Traveler: Nicole Lee
Length of Trip:
The entire city of Charleston, South Carolina, exudes charm, from its stately, historic architecture, to its cobblestone streets lined with palmetto trees. Charleston’s vibrant culinary scene has evolved over the past decade to become a food-lover’s paradise, and the people in Charleston will be among the nicest you’ll ever meet. It’s easy to see how Charleston is often voted the top city in the United States and among the best cities to visit in the world. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Charleston.
12:00 P.M. Upon arriving in Charleston, check in at the Belmond Charleston Place, an elegant hotel located in the historic heart of Charleston. The property exudes Southern charm, with its extravagant Murano glass chandelier and sweeping staircase welcoming guests as they enter the lobby. The rooms are all tastefully decorated with traditional touches, and guests can enjoy an indoor salt- and mineral-water pool with a retractable roof and illuminated skylight for night swimming,
12:30 P.M. Just outside of the hotel is the historic Charleston City Market. Established in the 1790s, the market stretches four city blocks and offers a glimpse into life in the Old South. Throughout the 19th century, the market was used as a center of commerce and socialization. These days, the market vendors sell souvenirs ranging from toys and clothes to handmade baskets.
1:00 P.M. For lunch, stop by Minero, the hip, inventive Mexican taqueria by Sean Brock of Husk fame. The list of must-try dishes include the charcoal grilled chicken wings and the fried catfish and green chorizo tacos, which all pair perfectly with a spicy margarita or Minero michelada.
2:00 P.M. To explore one of Charleston’s most romantic areas, wander around the city’s French Quarter. Cobblestone streets are lined with colonial and antebellum buildings. This neighborhood is filled with countless art galleries and historic churches, such as the French Huguenot and St. Philip’s Episcopal churches. Hop on one of the Old South Carriage Tours’ elaborate chariots to really transport yourself back in time and immerse yourself in the city’s old world charms. Meander through the haunted Philadelphia Alley. Located along the beautiful Ashley River, the Waterfront Park is the perfect spot to sit and relax after shopping and sightseeing.
3:00 P.M. A stroll along King Street is a great way to experience the Charleston shopping scene. Lined with local boutiques and more well-known brands, King Street has something for everyone. Highlights include Blue Bicycle Books, where you’ll find a collection of unique publications and rare first editions, and Worthwhile, a boutique that sells avant-garde apparel and footwear, necklaces, books, candles, and soaps.
5:00 P.M. Explore Charleston’s lively bar scene by walking through Upper King Street, where places like The Macintosh and The Ordinary serve up great happy hour specials. As the sun starts to set, make your way down towards one of the many rooftop bars near the Waterfront Park, like the Pavilion Bar or Rooftop at the Vendue Inn, to catch panoramic views of the city.
7:00 P.M. After enjoying the drinks and the views, walk down East Battery, where you’ll pass Rainbow Row, a series of thirteen pastel colored rowhouses and the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States. The Battery is famous for its stately antebellum homes. North of the Battery, you can explore the stunning historic architecture of the South of Broad neighborhood. It was in these grand homes where the likes of George Washington, Robert E. Lee, and Teddy Roosevelt stayed and socialized.
8:30 P.M. For dinner, swing into one of the many famous Charleston dining establishments, such as The Charleston Grill, Husk, McCrady’s, or Fig.
10:00 A.M. Following breakfast, take a ride up to Middleton Place, a plantation just northwest of Charleston and home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States. For several generations, the plantation was home to the Middleton family, many of whom played prominent roles in the colonial and antebellum history of South Carolina. Spend a few hours wandering the grounds and soaking in the culture and history, or take a carriage tour around the property to truly transport yourself back in time.