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Spending 72 Hours in Charleston, SC

Few Southern cities beckon so strongly as this coastal South Carolina gem. From the shopping and history, to the restaurants, bars, and festivals, there’s no shortage of ways to fill your time.

Written By:  Erin Byers Murray

Photographers:  Supplied

The Spectator Hotel
Photo courtesy The Spectator

72 Hours in Charleston

Few Southern cities beckon so strongly as this coastal South Carolina gem. From the shopping and history, to the restaurants, bars, and festivals, there’s no shortage of ways to fill your time.


3 p.m.
If you’ve taken the midday, Southwest nonstop, you’re landing right between lunch and dinner, setting you in town just in time for check-in at The Spectator Hotel. With a nod towards the 1920s, the Art Deco vibe of this modern boutique hotel feels right at home in the historic town center—and those working the check-in desk welcome you with a freshly made cocktail, on the house, made in the lobby bar.

5:30 p.m.
In town for Charleston Wine + Food (March 1 through 5, 2017) by any chance? This top-notch festival draws chefs from around the country, but it also puts an emphasis directly on Charleston, with dinners, tastings, and parties that celebrate the area’s vibrant culinary culture. The main event is the Culinary Village, set in Marion Square, where there’s an artisan makers tent, a wine shop, a cigar lounge, tasting stations, live music, and panels and discussions by food and wine experts from around the country. Thursday night might find you at a private dinner or on your way out to Boone Hall Plantation for the SFA Dockside Supper.

9 p.m.
Assuming you haven’t had your fill, stop back in to town at The Darling Oyster Bar, and belly up to the shucking station for a platter of oysters on the half shell or a plate of Creole shrimp with a side of hand-cut fries. For a nightcap, sip on the Lillet Royale.


8 a.m.
Start the day in motion with a brisk walk to an early class at Charleston Power Yoga; follow it up with an Easy Go Green smoothie from nearby Whisk Coffee and Juice Bar.

11 a.m.
Gibbes Museum of Art recently underwent a two-year, multi-million-dollar renovation—stop in to catch a glimpse of printmaker Jacob Lawrence’s bold and striking work in the exhibit, “History, Labor, Life,” on display through April.

1:30 p.m.
Chef Sean Brock’s original Husk is a few blocks away and will hit the spot with its crispy pig-ear lettuce wraps and a plate of shrimp and Edisto Island grits.

3 p.m.
Stroll along King and Queen Streets, stopping in to spaces, like the Audubon Gallery, to get a glimpse at its collection of carved birds, or the Robert Lange Studios, where the industrial-modern interior is lined with paintings that range from realism and portraits to striking scenic landscapes.

8 p.m.
There are a number of dining options through Charleston Wine + Food, but, for a more private dining experience, call ahead for seats at Scarecrow & Co., which opened last year to great acclaim. For a splurge, try the Scarecrow burger, which is topped with foie gras and truffle aioli.

>>> more Charleston Travel Tips



11 a.m.
Sleep in before making your way to brunch at The Rarebit, a contemporary diner that serves up a sturdy steak and eggs, which you’ll need before tackling a full day of walking and tasting.

2 p.m.
Spend the afternoon familiarizing yourself with Charleston’s beverage expertise. Working your way from the center of town, heading north, start with a sip of straight rye whiskey at Charleston Distilling Co. From there, make your way to Upper King, and hop on a tour at High Wire Distilling to learn about distiller Scott Blackwell’s use of artisanal grains in his line of New Southern Revival sorghum whiskeys. Revelry Brewing Co. is a little way up the road and will quench your thirst with a Gullah Cream ale. Or stop in to Edmunds Oast for a sip of one of their aggressively sour ales or something from their 38-foot-long beer wall, which holds 48 ever-changing taps, as well as a reinvigorating plate of their pickled shrimp. From there, it might be time for a quick catnap.

8 p.m.
Last fall, Husk Nashville’s Sean Brock revamped his Charleston restaurant lineup to create McCrady’s Restaurant, an 18-seat, tasting-menu-only restaurant, where he and his chefs are employing their expertise in molecular gastronomy, and McCrady’s Tavern, which pulls inspiration from the late 1800s with dishes like calf’s head soup and an escargot stuffed marrow bone. Either spot will wow—but be sure to book in advance.


10 a.m.
Before hopping your direct flight home to Nashville, scope out another restaurant boasting dual citizenship with brunch at Butcher & Bee. Having recently moved to a bigger space, the restaurant added brunch to its lineup. Fill up on a plate of morning hummus, with a poached egg on top, and toast a successful trip with a Vacation Wife cocktail, made from High Wire gin, of course.

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