Things to Do in Charleston

Charleston has been named the #1 tourist destination in the United States for years. That means it is one of the most popular wedding destinations as well. Good weather, a thriving foodie scene, beaches, and a historic city with buildings dating back to pre-Revolutionary War days, make it easy to see why people love visiting here. If you’re planning a destination wedding in Charleston, make sure you make a weekend (or a week!) out of it. There’s so much to do – your guests will leave with full bellies and experiences they’ll be talking about for the rest of their lives.

Charleston Plantation Tours

Magnolia Plantation

Boone Hall

Middleton Place

Historic Home Tours in Charleston

Edmonston-Alston House

Nathaniel Russell House

Aiken-Rhett House

Best Charleston Restaurants:

You could easily skip all the sightseeing and shopping and just eat your way through your Charleston vacation. Charleston is an official foodie town, and with good reason.

Fine dining:

Chez Nous: Perfect romantic night out. Located in an old Charleston home, it’s super tiny inside but with a beautiful courtyard as well. Both spots are dreamy, romantic, and will transport you to another time. Chef Jill Mathias creates a different menu every day (which she hand-writes herself), same menu for lunch and dinner, with two appetizer options, two entree options, and two dessert options. The menu is announced that morning, shortly before lunch. But everything is glorious, every time. (Pro tip: You won’t be able to read Jill’s handwriting on the menu, but don’t worry, the server will explain everything). 

The Grocery: This is Erin’s favorite restaurant in Charleston. Fun, unpretentious atmosphere, constantly evolving and creative menu, small and large plates so you can share.

Husk: Inventive Southern cuisine inside a gorgeous old downtown home. Ingredients sourced only in the South, which results in authentic Lowcountry cuisine with a modern twist.

Seafood:

The Darling Oyster Bar: I’ll admit, I don’t even go here for the oysters (although we always get them). I come here for the fried shrimp and MOST IMPORTANT the clam chowder over fries. Do not miss this amazing treat. It’s basically seafood poutine. Ben also loves their hamburger. 

The Ordinary: This is where you go to completely luxuriate in fresh seafood. You’ll do some damage on your credit card for sure, but it’s all worth it. You’ll remember this meal. Definitely order the seafood tower (just get the biggest one, you won’t regret it). 

Leon’s Oyster Shop: If Charleston starts to feel too fancy and all you want to do is eat amazing seafood in a former automotive shop, this is where you go. Oysters are always fresh and delicious (you’ll want a glass of rosé with that). People love the fried chicken sandwich as well. I get the fried shrimp basket which is absolutely perfect. Get the large Siam salad to share with the table. (Pro tip: Don’t miss the super-cool bathrooms!) 

Fun & casual:

Estadio: Spanish tapas served in a fun, lively atmosphere. This has become our go-to for special occasions. 

Xiao Bao Biscuit: One of our go-to neighborhood spots. Tucked back into the residential area, this is a locals’ joint. Unique and flavorful Asian street food. The menu changes, but one thing that’s always there is the cabbage pancake. It’s everyone’s favorite. There’s also always at least one really fantastic fish dish.

Santi’s: Mexican hole-in-the-wall, off the beaten path. Cheap and delicious. Legit margaritas. Homemade tortilla chips. This is Ben and Erin’s go-to neighborhood restaurant. We recommend eating on the patio out back, surrounded by all the colorful twinkly lights.

Down ‘n’ Dirty Southern Cookin’

Martha Lou’s: This tiny little pink shack has been reviewed by the New York Times. Meat and three, or a veggie plate. Don’t miss this place.

Beaches

Folly Beach: This was Erin’s beach when she was growing up. Unpretentious, it’s where the locals and surfers hang out. There will be lots of people here, playing beach games, trying to hide the beer in their cups. Tip: The surfers all congregate at The Washout, at the north end of the beach. If you want to surf or just watch people surf, when you arrive at Folly on Center Street, turn left on East Ashley Avenue, and just keep going until you can’t go anymore. That’s the Washout. Here’s a map of Folly Beach: http://www.follybeach.com/islandmap.php

Isle of Palms: Gorgeous beach near Mount Pleasant, a little more upscale.

Sullivans Island: It’s quiet and less populated. This is another locals beach for people who want to get away from the crowds.