Charleston is one of the most popular southern destinations in the country. The districts of the city contain a wide variety of interesting locations and historical landmarks. While in Charleston you can expect to find a rich combination of hospitality and charm resonant of the "Old South." Whether it is the historic houses, churches, or attractions of the Downtown and Historic Districts, the fine cuisine found in the Mount Pleasant District, or any of the alluring landmarks found in this city, expect to be entranced by the romanticism of this southern gem.
Downtown has a lot to see and do. Besides the historic churches, buildings, and landmarks that you'll want to see, there are plenty of opportunities for shopping as you explore the area. Visitors find that Downtown is a convenient starting point for getting to know Charleston as it is a vibrant combination of old and new, offering diverse attractions suitable for just about anyone.
Charleston is a place of much historical significance as it was a major landmark during colonial times. The Historic District is the oldest part of town and a lot of the buildings and houses have been preserved, sparking much architectural interest. Tours are available, like the Historic Homes Walk , which will allow you to learn more about this amazing architecture dating back to the mid-18th century. To some, old houses like the Heyward-Washington House or the Nathaniel Russell House are the major reason why Charleston has become such a notable location.
Mount Pleasant District
Founded in 1680 and located to the East of Charleston, the Mount Pleasant District is known for its fine dining. Whether its breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you will find more than a few selections in this area that is packed with all different types of eateries. Mount Pleasant is also the home of one of the biggest naval & maritime museums in the world, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum . Tour boats are available from Mount Pleasant to view Fort Sumter , the site where the Civil War began.
North Charleston is the main business and transportation location for the southern half of the state. Both the International Airport and Amtrak Station are located here. Adding to the bustle of North Charleston is the 14,000-seat North Charleston Coliseum , home of the South Carolina Stingrays hockey team. Also, a 2,250-seat Performing Arts Center showcases touring Broadway shows along with other music concerts and performances.
Charleston's eclectic character makes dining downtown a fascinating and memorable experience. With its historical charm and Southern grace as its backdrop, the city is home to a variety of eating establishments offering local and global fare with choices abound for almost every taste. For a unique Southern flavor, you can order salmon and grits from Hyman's Seafood Company or enjoy “imaginative American cuisine with a Southern flair” at The Library at Vendue Inn . Station 22 is the oldest continuously operating restaurant on Sullivan's Island. It offers a gallery of nostalgic black and white photographs of the island's history. Whether you are looking for the ambiance of an old Southern town or the excitement that greets the senses when sampling foods from around the world, Charleston delivers.
How barren would an attractive waterfront be if you were unable to find good seafood? A.W. Shuck's offers she-crab soup, raw bar and stuffed shrimp. Anson , which is only open for dinner, also serves up she-crab soup along with light entrees. For a different taste, try their shrimp and grits or their cashew-encrusted grouper. Boathouse and California Dreaming boast an excellent surf and turf selection and waterfront dining. The Wreck is a cash-only restaurant overlooking Shem Creek, serving Low Country seafood. Fans of the film Forrest Gump will want to stop by the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on Market Street.
Close your eyes for a moment and you may be able to hear the carriages clopping through the streets of the old town. The aura of the city's former wealth can be experienced in the richness of its present. For a taste of upscale Southern cuisine there is Charleston Chops, where you can listen to live piano music while savoring steak, seafood and wine. The Charleston Grill on Main Street is the place to go for local game, seafood and produce. There you can sample some baked grits or Vidalia hash pie. Southern cooking is an art at Magnolia's with shrimp sausage and grits, down-south egg roll and veal meatloaf. Poogan's Porch is highly acclaimed and many celebrities have sampled their upscale Lowcountry cuisine. For local ingredients and a good, modestly priced wine, try The Old Post Office Restaurant , out in Edisto Island. Peninsula Grill serves more conventional items and boasts an award-winning wine list. Spirit of Carolina offers a dinner cruise through Charleston Harbor. Cypress is an upscale restaurant without the upscale prices. It is housed in a building constructed in the 1830s and jackets are required downstairs.
If the taste of city life is not for you, you can escape without traveling too far. More classic, Low-Country meals can be found at places like Hominy Grill , which serves shrimp with brown gravy and fried green tomatoes. Charleston's Cafe , formally known as The Bookstore Cafe, provides country cooking for breakfast and lunch as well as catering services in its new Mount Pleasant location. Jestine's Kitchen is another excellent place to go for an old-fashioned meal at affordable prices, while Rosebank Farms Cafe offers something more eclectic.
Even with its regional character, Charleston remains cosmopolitan as evidenced by the international flavor found in its eateries. 39 Rue de Jean is an authentic French Bistro and has been described as “being in Paris.” A Taste of India serves North Indian dishes for lunch and dinner. You will feel like a Polka after sampling the Wiener Schnitzel at Max & Moritz Restaurant . Come to Athens Restaurant & Grill for a wide selection of Greek fare. Tommy Condon's Irish Pub and Seafood Restaurant is a family place owned by true Irish. Charleston has several fine Italian restaurants; some of the best are Capriccio Restaurant and Fulton Five . Wasabi Japanese Restaurant , Sushi Hiro , and Tsunami are good places to go should you feel like sushi or other Japanese fare.
Want to stop for a cold one? 82 Queen is a favorite watering hole for the Broad Street business professionals. Dine outside or just hang out with friends. Blind Tiger Pub takes you across the Atlantic to an English style establishment, while Cumberlands entertains a younger crowd with a diverse selection of live music.
These are just a few of Charleston's favorite places to eat and drink. There is something for everyone and you do not have to be a native Southerner to appreciate it, though you may feel like one when you leave.