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Travel Guide to Charleston: Dining, Shopping, Sightseeing



He hasn't been on my social media much, but this is Stephen! We've been dating around 5 months now. He's great, in case you were wondering, and you'll see him on my corner of the internet a lot more.






Stephen is wearing one of our favorite hats from Southern Proper (use code xcgal98 for 15% off) and one of our favorite watches from Daniel Wellington (use code XCGAL15 for 15% off)! His flannel is by Southern Point Co. on sale for $35.99 (with discount) and belt from Over Under, which you can find here on Country Club Prep (email me at xcgal98@gmail.com for 20% off). 


This is my favorite coffee shop in all of Charleston, quite possibly my favorite coffee shop on the planet. You may have seen this coffee bar in some of my previous blog posts on Charleston. The Rise is part of the Restoration Hotel and used to be exclusive to hotel guests, but they've opened it up to the public.  There is some nice indoor seating if you have some work to get done, but there's no outside seating.

I love the warm lavender latte! Stephen got a black coffee. Really, everything on the menu is good. Pro tip: they also have a punch card, & you get every 8th coffee free. If you frequent Charleston, just get a punch card & get your friends to use it too! I actually do this everywhere I go & I would recommend it. The Rise is located on Wentworth Street, right off King Street. You have to park on the street, since this business is right off King Street.






Stephen and I went in here on a whim. We met a gal named Emily at The Rise who also blogs, and happened to know my friend Alex the photographer, whom recommended this place to us. Circe's is a few shops down from The Rise. The sandwiches and paninis are phenomenal! I ordered the caprese sandwich, and Stephen got the cuban press panini. Most sandwiches are price around $10, not including a side.



King Street is my favorite shopping destination ever. King Street is chalk full of unique businesses and restaurants. If you've ever been to Savannah, it's an upscale version of Broughton Street. King Street is over 12 blocks long, along with many other unique businesses on the side streets. Stephen and I only did half of King Street, and that took a few hours on it's own. You could dedicate a whole day of shopping/exploring to this street, but it can not be done if males are traveling with you.

There are many chain stores including Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, Anthropologie, Forever 21, VANS, Sperry, Alex & Ani, Louis Vuitton, H&M, West Elm, and many more. There are also many unique shops & restaurants including Candlefish, Skinny Dip, & lots of other neat things. I plan to do an entire blog post just on King Street next time I go to Charleston. 





necklace // top // Daniel Wellington classic black sheffield watch (use code XCGAL15 for 15% off) // jeans (similar, old from Old Navy) // birkenstocks (email me at xcgal98@gmail.com for 20% off)




Stephen's hat is one of Southern Proper's new spring arrivals, remember to use code xcgal98 for 15% off. I have they grey version.


This is probably my second favorite coffee shop ever. Vintage is located in Mount Pleasant, outside of Downtown Charleston, closer is Isle of Palms. There is a lot of indoor seating here, and they have awesome food!!! I ordered some kind of latte, and the smoked salmon toast, which was only $6. I was stuck between that and the avocado toast; they have so many breakfast options including more toast, smoothie bowls, breakfast sandwiches, waffles, I wanted to try them all. This was the first time I've ever been here, but I will certainly be back. 

Stephen ordered a pour over coffee, and enjoyed it. This is a great place to sit for a few hours and get some work done. Stephen and I migrated outside when the indoor seating got crowded, where there is also tons of seating. We started each morning of our trip at a coffee shop to plan out our day, and spend quiet time with God, reading scripture. You can check out my faith content and faith videos.










The Battery is gorgeous, and I'll forever cherish our long walks & deep talks by the water. It's a great place to stroll and admire Charleston's beauty during early morning for sunrise, during the day to cool off by the water, and in the evening for sunset. Fort Sumter can be seen in the distance. Pro tip: there is free parking along The Battery and you can walk elsewhere in Charleston once you park here. We got lucky, and met a photographer name Taylor who was nice enough to take our photo, check her out here; her specialty is weddings.



Stephen loves this hat, use code xcgal98 for 15% off!


