We are frequently asked what are the “must see” places in Charleston, so Hidden Charleston recently asked our friend and travel writer, Amanda Keene, to tell us her favorite experiences from a recent stay at Charleston Place.


Rainbow RowDiscovering the city by horse-drawn carriage is one way to explore Charleston. The other way is on foot. I opted for the latter, and got up at dawn to view the city waking up.

How marvelous to be staying at Charleston Place Hotel, right in the center, with everything I wanted to see just steps away. Even better, I was staying on the exclusive Club Floor, where they’ve thought of everything.

So, as the first rays of light were filtering over the sky, I was filling my coffee cup and setting off to Waterfront Park. My route led past luxury stables where horses were being primped with treatments to rival those of the Charleston Place rooftop spa. On I walked, to a swing seat on a wooden jetty where I swayed to and fro sipping coffee as the sun came shimmering up over the Cooper River.

A couple of joggers sped by and a man cleared up fallen leaves from the giant magnolia trees, leaving pristine lawns beneath. But otherwise, I had the grand residences of The Battery and Rainbow Row to myself as I strolled on through the grid of streets. What an absolute pleasure to wander up and down, gazing into gorgeous gardens and at grand Georgian-style homes.

With less than a day to explore, I could do little more than scratch the surface of Charleston. Nathaniel Russel House But if you’re reading this and have similarly limited time, here are my highlights: two houses to visit and two tours to take.

1. Nathaniel-Russell House, 51 Meeting Street
Elegance, simplicity and a soaring staircase that spirals up through three floors with no visible means of support. The refined, classical style extends to its pretty garden. Image left, courtesy of Historic Charleston Foundation. Photographer: Rick Rhodes

2. Calhoun Mansion, 16 Meeting Street
Exuberant decor and a fascinating collection of art and artifacts cover every surface. A sense of history and extraordinary anecdotes add luster to this very lived-in home and theatrical garden.

3. Charleston Culinary Tour
A knowledgeable guide leads you through the streets surrounding Charleston Place, and introduces the city’s history through your palate. Includes stops at cafes and shops to sample grits, collard greens, pralines and other local foodie treats. Delicious, informative and huge fun.
Charleston Private Garden
4. A private garden tour 
A local expert escorts you through gardens, overgrown graveyards and leafy streets, pointing out plants and architectural features you’d otherwise overlook. You’ll dip into so many nooks and crannies you’ll almost feel like a Charleston resident by the end.


This Fall, Charleston Place has made it easy to discover the best of Charleston with the Holy City Adventure Package. Stay two nights and choose one of several specialty tours of Charleston, including a behind the scenes tour of the Calhoun Mansion or a Charleston Culinary Tour. No matter which tour you choose, all will offer a unique glimpse at Charleston’s historic past and vibrant culture.