even if you’re just stopping in Charleston for the day, Lewis Barbeque can’t be missed. For a newer joint, the restaurant has taken a big bite out of Charleston, and it’s no wonder why, with their huge portions of slow-smoked brisket, smoked sausage, corn pudding, and other Southern staples, there are no mistakes made on this menu.
Stay a night (or two) at Belmond Charleston Place
Smack dab in the center of the city’s historic district, the Belmond Charleston is only a few steps away from art galleries and historical sites like the Old Slave Mart Museum and the Nathaniel Russell House. It’s not just the location that makes the hotel a must-stay, either. Gorgeous carved furniture, marble bathrooms, impeccable service and top-notch restaurants all make it a desirable destination—and it never hurts to get in a spa day during your stay. If you’ve already moved to Charleston, that’s even better, this hotel is a perfect place for your weekend “stay-cation”.
Nosh and stroll at the Marion Square Farmer’s Market
Fresh seafood, local meats and produce and some locally sourced huevos? Yes please. Marion Square isn’t the only notable farmer’s market in the city – Johns Island Brunch Market is a strong contender – but it’s by far one of the city’s most vibrant, with food vendors serving up huevos rancheros and other local eats and live entertainment, as well as juried arts and crafts from local Charleston artists. Visit Waterfront Park It’s almost a requirement that you stroll along the palm-lined boardwalk along the Cooper River and the Atlantic for some of Charleston’s best views. And you’ll definitely want to snap a picture of the city’s famous “pineapple fountain,” a majestic multi-tiered fountain where kids and adults alike are welcome to splash around. There are plenty of scenic walking trails nearby for lovers of a natural life, and plenty of places along the waterfront to stop and admire. Eat classic Southern at Husk Restaurant If you’ve got a hankering for some real Southern eats, there’s no better way to satisfy your craving than at Husk. The restaurant resides in two restored Victorian houses, and their seasonal menu features locally sourced ingredients that stay true to the classics. Enjoy eats such as pan-fried catfish and dumplings.Visit America’s First Museum The Charleston Museum was founded in 1773 under the Charleston Library Society, and it’s commonly thought of as America’s first museum (having existed even before America did!) Exhibits showcase Revolutionary life and early weaponry, as well as the unusual collection pieces ranging from Greek and Roman antiquities to historic textiles through the ages. If you’re new to the area, this museum is a great way to be introduced to the history Charleston holds. Stroll through the breezy Charleston City Market As one of the city’s oldest landmarks, the Charleston City Market is practically an icon. Local vendors sell local wares, groceries and foods. From crab soup to woven sweet grass baskets, the market holds something for everyone . The City Market has a day market, featuring open air shops and Charleston staples, and a night market, showcasing local artists and craftspeople. A recently added bonus (and a concession to famously hot Southern summers) is air conditioning. Get an after-work cocktail at the Gin Joint Done exploring the city for the day or had a long day of work? We understand—for a little reviver, stop by the Gin Joint, a 1920s-style speakeasy and bar. You’ll be treated to tasty seasonal cocktails with cheeky names, like the Newton’s Law or the Red Eye Flight. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask for the bartender’s choice. — No matter which way you travel the city; you’re sure to find something to come back for. Charleston will capture your heart and you’ll be packing your bags in no time. This list is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the city’s best attractions, there’s a hidden gem around every corner. Are you ready to make the move? Contact our local experts for all your Charleston real estate needs.