Living in the Lowcountry, one never loses sight of the fact that Charleston is one of the most beloved vacation communities in the world. Historic downtown, a world renown restaurant scene, pristine beaches, cultural events, festivals, fishing, golf, boating, and beautiful parks is just a short list of activities and attractions that Lowcountry residents have access to year-round.

Eat & Drink

High Cotton
Dine on inventive Nouvelle cuisine in a place that really gives you the Charleston feel with its potted palms, ceiling fans and mahogany shutters. Enjoy a festive Sunday Brunch with their take on Lowcountry favorites, like Banana Bread French Toast and Carolina Shrimp and Grits, while enjoying the smooth sounds of talented local jazz musicians.
Millers All Day
Enjoy a deliciously southern breakfast any time of the day in the heart of downtown Charleston at Millers All Day! All grains are locally sourced and milled with a 175 year old machine, making every bowl authentic and fresh. Make sure to try their uniques cocktails and grab a sweet treat from their bakery!
Three Little Birds Cafe
Three Little Birds Cafe is a cozy local oasis where you can enjoy fresh breakfast and lunch dishes, handmade smoothies and juices, or a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee. The cafe creates a fun atmosphere with walls covered in local art, eclectic mismatched plates, and vintage mason jars. Enjoy your brunch soaking up the sun on their patio or staying cozy in the cafe!
Seabiscuit Cafe
Seabiscuit Cafe has been serving up delicious, Southern style cuisine for breakfast and lunch on the Isle of Palms since 1986. Locals and tourists alike make it a favorite stop on their way to enjoy the beautiful sites of Charleston and the surrounding islands. Remember to bring cash because that is all they accept!
Old Village Post House
A neighborhood tavern and inn nestled in Mount Pleasant’s historic Old Village. In feel and décor, it’s as comfortable as your best friend’s home – from the original worn pine floors to their lively tavern. The food is great too!
Cru Cafe
Cru Cafe is run by renowned Le Cordon Bleu Chef John Zucker. Opened in 2002 in response to overwhelming demand, Cru Cafe is a true hidden gem in the extensive and impressive Charleston restaurant scene. Get the Chinese Chicken Salad. I could eat it at least once a week.
Poe’s Tavern
Located two blocks from the beach on Sullivan’s Island and named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe, they are best known for great burgers and drinks. Stopping in after a long day at the beach, patrons enjoy congregating on the large front porch with a favorite brew, handpicked from a selection of over 40. You will not be disappointed with Amontillado burger. I promise.
Where the soul of the South meets the spark of innovation, you will find Magnolias’ cuisine. With every dish, Executive Chef Don Drake harmoniously blends traditional southern ingredients and cooking techniques with modern international flair for an “uptown” presentation. Magnolia’s has been a favorite of both locals and visitors for years. Try the Down South Egg roll and Barbecue Sliders or Parmesan Crusted Flounder.
The Pass
If you're craving a fresh, delectable, interesting sandwich curated with the best ingredients, look no further than The Pass. Chef Anthony Marini combines uses his roots of fine dining to elevate a seasonal multi-course menu that makes this neighborhood small shop in Cannonborough/Elliotborough in downtown Charleston a place you need to try!
East Bay Deli
East Bay Deli is a New York Style deli but with a distinctive southern flair. The sandwiches, wraps, and entree salads are made-to-order, as well as a variety of hotdogs and giant potatoes. They also have a fresh salad bar with a myriad of tasty items to choose from and their dessert case is full of giant cakes and cheesecake shipped directly from Carnegie Deli in New York City.
ACME is an upscale, yet casual coastal Lowcountry restaurant. All ingredients are fresh and all seafood is sustainably sourced. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you can enjoy any time of the day!
Community Table
Enjoy an elegant meal in the heart of Mount Pleasant, just minutes away from downtown Charleston. Community Table sources premium ingredients to be used by their culinary professionals to prepare quality, modern comfort food in this cozy, inviting atmosphere.
Hall's Chophouse
Hands down the best steakhouse restaurant in Charleston in our eyes! The service is impeccable, but the food is better. From steak to fish, family style sides, and killer desserts, you will not go hungry. Must haves include steak sauce accompaniments, pepper jack corn skillet, loaded mashed potatoes, and the caramel cake for dessert. Always busy, so reservations are suggested.
Circa 1886
If you need some romance in your life, Circa 1886 is an intimate dinner experience. Located in the carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion (now a Gilded Age-era inn and luxury spa), the cozy restaurant has delicious classic southern favorites with locally made ingredients. This is a great anniversary spot!
Leon's Oyster Shop
Fried chicken and oysters, need we say more? Taking it back to the 1950s with their decor and soft serve ice cream with rainbow jimmies, Leon's is definitely worth a try for a relaxed dinner. There is a limited menu here, so if you don't like chicken or oysters, I would steer clear, but they do those two items VERY well! The Rose on tap is also a fan favorite!
Centrally located in historic downtown Charleston, this is the newest offering from James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock of McCrady’s. “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door,” says Brock, who has even stricken olive oil from the kitchen. As he explains, the resulting cuisine “is not about rediscovering Southern cooking, but exploring the reality of Southern food.” The restaurant is as casual as it is chic and has recently won the Best New Restaurant in 2011 award from Bon Appetit magazine.
The Obstinate Daughter
Located on the beautifully historic Sullivan's Island, The Obstinate Daughter combines traditional Southern recipes with French, Spanish, and Italian flavors. Each dish is created from fresh, local ingredients and can be enjoyed while feeling the sea breeze and taking in the stunning coastal atmosphere.
The Boathouse
Practically any Charlestonian can attest to the fact that this restaurant is a local favorite. The Boathouse offers casual dining and one of the most spectacular sunset views imaginable. The food is special, too, with an emphasis, of course, on Lowcountry seafood. Great rooftop bar too
Grill 225
Grill 225 is Charleston's one and only USDA 100% Prime steak house where you can enjoy a gourmet beef selection, fresh seafood, and a Nitrotini, which is Charleston's only alcoholic beverage that includes liquid nitrogen. It is located directly next to Charleston's Historic City Market and is a part of the Market Pavillion Hotel, so you can fully experience truly luxurious dining specific to the Lowcountry.
Baguette Magic
Baguette Magic was created by two sisters with a love for bread! They were voted Charleston's Best Bakery in 2021 for their delicious pastries, croissants, and pretzels. Don't forget to grab a hot cup of coffee while you're there!
Peninsula Grill
Every time you dine here, the food gets better and better! Velvet-paneled walls and oil paintings set off the lavish décor, and antique lamps light each elegant table. Chef Robert Carter has been applauded in national publications for his innovative Lowcountry cuisine. Chef Carter claims that dessert is the very best part of a meal, and with such delights as lemon tart accompanied by lemon sorbet, lemon crisps, and candied lemon, or a slice of heavenly coconut cake, who can argue otherwise?
Poogan’s Porch
Sit on the porch and enjoy a slice of Key Lime Pie, a Southern favorite. I still remember having my first piece as an 8 year old on the upper front porch at Poogan’s.
Wild Olive
Wild Olive is the place to be for an authentic Italian dining experience. Find the perfect wine to pair with any of their freshly prepared cuisines made from local ingredients. They're also the state's first Certified Green Restaurant!
The Watch
At the top of the modern Restoration on King Hotel, this swanky rooftop bar is awesome for watching sunsets and sipping cocktails. The innovative menu with tasty appetizers and small bites is something fun and different to try.
The Gin Joint
In a 1920s-inspired setting, The Gin Joint is a Charleston classic and an East Bay Street must. Give the bartender your favorite taste adjectives, and they will make you an incredible cocktail. Usually crowded, but well worth the wait.
5 Church
Ever wonder what it would be like to eat and drink during Sunday services at a historic Charleston church? While 5 Church is no longer technically a church, it has been renovated into a fantastic restaurant keeping a lot of the original architecture, an unbelievable ceiling and stained glass windows. 5 Church has a very cool atmosphere, and delicious cocktails make this a great place for drinks.
Star's Rooftop
