The. Cutest. City. I feel pretty confident in awarding that title to Charleston! It was adorable! I definitely can’t wait to go back, but I love that we got to spend 4 days exploring and eating our way through this historic city. You can read my separate post about the overall Charleston experience, but here are my top 14 most instagrammable spots that we experienced!
A few general Charleston tips:
First: make restaurant reservations in advance of your trip.
Second: these people love their pimiento cheese. no thx.
Third: stay downtown within walking distance of some of these.
Fourth: bicycles everywhere. Definitely rent some to see more of the city!
Fifth: everything in Charleston is old and adorable. So much character!
We walked in and immediately said “whoa. there’s nothing like this in Dallas!” That’s because Husk is inside of a building built in ____ and the exposed brick and moody lighting transported us to a different time! We had fantastic bartenders literally everywhere we went, and Husk was no exception. We sat at the bar for a while just chatting because we could actually hear each other talk- again, nothing like that in Dallas! Husk was the first place we visited in Charleston and then we walked next door to the next place on this list- Poogan’s Porch!
Of course we visited Poogan’s Porch on our first night in Charleston and it didn’t occur to us that we needed to make reservations, so this kicked off our weekend of dining at the bar or community tables at all of our restaurants. I never really eat at the bar in Dallas but when traveling, I think it’s a great way to chat with a local bartender who is happy to share tips & tricks with you about the city! We sat at the community tables at Poogan’s and wayyy over ordered…I mean, we HAD to try the Fried Green Tomatoes AND the mac n cheese, so what do you do?
3. Kudu Coffee
Let’s talk. They don’t have wifi. I think that’s important. BUT since this post is not about the best coffee shops to work at, you might not care. I like wifi, but that’s me. SO we popped into Kudu one morning and enjoyed some delicious quiche and coffee before exploring town; we were pleasantly surprised to find an adorable ivy-covered courtyard that was just begging to be photographed.
Oooook it’s super cute, BUT did you see my Insta stories during the trip? I got wrangled into buying a $9 glass of frose that I thought was free! But that’s fine because it really is a cute place. So The Skinny Dip is a boutique on the street level, but head upstairs for their small cafe/bar space with beautiful natural light and a cozy back patio. Snap a pic of their coffee & wine sign in the stairwell on your way up!
We stopped by Leon’s for lunch…at 4pm, so it was really the start of our progressive dinner on Friday night. Leon’s had all the old bar character you could want PLUS a patio PLUS natural light for photos. I had the chicken sandwich (because I actually don’t like oysters!) and Brooke had a shrimp po-boy and loved it. But also go because it’s so cute!
Our first stop on Friday night…we strolled through the bar and restaurant for a few photos of the back patio before finding two seats at the front of the bar. Again, another super friendly bartender and we had a great experience! Exposed brick, dark wood bar, staples for the Charleston restaurant scene, which we loved!
7. The Ordinary
We walked to The Ordinary after another spot on King St. (love that everything was so close!). Another great bar experience with a super friendly and knowledgable bartender! We told him about our progressive dinner plan and he helped us plan our menu and suggested the Fried Oyster Sliders, even though neither Brooke nor I are oyster fans! We made friends with the older couple next to us and had a great time talking about Charleston hearing about where they had been so far! They even shared their crab toast- delish, of course. The restaurant itself is beautiful, two levels, open balcony, and we loved the vibe!
8. The Darling
Our final stop for dessert on our progressive dinner tour! It was busyyy and we sat at the bar again! They also have an oyster bar facing the window, so it was fun to see the oysters being prepared! We tried the S’mores dessert which was a little different than we expected buttt we finished it off without a problem 😉 so it was a win. I wish we would have been able to eat a full dinner here one night because the menu looked so good!
The name alone is adorable but you have to pay a visit to this little shop of biscuit goodness on King St. to see how many people can cram into this adorable place! We made it just in time because 2 minutes after we arrived there was a line out the door! Either way, it is worth the wait because let me just tell you: THESE BISCUITS OMG. I like biscuits, but I had the bacon & egg biscuit and I ate the whole thinggg and it was large. haha if you’re just stopping in for a snack or treat, I recommend the 3 for $5 deal, which are mini biscuits- they are so adorable! We ordered one of the cinnamon mini biscuits and everyone took a bite - omg. so good.
If you have a car and don’t mind a little exploring road trip, definitely go for a cruise and visit the Carolina Cherry Co. It’s an old gas station that is now the cutest country store and pie shop! They had walls of jams and flavored butters, bottles of apple cider, and of course, lotsss of pies! We bought the cran apple and it was amazing! They have a 7” and a 9” pie size, so we didn’t feel as guilty buying the small one 😉 We asked for the pie and they panicked for a minute and though they might be out of that flavor but luckily had one left! So I would recommend arriving early in the day; we visited around 4:30pm on a Saturday. They were voted Top 10 pies in the country by USA today, so I feel like that’s legit. We originally just stopped there to get a cute photo but got sucked into the shop and trying samples and then buying everything! haha
This is probably the newest place on this list! The Rise is inside Restoration Hotel; there’s also a restaurant on the roof of the hotel called The Watch; we went there for “the amazing view” but it didn’t make my list because the Dallas skyline has numbed me to anything less. So the one church steeple in my sightline did not impress me. ANYWAY, back to Rise…YES! The vanilla almond latte was moneyyy! Brooke tried the caramel toffee latte and her eyes got big as she said “I need this recipe” so there’s that. I had an orange clove muffin and I was trying to put into words what the orange plus the spice tasted like but Brooke described it perfectly when she said “it tastes like Williams-Sonoma in my mouth.” Yes, exactly!! Great spot to pop into for some caffeine and a pastry to start your day.
(Slightly North of Broad Street)
Multiple friends recommended this restaurant to us, but we barely squeezed it in for brunch on our last day- sooo glad we did though! SNOB ended up being my favorite restaurant that we went to, and obviously based on this list, we went to quite a few! Besides the charming vibes, SNOB has a fantastic menu and you KNOW I had to try the french toast… I. Almost. Died. It was so good!! I kept looking at Brooke and saying “omg. like, omg.” until she finally took a bite and agreed with me. haha definitely make sure SNOB is on your Charleston must-eat list.
13. Rainbow Row
A row of rainbow-colored row houses. 😉 This is just a fun 5 minute stop for a photo, but the real beauty is all over the surrounding area- downtown Charleston is just the cutest, and Rainbow Row is at the southern tip of the peninsula, with a few cobblestone streets nearby that are still in tact, and tons of cute shops and restaurants down the street. SNOB is a block away- very walkable area of the city!
14. Chalmers Street
If you’re looking for historic goodness meets Insagram, Chalmers Street is where you need to be. We wanted a photo on a cobblestone road and drove all over the place before finding Chalmers St. The cutest homes, ivy-covered iron gates, and secret gardens live on Chalmers…all begging to be photographed. We saw multiple family portrait photo sessions happening, and for good reason!
BONUS: Hall’s Chophouse
I don’t know if I would normally say that this restaurant was Instagrammable because I think I even noticed the exterior before walking in, but it was also dark outside, so there’s that. BUT I had to include this place just in case you're also looking for top restaurants to eat at! ;) If you’re into photographing delicious steaks, then this DEF qualifies because the bone-in filet that we had was amazinggg and the lobster mac and cheese was out of control. Of course we also had to get a baked potato with all of that because #steakandpotato just has to be together!