CHIC PLACES: THE CHARLESTON GUIDE


Charleston was one of the most beautiful places... I have ever visited and it's certainly somewhere I would return in a heartbeat. It also made me eager to visit more of the American South, an opportunity to connect with the other half of the country I am much less familiar with. Of course I only spent a weekend here with my sister, so I am by no means creating this guide with much expertise, but I am sharing what we did and loved most during our very short stay. Aside from some of my more complex feelings about visiting The South, everything was quite spectacular. Some highlights of the trip included strolling the beautiful historic South of Broad neighborhood, getting my cheese fix at Goat Sheep Cow North and taking pictures in front of so many pretty pastel homes. But the most impressive part was how much I actually enjoyed talking to our Uber drivers. I will admit I get into Uber rides with the intention of not making small talk, since I am a therapist I often joke (to friends) that I am "off the clock" and plug in headphones to decompress. But I will admit that everyone my sister and I rode with had such a warm and friendly attitude that went beyond just small talk. A lot of them shared their connection to Charleston, what they thought about the city's history and where the best barbecue existed, among other things. One offered up his own umbrella when it was pouring rain outside, another convinced us to change restaurants while on our way to eat. I can't quite put my finger on what was different, I can only describe it as genuinely kind, dare I say, Southern Charm? Enjoy. 

STAY



I'll admit, I really wanted to stay at the ultra charming Zero George, however, most of the rooms were sold out or just too expensive given the popular weekend we chose to visit. So we stayed at the perfectly pink and pretty Mills House Hotel and had a great time taking photos out front before venturing out around town. The location was great as we were just north of Broad Street and all the lovely houses and had easy access to King street with all the main shops and restaurants. We didn't spend a whole lot of time in the hotel but it was perfect for our trip. Everyone on staff was very friendly and the room service was actually spectacular. Before my sister arrived I was exhausted after a redeye flight with no sleep and a couple hours of shooting blog content so I caved and ordered room service my first night.  The chicken sandwich I ordered was so good and so southern, in my humble non-southern opinion, and the fries were anything but soggy! One other thing to note is that it's a popular place for weddings. There was a wedding while we stayed but it really didn't affect our experience that evening. Another hotel we visited a few times is the brand new and stunning Hotel Bennett which would be my more luxurious choice. I'm obsessed with the beautiful painted walls in the rotunda entryway and the beyond fabulous ladies lounge is so spectacular it deserves it's own full blog post!

Charleston Hotels
EAT



To say we ate our way through Charleston would be an understatement. There was so much information about everything we loved that I decided to do an entirely separate blog post with all the details. But here's a working list of all the places we tried and loved, as well as a bunch of others on my list that I researched and wanted to visit but didn't have a chance to. Charleston has become such a big foodie destination and I certainly plan to go back and try more things at my next visit! Some quick favorites were Goat Sheep Cow North, Chez Nous and Le Farfelle


Restaurants
SEE/DO


There are so many things to do in Charleston, but I will admit, some of the most fun moments I had during my short trip was sitting on a porch with my sister, just hanging out with a glass of pink champagne, taking in the slow pace of the South. But aside from that sweet moment, I think taking in the beautiful small city is the next best thing. The South of Broad neighborhood is full of beautiful, historic homes with all the details most people love Charleston for. The pastel shades, contrasting colored shutters and preservation society seals of approval. Coming from the west coast, where cities tend to re-build more new and get rid of the old, I really appreciated how seriously Charlestonians preserve what everyone seems to unanimously love. Becky and I took a very nice walking tour of the city and learned a lot of the city's history and some interesting things about the architecture of the city. Whenever I go back I would love to take a more in depth architecture tour but the one we did was great and our tour guide Todd was amazing! We also visited Magnolia Plantation, which was quite an experience for me, as was visiting the South and being reminded of our country's history of slavery. More about that here. But it was a very interesting visit and I think visiting plantations and being confronted with our past is something most Americans would like to experience. There we did a tour of the slave quarters and the guide did a good job of walking us through plantation life and specifically how slavery evolved over the years there. I also love an art museum so the Gibbs was a perfect stop for a morning stroll with my coffee before my flight back Monday morning! 

Things to Do
Charleston City Market
Gibbs Museum of Art
Holy Spokes Bike Share
Magnolia Plantation
Self Guided Walking Tour South of Broad 
Pineapple Walking Tour

SHOP



Shopping in Charleston, or just the south in general, is very different than Los Angeles. There is an abundance of preppy clothing and I just had a great time seeing all kinds of gems in person that I typically only see online. I will admit some of the patterns are just too much for me, but I love the clean lines, year round summery spirit and the fearless colors. Below are some of the shops Becky and I enjoyed visiting most. I absolutely loved the selection and concept of The Skinny Dip Charleston, which has two other locations in Nantucket and Palm Beach and is full of fun, colorful pieces. Even better than that, they have a full on coffee and cocktail bar upstairs, serving frosé. In my humble opinion, this is the future of retail. Shopping in person will need to become a lifestyle experience and this is a perfect example of just that. Another store I really loved was Lake Pajamas, which has the most beautiful bedtime clothing and an equally charming store to match. My best purchase of the trip, however, was the small sweetgrass basket I found at the Charleston City Market, which is known for their wide selection of these historical baskets. Passed down from generation to generation, descendants of slaves learned the intricate technique from the Gullah culture. I was happy to purchase something that I consider a significant part of Charleston's history. Many of the baskets come with beautiful woven roses adorned to them and I was excited that mine did too. There were so many shapes and sizes, unfortunately I wasn't able to carry much else home and therefore will have cherish my new trinket tray forever!

Shops
Charleston City Market (sweetgrass baskets sold here)
Gretchen Scott
Hampden Clothing
Lake Pajamas
Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store
Mac & Murphy Stationery
The Skinny Dip Charleston

WEAR


INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACES
More Instagramable Locations
106 tradd st | grey house 
126 tradd pink door | pretty white house 
11 meeting st | pink house 
40 king st | white and blue shutters 
1 atlantic st | pink house, pink shutters 
14 atlantic st | rustic concrete black shutters 
11 legare | rustic pillar with ivy 
13 legare st | nice ivy wall 

-MGN

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