Charleston has the cutest flower boxes, tbh I could do an entire post all about flower boxes throughout Charleston; serious inspiration for my future home.




East Battery Street/East Bay Street 
East Battery Street starts at The Battery, and turns into East Bay Street. Some of the most gorgeous homes I've ever seen are located on East Bay Street, across from The Battery. It's such a pretty street to stroll on and take in Charleston's beauty. When the road turns into East Bay Street, there are also a few shops & restaurants to check out.



Rainbow Row is just a photogenic, over-Instagrammed, pretty row of colored houses. Stephen and I parked at The Battery, where there's free parking and went straight up East Battery Street (East Bay Street), which passes Rainbow Row and turns off to Waterfront Park. It's a short 15 minute walk, and a lovely stroll in the earlier hours of the morning. View the walking map here. It's a perfect route for sight seeing!



Above is the infamous pineapple fountain, located in Waterfront Park. You can get some great pictures here, and it's a signature feature of Charleston, like Rainbow Row. Since you're already at Waterfront Park, you're only a 10 minute walk from Charleston City Market, and from there it's a mile walk back to The Battery; walking map

The Charleston City Market is ideally a larger version of the flea markets in Savannah. Stephen and I accidentally stumbled upon it while exploring downtown, during our sightseeing stroll. Charleston City Market is four gigantic sheds, full of 300+ unique vendors. We weren't in a shopping mood, so we didn't stay long, but I may check it out again when I'm in the area.

King Street is a short walk from City Market, if you're on a day trip. The walk from King Street back to The Battery isn't too bad, and it's worth it for free parking. Here is the full route, this is not a far walk if this is the total distance you do for the entire day. The way Charleston is set up, it's not a bad idea to rent bikes the days you plan on spending in the city.

We also ate at Hometeam BBQ, Downtown Charleston location, which was recommended to us. I was going to take a photo of my food, but I was too hungry & forgot. The food wasn't bad, but not great for the price. It was $5 for a small taco, and $4 for a side, so if you want a meal, it's around $15 without tip. I would not recommend it personally. I'm not a huge BBQ fan, but Stephen loves it and he was not impressed either.


Cane's is so good!! Cane's is a fried chicken chain; locations I've been to in Tuscaloosa & Athens. We stopped by Target in North Charleston (there's not one in Statesboro), and I saw a Cane's- I got so excited. Cane's is better than Zaxby's, from the crispy chicken to Cane's sauce to super sweet tea. If you live near a Cane's please go. Stephen loves food & he was very impressed- we split an 8 count basket.





We did brunch here, and it was our favorite meal of the entire trip. Brunch is our favorite meal in general, and ahh there are so many other restaurants we want to brunch at next time. I got french toast, and Stephen got chicken & waffles, both of which were amazing. 

Poogan's is well-known for their chicken & waffles, and other brunch offerings. The chicken & waffles may have been the highlight of Stephen's first Charleston experience. Seriously, go to brunch here. We plan on eating lunch or dinner here next go-around too. 




This was our daily coffee stop for day 3! City Lights is located off King Street, on Market Street. It's not a great place to sit & get work done, but awesome for coffee on-the-go. They had great coffee, friendly staff, & the espresso shots were only $0.85 here. I got a latte, and Stephen got coffee with creamer & shots of espresso.



This is such a neat, local store!! It's located right off King Street, on Wentworth Street near The Rise coffee bar. I don't think I've ever seen such a wide variety of candles in my entire life.




This is the prettiest Urban store I've ever been in. View the outside here.



We ventured back over to King Street to check out some more shops that we missed a few days before. Seriously, there is so much on this street, you could spend two days taking it all in. You'll probably be exhausted after you conquer half of it. Also, note that most shops on this street are dog-friendly & there's water bowls located outside several different shops along King St.


We stumbled upon this park on our walk back to The Battery. There is a small dog park for daily access, but after 5pm the entire park is open for dogs to run around off-leash. It seems that the entire city brings their dogs to play at 5pm, once they get off work. Gracie was in heaven. My dog has an Instagram, follow it here. Above, Gracie made friends with a Bern-a-doodle (Bernese Mountain Dog & Poodle).


