This summer, Charleston easily became one of my most favorite cities, and apparently I'm not alone in this adoration. This year it took home the number one spot in Travel + Leisure's Best Tourist City in the world and for good reason. With lush greenery, beautifully colorful homes, and top of the line restaurants, Charleston manages to preserve its quaint charm in spite of it's popularity. My girlfriends and I were not alone in selecting it as our getaway for a Bachelorette. It's a far cry from the quintessential trips to Vegas or Miami but still keeps up with exciting nightlife.
Where to Stay
The Spectator Hotel. Named the #1 City Hotel in the U.S., staying at the Spectator was a no-brainer. Everything about this hotel was spectacular, from the butler service, to the complimentary bicycles and breakfast. The staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating and the bathrooms were larger than most NYC apartments. We kicked off the weekend with delicious cocktails and bottles of Dom. If you're going to do it, do it right.
Where to Eat
Husk. Ask anyone who lives or has been to Charleston this question and they will across the board tell you that Husk is one of the best in town. It's centrally located in downtown Charleston and truly captures the essence of great Southern cuisine. While the menu changes day to day, the jalapeño boiled peanuts are a must. Drink up too, the cocktails are one of a kind.
Edmund's Oast. If you're anything like my friends and I, you often plan vacations around restaurants you are dying to try. Edmund's Oast was a place we couldn't pass up, and I am so glad we didn't. Known for their beers and cocktails, Edmund's Oast boasts and impressive list of draft and house-brewed beers. One interesting (and delicious) selection was the Edmund's Oast Peanut Butter and Jelly Beer, brewed with peanuts, grape juice, and milk sugar, for a sandwich in a glass experience. Don't think for a minute that the food here takes second place to the drinks. In typical fashion, we ordered nearly everything on the menu. I give my highest recommendations to the Chicken Liver Parfait, the Sweet Corn Salad with fennel and gem lettuce, and the Cauliflower with creamy chèvre and calabrian chiles.
The Darling. If you love seafood, go to The Darling Oyster Bar. If you don't suck it up and still go. Trust me, you won't regret it. We discovered this adorable brunch spot after seeing countless Instagrams of the monster Lobster Claw Bloody Mary. Everything is incredibly fresh and flavorful. Besides all the seafood, ordering the Clam Chowder French Fries is an absolute must.
What to Do
Rent Bikes. As mentioned, if you stay at the Spectator, you have access to their adorable bicycles equipped with adorable baskets and bells. If not, seriously consider renting some for a more fun and active alternative to the horse carriage tours. Charleston is an incredibly easy city to navigate either by walking or by bike. The drivers are incredibly conscientious of the bikers and horse carriages, making it safe to explore the city.
When the Celine bag fits perfectly into the bike basket..
Visit the Mansions on Rainbow Row. Charleston is known for its beautiful pastel mansions on Rainbow Row. Most notably, the bright pink mansion overlooking the water. The charm and the history of the homes are too beautiful to miss out on.
Candle Making Class. This was quite possibly one of my favorite activities in Charleston. Candlefish, a local candle shop, offers group candle-making classes where you can explore the 100 scents of the Candlefish Fragrance Library and select your preferred scent. After your class, you officially become a chandler and get to enjoy your two large, personalized Candlefish candles. The classes are BYOB (woot), include two large candles to make and keep, and are only $45 a person.