Last weekend we took a quick little trip to Charleston with our friends/next-door neighbors, Dave and Julie. Taking a quick adult vacation in late January/early February is becoming a little tradition for us. Last year we visited Savannah around the same time. Working with a quick little window of 2 nights for our getaway, we chose Charleston for our destination this year.
Charleston is about 5 1/2 hours away from us. That’s probably the limit of how much we want to drive for a 2 night/3 day stay. We left on Friday morning and arrived in the afternoon. Before we left, I did my typical scouring of the internet to get recommendations of what to do and where to eat. Like I mentioned in THIS post, I have a specific websites I go to get ideas on where we would want to eat. I mostly focus on recommendations from bloggers whose style I like that happen to live in the city or have recently visited. Then I save all my findings on a trusty Pinterest board like this one I made for Charleston.
Where we stayed:
We used AirBnB to find a cozy place to stay in Charleston. Staying in an AirBnB home worked out really well for our Savannah trip, so we tried the same for Charleston. The unit we chose ended up being a super charming upstairs apartment in a historic home. The house was built in 1852 and has been restored by the young couple that live downstairs over the past couple of years. We loved the layout and the comfortable features. Our young hosts greeted us at arrival and walked us through the home to make sure we were comfortable with everything.
In case you are interested in staying in this same apartment, I have to warn you about the location. The home is located 2 blocks from King Street, which if you know anything about Charleston, is the street. However, this was upper King Street, which is definitely growing but not a prime tourist area. The neighborhood around the home is still in “transition”. The host actually emailed me to let me know that before we booked to make sure that would be okay with us. I really appreciated her letting us know and we chose to book anyway. To be honest, if we hadn’t known ahead of time, I would have been a little freaked out by the location. Despite the neighborhood’s looks, it turned out to be great jumping off point for biking around the city, which is what we did all day Saturday.
What we did:
Last year when we went to Savannah we took our bikes and never once got in the car during our visit. That was such a memorable part of our trip that we decided to do it again for Charleston. Especially after driving 5+ hours to get there, it felt good to stretch our legs and ride all Saturday long.
Biking around this city was an absolute blast. Julie had studied a map of the city and gotten a travel guide before our trip, so she guided us to the different areas of interest. In between stops for meals and refreshments, we would weave in and out of all the residential streets of the city filled with so much to look at. We absolutely loved the historic homes with their charming side porches. What a beautiful city!
If you can bring or rent bikes on your visit, I would highly recommend it. Every time we would want to stop and walk around, we would just lock the bikes up for a little bit and then hop back on when it was time to move on.
Although soaking up the city on bikes was a blast, the highlight of the visit would probably have to be the amazing meals we ate. I am sure we could have stayed a month and eaten at a different place every day.
Where we ate & drank:
Husk – This was our first dinner in Charleston and man, was it good. Southern-inspired and completely focused on local ingredients, there was not one menu item we didn’t love.
The Daily – This small but beautiful cafe serves Stumptown coffee and has a delicious little breakfast menu. I ordered the avocado toast with a fried egg on top and I am still thinking about it.
Black Tap – The day we rode our bikes around the city was cold! So we needed a place to refuel and warm-up in between stops. Black Tap was that place. They had a nice selection of coffee and tea drinks, but most importantly, a warm and sunny spot to sit and chill.
Xiao Bao Biscuit – Although it is nearly impossible to pick a best meal of the places we ate, if someone put a gun to my head I would probably pick Xiao Bao Biscuit. The menu had about 5-6 items on it, and wouldn’t you know we ordered all of them because they all were so tempting.
FIG – Brian and I actually ate here on our visit to Charleston 10 years prior. Despite how long they’ve been around, FIG is still holding a spot as one of Charleston’s most innovative places to eat. It’s a special occasion place and one that you will want to make reservations for weeks in advance. But you will be so happy you did. FIG was out of this world!
The Park Cafe – On our last morning in Charleston we struggled with making a decision for breakfast. We all remembered The Daily so fondly, we kinda wanted to repeat it. But the “try and see new things” part of us was calling to try a new place. I think we chose well. We showed up at the cafe about 10 minutes early and there was a small line of people already waiting at the door.
Our visit to Charleston was absolutely fantastic. The city is absolutely magical. A charming combination of historic streets and homes with a buzzing young energy. I know we just touched the tip of the iceberg with all there is to do in Charleston. So we’ll have to plan another trip soon!
Have you been to Charleston lately? What were your favorites?