Where to Eat, Stay Play and Shop for a Weekend in Charleston, SC
Charleston is one of the hottest tourist destinations not just in the South, but across the country. Voted #1 city in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine, Charleston is the place to be. An Epicurean wonderland, Charleston is a hub for some of the finest restaurants and bars around – from the classic Southern fare of Slightly North of Broad and Magnolia’s to the modern cuisine of the New South found at The Ordinary and The Macintosh, Charleston is brimming with places to dine and drink the night (and day) away. But don’t think it stops there – Charleston’s storied King Street offers a bounty of bespoke boutiques and shops, surrounded by row homes that are some of the most stunning examples of historic architecture in the South. So stay for the night or for the weekend – either way you're sure to want stay longer.
The First Day:
Start your weekend getaway by checking in to The Restoration, a swanky hotel centrally located on King Street in Charleston’s historic downtown. This elegantly modern hotel is well appointed with contemporary-meets-Southern décor to create a space that feels both progressive and historic. Check in to any one of the hotel’s 20 suites that come equipped with a full kitchen, and settle in to a luxurious room that will be a welcome home away from home.
Once you’re properly unpacked, head upstairs to The Restoration’s rooftop bar and restaurant The Watch for a cool cocktail and a 360-degree view of the city’s skyline and streets. Handcrafted cocktails like Hugo’s Punch – a riff on a “Hurricane” with rum, blueberries and lemonade – and beer from local breweries makes this spot the perfect jumping off point for your Charleston vacation.
For your evening activities, make a reservation at The Darling Oyster Bar, one of the latest new hot spots to open on King Street, just a convenient stroll down the block from The Restoration. The Darling highlights the very best of local, sustainable seafood, and is set in 115-year-old store overlooking the busy-bodies of King Street. Don’t miss the trio of baked oysters or the Fry baskets with your choice of savory seafood.
If you’re looking for a nightcap, stop by The Cocktail Club to sip on craft cocktails in this upstairs speakeasy. Live music is often featured at night along with a list of colorful cocktails just daring to whet your palate. Don’t wait too late to visit this nighttime spot, though – there may be a line to get in, and that comfy bed at The Restoration will be calling your name.
The Second Day:
After your dreamy night’s sleep, grab a cup of coffee and a croissant at The Daily to start your Charleston day properly. The Daily is a delightful grab-and-go joint on Upper King, the northern part of King Street that has undergone a major revitalization in recent years, making it a magnet for hip locals and tourists alike. The Daily has amazing fresh juices and breakfast sandwiches – make sure to grab both as necessary sustenance.
Next up – a bit of history. Take a pedi-cab to Rainbow Row, a colorful array of row of historic homes on East Bay Street, some of which date back to the 1700s. Made up of 13 homes, Rainbow Row is the longest row of Georgian-style homes in the U.S. Stroll around this neighborhood for a bit, and make sure to take a few photos in front of the Cooper River.
For lunch, head back to Upper King and snag a seat outside at Leon’s Oyster Shop, a standalone restaurant in the up-and-coming area. Try the Char-Grilled Oysters and the Crispy Catfish Sandwich – you will not regret it.
If you are looking to boost the economy a bit, stop by Ro Sham Beaux on King Street for the latest in home décor, or the Open Door Shop for the very best in table and kitchenware. Both shops are locally owned and operated and refresh their curated collections constantly.
End your day by digging into a delicious meal at Little Jack’s Tavern, a new diner that feels like the old neighborhood joint. Little Jack’s specializes in American staples – hamburgers, steaks, salads, cocktails – and nails old-fashioned on the head with its checkered table cloths and leather booths. Order the Tavern Burger and the Garlic and Herb Fries, and select a good glass of red wine from the extensive wine list.
Cap off your day with a leisurely stroll home down King Street back to The Restoration, and revel in the signature Southern charm that Charleston does so well. Pro tip – always plan your next vacation while on your current vacation.