Quick + Easy Charleston, SC City Guide

Quick and Easy Charleston City Guide--Where to Eat, Drink, Shop, and Visit in Charleston, SC

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Today I’m sharing a quick and easy city guide for Charleston, SC, including where to eat, where to drink, my favorite historical places to visit, favorite tours, and where to shop in Charleston. Chauncey and I first visited Charleston, SC in 2014 for our five year wedding anniversary, and we’ve been back at least once a year ever since.  Now, I’m not including where to stay, because we always stay at Tides Folly Beach, a hotel about 20 minutes outside of Charleston where every room is oceanfront.

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Top: Old Navy// Skirt: Who What Wear viaTarget (similar) // Heels: Target (similar) // Clutch: Lilly Pulitzer // Necklace and earrings set: Charming Charlie (similar necklace, similar earrings) // Clutch: Lilly Pulitzer (similar, similar, similar) // Link bracelet: J. Crew Factory c/o The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass // Cuff bracelet: J.Crew Factory 

Where to Eat and Drink in Charleston, SC

Poogan’s Porch–Charleston, SC

This is my favorite place to eat in downtown Charleston! It’s southern fare at its finest.  I love their fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  My very first time eating here, we scored a seat on the upstairs porch.  Call ahead to book a table as it gets very busy.

Jeni’s Ice Cream–Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC:OMG. I seriously ate here three times when we were in Charleston in June! While Jeni’s is not original to Charleston, it’s definitely an important stop if you love ice cream!  I highly recommend the Savannah Buttermint, but Chauncey also likes Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam, as well as Brown Butter Almond Brittle.

The Bar at Husk–Charleston, SC

If you’re a bourbon fan, then be sure to checkout the Bar at Husk for some rare bourbon treats. Pours tend to be expensive, but Chauncey absolutely loved having drinks here!

Lagunitas Charleston Tap Room & Beer Sanctuary–Charleston, SC

This is in a really cool building with a ton of history–in fact, you may see it if you take the ghost tour I recommend! I liked the laid back atmosphere and the overall warmth of the tap room. We didn’t eat here, but Chauncey enjoyed a couple of beers while Kane and I enjoyed the baskets of peanuts and pretzels that were brought out. Definitely kid-friendly!

The Griffon–Charleston, SC

This little hole in the wall pub is such a great dive bar! The place is covered in dollar bills, and has a great vibe.  It’s located in a small historical building.  The typical bar food is very yummy but affordable.

Sugar Bakeshop–Charleston, SC

Our most recent trip to Charleston last month was for Kane’s birthday, so of course we needed cupcakes!  Chauncey found this gem on Yelp. The shop is all about small batch baking, and their cupcakes have a very homemade feel to them.  The cupcakes we purchased were delicious.

Favorite Historical Places to Visit in Charleston, SC

Drayton Hall–Charleston, SC

If you’re a history buff, you have to visit Drayton Hall! Drayton Hall is a preserved estate, which means that it is in its original state, from the 18th-century. It’s one of the only plantations to survive the Civil War along the Ashley River in Charleston.  There are no words, because it’s absolutely stunning and an immersive experience.

Rainbow Row–Charleston, SC

We always make a stop by Rainbow Row when we’re in Charleston, which is where these pictures were taken. Rainbow Row is a collection of 14 row homes that are painted in a variety of pastel colors.  They date back to the mid-1700s.  This is probably the most Instagrammable spot in Charleston. I keep changing my mind about which house is my fav!

The Battery–Charleston, SC

The Battery is an area on the waterfront that is a seawall. There’s Battery Park, where you can walk along the water’s edge.  And there’s an array of stately homes that are flat-out gorgeous. The architecture is so pretty.  This is another area that’s great for photographs!

Favorite City Tours of Charleston, SC

Bulldog Tours

If you’re looking for a thrill, then try a ghost tour through Bulldog Tours. These are walking tours.  if you’re a scaredy cat like me, then get tickets for the earliest tour.  Our favorite has been the Charleston Ghost and Dungeons Walking Tour, where you get to tour the old jail as well as other buildings.  Avoid the Darkside of Charleston Walking Tour–it was a bore compared to the other one!

Palmetto Carriage Tour

Chauncey and I took the day tour last year and loved it! This is a group tour in a large horse-drawn carriage.  It takes you around 25-30 blocks of Charleston’s most historic sites.  I loved getting to see all of the old homes and businesses, as well as learning the history behind them.

 Where to Shop in Charleston, SC

The Historic Charleston City Market–Charleston, SC

Whenever I go on vacation, I like to bring back unique souvenirs. The Historic Charleston City Market is where you want to go get those items! The market is housed in the same location that it has been since the early mid-1800s.  It’s a collection of open area buildings that you walk through, and local artisans gather here to sell their wares.  I’ve purchased paintings, rings, necklaces, etc. that are all hand-made.  You can also purchase the famous sweetgrass baskets here. I was so disappointed that we didn’t make it there this last trip, but the weather didn’t really cooperate.

King Street–Charleston, SC

King Street is where you’ll find most of the shopping in Charleston, especially high-end shopping.  I love to walk along the historic street, popping in and out of shops. There are also restaurants mixed in.

If you’re planning on visiting Charleston, SC, I hope you enjoy!

Nice to meet you!

Hi there! I’m Tif Fannin, the blogger behind Bright on a Budget, based in Lexington, Kentucky. Bright on a Budget is a Southern fashion and lifestyle blog where I share everyday looks, beauty, and travel, along with a behind-the-scenes look at my life as a working mom of two. I have a penchant for bright colors + good deals. Follow along for posts that are relatable to the everyday woman.

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Leave a Comment


  1. 7.6.17
    Dara said:

    I was in SC last summer but didn’t make it to Charleston. It sounds like a great place though!

  2. 7.6.17
    Kay R. said:

    Sounds like a fantastic city to visit! Also love the skirt!

  3. 7.6.17

    Adorable! What a fun getaway….hoping to make it to the east coast one day!

  4. 7.6.17
    Emily B. said:

    Such a cute outfit for a Southern Charm city! I’ve been dying to visit Charleston so will keep your restaurant reccs in mind 🙂
    Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis

  5. 7.7.17
    Heather said:

    Pinning this for my trip!! OMG that ice cream place is screaming my name, lol. Sounds delicious!! I would have a hard time picking a fav house out of those, too!

  6. 7.7.17

    We just had lunch at The Griffon yesterday and have been staying right on King Street! We’ve had a blast being right in the heart of it all!


  7. 7.8.17

    How fun, so many great places to visit, if I ever go, definitely using this guide!

  8. 7.9.17

    I love Charleston, and while I’ve been there a couple times I haven’t eaten at any of those places you mentioned! I’ll keep this post in mind if we make it down there again!

    Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort