As beautiful now as she was 350 years ago, Charleston is a perfect juxtaposition of centuries old charm and cultured sophistication. Shaped by the city’s two rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper, Charleston bristles with an energy and vibrancy reserved for only the finest cities in the world. Glorious weather shines down, while locals and visitors alike amble down narrow cobblestone streets in search of reluctant artists, boutique shops and the country’s best restaurants. Whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, it’s easy to be seduced by Charleston’s charm. Crowned the Number 1 City in the United States for the last ten years, read on for our essential Charleston guide. The perfect trip to Charleston starts with cocktails al fresco. Rooftop bars are plentiful and the Clocktower Terrace is one of the few in town that offers a perch overlooking historic King Street. Sip a Belmond Breeze while you admire views of the city skyline. Then, set out in search of local delicacies. Oysters are a crowd-favorite and can be found on menus throughout the city. Two of our favorite spots for fresh seafood? The Ordinary and The Darling Oyster Bar, both located a few shorts blocks from Charleston Place, A Belmond Hotel. The next morning, set out at first light with a private trainer for a run over the Ravenel Bridge. See if you can spot Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, and the Sullivans Island lighthouse in the distance. After working up an appetite, head to Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, for a true taste of the South. Located in the historic City Market, afterwards, peruse the sweetgrass baskets which have been made by hand according to Gullah Geeche traditions for years. Then, plan to wander away the morning exploring historic Charleston. Stop by Waterfront Park to see its famous Pineapple Fountain, walk past the candy-colored homes of Rainbow Row and then onto the Battery, where Antebellum mansions overlook Charleston harbor. Allow us to pack you a picnic lunch and sit a spell under the enormous oaks of White Point Gardens. Continue your downtown adventure by spending the afternoon on one of the country’s most famous streets – King Street. Peppered with national labels, boutique shops, art galleries and antique stores also dot the shopping district. Peacock proud locals delight in showing their wares and sharing the unique stories behind their products with curious travelers. After shopping, take a rickshaw ride to upper King Street, where lively restaurants and bars await. One of our favorite ways to try all of Charleston’s mouthwatering cuisine? Create your own dine around experience. Start with drinks at the speak-easy like Cocktail Club, move on to appetizers at the farm-to-table eatery Macintosh and then sample the sophisticated pizzas and pastas from Indaco. If you aren’t ready to say goodnight, a nightcap at Halls Chophouse is in order. Their Sunday gospel brunch is also a Charleston classic, beloved by locals and visitors. A city surrounded by water, rise with the tide the next morning as dawn breaks over the Atlantic. Embrace the Lowcountry lifestyle, take a walk on the wild side, and uncover secret sea islands with Coastal Expeditions. Admire the sculpture-like branches of Boneyard Beach. Stroll along the maritime forest, gathering shells and spotting alligators and bottlenose dolphins. After a full day of exploration, relaxation is in order. Laze away the afternoon at our horizon-edge mineral pool or indulge in a signature spa treatment. No trip to Charleston is complete without a cosmopolitan night on the town. Start with a cocktail and live music at the clubby Thoroughbred Club before indulging in some of the city’s finest fare at Charleston Grill. Perfectly paired wines complement the global cuisine while live jazz sets the tone for a vibrant night. After dinner, head to the Gin Joint, for a cozy cocktail in their 1920s-inspired setting. Then, wander hand in hand down cobblestone streets as gas lanterns flicker in the evening light. Then, end your Charleston adventure as the sunset casts pink and orange hues over the Ashley River. You may just spot a bottlenose dolphin while a local jazz artist serenades the setting sun on his trumpet. These are the precious moments through which memories are shaped, endearing Charleston to locals and visitors alike.
