ideal towns >> charleston, sc
Beautiful. Historical. Hospitable. — Welcome to Charleston
by Nancy Gross
The people are remarkably friendly. The grits are spicy and the oysters are fresh. The cobblestone streets are steeped in history, and the views of the harbor are spectacular. This is Charleston, SC, voted “America’s Best City” three times in a row.
It’s also considered to be America’s most beautiful city, with its antebellum historic homes, lush gardens, centuries-old oaks and stately palmettos.
You’ll begin to discover Charleston’s magic when you stroll down Museum Mile, which encompasses six museums, five historic houses and four scenic parks. The Charleston Museum, America’s first museum founded in 1773, contains hundreds of artifacts that give personal insight into Charleston’s Colonial, agricultural and wartime past.
The quintessential image of Charleston is the Battery, with its 18th century cannons,
military statues and picturesque gazebo. The centerpiece of the Battery is White Point Garden, a scenic waterfront park.
Walk along East Bay Street to view famous mansions and look across the harbor to see Fort Sumter, the famous site where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. And be sure to check out Rainbow Row, the charming row of colorful historic houses.
The Charleston City Market, constructed between 1804 and 1830, is another popular destination. The market showcases unique wares and crafts, including Charleston’s famous sweetgrass basket weavers who practice their craft along the Market’s open-air stalls.
“Charleston is endowed with many attractive attributes—
be it the sunny weather and raw natural beauty or the grand tradition of Lowcountry
cuisine. All visitors have the chance to experience
the warmth and genuinehospitality put forth by the local community.”
Dan Blumenstock, Chair of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
Get a taste of plantation life by visiting Middleton Place. Built in 1755, this mansion includes an impressive collection of historic furniture and portraits, along with lush gardens designed in the style of traditional French gardens. Camellias, azaleas, magnolias and myrtle adorn the 65-acre grounds.
Of Charleston’s many fine house museums,only the Edmondston-Alston House commands a magnificent view of Charleston Harbor. The striking Greek Revival interior and fascinating collection of family portraits and furniture make this house an unforgettable place to visit.
Equally unforgettable are Charleston’s renowned cultural events, such as the Spoleto Festival USA, the Charleston International Film Festival and the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival.
Once you visit vibrant, idyllic Charleston, you’ll never want to leave!
- The Charleston Grill, located in the lovely Belmond Charleston Place, is fine dining at its best with a seasonal menu in four categories: Pure, Southern, Cosmopolitan and Lush.
- Fig’s elevated take on Southern classics are cooked with seasonal ingredients in an upscale bistro setting.
- Hominy Grill’s Lowcountry cooking traditions are featured at this Charleston institution located in an old barbershop.
- Husk boasts an ever-changing menu of locally-sourced Southern dishes served in a Victorian-era home.
- McCrady’s, housed in an 18th century tavern, is an acclaimed spot for Southern food with a modernist twist.
- Slightly North of Broad is a fun, Lowcountry bistro in a renovated warehouse space that has been regarded as one of Charleston’s best restaurants for over 20 years.
Top Things To Do
- The Aiken-Rhett House Museum Built in the early 1800s, the house has antique furnishings, original wallpaper and stunning bronze chandeliers.
- Boone Hall Plantation One of America’s oldest working plantations welcomes visitors with a majestic row of ancient oak tress.
- Fort Sumter National Monument In the middle of Charleston Harbor, this site is where the Civil War began in 1861.
- Dock Street Theatre This ornate playhouse, with elegant woodwork and cobblestone courtyard, presents dramas, comedies and musicals.
- Drayton Hall Built in 1738, Drayton Hall is one of the oldest surviving plantations left in the South.
- Folly Beach Just 12 miles south of Charleston, this beach offers swimming, surfing, paddle-boarding, kayaking and fishing.
- South Carolina Aquarium Exhibits highlight South Carolina’s major geographic regions featuring 60 unique habitats.
- Waterfront Park This eight-acre park faces the harbor and includes a splash fountain, pier, swings and picnic areas.