Charleston is a very dog-friendly city, and Gracie was in heaven here. It seemed almost everyone wanted to stop and pet her, people her love dogs!! Gracie is a  6 month old German Shorthaired Pointer if you're new here. She's the sweetest, most loving dog I've ever had. She travels so well, since I started her young.



Gap blouse // Gap sneakers // Tacos & Champagne jewelry (Use code daria15 for 15% off)
I'll have a full outfit post up with this outfit soon!







We couldn't help but go back to The Battery for a sunset stroll with Gracie (10/10 would recommend). Stephen loves Gracie almost as much as I do, & it makes me smile real big. They're an adorable pair.




Charleston Coffee Roasters
This coffee shop is located in West Ashley, and there's on-site parking. You can definitely sit inside and get some work done, but the outside seating is bad. The coffee was good, but not phenomenal. However, they do have amazing chai lattes, I got a vanilla chai. Stephen got a carmel latte and there was nothing special about it. If you're craving a chai latte, go here, otherwise skip.








Stephen is loving his new shirt from Southern Proper's new spring line. You can get it here and shop 15% off your entire purchase with code xcgal98





This place is phenomenal and I've been dying to go here! There is free on-site parking being the building. Stephen and I got the roast beef sandwich, veggie burger, and mezze plate with falafel, bacon covered dates, and fries with home-made ketchup. The roast beef sandwich and bacon covered dates were amazing!! 

The falafel was alright, and the veggie burger was terrible; not even Gracie would eat it. However, we had never eaten a veggie burger before and I just don't think it's for us, along with the falafel. The fries were good. Butcher & Bee also offers coffee and pressed juices. This place is so cute, has great outdoor seating, is dog-friendly, and friendly staff, I would go again.



Gracie decided she wanted to drive Stephen's truck home.


Gracie and Stephen strengthened their bond this trip, and it makes me heart so happy. She slept in his lap the entire 2-hour car ride to Savannah. We had originally planned on going to the Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island originally, but were exhausted so we decided against it. I'm sure I'll venture over there one day.

Originally, when planning this trip, we were going to spend two days on the beach. We wanted to spend one day at Isle of Palms and another at Folly Beach. However, it was 50 decrees outside for the duration of our trip, so we had to adjust accordingly. Regardless, it was a wonderful trip, and I'm so grateful that I got to spend it with my two best friends. 

We rented an Airbnb for three nights in North Charleston, a 20 minute drive from downtown. It's much cheaper to stay outside of Charleston, than downtown. Get $40 off your first trip using Airbnb when you sign up with this link. Airbnb is the most affordable when finding places to stay while traveling. You can rent a single room or an entire house. I always use Airbnb when I travel.

Stephen is from Savannah, so we went to his parents' house for dinner upon leaving Charleston on Thursday night. Originally, we were going to stay a few nights in Savannah and go to Tybee Island on Friday, and the St. Patrick's Day parade in Savannah on Saturday. However, the vice president is attending the St. Patrick's Day parade, and it's going to be insane. Thus, we ended up driving back to Statesboro on Thursday night. 

Everything may not have gone exactly as planned on this trip, but everything happens for a reason. I'm in love Charleston and grateful that we got to go. My friend and I are already planning another weekend trip there in a month or so. Next visit I'm wanting to try Hominy Grill, The Daily, Revelator Coffee, Cannon Green, Husk, Brezih Pan Crepes, Hot Little Biscuit, Mercantile & Mash, Caviar & Bananas, Fleet's Landing, Fig, & the list goes on.


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What'd you do on spring break, and what do you recommend I do in Charleston next?? Leave a comment!

xx, God Bless,
Daria

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1 comment

  1. Love this! I've driven through Charleston a few times but never actually stayed. Whenever I see a blog post about the city, I want to go for a vacation there so badly. It looks like such a cute city.

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