While the holiday season may look a little different this year, there’s no reason not to shop ‘til you drop (safely, of course!) and pick out gifts for those who mean the most. If there was ever a year to celebrate with something special, this is it. And The Shops at Belmond Charleston Place have something for everyone on your list, all in one place. For the Fashionista: Festive and fun, pick up a new frock from Kate Spade or add some sparkle to the season with new accessories from Tara Grinna. Get her excited about the travel to come with a new bathing suit from Everything but Water or outfit your mini-me in a jacquard dress from Pink Chicken, perfect for holiday family photos. For the Homebody: Cozy up with a Cool Nights pajama set from Soma Intimates. Paired with a sleep mask, it’s the perfect gift this season (and really, this year). Or give these fun, faux leather leggings and embellished slides, just as perfect to wear around the house as they are for a night out. Available at White House Black Market. For the Beauty Guru: We could all use a little self care and this beautiful hand cream set from L’Occitane or this body mist from Green Biotics Relaxation Collection will help relax and renew. For the Luxe Lover: There’s no better gift than an indulgent leather bag from Louis Vuitton or a sophisticated leather belt from Gucci. Or up her accessory game with fun, fur heels from Peserico or a chic and oh-so-classic bag from St. John. For the Jewelry Junkie: Timeless and simple enough to wear every day, give a charm bracelet from Pandora. Or add a pop of color to her jewelry with these beautiful earrings from Chico’s, that can be dressed up or down. For the Dapper Dad: We can’t forget about the men in our life! Spruce up his go to loafers with a new pair of genuine leather boat shoes from Sperry. Paired with classic shades from Sunglass Hut and a new shirt from Tommy Bahama in a festive color and he’s ready for the new year. For the Home: Since we’re all spending more time at home, give a gift the whole family will love like this beautiful vintage botanical puzzle from Lou Lou. Dress up your walls with a striking piece of art from Mary Martin. Know someone missing Charleston? The Charleston Interior’s book from The Belmond Boutique would make a fitting gift. Visit us downtown and shop at The Shops at Belmond Charleston Place to check off everyone on your list this holiday season. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more information on holiday specials and deals.
Whether basking in the blissful temperatures or indulging in centuries-old traditions, Charleston is a magical place during the holidays. Garlands adorn Antebellum mansions. Magnolia wreaths flank wrought-iron gates. Twinkling lights wrap the trunks of Palmetto trees. From holiday markets to special menus featuring the finest Lowcountry cuisine, there’s never been a better time to Celebrate in Charleston. Timeless Traditions A living history museum, Charleston embraces the holiday season with a reverent look towards the past. Tour the festively decorated Edmondston-Alston House by candlelight, warm up in the courtyard with a glass of hot cider as carolers sing, then listen to a local storyteller perform Gullah Christmas stories at Christmas on the Battery. Or set out with a private guide to Magnolia Plantation or Middleton Place. Torch-lit gardens beckon guests to warm up fireside while yuletide traditions and 18-century reenactments celebrate the sights and sounds of the Lowcountry. Holiday Comforts Treasured family recipes are the touchstones of holiday traditions and Charleston’s rich culinary history is on display during the holiday season. Gather friends and family around the table for a delicious feast at one of the city’s best restaurants, Charleston Grill or The Palmetto Cafe, where guests can find special menus for the holidays. Or sip a hot toddy by one of our outdoor fire pits while nibbling on holiday themed cookies. All the Trimmings Home to luxury brands, boutique shops and local favorites, give the gift of Charleston this season. Steps from our guest rooms, explore The Shops at Belmond Charleston Place, with gifts for men, women, children and home. Or walk out our doors and onto King Street, considered to be one of the finest shopping districts in the country. Festive Moments Bring your family together for an unforgettable celebration in an unprecedented year. It’s an invitation to come together and reconnect with loved ones, enjoy the salty sea air and create new memories together. From holiday décor in your suite to special family photos with a professional photographer, mark the occasion in grand style. Holiday Headquarters There’s perhaps no better time to escape to Charleston. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with twinkling Christmas trees, grand wreaths and rows upon row of garland in our lobby. Step into our courtyard garden and by wowed by the magnificent 40-foot lighted Christmas tree that towers over the Market Street Circle fountain. Take part in cherished holiday traditions and embrace the spirit of the season in charming Charleston. To learn more about our offerings, click here.