Charleston is one of my favorite cities in the world. Lucky for me, my parents spend half their time in Charleston and my sister (check out her Charleston guides too!) lives in Charleston. So, I spend a lot of time in the Holy City. I’ve curated my Charleston travel guide in two parts because there is so much to say!
In my travel guide: Charleston part 1, I’m filling you in on everywhere you need to sip coffee, drink cocktails, and eat some of the best meals you’ve ever had (no exaggeration). Believe me when I say that you need to arrive in Charleston with a big appetite. I’ve never been to so many fabulous restaurants in such a small proximity.
Get ready for my Travel Guide: Charleston Part 1! Be sure to pin a photo from this post to your travel board on Pinterest so you can come back to it when you plan a trip to Charleston. Part 2 is coming next week with where to shop, where to stay, and what to do.
Charleston curb appeal
- The Park Cafe: my favorite meal at Park Cafe is breakfast. The light and airy space has amazing avocado toast and a delicious breakfast sandwich.
- Leon’s: dine at Leon’s for the atmosphere and the best hushpuppies and fried chicken in town. I also love the siam salad and oysters!
- The Macintosh: a knockout restaurant. I order the deckle and a housemade cocktail.
- 167 Raw: Golly, the lobster rolls are amazing! The seafood here is so fresh and the housemade chips and guacamole are perfection (I order the guac with the tuna poke).
- Trattoria Lucca: nestled in the Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood of Charleston… It’s my favorite Italian restaurant in town (also good and notable is Fulton Five). The menu changes daily/seasonally but if you’re lucky they will be serving the warm cauliflower sformatino appetizer. It will rock your world.
- The Obstinate Daughter: I simply love this restaurant on nearby Sullivan’s Island. The geechie fries are a must along with the shrimp po’boy or any of the pizzas. Plus, they have an ice cream shop too!
- Tavern & Table: come here for the food but also for the outdoor bar and patio. It is on the water in Shem Creek and the perfect spot to find yourself on a beautiful day or for evening happy hour.
- Poogan’s Porch: the restaurant occupies an old house so it is charming from start to finish. I love the biscuits here too!
- Sugar Bakeshop: a neighborhood bakeshop with sweets and treats that are just as good as your grandma’s famous recipes.
- Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits: this place does biscuits and they don’t mess around! They are open during the day and open late night for those out enjoying a cocktail or two.
- The Rarebit: this place does a mean chicken and waffle dish for breakfast and brunch and then serves it again on their late night menu.
- Xao Boa Biscuit: take a break from Southern food at XBB for creative Asian comfort food.
- Hominy Grill: simple yet really well done southern food. They also serve you mimosas and cocktails from a window if you’re waiting for a table! The okra and shrimp beignets are a must.
- Cypress: has one of my favorite cocktails in town – the Hummingbird. It’s dangerously good. Cypress’s sister restaurants, Blossom and Magnolias, are delicious too.
- FIG: locally sourced food that will give you the perfect taste of the Lowcountry.
- The Ordinary: go here if your a big seafood + oyster eater. You won’t be disappointed.
- Two Boroughs Larder: offers a diverse menu of food. I like doing shared plates here.
- Jestine’s Kitchen: the best no frills Southern food in town. There is always a line out the door.
- High Cotton: gorgeous dining rooms + Southern charm + delicious food. I love brunch here! P.S. they filmed The Notebook here.
- Oak Steakhouse: the premier steakhouse in Charleston. Everything here is fabulously done.
- Halls Chophouse: I love dinner here – they stay open late! – but I also love Sunday brunch here as they have Gospel singers perform. The live music at dinner will not disappoint either!
- Caviar & Bananas: gourmet market and café style stop with great grab and go options.
167 Raw: The place to go for lobster rolls
Park Café – if you go for breakfast get the avocado toast and breakfast sandwich
- Saint Alban: The cutest little coffee spot with great decor. I love the wallpaper! It’s owned by the same people who own Leon’s and also serves a few pastries and dishes like their yummy caramelized grapefruit.
- Black Tap Coffee: go here for flavored lattes (the lavender and honey are musts!) and to set up shop to get a little reading or work done on your laptop.
A charming scene at Saint Alban
- Cocktail Club: a wonderful little bar that is half indoors and half outdoors. Go on Sunday nights for half priced bottles of wine and live music.
- Stars Rooftop: A rooftop bar with great specialty cocktails and 360 degree views of Charleston.
- Market Pavillon Bar: another rooftop bar with gorgeous views, signature cocktails, and yummy bites too.
- Bin 152: Charleston’s go-to wine and cheese bar. It’s a great place to unwind after a full day.
Writing this guide, while in LA, made me wish I was in Charleston more than anything! It is truly one of the best cities to visit. Check back next week for part 2!