TRAVEL: Charleston, SC

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Charleston is one of those cities that seems to have it all-- charm, beautiful architecture, great food, and so much history. My husband had a work training and I was lucky enough to tag along. This was my fourth time in Charleston, but first time spending an extended period of time in the city-- in the past I'd been for a day when visiting Hilton Head or Isle of Palms, so I was excited to see more of the city (really eat more of the food). I came down with an unfortunate case of shingles before our trip, so that put a little bit of a damper on things, but what would life be without trials and tribulations?



Renaissance Charleston, where to stay in charleston,
We stayed downtown at the recently remodeled Renaissance, and had such a great stay! Along with the fun decor/vibe of the hotel, the location is perfect, we were a 10-15 minute walk from just about everywhere we went. I had a great time wandering around, and soaking up all of the heat and humidity-- if you're planning a trip I'd maybe consider a different season unless you're planning to spend time at the beach.


magnolias charleston, where to eat charleston,
Charleston has endless dining options, which can be kind of overwhelming so I only made two reservations in advance. Dinner at Magnolias, and brunch at Poogan's Porch-- both ended up being our favorite meals of the trip, and the two places we'd recommend. Not pictured, but the scallops appetizer at Magnolias was the star of the show, which is weird for me to say because I've never liked scallops!

We also were able to snag an outdoor table at Fleet Landing, and really enjoyed the views of the water. I also tried my first fried green tomato at Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar. We enjoyed breakfast on the patio at Eli's Table, and it was nice to try something different but I kind of wished we had gone to Hominy Grill instead (somewhere we've enjoyed on a previous trip). I had a delicious breakfast sandwich at Callie's one morning (the biscuits were SO good), and great iced coffee at Black Tap and Kudu after reading Meg's post. I actually got a second iced lavender latte on our way out of the city because it was so good! We stopped at Crooked Crown to refresh with a boozy popsicle-- which was delicious, and perfect for the sweltering hot day.

charleston rooftops; vendue; pavilion
We're big on being outside as much as possible, so we tried to check out as many rooftops as possible. I had heard good things about the Pavilion and Vendue rooftops, and they both offered great views of the city, but we were kind of underwhelmed otherwise. We came across Eleve and The Watch after seeing them from our hotel, and definitely had the best drinks of the trip, and a really nice laidback atmosphere.


In our free time we did the touristy things like wandering around rainbow row, visiting the pineapple fountain, and swooning over paths to what are surely gorgeous private gardens. We also took an afternoon carriage tour and learned a lot, but would probably recommend a walking tour over the carriage tour.

I love touring houses, so I majorly went back and forth on what houses I wanted to visit, but in the end decided on the Nathaniel Russell House, and got a combination ticket to also see the Aiken-Rhett House. The NRH is restored to what it was like in the early 1800s, and the ARH is preserved, so you get two totally different perspectives which was kind of interesting and definitely worth the $18 dual admission fee. The NRH is a docent led tour and was really well done, I lucked out and only had 5 other people on the tour with me. The ARH is an audio tour, which admittedly is my least favorite touring option, but you can take as long as you want in each area, so that's definitely a plus.
Nathaniel Russell House
Aiken-Rhett House
On Friday we toured the Edmonston-Alston House, which is one of the amazing houses right on East Battery. This was another docent led tour that was really well done. You're not allowed to take pictures inside the house, but the views from the second floor piazza were so incredible! We ended up doing a combination ticket with Middleton Place, which ended up being the highlight of our trip. I recommend the combination, but if you're staying downtown, I'd still recommend visiting the Edmonston-Alston House and think it's well-worth the $12. Part of it is also a bed and breakfast!
Edmonston-Alston House


I'm going to do a separate post on a mini recap of Middleton Place sometime later this month. Overall, we had a great time in Charleston and I'm so, so grateful we had the opportunity to visit and experience so much!

31 comments

  1. I absolutely LOVE charleston! It's hands down my favorite city to go back to time and time again!! The food is amazing and looks like you had a lot of good food while you were there! I have never toured any of the mansions but I'll leave that for our next trip! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  2. This looks like such a fun place to visit! I've never been there, but it sounds so historical and cultural! Glad you had the opportunity to go - the food sounds delicious too :)

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  3. ah charleston! ugh to the shingles but glad you had a good trip. and noted on that hotel, will add that to my list to stay at. i need to visit all the rooftops there i have decided ha. and i am obsessed with the historic homes you visited - i want more photos! so gorg.

