CharlotteFive is taking you on an adventure, highlighting the best places to stay, eat and play in destinations that are easy to access from Charlotte.
If you love exceptional food, centuries of history, breathtaking views, gorgeous churches, top-notch shopping and endless doses of Southern charm, program your GPS for Charleston, South Carolina.
Founded in 1670 and dubbed the Holy City because of its religious tolerance, Charleston is home to more than 400 churches, synagogues, temples and mosques. It is as much of a haven for history buffs as it is an epicurean adventure for foodies looking for an unforgettable meal.
From its award-winning beaches to its cobblestone streets, Charleston is an idyllic spot for family reunions, a girls weekend getaway or a quick retreat with friends. A straight shot down Interstate 26 from Charlotte, a mere three hours will land you right in the southern part of heaven.
Location: 20 South Battery, Charleston SC 29401
Why you should stay here: Sleep in your own mansion. An 1843 private mansion turned boutique hotel, the recently restored 20 South Battery will have you never wanting to return to your own home. Featuring 11 rooms and suites and a private garden, the hotel recently won the Pro Merito Award from the Preservation Society of Charleston for excellence in renovation and preservation.
Location: 55 Wentworth St., Charleston, SC 29401
Why you should stay here: Bold, playful vibe. Funky, vibrant art-inspired decor, a swanky rooftop restaurant and an on-site wine blending experience make the Grand Bohemian Hotel Autograph Collection a great choice for those living on the eclectic side.
Location: 334 Meeting St., Charleston, SC 29403
Why you should stay here: Mid-century modern meets ultimate luxury. Once a federal office building commissioned by President John F. Kennedy, The Dewberry Charleston will leave you wanting for nothing. The swanky hotel features a rooftop bar and the Citrus Club, which provides a bird’s eye view of the city, as well as a James Beard Award-nominated cocktail lounge, The Living Room.
Location: 19 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401
Why you should stay here: An art lover’s dream. With more than 300 pieces featured throughout the hotel, The Vendue is like an art gallery you can sleep in. Corridors and galleries are lined with art from both local talent and from artists around the globe. To top it off, The Vendue is home to the #1 rooftop bar in Charleston.
Why you should stay here: Understated elegance and complimentary bikes. Step back in time without giving up the comforts of the 21st century at Zero George. Named for its ideally located street address, the boutique hotel’s guest rooms, studios and carriage houses surround a private garden courtyard to create an enchanted experience.
Where to eat
Eat here for: Out of this world brunch. In a tie too close to call, Butcher and Bee and The Obstinate Daughter (see below) have brunch menus that make you wish everyday was a Saturday or Sunday. You can’t go wrong with an Old Danger pizza at The Obstinate Daughter or the Whipped Feta and a Bloody Mary at Butcher and Bee — they are bloody delicious.
Location: 6 Payne Ct, Charleston, SC 29403
Eat here for: Neighborhood feel.The self-proclaimed pint-sized Chez Nous is nestled in an alley in historic downtown and features a small but mighty French-inspired menu that is hand-written in perfectly elegant script each day. Très délicieux.
Location: 513 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Eat here for: Raw bar done right. Pull up a stool (if you can get one) at The Darling Oyster Bar. Packed with fresh gifts from the sea, the endless raw bar is a must for seafood lovers.
Location: 186 Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401
Cuisine: Southern American
Eat here for: Water views. Harbor views and seafood-stuffed hushpuppies _ name a better combo. You can find both, along with a menu of Southern staples and playful cocktails at Fleet Landing.
Location: 434 King St., Charleston, SC 29403
Cuisine: American steakhouse
Eat here for: Top-notch everything. From food and drinks to atmosphere and service — they’ve even been known to send hand-written thank you notes to guests — Halls Chophouse is not to be missed. For a true Southern experience for your mouth and your ears, check out the Sunday Gospel Brunch featuring the Gullah and spiritual acapella group the Plantation Singers.
Cuisine: Southern American
Eat here for: A delicious brunch. (See above).
Location: 462 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Cuisine: Small plates
Eat here for: The scene (and to be seen). For the ultimate Charleston day and night life experience, head to Republic Garden and Lounge, where you’ll find live entertainment each night and an extravagant outdoor garden that provides one of the most Instagrammable backdrops in the city.
Location: 59 1/2 Cannon St., Charleston, SC 29403
Eat here for: Sweet tooth satisfaction. An institution in Charleston, Sugar Bake Shop hits the sweet spot with its cupcakes, cookies, cakes and pastries. The lemon curd and red velvet cupcakes are not to be missed.
Things to do
Visit the expansive, 500-year-old Angel Oak Tree that covers more than 17,000 square feet.
Don’t leave before you…
One last “bite” of info if you are looking for a more off-the-beaten-path adventure in Charleston. Head out with Capt. Cris Miller, a 25-year decorated U.S. Navy veteran and diver, to hunt for shark teeth. Miller just launched her private boat excursion business, Burnt and Sandy, in May 2021 following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on her work in the food and beverage industry (she even offered free boat rides to all those in the food and beverage industry her first month in business). Burnt and Sandy offers visitors customizable trips to discover marine life, shells, shark teeth and other Charleston-area treasures.