ONE BEAUTIFUL CITY

Charleston, South Carolina is the oldest and second-largest city in South Carolina, a central point of SC’s coastline, and located in Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Its historic charm, culture, surrounding beaches, and growing tech scene make it an extremely rad place for such a rad conference. And oh yeah, the food around here is insanely good.

EATS

  • Hominy Grill (famous for the “Big Nasty” biscuit & their grits)
  • Fig  (vegan & vegetarian options)
  • Husk (celebrity chef Southern Food)
  • Black Bean Company  (vegan & vegetarian options)
  • Basil- Thai restaurant
  • Juanita Greenberg’s
  • Jestine’s Kitchen
  • Page’s Okra Grill (located in Mount Pleasant)
  • Taco Mamacita (Sullivan’s Island)
  • Taco Boy
  • Jim n Nicks BBQ downtown
  • Hometeam BBQ (Sullivan’s Island)
  • Xiao Bao Biscuit -the “it” spot for food right now
  • Hyman’s Seafood
  • Sugar (amazing cupcake spot)
  • Saffron (cafe & bakery) http://eatatsaffron.com/the-bakery/
  • Glazed (gourmet doughnuts) http://www.glazedgourmet.com
  • Kaminskey’s (bakery & bar) http://www.kaminskys.com
  • Paolo’s Gelato http://www.paolosgelato.com
  • Sweet Cece’s ( juice bar & frozen yogurt) http://sweetcecesjuicebar.com/
  • The Macintosh for pork-centric dishes like a bacon happy hour (You read that right Bacon HAPPY hour)
  • The Ordinary for fresh oysters and fish
  • McCrady’s
  • Cypress where the chef works magic with most ingredients
  • Two Boroughs Larder for a fancy sandwich
  • Oak Steakhouse – If you’re tired of seafood (is that even possible in this city?), this is the place to go. Offering the finest cuts of Angus beef steaks in a sophisticated space, Oak Steakhouse has an upscale menu and sources ingredients from local farmers and fisheries. Yes, there’s mouthwatering seafood on the menu here, as well. This is Charleston, after all.
  • Magnolias – One of Charleston’s best high-end restaurants, Magnolias offers contemporary dishes in the city’s celebrated historic district. Savor items off its “New Southern” menu like sautéed mussels, pimiento cheese flatbread and spicy catfish.
  • Amen Street Raw & Fish Bar – Located in the heart of the historic district, just a short walk from the City Market, Amen Street Raw & Fish Bar supports Charleston’s local fishing industry by serving up market-fresh fish. Feast on favorites like shrimp corndogs, baked oysters and crab cakes. If you have room, top off the meal with spiced pecan pie for dessert.
  • Slightly North of Broad aka : S.N.O.B- This bustling bistro wows diners with playful and innovative takes on Southern dishes like stuffed Carolina quail breast, BBQ tuna, and chocolate pecan upside down cake. And, like many of the restaurants in this town, Slightly North of Broad proudly serves products sourced from local farmers.
  • Virginia’s on KIng-Virginia’s serves some of the best comfort food in town. Try the fried chicken or the deviled crab―just be sure to bring your appetite.
  • Pearlz Oyster Bar
  • Butcher and Bee
  • Monza
  • Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen
  • Ru De Jean
  • O-Ku (sushi)
  • Tattooed Moose- known for their duck club sandwich,  featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
  • Big Gun Burger Shop
  • Peninsula Grill – known for their coconut cake http://peninsulagrill.com
  • Poogan’s Porch (Haunted by Zoe St. Armand)
  • Eli’s Table

Nightlife

  • The Royal American-live tunes, authentic music spot
  • Pour House where they host free live music on the deck. The deck opens at 5 pm Monday through Thursday and at 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The night of the free show changes, but they usually have at least one per week.
  • Gin Joint-old time cocktails
  • The Rarebit-the other old time cocktail joint
  • Recovery Room-Downtown Dive Bar
  • Prohibition- An establishment with a tip the hat– namely, Capone’s fedora– to the age of Fitzgerald, flappers, the speakeasy and ragtime kids.
  • AC’s Bar
  • Upper Deck Tavern

