Charleston meticulously maintains its rich antiquity while remaining on the cutting edge of delivering something new.
Voted “The South’s Best City” time and again, the “cosmopolitan coastal enclave” that is Charleston earned the designation (according to Southern Living Magazine) by remaining in a constant state of reinvention. That’s an especially fine feat for a city that’s three centuries on and counting.
Charleston meticulously maintains its rich antiquity while remaining on the cutting edge of delivering something new. How many cities can claim reality TV, row houses, rural living, and restoration of rich history (largest US historic district and more buildings on the national historic register than any other US city) all in one colorful, tightly packed collection of often cobbled streets? Electric, eccentric, and exquisite, find out here where you can take your canine companion for a boutique hotel stay or find some fine-dining iterations of best-of BBQ, because hey, y’all, Charleston may wear its fancy pants, but it’s still “Lowcountry and Lovin’ It.” Roll from the sea, to seeing the sights, to seeking soulful southern cooking from celebrated chefs. This old and gorgeous story keeps adding new pages to its crowned jewel of a book.
Sommba Cocina & Cellar (Mt. Pleasant)
The plates may be small but the wine cellar is anything but. With dishes inspired by the shores of the Mediterranean and coastal Spain, Sommba features tapas, paella and an expertly curated wine list set for any occasion. The cocktails are a draw as well with twists on classics like the french 75 and an old fashioned. Whatever the choice, Sommba will whisk guests away.
In what originated as a grocery store, Emeline now stands as a noble hotel to visitors from near and far. Amenities abound at the boutique hotel – plush spa robe, anyone? Or perhaps custom linens for lounging? – and are rounded out by the multiple restaurants and coffee shops in the building. Each room and suite has been stylishly designed and outfitted to reflect and envelope guests in feelings of comfort, class, and contentment. Even dogs are welcome at Emeline! So round up the whole crew and make a weekend of it. Who knows, one might never even leave the hotel with all of these offerings.
The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at The College of Charleston
A continually growing and changing museum, The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is home to a bevy of “adventurous” pieces by “innovative visual artists from around the world.” Originally opened simply as an art gallery, the institute now serves the greater Charleston community by facilitating important connections between artists and viewers. The Halsey is a non-collecting museum and is free to the public, furthering the idea that art should be accessible to all.
Cristophe Artisian Chocolatier
Third-generation French chocolatier, Christophe Paum and his wife Carly came together to open this shop that features more than just unique chocolates. A world-class chef, Paum’s store also offers up pastries and macarons. The attention to detail is extraordinary. Whether it be a box of hand-painted truffles or a collection of chocolate bars, gift yourself or others from Christophe.
Pakistani cuisine has found a new home in Charleston. Chef Maryan Ghaznavi had a desire to share the bountiful, aromatic foods she grew up with living in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and founded this restaurant for locals and visitors alike to delight in. Ma’am Saab offers dishes such as samosa chaat and butter paneer, along with raita to mop up the not-to-beleftover sauces and juices.
The search for the perfectly scented candle is over. Enter Candlefish, replete with a library of 100 uniquely scented fragrances and professional chandlers (candle makers) who memorize that list to guide guests to the exact scent they’re looking for. Join in on a candle making workshop or simply stop in to luxuriate in the range of smells that fill the shop. See what flavor you are feeling today.
SAVI Cucina (Mt. Pleasant)
With house-made pastas, uniquely curated cocktails and an award-winning wine program, SAVI Cucina + Wine Bar invites guests to enjoy the flavors of coastal Italy. Stop in for handmade seafood ravioli, a wet aged filet or a Neapolitan style pizza. Settle in to SAVI’s luxe dining room and allow the staff to guide you through a memorable culinary experience.
Aptly named for the address of the restaurant as well as the year that it was founded, 82 Queen is a pioneer in refined Lowcountry cuisine. Both the BBQ shrimp and grits and the she-crab soup are award winning and can be enjoyed in any one of their seven historic dining rooms or the distinctly Charlestonian courtyard.
An Oaxacan-style restaurant in downtown Charleston, Pink Cactus offers traditional favorites ranging from tacos and enchiladas, to tortas and rice bowls. Their happy hour – or “Taco & Tequila Hour” – is one of the best in town, with options like $4 queso, $5 tacos and $6 margaritas. Their cocktail list has fun additions like a mezcal negroni and a paloma as well. They also have a Saturday brunch with dishes like chilaquiles and huevos and breakfast tacos.
For more travel destinations on the coastal South, go to southmag.com.
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