For the past ten years, our hometown of Charleston has been named the best city in the US, and we can see why. Charleston offers a little something for everyone to enjoy. Whether it’s historic tours, sightseeing and nature walks, beach days, award-winning bars and restaurants, or boutique shopping down King Street. We are so proud and grateful to call this magical place our home. When we aren’t busy creating in the Maya Chia Studios, we love to spend some time exploring our own backyard. You can never run out of things to do here, but these are just a few of our favorite local spots. Next time you’re in the low country you may want to check them out too!
Quick Bites to Grab and Go
A stunning French bakery located inside The Hotel Bennet; La Patisserie is one of our favorite spots for breakfast and lunch on-the-go. It features a full coffee bar, pastries delicately baked in-house, as well as artisan sandwiches throughout the day to satisfy any sweet or savory craving. It’s also the only place to get the famous Camellia’s Cake, which really does taste as good as it looks. It’s a lemon-flavored cake, topped with strawberry marmalade and cheesecake mousse, glazed with a pink chocolate shell, and topped with a tiny macaroon.
Queen Street Grocery
A local’s favorite, Queen Street Grocery is “not your average corner store.” Established in 1922 as an apothecary, Queen Street Grocery has evolved into a one-stop shop for a quick bite. Whether you’re in the mood for a sweet breakfast crepe and coffee, a savory pressed sandwich for lunch, a fresh smoothie for a mid-day pick-me-up, or anything in between - QSG has you covered. They also have local wines and craft beers available to take home. Enjoy their sidewalk dining, or pack it for a picnic down the street at Colonial Lake Park.
Favorite Local Dining Spots
If you’re looking for lunch or dinner, Chez Nous is an intimate, tiny little French restaurant tucked into what appears to be an old home on a downtown side street. The dishes change daily depending on the local ingredients that are in season, and handwritten menus are fashioned by the restaurant chef each morning. Between the fresh ingredients, stunning plating, personal touches, and quaint atmosphere - you canfeel the care behind each dish. You never know what you’re going to get, but you can bet it’ll be delicious!
The Darling Oyster Bar
Charleston, SC, is a culinary hot spot, especially well-known for its signature seafood meals like shrimp & grits, she-crab soup, and of course – oysters on the half shell. The Darling Oyster Bar is a top destination for Charleston seafood lovers. Located in a renovated 115-year-old storefront, The Darling features a full-service bar, dining, and even a raw bar outlooking the passerby’s of King Street. A local’s tip – opt in for an early dinner and get $1 oysters every weekday until 7 PM.
If you find yourself wanting to stray away from the catch of the day, we recommend Melfi’s for the best Italian food in town. Located on upper King St, Melfi’s exudes a vintage, sophisticated club-like atmosphere that features a classic bar, a pizza counter – where you can watch the chefs work their magic – and an intimate outdoor patio perfect for summer evenings. We recommend ordering the Stretch Armstrong pizza (one of their most popular dishes) and of course, an Espresso Martini.
Fun Cocktail Spots
Citrus Club at The Dewberry
Charleston is known as the “Holy City” due to the surplus of historic churches downtown. It seems as though there’s one on every street. There’s an ordinance downtown stating that buildings cannot be built taller than the tallest church steeple (it’s part of what gives the city its small-town feel), but the Citrus Club rooftop bar at The Dewberry Hotel is right up there with it. The Citrus Club is an up-scale cocktail lounge on the highest rooftop in Charleston, with the best 360 views of downtown and the Charleston Harbor. We think it’s the place to be to enjoy a Citrus Spritz at sunset.
Little Palm at The Ryder Hotel
Named one of the best bars in America by Esquire, Little Palm is another hidden gem downtown and one of our favorite places to escape the heat of Charleston summer. Located on the top of The Ryder Hotel on Meeting Street, Little Palm is a colorful and comfortable destination for locals and guests alike. It features indoor café seating, an open-air bar, and a poolside outdoor patio. So lay back and relax under shaded day beds by the water after a long day of exploring downtown or meet us there for a cocktail after dinner!
Off The Peninsula (Some Hidden Gems We Love)
Station 12 at Sullivan’s Island
In the summer season, the beach at Sullivan’s Island is the place to be. Located about 15 minutes outside of downtown (you can see the Ravenel Bridge from the shore), Sullivan’s is the perfect destination for tourists and locals alike – and Station 12 is usually a hidden gem. The strip of Sullivan’s Island is always bustling with restaurant goers (Obstinate Daughter is an excellent spot for dinner, and The Co-op is famous for its delicious frosé), and the preferred methods of transportation for most are golf carts or bike rides. It has a true beach-town feel and a close-knit community, which makes it a perfect place for a family beach day, romantic walk along the shore, or relaxing solo with a good book.
Pitt Street Bridge
Another great place to escape the rustle-bustle of downtown Charleston is Pitt Street Bridge in Mount Pleasant. What used to be the only point of connection between Mount Pleasant and Sullivans Island is now a popular location for a leisurely stroll and the best water views. If you take an evening walk along the bridge, you’re sure to see a few yoga groups, picnics, a roller blader (or two), and LOTS of furry friends. There’s a pier at the end of the bridge that’s a popular fishing destination to catch anything from blue crab to flounder. The bridge also has unbeatable views of the sun setting over the Charleston harbor that you won’t want to miss.
No matter what brings you to Charleston, SC (this beautiful place we call home), we are sure you’ll end up loving this city as much as we do. We are so thankful to live in a place where every day feels like an adventure, and there’s always a new thing to explore. We hope you take a stroll and see what you discover along the way, you might find a new favorite spot of your very own!