A nighttime hotspot, this rooftop bar overlooks bustling King Street. There are always a few good rotating drinks in the frozen dispensers, as well as a nice champagne and beer selection.
Edmund's Oast
For the beer lover, this restaurant/bar has 41 beers on tap and ready for sampling. It is also an awesome place for dinner and brunch, but the beer list is so impressive that one can’t pass it up. Try the PB&J beer! New to the restaurant is an outdoor section to take in the Cooper River breezes.
Cocktail Club
Presents a refined atmosphere on upper King Street dedicated to the art of the craft cocktail. The interior of the club offers three separate lounges with boast reclaimed wood structures, fireplaces, original beams and doors from the building dating back to 1881. They also have a rooftop terrace.
Market Pavilion Rooftop Bar
The Pavilion Bar on the rooftop is a hot spot with locals and tourists alike, because it offers the best views of the city and the harbor. The rooftop offers a sundeck and lounging area by day. The infinity-edge rooftop pool is great for daytime fun, and is heated so that it can be used even on chilly nights.
Taco Boy
An authentic Taqueria/Cantina that serves really tasty tacos and nachos, Fun Margaritas and special Tequila flights, too. Their motto is “Skip Siesta, Let’s Fiesta.”
SNOB, or Slightly North of Broad, is the place to be to experience true southern hospitality and incredibly delectable dishes that change daily to ensure ingredients are at their peak quality. Ranging from vegetarian meals, to steak and chicken, to seafood, there's something for everyone at SNOB!
167 Raw
This New England style Oyster Bar is located on King Street in downtown Charleston and serves seafood from our local Charleston waters along with waters from across the East Coast. Whether you choose their oyster bar or sushi bar, 167 Raw will give you the ultimate coastal dish that will not disappoint!
Chill is located on James Island and is inspired by the coastal and active lifestyle that Charleston has to offer! From a fresh and healthy juice, smoothie, or coffee to start off your morning to a crisp glass of wine or local draft beer to top off a productive day, Chill believes in nourishing your body with natural ingredients, while also enjoying things you love in moderation.
Butcher & Bee
Funky and hip, Butcher & Bee's chalkboard menu changes daily with a Middle Eastern flair. With a brand new location and space above the Crosstown, it's easy to park and you'll always find something new for the adventurous eater. The chefs primarily focus on locally sourced ingredients, making the menu very seasonal.
Home Team BBQ
Home Team BBQ is a fan favorite and Charleston staple. The casual BBQ joint has everything you can dream of for a healthy appetite, generous portions of smoked meat and Southern sides. The nachos are to die for, and if you pair it with their famous rum frozen drink, the “Game Changer", you will most likely be ready to sleep the rest of the day, but it's worth it! Choose from three locations (Sullivan's Island, West Ashley, or Downtown) to sit, drink, and be merry - sometimes with live music!
Le Farfalle
This bright and casual osteria is the place to be for an authentic Italian experience. Enjoy Italian cuisines and cocktails nestled in the Harleston Village in Downtown Charleston.
82 Queen
Nestled in downtown Charleston’s historic French Quarter for the past 33 years, 82 Queen has best courtyard dining by far. With tons of Southern dishes from which to choose, we love the fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and the oh-so-amazing tomato pie. Fancier than most lunch places, 82 Queen is a great Charleston treat!
Republic Ice Cream
Republic is a local ice cream shop that uses high quality ingredients to craft their infamous ice cream for everyone to enjoy. With one location on the heart of King Street, and the other on Sullivan's Island, you can be sure to enjoy the Lowcountry atmosphere regardless of which you decide to visit!
Enjoy the cozy atmosphere of Kaminsky's while choosing from their menu of mouthwatering desserts that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Indulge in a milkshake, dessert martini, or a sundae!
Melfi's is an authentic Italian restaurant that has a very classic, yet modern flair. Choose from roman style pizza or fresh pasta that you can enjoy at a long wooden bar in the heart of downtown Charleston.
Kwei Fei
Located on James Island, Kwei Fei features the foods of Western China, specifically the province of Sichuan. This cooking style is known for its vibrant and colorful dishes and was voted Restaurant of the Year by Charleston's 2019 Eater Award!

