Charleston, SC – The South’s Hidden Gem

Let me start off by saying my cousin Hayley has been trying to get me to visit her in Charleston for the past year or so now, and for the life of me I cant remember why I have postponed this trip so long.  I have found Charleston to be the cutest town filled with amazing drinks, even better food, trendy boutiques, stunning galleries, and home to one of the best cousins of all time (the other three will eventually be featured). This is her: Hayley - Charleston

The best tour guide ever. If possible, I always recommend seeing a new city through a local perspective. I mean, they do live there so they know the best places, and yes sometimes those places are not rated on TripAdvisor. I went on my Charleston adventure with my boyfriend of six years, Joe. He can be a little grumpy at times, but when it comes to traveling he is always my number one favorite travel buddy. He is so easy going and down for anything. As you may know, we live in Tampa so a simple drive is all we needed to get there. We woke up super early and started driving around 5:30am. I drove, Joe slept. One potty break, two red bulls, and a stop for Chic-fil-a breakfast later, we were there! We arrived around noon and overall it wasn’t a bad drive. We checked in to probably the cutest hotel I have ever been in, The Francis Marion Hotel.

Franic Marion - SIgn Francis Marion - Lobby

My cousin was busy running the Charleston Half Marathon (yeah, she’s one of those) so she couldn’t meet us for lunch but told us to hit up a market named Caviar and Bananas. Once I walked in I instantly felt like I was living in Manhattan again and walked into a Dean and Deluca’s. So, I instantly fell in love. Then I ordered the Cheese Toastie, and I was in heaven. This is a must do if you are heading to Charleston and like cheese. Just sayin.

Caviar and Bananas - Cheese Toastie#foodporn

After, we met up with Hayley who is a student at The College of Charleston studying Art History and Arts Management. She showed us around her beautiful campus and the gallery she interns at on King St.

College of Charleston - CLock college of charleston

The next few days were a haze of drinking, wandering, and tons of eating around this beautiful town.

charleston bridge

Charelston Charleston - bridge

Charelston Charleston

downtown charelston

charleston Charleston  

 Charleston - Sunset Charleston - Fountain

Charleston Bridge

charelston

Here are some of the places we went:

FOOD

Caviar and Bananas

(see cheese toastie above)

Monza

Amazing thin crust pizza

Eli’s Table

We went there for brunch, two words: bottomless mimosas

Craftsmen Kitchen and Taphouse

Craft beer and great food

The Bagel Shop

Cute little bagel shop right off of King street

Bull Street Market

I stopped in there for a hot chocolate and croissant, cute gourmet market

Eli's Table Craftsmen kitchen and taphouse

DRINKS

 Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer

For every kind of brew you want (growlers available)

Southend Brewery and Smokehouse

Great beer

The Griffon

Small bar with tons of character, leave a dollar bill

The Belmont

By far, this place was the highlight of my trip. AMAZING cocktails. Plus, they have old black and white movies playing. This is a must

Closed for Business

This place is located right next to Monza and owned by the same people. Local craft beers available and an overall great atmosphere

The Gin Joint

Other than their amazing name, typography, and delicious drinks; you MUST order the soft pretzels with Sriracha cheese. Yeah, you heard me correctly.

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The Belmont The Belmont

 Southend Brewery 995615_10151910865276662_366872569_n 

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SHOPS

So the first thing I noticed about Charleston (other than its fascination with old clocks) is that there are stores dedicated to one type of food, and you are able to taste everything.

 Savannah Bee Company

The Peanut Shop of Charleston

Pepper Palace

The Charleston Beer Exchange

The Charleston Beer Exchange is a must for any beer lover. Being from Tampa, I love craft beer and this place was great. Growlers available. Joe went a little crazy (see box of beer below)

Indigo Home

This place is right next to The Griffon and has a ton of great handmade items

The Vault

Don’t let their website fool you, this store is super cool. Half of the store is a ton of vintage inspired sports apparel and the other half is a super cute boutique filled with everything a girl would want in her closet. Hint: they sell Bourbon and Boweties

The Charleston City Market

This market is awesome! Ton of local merchants. I got the cutest leather wallet and handmade jewelry from a local lady and I am obsessed.

Indigo Home

 Savannah Bee Company Savannah Bee Company

 Charleston beer exchange

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If you ever have a long weekend and want a fun place to go in the south, Charleston is perfect. Like I said before, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get there. It was definitely a memorable trip.

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and of course, there was gin.

The Gin Joint

Cheers!

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