Local Guide to The Best of Charleston, South Carolina

Local Guide to The Best of Charleston, South Carolina

Last Updated on December 5, 2023

Exploring Charleston, SC, is an experience that extends well beyond the comforts of your hotel. So even if you’re staying in one of the many fantastic Charleston, SC, hotels with pools, as tempting as it might be to lounge poolside, the vibrant streets of Charleston call for exploration.

From historical landmarks to culinary hotspots and outdoor adventures, each step outside your hotel promises a new discovery in this dynamic city. Let’s embark on a journey to uncover Charleston’s hidden gems and local favorites.

Historic Landmarks and Architecture

These landmarks are integral to Charleston’s identity, each telling a unique story of the city’s past. They provide a window into Charleston’s diverse architectural styles and historical milestones, making them essential visits for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the city’s heritage. For those traveling with furry friends, it’s advisable to check the rules regarding pets at these landmarks. Additionally, consider staying at pet-friendly hotels in Charleston, SC’s historic district, ensuring both you and your pet have a comfortable and convenient base from which to explore the city’s rich heritage.

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is a prominent feature in Charleston’s skyline. Known for its striking Gothic Revival architecture, it’s located at 120 Broad St. The cathedral is a place of worship revered as a beacon of Charleston’s rich religious and architectural history. Its detailed design and grandeur are equally aesthetically pleasing and reflective of the city’s cultural and spiritual depth. For those visiting Charleston, the cathedral is more than just a building — it’s a gateway to understanding the city’s historical fabric.

Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row stands out as a vibrant tapestry in Charleston’s architectural landscape. This series of historic houses on East Bay Street is celebrated for its array of pastel colors. With a high rating from numerous visitors, Rainbow Row isn’t just a visual treat — it’s a symbol of Charleston’s architectural uniqueness. These colorful homes hold historical significance, making Rainbow Row a must-visit for those seeking to experience Charleston’s charm and historical richness.

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, located at 122 E Bay St, is a cornerstone of Charleston’s colonial and revolutionary history. With a commendable rating from visitors, this building is more than just an architectural marvel. It offers a glimpse into the city’s role during pivotal moments in American history. The preservation of this building allows visitors to step back in time, making it an essential stop for anyone interested in the deep historical roots of Charleston.

Culinary Delights & Libations

Charleston’s culinary delights and drinking establishments are reflective of the city’s rich heritage in both these areas. From traditional local eats to innovative food trucks and a dynamic craft beer scene, many experiences await those eager to explore.

Traditional Local Eats

Traditional local eats in Charleston are a testament to the city’s deep-rooted culinary traditions. Here, you’ll find an array of establishments that bring to life upscale Lowcountry cuisine, blending family recipes with southern traditions. These dining spots, often located near hotels on Meeting Street in Charleston, SC, offer a diverse selection of dishes, from fresh seafood to Italian-American classics. These eateries emphasize domestic ingredients, handmade pasta, and rich homemade sauces, complemented by full-service bars. This culinary scene celebrates Charleston’s hospitality, offering bold and flavorful dishes representing the city’s culinary identity.

Food Trucks

Charleston’s food trucks offer an eclectic and diverse dining experience. Spread across the city, these mobile eateries provide a unique blend of local produce, artisanal crafts, and live music. This vibrant food truck scene is an integral part of Charleston’s food culture, offering a range of flavors catering to locals and visitors. It’s an innovative and exciting way to experience the city’s culinary and cultural diversity, with each truck offering its own take on local and international cuisine.

Craft Beer Culture

The city’s craft beer culture is a thriving aspect of Charleston’s nightlife scene. Home to various craft beer brands, Charleston is a destination for beer enthusiasts, especially during the annual Charleston Beer Week. This event showcases the diverse range of craft beers through great events. The craft beer culture here is more than just about enjoying a pint — it’s about celebrating the creativity and community spirit that defines Charleston’s approach to culinary and libational experiences.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities

The natural beauty and outdoor activities in Charleston, SC, offer a rich blend of historical, natural, and adventurous experiences. Whether it’s marveling at the ancient Angel Oak Tree, exploring parks and trails, or enjoying the beaches, there’s something for everyone.

Angel Oak Tree

The Angel Oak Tree, a significant natural landmark, is a must-visit. This live oak, believed to be 400-500 years old, stands on John’s Island. For those staying in hotels on King Street in Charleston, SC, it’s just a short drive from downtown Charleston. This marvel exemplifies the region’s natural beauty and resilience, making it a popular attraction. Visitors often come to admire its size and the historical significance it holds as one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River.

Parks and Trails

Charleston’s parks and trails offer a variety of scenic experiences. Located in and around the city, these natural spaces are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. Places like Gateway Walk, Daniel Island, West Ashley Greenway, and West Ashley Bikeway provide perfect settings for biking, walking, and enjoying nature. These trails offer a chance to explore the city’s natural beauty and also provide a serene escape from the urban environment.

Beaches

The beaches near Charleston are renowned for their beauty and variety of outdoor activities. Beaches like Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, and Seabrook Island are within easy reach for those staying at hotels in Charleston’s center. These coastal areas offer activities such as swimming, boating, watersports, biking, walking, and kite flying, catering to a wide range of preferences. Each beach has its own charm, providing visitors with picturesque settings for relaxation and outdoor fun.

Local Events and Festivals

Charleston Wine & Food Festival

The Charleston Wine & Food Festival is a prominent event in Charleston, SC, celebrating the region’s culinary and cultural heritage. Held annually, typically in the first week of March, the festival brings together a diverse group of artists, culinary experts, and food enthusiasts from around the world. The 2024 edition is scheduled for March 6-10. It offers a wide array of experiences, including artisan markets, and showcases a range of food and beverages. This festival, often held at locations like Riverfront Park in North Charleston, is a gastronomic highlight for both locals and visitors, providing an opportunity to indulge in the city’s culinary offerings.

MOJA Arts Festival

The MOJA Arts Festival is an annual celebration of African-American and Caribbean arts. It usually occurs in September and October. The festival is spread across various venues in Charleston and includes an array of events such as visual arts, music, dance, poetry, theatre, and children’s activities. It also features traditional crafts and food, making it a vibrant and culturally rich experience. The MOJA Arts Festival is a significant event that showcases the diversity and richness of African-American and Caribbean cultures in Charleston. A must for locals and tourists alike. 

Piccolo Spoleto Festival

The Piccolo Spoleto Festival, part of the larger Spoleto Festival USA, focuses on artists from the Southeast region. Scheduled from late May to early June, with the 2024 festival set for May 24 – June 9, it includes various music, theater, and dance performances. This festival is a celebration of regional talent, offering visitors a chance to experience a broad spectrum of artistic expression. The Piccolo Spoleto Festival is a wonderful cultural event in Charleston, showcasing the depth and diversity of the city’s artistic community.

Wrapping Up Charleston’s Charms

As we conclude our journey through Charleston, SC, it’s clear that this city offers an abundance of experiences that go far beyond the comfort of an amazing hotel — though never downplay that. A comfortable, well-located hotel like the Limited can make or break your travel experience. So whether it’s soaking in the historical ambiance, indulging in the local culinary delights, or immersing yourself in the natural and cultural wonders, Charleston is a city that captivates and delights. Every street, every beach, and every festival tells a story, inviting you to become a part of Charleston’s vibrant tapestry — even if only for a day. 

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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