Lots of cities in the U.S. and around the world call themselves walkable, but very few are actually pedestrian-friendly. Charleston, South Carolina is the exception. Quaint brick-pathed neighborhoods, pedestrian-friendly shopping districts, hidden gardens and historic walking tours seemingly await around every turn. While you might need to hop on a free trolley or grab an Uber to move between more far-flung spots in the city, once you arrive, you’ll most likely be satisfied to use nothing but your own two feet to get around.
Known as “The Holy City” because of its relative religious diversity—with a wealth of churches to prove it—Charleston was one of the earliest European settlements in North America. In pre-Civil War days, the city’s strategic position on the coast surrounded by massive rice-growing operations like the Magnolia Plantation ensured that it was also one of the wealthiest. What’s more, Charleston’s citizens made a point to preserve many of its architectural wonders and historical sites. This has created a city both modern and timeless—one that honors the centuries of history that formed its foundation while remaining open to the developments of the future.
From stroller-towing families to scene-craving singles and everything in between, Charleston’s many visitors will undoubtedly find a neighborhood that suits their interests. For an ideal visit, however, be sure you avoid the sweat-drenched summer months; plan your visit during the more moderate spring and fall seasons.
For elegant, reasonably priced accommodations that will leave a lot of spending cash in your pocket, look no further than the Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Waterfront/Downtown. Nestled beneath the twin bridges which span the Ashley River, the hotel is easy walking distance from lovely Brittlebank Park, as well as the many marinas and charter boats that dot Charleston’s historic waterfront. For a more exclusive and historic stay, seek out one of many private rentals in the city’s South of Broad area—some of which trace back as far as the early 18th century.
The cuisine of the South features prominently on menus across the city, but for a true taste of the town, seek out a traditional Southern brunch. Try Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for a new reinterpretation of this regional treat every month, and be sure to book your Sunday feast at Hall’s Chophouse well in advance so you don’t miss out on a quintessential Southern experience. Fans of hops and barley cap off a pilgrimage to the famous Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island with a pint or two at Low Tide Brewing, which combines delicious brews like Sweet Caroline Kölsch with homey indoor and dog-friendly outdoor seating areas.
When the lights go down in the city, grab your sweetie and stroll along the Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge. The commanding views of the harbor and gentle breeze make it a great way to refresh yourself after a day of sightseeing. All that walking can add up, of course, so consider grabbing a massage or treatment at The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place to soothe those hard-working muscles.
Grab a souvenir
Few cities can boast a shopping district that reflects their true character as much as the historic Charleston City Market. Located just blocks from the city’s downtown center, the City Market rightfully considers itself “The Cultural Heart of Charleston Since 1804.” Distinct daytime and evening markets ensure that each and every visitor finds an experience—and a souvenir or two—to take home with them to remember their journey.
For more information, visit the website for Charleston, South Carolina.