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  4. Charleston has always been on the list of places I want to visit. I need to make that happen.

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  5. So glad you made it to the Nathaniel Russell House - Charleston's historic homes are so gorgeous!

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  6. I haven't been in years and we keep wanting to go while we're in Hilton Head. But. It's too hot for me this time of year! I'd love to go when it's cooler and I can check out all the places you mentioned. Loved following your trip! Hope you're feeling better.

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  7. Your trip looks so lovely, I enjoyed following along. Yum to all the food.

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  8. I absolutely love Charleston but I agree, the summer is not the best time to go! I think we went to a lot of the same places to eat and drink and the food there is SO good! Now I want to go back haha! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  9. What a great trip! I really enjoyed all your pictures and stories on IG! I would love to go to Charleston one day.

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  10. I enjoy every place that offers amazing places to eat so I bet I would totally enjoy Charleston! :)

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  11. I've never been to Charleston but Brian has gone twice and is always telling me how charming it is! These pictures make me want to visit so badly! The food you posted here looks delicious and I want to just walk around and stare at the gorgeous colorful houses!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  12. I have been through SC many many times, but never got to visit Charleston. I would love to go one day. The architecture is just amazing and all of the food looks and sounds so good. Boozy popsicles are always a good idea, no? I think it would be cool to do some type of history tour, that is always interesting to me. Sounds like you all had a great time!

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  13. Absolutely beautiful pictures! So sorry you came down with Shingles right before, but glad you still had an amazing time. I really need to finally get up there and see this picturesque town, especially considering it's only about 5-6 hours by car <3
    Green Fashionista

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  14. Ooh, I would LOVE to visit Charleston someday! It looks so beautiful and delicious food, I love touring old houses too.

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  15. Looks like an amazing trip with even better food!!

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  16. This looks amazing. We are planning a trip there for Thanksgiving this year and I can't wait!

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  17. Charleston looks gorgeous! What a fun little getaway with the hubby and the food looks amazing. This is one city that has been on my bucketlist for years. I've heard so many great things about the city.

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  18. Great post! Charleston is super high on my list, as I too love exploring old houses! You list looks great and I always love good drink recommendations; especially outside with a view!! Thanks for all the tips!! Saving this for later! #wanderfulWednesday

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  19. Oh no, so sorry about the Shingles! I have wanted to go to Charleston forever. We looked into it for our July trip, but I was worried the heat/humidity would be too miserable, especially while pregnant! :)

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  20. I think that what I was looking forward to the most about Charleston when we went last year was all of the food too! It's just so good and I'm glad that you got brunch at Poogan's Porch! That sucks about getting a case of the shingles right before your trip but it sounds like it didn't ruin your fun!

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  21. So beautiful and yummy! All you food recommendation sound fabulous. I am not sure why I have not make it to Charleston yet. I feel like I am going to love the city. #WanderfulWednesday

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  22. Everything there looks beautiful! My cousin just traveled to Charleston last week and raved about it! I definitely need to make a trip there.

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  23. I've always wanted to go to Charleston, it looks gorgeous! Sounds like you guys had a great time and got to check out lots of fun places. The food looks amazing too, it makes me miss all of the tasty southern food :)

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  24. Looks like such a great trip!! The food looks delicious and all the buildings are so cute :)
    Hope you are feeling better lady - shingles can be brutal :(

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  25. Beautiful photos! This has been somewhere I've wanted to visit for so long. Can't believe you had shingles, yikes! I always thought that was pretty serious. How long did it last?

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  26. 4 times in Charleston! That's incredible! I've been wanting to go for a really long time, and have heard rave reviews from so many people. One of these days ... Looks like you guys had a great time! :D

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  27. One of my FAVE US cities EVER!! Loved your recap! Such a great time!!

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  28. How fun!!! I have always wanted to go, but haven't had the chance to. One of many on my growing list, haha. Loved following along on insta - the food looks insane!!! And I love houses too, so I totally understand the tough decision of where to go, but sounds like you made the best of it.

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  29. I love Charleston! it was the perfect girl's trip for us, I totally enjoyed the Nathanial Russell house as well. so much good fun too!

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  30. Charleston is on our list of places to visit in the next few years. We were really hoping the hubs would get transferred there; there's still time! I love touring old houses too!!

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  31. I'm from Charleston and I think you've done more there than I ever have! I don't go back very often and it's been years since I've really done any exploring or remotely touristy things.

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