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If you enjoy the simple things in life (colorful homes, mouthwatering biscuits, the simple pleasure of being able to Uber to a nice beach), then you need to plan a weekend getaway to Charleston. Immediately. Right this second. I’m not sure what you’re waiting for, but Charleston has you on speed dial and it is calling.
But AnaMaria, where do I even begin to prepare a whole Charleston travel itinerary? I have no time! I have so much laundry to do! I need to binge the latest season of "Stranger Things"! When will I ever be able to do the research necessary for this trip?
Fret not, dear readers. We’ll break down everything from where to eat, where to drink, where to lay your head at night, and — OF COURSE — all the main bucket list must-do's that no trip to the ~Holy City~ is complete without.
Quit your job and pack a large suitcase, because once you step foot inside the oasis that is Zero George? You'll want to move right in. Comprised of restored buildings from 1804, this luxury hotel offers cobblestone alleyways, brightly-lit rooms, and breathtaking outdoor verandas that now have me believing in love at first sight.
Scour Airbnb for a place that best suits your needs (and party size) — because what better way to live like a local than by, well, renting out a local home? Now excuse me while I make myself comfortable in the adorable green (!!!!) abode below. It's got a porch. It's got a breakfast nook. And it's also got my heart.
Budgets: annoying to have, impossible to avoid. For a nightly rate that won't ruin your humble savings account, book a shared dorm or private room at The Notso Hostel (the hostel itself is a series of double-porched homes built in the 1840's).
Get in some vitamin D at Sullivan’s Island, which is only a short Uber ride away*. This clean little paradise is surprisingly calm and NOT overcrowded, which gives it major summer-beach-town-from-a-Nicholas-Sparks-novel-turned-movie vibe.
Be sure to download Zillow before strolling through Rainbow Row, because the chances of you wanting a pastel pink house after said stroll will likely increase by about one million percent. And no, not an exaggeration.
If you're looking for a little morsel of buttery heaven, run (don't walk) to Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. Between the country ham and blackberry biscuits to the biscuit breakfast sandwiches, consider your taste buds satisfied and spoiled for all of eternity.
Take a Bulldog Tour for some history and haunts! They offer a variety of yours including one of Magnolia Cemetery, in which I maybe possibly captured an orb on my iPhone?! Indisputable proof below.
Browse through around 300 vendors at Charleston City Market, the ideal spot to unearth gorgeous finds ranging from spices and sweetgrass baskets to artwork and candles. And while this is the place to go souvenir shopping for your loved ones, I should mention that it's also an especially great place to go shopping for...yourself.
The menu changes daily at Wild Common, a new dining experience that sources fresh ingredients for innovative, unique recipes that are love at first bite. Prepare your palette for dishes such as dragon fruit with pickled jalapeños and seaweed crisp to dry aged prime ribeye with black truffle and tomato marmalade.
What can rival a boozy bottomless brunch? Not much. Get yours at The Macintosh, where you can indulge in mimosas, bacon bloody mary's, fried chicken and waffles, peach pecan bread...honestly just go stalk the brunch menu for yourself. You'll want everything.
At Sullivan's Island, gobble up everything from burgers to Annabel Lee crabcakes at Poe's Tavern. As the name would imply, this place pays homage to Edgar Allen Poe by way of kitschy, Poe-themed decorations that I guess you can say any lit lover will "love with a love that was more than love".
With an intimate and homey atmosphere, Zero Restaurant uses herbs and vegetables from their own garden (as well as local produce) for a luxury meal that doesn't feel like an intimidating fine dining experience. Each plate is delicious and you'll struggle to pinpoint which bite was your favorite.
King street reigns (😉) supreme as the heart of Charleston. This long stretch has so many quaint shops, restaurants, and drink spots that you’ll feel the need to extend your trip ticket just to experience 'em all. Clothes. Candles. Candy. I bought it all.
For a cozy atmosphere, delicious bites, and creative cocktails, head on over to The Gin Joint. If you're feeling especially adventurous, opt for the ~Pick Two~ drink: choose two out of a selection of adjectives, and your bartender will make you a drink based on those words.
If live music is, well, music to our ears — then The Commodore will easlily become one of the highlights of your trip. (On the random Tuesday night that I went, the seats were empty but the dance floor was packed. Seriously, everyone was dancing. )
And with that, I bid you adieu — time to plan your trip to Charleston and use this post as a reference!
Psst, here is a little cheat sheet checklist of everywhere to go during your weekend getaway (I even included some additional spots not detailed in the list above):
1) King Street
2) Rainbow Row
3) Bulldog Tour
4) Charleston City Market
5) Sullivan’s Island
6) Firefly Distillery
7) Folly Beach
8) The Macintosh
9) Zero George
10) Wild Common
11) Poe’s Tavern
12) Callie’s Biscuits
13) Basic Kitchen
14) Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
15) The Commodore
16) Gin Joint
Want more travel inspo? Check out our Iceland travel guide, our Montreal travel guide, and this list of US hotels with amazing outdoor pools.
The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.