When you really want to get a good idea of where to go in one of the most popular city destinations of late, you turn to a local, and even better -- you turn to a local weekend party planner! Oh yeah...praise hands! So when we discovered Kay & Co Weekends and started following along with Randi, we knew we had found that sort of 'someone you want to know', and we're thrilled she has shared her take on where to go around Charleston with us. So if you have Charleston in your travel plans you may just want to bookmark this little beauty of a guide. Or you may just need to let Randi plan your next girls' weekend in Charleston for you! Either way, for now we'll just be drooling over the idea of bacon popcorn and rooftop hangouts while you indulge in Randi's guide to Charleston...
Low key spots in Charleston are better than the tourist traps. 100%. Venture off Market Street to really experience Charleston the way the locals do it.
And here's some ideas how...
Explore Cannonborough. A haphazard assortment of local makers and Charleston creatives have set up shop in the Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood, and it's turned the walkable area into a great place to explore and see where real, normal Charleston people live (as well as where a lot of the local college students have settled in). Locals will tell you that ten years ago, you didn't venture near Spring Street; now, notable places include: Brown's Court Bakery for a coffee & a monster cookie (fun secret: get half off pastries during their "happy hour" from 5-7 pm each day); J. Stark's newly opened space; and Five Loaves Café & Juice Bar (their acai bowls are my personal favorite). For the ultimate collection of local brands that you can't find anywhere else, Cannonborough Collective is the spot to stop – their tassel balloon bar is also pretty freakin' cute. And if Instagram-worthy photos are the reason you're in Charleston, walk down Cannon Street to grab a picture and a cupcake from Sugar Bakeshop, continue to Mac & Murphy for some adorable paper goods, and stop along the way to take a few classic Charleston wall photos.
Brown's Court Bakery
Sugar Bake ShopPC sugarbake.com
Climb up the stairs to a rooftop bar. Yes, every bachelorette & their brother knows about the Rooftop at Stars (and don't get me wrong, I love Stars – especially on Tuesday, when rosé is half off), but there are a few other rooftop bars in Charleston that are worth the trip, and probably not as packed. Don't be afraid to venture into the Restoration Hotel to The Watch (bonus: brunch), or trek a little further up the peninsula to Revelry Brewing's rooftop. Cocktail Club (above The Macintosh) even has an outdoor space that's technically a rooftop (and their menu features bacon popcorn, so I don't actually know why we're talking about anywhere else). And of course, no talk of Charleston rooftop bars would be complete without mentioning The Rooftop at Vendue, a favorite of the East Bay crowd – go at sunset for the best views of the city and Charleston Harbor.
The Watch at The Restoration Hotel
Cocktail Club above The Macintosh
Brunch somewhere that hasn't been on the Food Network. Charleston is loaded with brunch options – even some places that only serve dinner on the weeknights will open early on Sundays for a boozy brunch. 39 Rue de Jean is often overlooked for brunch, but I have legitimately had dreams about their duck confit hash, and Barsa features a great brunch for a good price as well. For a cozier vibe, my favorite is the aforementioned Five Loaves Café, which is reasonably priced (read: ten dollar mimosa carafes) and has a brunch menu that makes it impossible to go wrong; Park Café is another place where locals flock on Sundays – they have a delicious & unique menu if you're not looking for traditional Southern brunch items. These spots are the tip of the iceberg for Charleston brunch – no matter where you go, I'm sure you'll find somewhere good. The most important thing to remember on Sunday morning in Charleston is this: brunch without booze is just breakfast.
39 Rue de JeanPC Wedding-Spot.com
The Park CafePC Southernliving.com
Head north of the Crosstown. If you've got some extra time while you're in Charleston, hop in an uber and head north on King Street to visit restaurants like Butcher & Bee (super Insta-worthy), Taco Boy, the new Goat. Sheep. Cow. (cheese galore), and Home Team Barbeque (some locals will tell you Lewis BBQ is better – they're right next to each other, so try both!). Nearby Hampton Park is a great place for a Sunday picnic, and the Wagener Terrace neighborhood is where lots of local families live. Hampton Park is great if you're looking to ride your bike, go for a run, or see how the locals spend their days – and the spring blooms aren't bad, either.
Butcher & BeePC via Charleston Inside-Out
Taco BoyPC via Bellbliss.blogspot
Hampton ParkPC Kay & Co