Charleston, South Carolina

With a handful of long weekends approaching, it’s time to make some travel plans. Craving a little Southern hospitality? You probably remember Charleston for its antebellum mansions, overly polite people, and hearty seafood. Well, the architecture is being restored and the restaurant scene is exploding. And the people do continue to have impeccable manners, but since when is that a bad thing? So it might be time to explore South Carolina’s oldest city again.

Photo: Zero George Street
Photo: Zero George Street

First, move into Zero George Street, your Charleston home. Really, it will feel like home. Three historic buildings, plus two additional carriage houses, have been turned into studios and suites with heart pine floors. Wicker and wrought-iron furniture fill the piazzas, where breakfast is served. Ceiling fans and sea breezes will cool you down later in the afternoon, as you sip rose and nibble on cheese before your dinner reservation. The hotel is only a few oak-lined blocks away from Liberty Square, the Battery, and East Bay Street. You’re in the middle of everything.

After breakfast, start your morning at Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, before it starts getting humid. Take a carriage ride through Rainbow Row, the 18th century line of stately houses. The scent of jasmine seeps from the overflowing gardens. And elbow your way through the Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square. Your mouth will start to water. It’s time to eat. Virginia’s on King serves classic Southern comfort food: fried chicken or shrimp and grits. Or Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar offers oysters from all over North America.

Charleston, South CarolinaWalk off lunch along the Battery’s promenade, the art galleries of the French Quarter, or the shops on upper King Street. Visit the Charleston Museum, the Footlight Players, and the Dock Street Theatre. Watch guys playing a trumpet and a saxophone jam on the sidewalk. Sip a harbor breeze at the rooftop Pavilion Bar. Or better yet, on a sunset cruise around the harbor. Dinner will be your hardest decision of the day, but all of your choices focus on fresh, local, Southern cuisine. Soft shell crabs and Riesling on tap at FIG. All ingredients sourced below the Mason-Dixon line–including amazing cornbread–at Husk. Or go all out with the tasting menu and pre-Prohibition cocktails at McCrady’s. It’s so hard deciding where to go. Good thing you’re here for a long weekend.

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