Charleston Travel Guide: What to see and eat in the Low Country

Canada and cold are practically synonymous, so A and I escaped the sub-zero temperatures for five days earlier this month to the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. Bye, snow boots; hello, sunglasses!

Okay, so it wasn’t hot per se. But the 15-20˚C range is preferred by me, anyway, so I was more than happy to stroll the streets of this historic city in jeans and a light sweater.

And a lot of strolling was done. We walked a ton – down cobblestone alleyways seemingly out of a movie, across the boardwalk overlooking the high tide of the Atlantic, through lush English gardens blooming with camellias and magnolias, and up streets lined with 18th-century Georgian townhouses boasting colourful façades. If some of those houses could talk, the stories they’d tell!

History is certainly a focal point of the city, being founded and settled in 1670. Between the amount to learn, eat, and see, there’s certainly something for everyone in the Holy City and we were happy to have experienced a taste of life in the Low Country.

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Here are some of our highlights; thanks to everyone who provided their recommendations!

Where to eat and drink:

Minero for tacos

We loved Chef Sean Brock’s Mexican restaurant so much, we went twice during our stay! Get the catfish taco.

Husk for dinner

Named Bon Appetit magazine’s Best New Restaurant in America in 2011, we had to try out another of Brock’s restaurants, which we first heard about on the show Mind of a Chef. I’m still thinking about the cornbread.

Butcher & Bee for burgers (both veggie and beef)

Another joint located in both Nashville and Charleston, Butcher & Bee just north of downtown continued to come up as one of the top spots for lunch or dinner in my research, so we had to pay a visit. We weren’t disappointed with our tasty burgers made of seasonal, fresh, local ingredients! I even went away with some lovely soaps, sold in the front of the restaurant.

Poogan’s Porch for fish

Located next to Husk and conveniently right across from our hotel, Poogan’s Porch delighted us with our salmon and shrimp ‘n’ grits dishes. The restaurant, set in a home built in 1888, is named after a dog named Poogan who frequented its porch.

Swig & Swine for BBQ

There is no lack of options for fantastic barbecue joints in the Low Country. We landed on Swig & Swine and from the moment we smelled the smoke from the parking lot, knew we wouldn’t regret it.

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for the best biscuits

You better go to Callie’s hungry. And a fan of butter. The most fresh, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits made even better by adding things like bacon, egg and cheese in the middle.

Kitchen 208 for breakfast

We needed a spot with healthy breakfast options to fuel a big day ahead, and Kitchen 208 served up just what we needed in the form of an egg white veggie omelette and Greek yogurt with fruit and granola.

The Griffon for fish ‘n’ chips

This dive bar known for having dollar bills covering the entirety of its interior walls boasts the best fish ‘n’ chips in the city. Naturally, I had to try it out for myself. The fresh cod makes all the difference!

McCrady’s Tavern for drinks

Our last Sean Brock restaurant of the trip, we ventured to McCrady’s Tavern one evening for drinks in the historic brick establishment, established in 1778, off East Bay Street.

Also on our list were Hominy (closed while we were there), Bin 152 and 5Church for drinks, Henry’s, Rutledge Cab Co. for breakfast, and Verde for lunch.

What to see and do:

Shop on King Street (boutiques and high-end stores) and at the Charleston City Market (local artisans, souvenirs)

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Take a tour of the Nathaniel Russell House

Visit the Old Slave Mart Museum

Swing on the benches on the boardwalk at Waterfront Park

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Take photos along Rainbow Row and at the Pink House

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Rainbow Row

Stroll along the sea wall promenade of East Battery

Tour a plantation just outside the city

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Take a carriage ride through South of Broad

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Fort Sumter

We didn’t get out to the site where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, but it’s on our list to visit when we go again.

Note: all photos my own and taken on an iPhone6. Do not republish without permission.

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8 thoughts on “Charleston Travel Guide: What to see and eat in the Low Country

      1. I like Slightly North of Broad, Hominy Grill, and Hyman’s Seafood. There are just so many places to choose from. I often tell people that Charleston has some of the best food I have eaten.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Food was the main reason we went and we were definitely not disappointed! So many good ingredients, such great flavours, and some really talented chefs. It doesn’t surprise me you had a similar experience!

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