This trip was November 9-11, 2018 for our third anniversary.
WOW. Did I love this beautiful southern city.
I cannot wait for my next visit to Charleston and I can’t wait for you to go, too!
Only a few hours away from where we live in North Carolina, Charleston is a port-city founded in 1670 and defined by it’s antebellum charm. Filled with historic cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel rows of multi-story houses, you can walk, eat and drink your way through the districts.
Where to stay
The prices definitely reflect the attraction the city has for tourists. We opted for an Airbnb just across the bridge and Ubered back and forth instead of finding a hotel in downtown. Our most expensive trip back was $15 late on a Saturday night so not terrible. We enjoyed the house in a quiet neighborhood and it still cost less in total than getting a hotel.
what to do all weekend
We got into town on Friday afternoon and headed straight to the raved about restaurant, Toast! This was a chain restaurant and much more diner-like than I was expecting but still had great food and bottomless mimosas to attract the masses. We tried their TaTa special drink and the SC Hunger Street IPA. I ate the market eggs with biscuit and home fries. Drew got charbroiled chicken on kaiser roll. Both are great if you’re looking for lunch to tide you over before your night out!
We drove to downtown (which is SUPER slammed. I would definitely catch a ride or walk!) and walked the City Market; the first public market in Charleston. This historic market complex was four city blocks long which you can spot by the Market Hall. If you’re downtown you won’t miss it.
You can easily wander around the streets seeing stunning Spanish moss hanging over the streets, shading the iconic homes and reading endless plaques about the historic landmarks. Since Charleston is home to the College of Charleston I was able to find the ADPi house in their traditional carriage house Greek row.
We Ubered back into the city that night and scored an upstairs table at the Husk bar. I would recommend making a reservation in advance so you can get in! The main restaurant (left in this photo) seemed much more formal but right next door is a restored two-story home built around the rafters, smoke stains and original framing.
I had their Greenhouse Blonde and Dragon’s Punch which were great but not as fantastic as their fried chicken and burger. They bake bacon into the beef. It was SO good!!
It was a fairly short walk to the Craftsmen Kitchen and Tap House and I loved seeing how different the historic city came to life at night. I also had the LoFi Blueberry Wheat which tasted and smelled just like a blueberry muffin! This Tap House also had one of the largest beer and spirits selections I have ever seen.
Down the road is Papaw’s for a quick beer. They had southern style cuisine in an upscale, modern setting which was absolutely gorgeous if you’re looking for an upscale casual dinner out.
We also walked around and stopped in at Slightly North of Broadway (SNOB) Walked around until Meeting at Market for a River Rat and Low Tide Red. This was more of a hotel-style bar with views of the City Market if you’re looking for a late-night night cap.
Saturday was our time to focus on the French Quarter and Battery districts.
The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water.
If you can make breakfast reservations at Hominy Grill, I would! They have a walk-up window for a Beermosa or other drink and we had about a 20 minute wait for two people.
You’ve got to try the Nasty Charleston and She Crab Soup. I had seen them on all the menus and had to give it a try. Hominy is walking distance through the Historical and College Districts. Walk off breakfast looking at stunning houses on your way to Battery Park and Waterfront Park. This is a mandatory walk through while you’re in town!
Battery Park is marked by the seawall and was used as the defensive coast-wall during the Civil War. It hosts a gorgeous park, lined with huge estates and is packed with the original historical locations.
Luckily there was an open house we chose to walk through as ‘potential buyers’ but I definitely wouldn’t have paid to live there! It was an old finishing school split into four homes so they were very small and dark but adorable.
Right next door were the infamous fountains at Waterfront Park.
If you want to eat lunch like all of the celebrities, visit Poogan’s Porch! Having a reservation might as well be mandatory if it isn’t already and you can read all the signed menus while you wait. Poogan is also the home’s pup that passed away and is buried out front. A little endearing. A little scary.
You can probably guess that we were stuffed but we had a catfish sandwich (ehh) and fried chicken sandwich but their homemade biscuit appetizers were incredible. Even if you go here for a drink, you should. It’s a must visit and highly recommended in the area.
If you also couldn’t tell this is a great place to walk around for drinks. I went to my first Bubba Gump’s so we could finish watching the game over an icy beer. A few blocks over in the college-y area is another great place called Kudu for beer and coffee.
This place filled up quickly with all sorts of people and reminded us a lot of Seattle. Try their Pallet Island Brewing Cj Coquina Wheat and Drew had their Holy City Brewing Co. Leopold. While we sat inside with the craftsman decor, there is a cute outdoor seating area.
Freshen up for a ‘nice’ night out! By that I mean dress up and have some fun!
Parcel 32 had some of the best cocktails we’ve tried and will make even the most dedicated beer drinkers venture out. Order their Colonial Cocktail, Eliza from Antigua, Strange Brew and From the Brink….You can’t really go wrong.
A few doors down is the JonhKing Bar which will make you want a Bud Light with all of the bachelor parties hopping off the buses. It was definitely a cold walking night.
It’s a long walk or a well-worth-it drive to Burwell’s for Moscow Mules with their house-made ginger beer and Double IPAs. Our friends recommended this restaurant because they had their rehearsal dinner here and it WAS incredible!
We split their fries and oysters and Drew ordered their prime rib burger. All were PRISTINE. Our waitress, Cathy S., was also incredible and surprised us with s’mores dessert for our anniversary. This is something we usually would have never ordered but hands down will be the BEST s’mores you’ve ever had.
You can also have a great time at the Carolina Ale House on other side of town. They’ve got a great beer selection as you can probably guess from the name. I tried (and always look for now) Purple Haze and Son of a Peach. Would not want to drive and or park in downtown especially from seeing all of the traffic and crowds.
save the best for last!
Sunday was Veterans Day and we left our Airbnb a few hours early so we could drive five minutes down the road to Early Bird Diner. Even being there before they opened we stood in a line about 20-30 people back for 10 am Sunday Brunch. Get there early or be ready to wait! It’s not a large place. In fact, you can check it out on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! You HAVE to get the chicken and waffles!
You’ll have your choice of plantation tours and because of time and pictures we chose the Middleton Plantation. During the plantation visit we saw them spinning hair off of a rabbit!
It was a 20 minute drive out to tour the grounds and the ticket price was worth it.
The grounds were massive, stunning and full of historic trees that have seen the Native Americans, the Civil War and are protected.
You felt as though you really were living and working on the plantation. We walked around self-guided and also checked out the ‘living history’ exhibits with actors.
Traffic going home wasn’t terrible and we ended up being home in 1.5 hours. If you’re from the Fort Bragg area you’re in luck! I know I will be going back because there is so much to do in Charleston and nearby. If you want to plan a trip, send me a message 😉
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