Charleston: A Travel Guide from a Local
Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.
Charleston, South Carolina has been voted best city in the world a LOT of times in recent years. And I get it, as a local inhabitant, this place is pretty damn great. There is a lot to do & a lot to see, no matter who you are or what you’re into. So, I thought I would put together a totally biased, locally-sourced guide of the best places to visit, eat, & drink in the area.
Honestly, this one was actually harder to put together than my normal guides from a tourists’ perspective, so I have decided to just tell you my personal favorite places and hope you’ll check them out next time you are in the Lowcountry!
Things to Do:
Southern Bliss Charters – Downtown/Mt. Pleasant
Captain Mandi is one of the best captains in town to have an amazing boat day with. She specializes in sunset tours, bachelorette parties, & custom trips around the area. Being on a boat in Charleston is probably the closest you can get to feeling like a local & I would highly recommend it. (Full Transparency: I know the owners in my personal life)
Waterfront Park & the Battery – Downtown Charleston
If you need some good views and a beautiful walk, I recommend going here. Anywhere downtown provides great photo ops, but these two offer some of the best with views of the harbor, historic homes, & parks.
Beaches – Everywhere
If you have to have some beach time while you’re here, you are in luck as there are several to choose from. I think I enjoy Isle of Palms’ beach the best, but whichever you choose pay attention to parking guidelines! Each beach town has restaurants and shops galore, so whichever you pick will have a lot to offer.
Park Circle – North Charleston
This little hamlet of North Charleston has a personality all it’s own (read: leans hipster) & I love it. If they are having a festival or event while you are in town, GO because they are so much fun to walk around & enjoy. Park Circle has quite a few restaurants & breweries to explore, too.
Things to Drink:
The breweries in Charleston are in every area; many are clustered downtown, there’s quite a few hanging around North Charleston, & spread throughout Summerville, Mt. Pleasant, & John’s Island. Visit as many as you can (hint: pick up a Charleston Ale Trail booklet)! But, here are my two favorites:
- LoFi Brewing – Located downtown, this very low-key brewery has a vibe all it’s own with some of the best beers I’ve had. Try the Glitter Pony – it is my all-time favorite beer, but be warned, it’s stronger than it tastes!
- SNAFU Brewing – Located in North Charleston, this brewery specializes in sours but still has great offerings for every tastebud. They are always offering up uniques brews, food trucks, and have a totally cool atmosphere. Try the OG brew SNAFUtang or any of the limited runs they have going on.
- Honorable Mentions because I can’t stop at two: Fatty’s Beerworks – Downtown – Love their story & they offer a variety of beers. Palmetto Brewery – Downtown – The first brewery in the state & I love some of their beers. Indigo Reef Brewing – Daniel Island – I am in love with their coffee blonde ale. Oak Road Brewery – The ONLY brewery I recommend in Summerville, they specialize in German beers.
Things to Eat:
Jackrabbit Filly – Park Circle
Oh man, this restaurant. I love it. So. Much. I recommend going for their Sunday brunch (delicious!) or when they’re offering up a non-menu item during the week. The normal dinner menu is amazing, but it’s those special dishes they come up with that really knock it out of the park (I’m looking at you kimchi stew, which I still dream about). Also, geeky side note, every time I go in there I secretly fangirl over the owner because I love her book.
Jack’s Cosmic Dogs – Mt. Pleasant
It’s hot dogs. But they’re fancy & delicious hot dogs! Jack’s has been one of my favorite places to eat in Charleston since I moved here. Get the Cosmic Dog because the blue cheese slaw and sweet potato mustard combo is primo. This is probably the most ‘touristy’ recommendation on my list.
LoLa – Park Circle
Lowcountry food meets Louisiana cuisine. The étouffée is on point and the Bloody Mary’s are killer. In fact, everything we’ve eaten or drank here has been delicious.
Food Trucks – Everywhere
Some of the best food I’ve eaten in Charleston has come from a food truck or popup. Actually, I think LoLa & Jackrabbit Filly started as food trucks! Here are some of my favorites for you to find: Sap Lai, Charleston Caribbean Creole, Bok Choy Boy, & Krystynas Polish Food.
- Lastly, here are some honorable mentions for restaurants, since I can’t seem to stop telling you places to go: Moe’s Crosstown Tavern – Downtown – A ‘dive’ bar with delicious burgers. Fleet Landing – Downtown – Go here for good seafood with a view. SOL – Mt. Pleasant – Hot southwestern food with cool margaritas.
Okay, I think that’s it. I know that after I post this, I’m going to remember other places that need to be mentioned… If that happens, I may just add them on under here. I guess we will see!
What are your all-time favorite places in Charleston that must be experienced by others? Let me know in the comments below!