Where can you take a well-traveled girlfriend to celebrate a milestone birthday?
Charleston, South Carolina proved to be the perfect place! Spring in “Chucktown” is fabulous as the weather is gorgeous and the city is bustling.
Charleston is simply charming with its cobblestone streets, carriage lanterns and colorful, centuries-old homes. Loads of shopping, visiting historic houses of worship and eating fresh seafood along the harbor are also perks to coming to the Low country. Charleston is an amazingly walkable city too.
Here are 6 must do’s when you visit this city of southern sophistication!
1. TAKE A CARRIAGE RIDE
Begin your visit to Charleston by taking a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city. Don’t be overwhelmed with the number of companies to chose from as they seem to be on every corner. We were very happy with our tour with Charleston Carriage Works. A one hour tour will cost $25 a person but you can always search for deals and coupons online.
2. BROWSE THE CHARLESTON CITY MARKET
Walk through this historic market as it is the cultural heart of the city. As one of the nation’s oldest public markets, you will find everything from local produce to antiques. It would have been the perfect place to buy my friend her birthday present from, but I had already chosen from a range of beautiful necklaces I’d seen at Adina’s Jewels before the trip. She loved it and that’s the important thing. It’s fun to hear the dialect of the Gullah ladies as they weave and sell handmade sweetgrass baskets here. We enjoyed sampling different treats and loved our time wandering around the Charleston City Market! The Market is open every day of the week from 9:30-5:30 and it’s also open on special evenings as well.
3. TAKE A HISTORIC PLANTATION TOUR
History buffs will relish all the choices of historical plantations to visit in Charleston. We chose to tour Middleton Place which is a preserved 18th-century rice plantation on the Ashley River and is also home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America.
Ticket prices are $28 for adults which includes admission to the National Historic Landmark as well as self-guided tours of the Gardens and Plantation Stableyards, a guided Garden Overview, “Meet the Breeds” and “Beyond The Fields” walking tours.
From experience, we recommend renting a car for the day you want to visit the Plantation. We took a cab to Middleton Place and it was very difficult to get one to come back out and pick us up. We had to wait awhile plus we spent more in cab fare than it would’ve cost to rent the car. Renting a vehicle for the day is easy at the Enterprise not too far up the street from the Visitors Center. You can head over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to explore Mt. Pleasant and fit in beach time if you rent your own wheels for the day!
4. BOOK A COOKING CLASS
Our Taste of the Lowcountry lunch class at Charleston Cooks was a highlight to our time in Charleston. Neither of us is a gourmet chef but we had a lot of fun watching, learning and especially tasting the meal of shrimp and grits followed by banana cream pie. Tickets for this are $29 and can be booked online.
5. STAY AT THE HARBOURVIEW INN
I will be honest the HarbourView Inn was not my first or even second choice for our lodging while in Charleston. We happened to have planned our girlfriend getaway on a very busy weekend and lots of places were already booked. My friend and I couldn’t have been happier with the HarbourView Inn, even though it was a little more costly than where we originally had planned to stay. It was worth it as our room was spacious and the beds were extremely comfy.
We started every morning off on this rooftop deck where our breakfast, which was included with our stay, was delivered to us. We also enjoyed the complimentary happy hour each afternoon as well. The location was perfect and we were able to walk to everything that we wanted to from here.
6. SHOP and EAT ‘TIL YOU DROP
OK, so maybe eating and shopping should be number one on the list because it is a big reason why we came here to Charleston. King Street, in historic downtown, has been named one of the 10 Best Shopping Streets in the Country and I have to agree. There are so many unique boutiques as well as some of the mainstream favorites to enjoy. If you need a sugary pick me up, stop in Glazed Gourmet donuts on north King. I had the most amazing Salted Carmel Apple donut here and I’m still dreaming about it!