Sightseeing & Adventures

  • Old City Market : It’s a wonderful market for handmade baskets, low-country/southern spices for cooking and more.
  • Catch Some Air- Kitesurfing, Paddle Boarding
  • HydroFly for Hydroflying and Fishing (yes, hydro-flying-check it out!)
  • Nature Adventures Outfitters- Kayaking
  • Carriage Tours: Palmetto Carriage http://www.palmettocarriage.com/index.html
  • Free Walking Tours http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/charleston-sc-tours/
  • Ghost Tours:
  • Battery Carriage House Inn, inkown as “Charleston’s Most Haunted Inn.” The public is welcome to hunt for specters around the inn’s grounds—be on the lookout for the two most common phantoms, the Gentleman Ghost and the Headless Torso.
  • Charleston Farmer’s Market at Marion Square is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market sells fresh produce and specialty items, including homemade candles, cloths and jewelry. Local vendors serve breakfast and lunch.
  • Skeet Shooting Adventures
  • Plantations:  Boone Hall, Middleton Place,Magnolia Plantation, Drayton Hall
  • Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is not only a beautiful drive across the Cooper River; it also makes for a gorgeous walk and bike ride in the early morning and late evening hours
  • Fort Moultrie is a series of citadels located on Sullivan’s Island that were built to protect the city of Charleston.  Fort Moultrie is the only area of the National Park System where the entire 171-year history of American seacoast defense (1776–1947) can be traced. Edgar Allen Poe also served as a soldier here.
  • Fort Sumter,  the location of the official start to the Civil War,  is accessible via the Fort Sumter Ferry Terminal.
  • Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum  Home to USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Laffey (DD-724), USCG cutter Ingham(WHEC-35), USS Clamagore (SS-343) as well as many aircraft.
  • The Old Exchange Building & Provost Dungeon is a must-see when in Charleston. Take a tour and learn all about its rich history — as the site of18th-century assemblies; as a prison during the American Revolution; a place where President George Washington greeted locals; and where the Declaration of Independence was publicly read.
  • Battery Park/White Point Garden  is a must-see when in Charleston. Cornered by the Cooper River on one side and the Ashley River on another, Battery Park/White Point Garden is home to gorgeous Southern mansions, as well as American Revolutionary and Civil War history.
  • Aiken-Rhett House/Museum
  • Nathaniel Russel Home Museum
  • Calhoun Mansion
  • Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. This site features the cottage and 28-acre farm of Founding Father Charles Pinckney (he represented South Carolina at the Constitutional Convention). Visitors can view exhibits, watch a short film, and walk along the half-mile trail studded with informational signs that runs through the farm. On Saturdays in February and March, the site hosts programs that teach about the Gullah heritage and on April 24-25 the site celebrates Colonial Days.
  • Charleston City Hall and the Charleston County Court House. Both are located at the intersection of Broad and Meeting Streets and offer stately examples of the stunning architecture that is distinctive to historic Charleston. Both buildings are free and open to the public.
  • King Street is the place to be in Charleston, the action occurs between Calhoun and Market streets. The area is home to a handful of boutiques, mainstream shops, and mom-and-pop restaurants.
  • Rainbow Row, Established in the 1700s, the area now known as “Rainbow Row” was the center of Charleston’s commerce district, with storefronts on the first floor and shop owners’ homes on the second. Today, it’s all residential, but such a beautiful place to see before you leave Charleston.
  • Magnolia Cemetery-This 128-acre former rice plantation is the final resting place of 35,000 people; among them are 2,200 Civil War veterans, 5 governors, 3 U.S. senators, and 2 cabinet members
  • Circular Congregational Church GraveyardThe graveyard of Circular church is likely the oldest English burial ground still in existence in Charleston. While many gravestones have disappeared, over 500 remain, with about 730 individuals named on those stones. Another 620 persons are named in church records with indications they were most likely buried in the graveyard.
  • Waterfront Park
  • Angel Oak Tree: estimated 1,500-year-old live oak tree located on John’s Island, a 20-minute drive from downtown Charleston. This tree—with giant prehistoric branches that crawl along the ground creating a diameter of 160 feet—stands 65 feet high and has a circumference of 25 feet. During the spring and summer many art and music events take place under or near this historical tree.
  • Gateway Garden Walk connects the Unitarian Church to St. Phillip’s Church. The many gardens, churches, and cemeteries seen on this path and throughout Charleston may make you think you’ve stepped into The Secret Garden.
  • The Citadel
  • Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, a public museum and gallery that highlights the history of African Americans in the Lowcountry area. The center houses permanent displays and installations and offers free tours of the grounds and museum (groups of five or more are asked to book in advance). The center also hosts lectures, poetry readings, art exhibitions, jazz performances, and other events throughout the year.
  • Charleston Tea Plantation- located on Wadmalaw Island, 30 minutes from downtown. The only tea plantation in North America. Free walking tours and tea samples. Trolley tours are available for a fee.
  • Firefly Distillery- located on Wadmalaw Island, 30 minutes from downtown. Home of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka.
  • Irvin-House Vineyards on Wadmalaw Island, 30 minutes from drive downtown. On Saturdays free tours are offered at 2 p.m. The growing and harvesting of the muscadine grapes—a sweet, fruity, southern favorite—and the making and bottling of five varieties of wine all occur on this 48-acre winery. The $2.50 wine tasting includes all five wines and a wrapped glass to take home

Beaches

  • Folly Beach (surfer beach, biggest waves, hippie town)
  • Sullivan’s Island (closest to downtown, small waves, wide beach great dining options such as Poe’s Tavern, Salt, Hometeam BBQ, Taco Mamacita)
  • Isle of Palms (Medium waves, some dining: Sea Biscuit offers a great brunch

ART

Charleston is brimming with art galleries, many of which are open to the public free of charge (for a complete list of galleries, click here).

Surface Craft Gallery
49 John St.
Charleston, S.C. 29403
www.surfacegallerycharleston.com

If you’re on the search for classical European-style art, head to the Sylvan Gallery located at 171 King Street in the heart of Charleston’s antique district. This gallery features paintings and sculptures and focuses on 20th- and 21st-century representational art.

Robert Lange Studios, a homey yet elegant gallery at 2 Queen Street in the French Quarter, focuses on American Realist and Abstract style paintings and photography. Many of RLS’s shows and opening nights, which include hors d’oeuvres, wine, and live music, are also open to the public.

Gibbes Museum of Art , The Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works, many with a connection to Charleston or the South.

KIDS

  • South Carolina Aquarium on Charleston Harbor is a wonderful stop for the family. See the renovated Saltmarsh Aviary, home to 25 stingrays; the new albino alligator exhibit; and a 4-D adventure theater.
  • Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, located in downtown Charleston, is a must for the kids. Children ages 12 and under interact with 8 hands-on interactive exhibits, including a “true-to-size” grocery store.
  • Nathaniel Russell House/Museum Children’s Discovery Tours  https://www.historiccharleston.org/Visit/Museums/Nathanial-Russell-House-Museum/Children-s-Discovery-Tours.aspx