The Streets You Shouldn't Miss While Visiting Charleston
Charleston: Where Lowcountry Meets High Charm
I love being able to check new places off my bucket list and that's exactly what I did back in April when Greg and I met up with his parents to visit the oh so charming Southern city of Charleston, South Carolina. Horse-drawn carriages leisurely make their way down picture-perfect cobblestone streets, where colorful antebellum homes and Spanish moss adorned oaks are the rule rather than the exception. Though relatively small in size, Charleston offers an extraordinary, yet somewhat overwhelming, amount of options for places to explore and dine. With no agenda, we spent the quick 48 hours we had exploring the town on foot, which we quickly discovered is the best way to see Charleston! Why? Simply because each street you turn down is more charming than the last, each possessing a personality and style all its own. Plus, no matter what city you're in, walking enables you the opportunity to really get to know a neighborhood, saves you time darting around town and helps immerse you in the local culture. If you're visiting Charleston for the first time, or the first time in a long time, I recommend strolling down the streets I've listed below simply as a jumping off point for your trip, as the beauty in the Holy City lies in the unknown streets, hidden storefronts and local restaurants you'll discover on your own.
- King Street - A quick Google search will instantly show you that King Street offers a bit of everything, from local eateries to plenty of shopping and a variety of hotels. Though a bit touristy in parts, this iconic street is definitely worth taking a stroll down and can be a great starting point for any trip to Charleston. Our hotel, The Restoration (which I highly recommend), was just a block off King Street, so we got to know it fairly well. I suggest spending time on "Upper King", which swarms with a number of craft eateries and thriving restaurants. In fact, two of our favorite meals were in this area, Leon's Oyster Shop and The Ordinary, which were both a tasty bite into Charleston cuisine. Darling Oyster Bar and Callie's Hot Little Biscuits were a few places on my list we didn't have time for but are also located on King Street. Next time!
Cannon Street - If you happen to be on Upper King, take a turn down Cannon Street and pop into a few local shops such as Mac + Murphy for curated paper goods and stationary, and Sugar bakeshop to satisfy any sweet tooth cravings. Another restaurant I enjoyed, particularly for its interior design, as it doubles as a dreamy event space, was Cannon Green located just around the corner. Their back courtyard is a great spot for brunch!
Rainbow Row - Quite possibly Charleston's most photographed street (for good reason!) is Rainbow Row. Located just off the historic waterfront, this block of colorfully painted Georgian row houses are not just charming but have an interesting past worth reading up on. The street can get quite crowded so I would suggest showing up early in the day, especially if you're hoping to capture it on camera.
Battery Street - On the other side of Rainbow Row, right next to the Atlantic ocean lies Battery Street! The Battery is named for the civil war artillery battery at the site, though tourists flock to it mainly for all of the grandiose historic homes that line the Southern most point of the city. The homes are known for their “antebellum” architecture meaning they have large pillars, wraparound porches and enormous foyers on the inside. Take it all the way to the end where you'll hit Oyster Point and spend an afternoon in White Point Garden, a beautiful park full of huge oak trees on the waterfront.
- Meeting Street - It seemed as though right before our trip, every time I'd scroll through Instagram I would see photos of the most stunning iron-wrought fence dripping in wisteria and I was determined to see it for myself. After doing some research online, scouring Instagram and asking the hotel's concierge as to where it was located, no one could seem to give me an answer. Just when I was about to give up, what did we stumble upon?! If you're hoping to see this dreamy wisteria wall for yourself, head to the Timothy Ford House on Meeting Street. You won't be disappointed! Plus, there are some beautiful churches worth walking by on nearby blocks.
Church Street - Even though you can't escape history in South Carolina's oldest city, if you're looking to soak up as much as possible, take a walk down the worn down cobblestones of Church Street and experience places such as the Heyward-Washington House, which dates back to the Revolutionary War and was a temporary residence of George Washington. We discovered this street, as well as a number of alleyways which we probably wouldn't have explored on our own, during a guided walking tour of the city. We learned so much in the process and I highly recommend taking one upon arrival to familiarize yourself with the city a bit. Horse carriage rides are also extremely popular if you're wanting a more relaxing experience.
I know we barely scratched the surface on seeing all Charleston has to offer, which gives us good reason to return someday! Next time I'd love to venture past the city limits and spend time on Sullivan's Island, as well as visit Boone Hall Plantation where scenes from the Notebook were shot. If you've been to Charleston before, what were your favorite things to do and streets to see?