This old South Carolina city sparkles with history and natural beauty, but a new generation of hotels, restaurants, and shops has infused it with fresh energy. Hit our favorite spots to get your fill of culture and style.
Where to Stay
Book an Inn
86 Cannon: Choose from a handful of light-filled rooms; sip tea in the salon or on one of two porches. From $325 per night, 86cannon.com.
The Spectator Hotel: This place boasts butler service -- they’ll unpack bags, shine shoes, and bring morning coffee -- and hand-painted wallpaper in the lobby. From $278 per night, thespectatorhotel.com.
The Vendue: Seven historic warehouses now house elegant rooms and public spaces filled with contemporary art. From $192 per night, thevendue.com.
Make the Scene
The Dewberry: This newcomer has handmade furniture, marble bathrooms, and a chic bar. From $345 per night, thedewberrycharleston.com.
Feel at Home
The Restoration: Settle into apartment-style accommodations at this all-suite hotel, which also has a cozy library, rooftop terrace, and cafe serving Toby’s Estate. From $299 per night, therestorationhotel.com.
Best Ride in Town
Palmetto Carriage Works: Clippety-clop around downtown as a guide shares local lore. palmettocarriage.com
Where to Eat
Feast on Ribs
Lewis Barbecue: Texas ’cue is new to town, courtesy of top pit master John Lewis, an Austin transport. lewisbarbecue.com
Taste the Lowcountry
Hominy Grill: This down-home spot is known for classics like fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits. hominygrill.com
Wine and Dine
Chez Nous: Duck into a hidden gem with a daily-changing menu of Spanish, Italian, and French foods. cheznouschs.com
Go Big at Brunch
Cannon Green: On Sundays, a DJ sets the stage for eggs with pork shoulder and fried-chicken sandwiches. cannongreencharleston.com
Restaurateur Brooks Reitz’s Picks
Xiao Bao Biscuit
“This high-energy spot ushered in a funkier type of dining here. It serves dishes from all over Asia, and there’s always something new on the menu.” xiaobaobiscuit.com
“At Sean Brock’s casual restaurant, try the catfish tacos and grilled chicken wings, tossed tableside with hot sauce in a paper bag.” minerorestaurant.com
“Head here for fresh and lovely Lebanese food. It has an amazing lentil salad with pomegranate, almonds, and avocado.” leyla-charleston.com
What to Do
Cross the Cooper
For breathtaking views of downtown and beyond, walk or bike over the Ravenel Bridge. cooperriverbridge.org
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens: See the pre-Revolutionary War main house, slave dwellings, and the country’s oldest public gardens. magnoliaplantation.com
Learn As You Go
Area native Alphonso Brown sheds light on the language, customs, and sites of the Lowcountry’s early black residents. gullahtours.com
Where to Shop
Fulfill Decor Dreams
Fritz Porter: Antique dealers and a design showroom sell fabric, furniture, and lighting in a revamped cigar factory. (Stop by The-Commons for locally made small-batch home goods.) fritzporter.com
Spoil Your Guy
Indigo & Cotton: This stylish menswear boutique sells Billykirk belts and jeans from Raleigh Denim and Imogene + Willie. indigoandcotton.com
IBU: Pick up an indigo poncho, embroidered clutch, or earrings made by female artisans in 34 countries, including Ghana and Peru. ibumovement.com
A Local Says...
“There is so much to love about Charleston -- its history, its mutant magnolia and oak trees, the sweet smell of tea olive and gardenias, and the diversity of the people.” —Carol Perkins, founder and president of Harry Barker, an eco-friendly pet-product company
Before You Go...
"South of Broad," by Pat Conroy, a story of friendship set in the Holy City.
Eartha Kitt, James Brown, and Dizzy Gillespie, who all hail from the state.
"The Notebook" -- shot at the Calhoun Mansion and Boone Hall Plantation.