The Chic City Guide: Charleston

With its candy-colored homes, gorgeous gardens, wonderful local food, a perfectly preserved historic downtown, and vibrant arts scene, it’s no wonder Condé Nast Traveler readers recently named Charleston the #1 small city in the country. The most gracious of cities has something for everyone, from amazing cutting-edge restaurants to great shopping. Here are our picks to see, stay, eat, and wear in the River City, in partnership with Condé Nast Traveler. 

Photo credit: Sean Pavone/Getty Images

There are few places that take southern hospitality as seriously as Charleston does. From the modern to the classically luxurious, these top five hotels, all from this year’s Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, will charm you with their beauty, comfort and warm welcomes.

Surrounded by fertile local farms and a teaming seafood industry, the Low Country has long been famous for its food. A recent influx of young chefs means Charleston has one of the most dynamic dining scenes in the country. We’ve picked a few of our favorite local dishes, where to eat them, plus what to wear.

The perfectly calibrated biscuit egg sandwich with pimento cheese from Callie’s Charleston Biscuits

You can’t leave the Low Country without trying the deliciously crunchy fried chicken at Martha Lou’s Kitchen

For the consummate She-Crab soup, look no further than Hank’s Seafood Restaurant. Don’t miss the seafood castle either.

The most elegant (and tasty) way to end to the most elegant meal is, without a doubt, the coconut cake at Peninsula Grill at the Planters Inn

From left, Sweater Collar Faux-Leather Jacket, Chico’s Faux-Suede Fringe Dress, Kimmi Multi-Strand Necklace, Jillian Drop Earrings. Click to buy.

The food revolution sweeping Charleston doesn’t stop at delicious dishes. From fine wines, to fun unusual cocktails, to craft beers, the town takes its libations just as seriously as its cuisine. These are three of our favorite spots to stop for a drink as you explore the city.

Locally made craft beer and cider are the stars at Edmund’s Oast, named for Edmund Egan, a brewer that moved to Charleston from England in 1760, and made a fortune, much of which he donated to the American Revolution, and oast, the kiln in which hops are dried ahead of fermentation.

An art gallery and wine bar with over 30 wines by the glass, Bin 152 is the ideal spot to recharge with a late afternoon drink and a nibble.

Photo Credit: The Cocktail Club

You’ll be absolutely right to stop and taste The Right and Wrong cocktail at The Cocktail Club, Charleston’s best high-end cocktail bar, with a focus on house-made infusions, rare liquors and interesting drinks.

From top left: Chico’s Black Label Cowl Neck Top, Black Label Hematite Stretch Bracelet, Black Label Faux-Leather Midi Skirt, Nadine Clutch. Click to buy.


Photo Credits, clockwise from top left: James Thomas/Getty Images; David S. Holloway/Getty Images; Tetra Images/Getty Images; Daniela Duncan/Getty Images; Lisa-Blue/Getty Images

Whether you plan to go for a weekend or a week, there’s a ton to do and see in Charleston. Here are some of our favorite stops, shops, and spots.

The Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island is one of the only tea plantations in America.

See old fashioned Charleston the old fashioned way, with a Palmetto Carriage Works horse drawn tour of the city.

A short trip outside of town, Folly Beach is one of the most beautiful seasides on the East Coast.

All along Highway 17 are stands selling locally made, beautifully crafted, sweetgrass baskets. Buy a few as gifts… and a few for yourself.
From left: Modern Maci Round Black Sunglasses, Black Label Double-Breasted Jacket, Black Label Sheer Opaque Tunic, Black Label Zip-Front Ankle Pants, Celia Ring Set. Click to buy.

We hope you enjoyed this guide to Charleston. Come back next month for a look at what to do in Nashville for the holidays! Special thanks to Condé Nast Traveler.

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29 Responses

  1. Edie K Laforest

    Going to Charleston! Lived there in 1942 – excited to see the restoration, eat the good food, and wear my Chico wardrobe!

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