As one of the South’s most charming seaside cities, Charleston has a lot to offer visitors. With history around every corner, beautiful squares, and a delicious food scene spending a day in Charleston won’t disappoint.
Things to do in Charleston
Charleston reminds me a lot of Savannah. Both towns have that laid back seaside vibe that is wrapped in history and Southern hospitality. The fact that they could very easily be twin cities is probably why I fell in love with Charleston in the first place! Savannah has always held a special place in my heart and Charleston’s cobblestone streets, history, and stunning architecture quickly made swoon. I definitely recommend spending more than a day exploring but I know that sometimes a day trip or pit stop is all you have so here is a quick and easy breakdown of things to do in Charleston if you only have a day
Start your day with breakfast or brunch at Saffron Restaurant & Bakery. This East Bay Street staple is known for its Middle Eastern flair. After your hearty breakfast, take a stroll and see the southern charm that has come to define the city on your way to the historic Charleston City Market. Opened pretty much the whole year you can spend a few hours among the 300-plus vendors in the market. If you’re like Tim and love people watching, this is a great spot!
If you’re looking for a more relaxed way to spend the day you can head over to the Meeting Street farmers market which sets up shop in Marion Square. There are a number of growers, arts and crafts, and usually, live music too! At either place, you will probably find Charleston’s prized sweetgrass baskets, a handcrafted Gullah tradition dating back to 1807.
Make your way to Anson Street and do a walking tour – one of the best ways to get a taste of Charleston’s rich history and become acquainted with downtown. Don’t forget to stop by Rainbow Row on East Bay Street to see the Instagram-worthy pastel houses. When you are ready for a taste of Charleston and start getting hungry, head over to Jestine’s Kitchen on Meeting Street for fried chicken, sweet tea, and a slice of coconut cream pie! Or you can visit 82 Queen for some history and Lowcountry pickins’. If you have time before afternoon plans stop by the Old Slave Mart Museum. This small two-story museum is a lesson in American history – during one point more than 35 percent of slaves being brought to the United States came through the South Carolina city.
If you happen to be in town during baseball season catch the Charleston RiverDogs for a game. And when it comes to dinner plans, you’ve got options! For a fun spin on Southern eats that features local ingredients head to Fig. Poogan’s Porch is your go-to for a family-owned restaurant for homemade buttermilk biscuits and She Crab soup. For an awesome burger, Husk Restaurant has their Husk Burger which won’t disappoint. For drinks and live jazz, High Cotton and its Charleston Cocktail are a great way to go! And for those with a sweettooth, the Macaroon Boutique on John Street will hit the spot with delicious French macaroons.
Charleston is the kind of city that you could spend so much time exploring! And we definitely recommend going for more than just a day. But if all you have are 24 hours, we hope this helps you maximize your time in one of the most charming Southern seaside towns.