Charleston, SC is probably one of the coolest cities in the country. Not only does Bill Murray call it home part of the year (just press 1 already, Bill), it’s the perfect place for the serious foodie, history appreciator, and even your friend addicted to going to the beach. I’m not a professional tour guide, nor do I want to be one, and I just wanted you to know that before you dove too deep into this guide to one of my favorite places in the good ol’ US of A. That being said, I am willing to provide my version of a tour in exchange for a plane ticket and food. And maybe a case of Bud heavy. No guarantees you’ll learn anything though.
Whalebone will be celebrating The Bill Murray Issue Release in Charleston on Saturday, May 19. Join us!
Shore Leave: Three Days in Charleston, SC
Check in to hotel: I’d sway you to stay at the Restoration Hotel. Think brick walls wooden beams; a really good mix of old meets new. Not convinced yet, ok fine. I forgot to mention their in-hotel library, rooftop pool, rooftop restaurant, and bar.
Until 2005 there was an interesting liquor law in Charleston, where booze could only be served from mini airline bottles.
We get it, you’ve been traveling all day, you’re sweaty and possibly a little cranky. Charleston has a TON of rooftop bars, it would be in your best interest to soak up some afternoon sun and wind down. Start with the one at your hotel, head upstairs, last elevator on the left (disclaimer: or did I say right). To name a few more you should venture up to, there’s the Rooftop at the Vendue Hotel, Élevé, and The Cocktail Club, though this is mostly an indoor bar they do have an awesome outdoor terrace. Best news? Until 2005 there was an interesting liquor law in Charleston, where booze could only be served from mini airline bottles. Tip your bartender.
Now that we’ve got you all sauced up, you should probably grab some dinner. I’m thinking nothing too fancy for your first night in town. Something easy and something delicious, we’ve got a big three days ahead of us. Leon’s Oyster Shop should do the trick.
For the rest of your evening, you should probably wander around King Street tucking in and out of any of those little side streets, each one is usually cooler than the next.
Good morning, kids! Usually, the first thing I think when I wake up is, God I’m hungry. There’s a coffee bar conveniently located just a few floors below you. Start with that.
I feel like no Guide to Charleston would be complete without telling you to eat breakfast at the Hominy Grill. And to be completely honest, I’m not sure why.
Put your sneakers on and head the mile north to this quaint breakfast spot. You’ll walk through the college and probably kick yourself in the ass for not going to school there.
At this point, I’m itching to get out to the ocean. Sullivan’s Island is an awesome little spot. They have a small town with restaurants and shops to entertain the tourists and low country folks. If you’re adventurous there’s a spot you can rent paddle boards and cruise around the intercoastal. Though I’m pretty sure they have gators. Test your luck.
Whenever you’re back in the city, freshen up because we’re hitting the town tonight. Let’s start with a cocktail at the very swanky, Zero George Street. Then, walk over to Husk and pray we can get a table (reservations are strongly encouraged and really the only guarantee) or squeeze in at the bar. If we can’t get in, other places I’d be hyped on are FIG (also rezys needed) Darling Oyster Bar or the Ordinary.
It’s the same phenomenon of how you always end up at Liar’s.
We should probably keep this party going. Start off with one of the killer cocktails at the Gin Joint, they even do large format cocktails if you have a group with you, or have a hollow leg. We’re gonna start high and end low as most nights go.
I’m not sure what you’re going to do in between but you’ll most likely wind up at one or two places—The Recovery Room or AC’s. It’s the same phenomenon of how you always end up at Liar’s. We’re not going to try to figure how this happens, just go with it.
Personally, I hate brunch. But if that’s what you really need right now, I get it. You could hit up The Macintosh, Poogan’s Porch, or High Cotton.
If you don’t feel the need to crawl back into bed for the day, I seriously recommend walking around the Battery. You could even hop on one of the horse carriages for a tour of some of the in-depth history in downtown Charleston. Charleston might be the best-preserved city in the country and it’s definitely worth checking out. Start near the White Point Garden and walk up and down any of the quiet cobblestone streets. Bring your camera.
Other things to consider checking out that aren’t dimly lit bars are the Boone Hall Plantation, a trip to Fort Sumter, or boat tours of Charleston Harbor.
When dinner time rolls around, you must go to Chez Nous. The menu changes every day, with usually only two options per course based on whatever the kitchen has sourced that day. If you want to go in blind, that’s totally cool or you can scope out today’s menu by checking Instagram.
If your head hasn’t exploded from everything you’ve learned today, I have one more stop on your trip. You have to do a ghost tour. Charleston claims to be one of the most haunted cities in the country (probably second to Savannah, GA). Release your inner child and just do it. It’s half a good history lesson, half walking around graveyards, half people jumping out at you when you’re not looking. If you agree three halves make a whole, book it.
That’s it. We’re done. Go home.