Fun Facts

Charles Towne Landing

The English settled up the Ashley River in Charles Towne. Ten years later, deciding that the point of the peninsula would be easier to defend and better for trade, they moved to the edge of the marsh. Eventually a wall was built around the town. Today, much of the area South of Broad is “made land” (landfill).

White Point

When the English sailed by this peninsula in 1670, the tip was marshy and covered in blanched white oyster shells, which is why it’s called white point.


When the Carolina and her passengers set sail from England to colonize Carolina, they stopped in Barbados, where they encouraged plantation owners and others to follow them to the new land. That is why we have many of the same plants and vegetation as Barbados.

Charleston Single House

Houses are only one room wide. Ceilings are painted blue to deter nesting insects. Joggling Boards are seen on porches. Good for courting couples and for rheumatism. Piazzas face South or West for breezes. Piazza floors are sloped down for rain to run off. After the earthquake of 1886, homes were retrofitted with long metal rods running the length of the building and capped with rod covers.

Charleston Green

After the Civil War, there was little money for sprucing things up. It’s said that the North donated black paint but locals were hesitant to use the Yankee Paint. They found that mixing 2 parts “Yankee” black and 1 part “Rebel” yellow produced a dark green that has become Charleston’s signature color, especially for shutters.

Rainbow Row

Before landfill was added, these merchant stores were on the wharf. Back then it was a seedy, dangerous place. In the 1920’s, people began restoring the rundown buildings, painting the exteriors in pastel colors. This project led to the restoration of the rest of Charleston and the birth of the Charleston Preservation Society, which was the first in the nation.


A symbol of hospitality. Legend has it that sea captains sailing the Caribbean came home with exotic fruits. A captain would spear a pineapple on his fence post to let friends know he was home safely and to please visit. He would then serve food and drink, and regale visitors with tales of the high seas.

Holy City

Charleston calls itself the “holy city” because of its many places of worship and skyline full of church steeples. It was one of the few cities in the original thirteen colonies to provide religious tolerance, albeit restricted to non-Catholics. Many Huguenots found their way to Charleston. Charleston was also one of the first colonial cities after to welcome Judaism.

St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church

St. Philip’s was “the” church for the first settlers. Those not of Anglican faith were “dissenters”. St. Michael’s split from St. Philip’s after the parish became too large, and St. Philip’s was rebuilt in its present spot. Many famous people were buried here and across the street in the “strangers churchyard”. Even in death, John C. Calhoun kept falling in and out of favor and was moved back and forth across the street.

Meeting Street

Meeting Street is where all the original non-Anglican Churches were founded as “meeting houses.” Charleston is the Holy City because of it’s historic tolerance for all faiths, but the regulations at the time forced them to only have one official “church” in town.

Four Corners of Law

At the intersection of Meeting and Broad Streets is the Courthouse (state law), City Hall (civil law), U.S. Post Office (federal law) and St. Michael’s Church (God’s Law).


Language, made official in 1939, is a creole-based language with English as its main base. African Americans in the Lowcountry created this language and culture, and the word may have come from the Gola or Gora Tribes of Angola.

Sweetgrass Baskets

African Americans brought basket-making skills to the plantations from West Africa. Sadly, sweetgrass is becoming scarce and the young aren’t eager to learn the tradition.

Civil War

The first battle of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor. The war is known to Charlestonians as the “War Between the States”, “War of Northern Aggression”, “War for Southern Independence”, “Recent Unpleasantness”, and “The War of Great Difficulty”.

The Exchange and Provost Building

The Exchange and Provost was built in 1767. The building features a dungeon which held various signers of the Declaration of Independence and hosted events for George Washington in 1791 and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788.

Angel Oak

The Angel Oak is considered to be the largest Live Oak Tree east of the Mississippi estimating to be 300 to 400 years old. It receives approximately 400,000 visitors each year. The tree is 65 feet high with a circumference of 25.5 feet, shading an area of 17,000 square feet. 

Things to Do:

Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

Walk the Battery and Soak in the History

First Friday Art Walk

Sullivan’s Island to Sit Outside at Poe’s Tavern

Double Header: Aquarium and the Children’s Museum

Catch a Concert at the Cistern during Spoleto

The Finale of Spoleto at Middleton Plantation and Fireworks

People-watch, Shop and Eat Hot Pralines Along the Market

Rent a Kayak and Spend the Day Exploring the Rivers and Marshes

Shop the Boutiques on King Street

“Bar Hop” at Shem Creek

Surf and Fish at Folly Beach

Golf at Kiawah Island (The Ocean Course, of Course)

Cocktails at a Rooftop Bar

Watch a Fully-Functioning Container Port (nerds only)

Attend an Oyster Roast

Mimosas, Gospel Music, and Sunday Brunch at Hall's Chophouse

See a Charleston Battery Soccer Match at Patriot's Point

Stroll Through the Gardens at Middleton Place

Take in the Charleston Open Tennis Tournament on Daniel Island

Take the Boat to Fort Sumter

Relax at Charleston Place in the Thoroughbred Room

Rent a Boat… and Explore for a Day

Watch the Sun Set Over Bohicket Creek

Catch a Free Family Movie at Waterfront Park

Sunday Service at a Historic Church Downtown

Spend a Night in the Wentworth Mansion Hotel

Swim in the Rooftop Pool at the Mills House

Lure in Blue Crabs with a Chicken Wing

See the Holiday Festival of Lights at the James Island County Park

Take in a Game at “The Joe” and See the RiverDogs

Sample the Menu at the Bar at Pearlz

Tour a Historic Mansion and Hang Out in a Secret Garden

Get Invited to a Party at a Mansion on the Battery

Start Your Day on Daniel Island and End Your Day on Seabrook Island

Friday Afternoon Military Dress Parade Featuring the South Carolina Corps of Cadets