Hi, friends! After our trip to Charleston last year, I wrote about what we did and what we ate during our stay. Alex and I spent this past week-ish in Charleston and had the best time so naturally, I had to share more on the blog!
Where We Stayed
We split our stay between two places during our five-day stay in Charleston. For the first half of the trip, we stayed at the Francis Marion Hotel in historic downtown. To be frank, we loved staying downtown but not this hotel in particular. While we knew it was an older hotel, we were a bit disappointed when we arrived. The lobby is cute and airy but the room is SO tiny and dingy. There is barely enough space to walk between the foot of the bed and the dresser. The bathroom is really small and I kept hitting my head with a shelf overhead while washing my face. 👽
If you’re looking at the Francis Marion hotel and want to look elsewhere after reading this post, Hotel Bennett is a couple of blocks down and seems much nicer (though a bit pricier as well).
For the latter half of the trip, we moved to one of the budget hotels in North Charleston. While we were overall happy with our stay, we will probably stay (closer to) downtown for a shorter trip in the future. It didn’t take us very long to get used to the convenience of staying downtown!
What We Did
We mostly ate and drank through Charleston but we did a few other things! Our favorite activity, hands down, was the sail boat ride. There are a few sail boat ride options in Charleston but if you’re willing to drive over to Mount Pleasant, we found Palmetto Breeze to be the best price. It is a larger boat but you can’t beat $35 sunset boat ride if you ask me! ($35 is Tuesday price; prices range from $40~45 on other nights)
Their dock is at Shem Creek, behind several restaurants so you can easily grab dinner beforehand. No outside beverages are allowed but they do have beer and wine for sale at reasonable prices ($3~5). The sunset ride was about 2 hours, and it was the perfect leisurely evening activity!!!
If you’re a beach-y person, block off a day to spend at the beach! Last year, went to Isle of Palms (Alex used to go every year with his family), and I’ve been to Folly Beach a few years ago. We switched it up and went to Sullivan’s Island and it might be my favorite so far! We got lucky with street parking but there is an unofficial, free parking lot near the elementary school. It felt quieter and less crowded than other beaches, though I’m sure it’s partially because we went on a weekday. We also went in the morning and did a late lunch afterwards, which was the perfect amount of time at the beach for me personally.
Since it’s Charleston, there are plenty of ghost tours to do! We are kind of ghost tour-ed out (feels like we’ve heard every ghost story in town at this point) and were not super impressed with the one we did this time around. We were hoping to do the jail tour (which I’ve done before but Alex hasn’t) but it’s currently being renovated into an office space?! I’m not sure if the jail ghost tours will resume after renovation is complete, but that is one of the more exciting tours for sure!
We did some shopping too, mostly along King Street. Alex picked up a few records from Record Stop Charleston and I picked up a new book from Blue Bicycle Books (went here last year too)! At Tiny Tassel, I picked up these strawberry earrings (immediately wore them the same and got compliments from three strangers) and tiger earrings (for Clemson games!) so you’ll be seeing these on repeat.
What We Ate & Drank
As one does and should in Charleston, we ate so well! Since we were in town for five days, I don’t want to list every single place we ate at. Here are some notable places & our favorites:
BASIC KITCHEN – I had been seeing this place quite a bit on Instagram! This place has a LOT of hype but I would say it’s pretty good overall, particularly great if you’re looking for vegetation options. We liked the buffalo cauliflower and the basic bowl but found the price a tad bit steep. They do source the ingredients locally but their basic lunch bowl without any meat is $20! (Salmon/steak bowl is $28)
THE DARLING OYSTER – If I lived in Charleston, I would go to The Darling for their happy hour every day! Their $1 oyster is the best happy hour deal in town and they even do $1 off draft cocktails (this North Carolina girl cannot get over the alcohol happy hours!!!). Their happy hour is EVERY DAY from 4pm-7pm so you don’t have an excuse not to go!
FELIX COCKTAILS ET CUISINE – Charleston has great cocktails and Felix might be our favorite cocktail place from this trip! We did post-dinner drinks at Felix one night. Between me being indecisive and Alex being adventurous, the bartender (Matt?) made a number of drinks off the menu for us, and we had a great experience! They also have a full food-menu.
JACKRABBIT FILLY (North Charleston) – This was the only restaurant we repeated from our last trip! We had actually made a pact to only try new-to-us places but made an exception for Jackrabbit Filly because we loved it so much last time. I ordered the O.G. Chirashi Bowl, which was as delicious as I remembered (but with different local fish). Alex had the special Cuban sandwich with kimchi, which was another success! Their fries are magical (maybe coated in cinnamon or something?)!
THE OBSTINATE DAUGHTER (Sullivan’s Island) – After spending a morning at the beach, Alex and I split a pizza at the Obstinate Daughter. We took a risk and ordered The Funky Baller, which has meatball, kimchi, scallion, mozzarella, and Parmesan. The flavors worked well and the pizza ended up being the perfect size for two adults. Would go back here for more pizza as well as pasta, which they’re also well-known for.
THE ORDINARY – We couldn’t get a reservation at The Ordinary last year, so it had been at the top of our Charleston list since! It’s a nicer seafood place and it was our bougie-est meal. Their cocktails are fantastic (I know for a fact Alex is still thinking about Ron Con Cola) and we loved the fancy seafood tower.
RODNEY SCOTT’S BBQ – After being majorly let down by Lewis Barbecue last year, Rodney Scott’s BBQ has restored faith in me. My only regret was that we shared a pulled pork plate and we didn’t get to try as many things! The pork was great, the fries (stolen from my friend’s plate) were great, the hush puppies were great, and the banana pudding was delightful.