Take a stroll down the cobbled streets of Charleston and you can feel the history and culture thick in the air. As the oldest city in the state of South Carolina, this coastal gem oozes southern charm and draws travelers from all over the world. While the city makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a different time, among the antebellum architecture, it is a thriving city with much to see and do. Our guide to the charming city of Charleston will have you rushing to visit and experience all that it has to offer.
This iconic series of brightly painted row houses near the waterfront is a must-see. This unique attraction boasts 14 homes in 14 different colors, hence the name Rainbow Row. Walk or bike down East Bay Street and soak in the stunning architecture which dates back to the 1800’s. The colorful paint jobs were introduced in the early 1900’s and are sure to put a smile on your face, though no one knows for sure the story of how the houses came to be.
83-107 East Bay Street, Charleston, South Carolina
You won’t want to miss the mouthwatering shrimp and grits at Poogan’s Porch, washed down with some good old fashioned sweet tea. This acclaimed restaurant, nestled into a charmingly restored Victorian house, is one of Charleston’s oldest independent culinary establishments. While known for its hospitality and delicious fare, it is also infamous for being haunted. Ghosts are said to haunt the building, including a wailing woman in black who roams the halls. Police have reported to dozens of calls throughout the years about the ghost, but have never found a trace of anything. Poogan, the long-deceased dog from whom the restaurant gets its name, is also known to brush up against children’s legs under the tables.
72 Queen St, Charleston, South Carolina
Enjoy sipping fancy cocktails and nibbling on elevated bar snacks at this well-known Charleston establishment. You can choose from a list of seasonal drinks, or if you’re feeling bold you can try the Bartender’s Choice and have whatever they decide is their drink of choice. The Gin Joint’s tireless attention to detail has made this a go-to spot for cocktail lovers. The owners use locally sourced herbs, house-infused syrups, and have a flare for southern flavors.
182 East Bay St., Charleston, South Carolina
A perfect photo op, the Pineapple Fountain in Charleston Waterfront Park is a big tourist attraction. The pineapple represents hospitality and is a symbol used widely throughout the city. The fountain has been a focal point in the city since 1990 when it was first opened to the public. When the weather gets warm, children are not only permitted, but encouraged, to splash and wade in the shallows.
Pineapple Fountain, Charleston, South Carolina
Snuggle up to some furry feline friends while enjoying a beverage and some fresh pastries at Pounce Cat Cafe. A reservation gets you one hour of fun to play with cats and kittens of all ages and sizes. The cafe is teamed up with the Charleston Animal Society so if you fall in love with one of the cats you can take him or her home with you!
283 Meeting St, Charleston, South Carolina
During the warmer months, make one day of your vacation a beach day and soak up some rays on Sullivan’s Island. Just a quick drive or water taxi from Charleston, the island boasts an inviting mix of water sports, fresh seafood, shopping, and history. While it is only 3.3 square miles large, what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm and good times.
Sullivan's Island, Charleston County, South Carolina