I arrived in Charleston in an almighty rain storm, having driven through near misses of lightning strikes and monsoon-like rain. Of course, I still found time to call in at the store on the way to make sure we had chocolate and wine to take to what would be my temporary home for a night or two…

After a lazy evening, I had a good long day to enjoy the sites of Charleston. I’ll be honest, after the beauty and old-time charm of the Savannah, I didn’t fall in love with Charleston in quite the same way.  That’s not to say it isn’t a place with lots of history and plenty of worthwhile sites, though.  Charleston has plenty of highlights and here they are.

Horse and Carriage Tour

Yes, I did it; I was a tourist. I spent an hour on a carriage pulled by a beautiful horse named Gary and steered by a college history professor. What I didn’t know was that you never know exactly which sites you’re going to be able to enjoy from the comfort of the carriage, since each vehicle is assigned an area of the city to tour to avoid clogging up the roads. We were lucky enough to be assigned the area around the Battery and water front. For $25, I was able to enjoy Rainbow Row, the Battery, Water Front Park and St Philip’s Church. Not a bad way to spend an hour.

Aiken-Rhett House

We only had time to visit one historic house while in Charleston, and I’m confident we made the right choice with this one.  Preserved rather than restored, you get an eye-opening glimpse into the faded glory of a once grand antebellum mansion.  You’ll step foot in the stables, where you’ll see the old carriages in charming disrepair, admire the art collection in the small but bright gallery room, see the ballroom as a time capsule from days gone by, and hear the stories of the family that lived there for generations.  Yes, the chandeliers aren’t sparkling and all that’s left of the grand canopy beds are the circular marks on the ceilings, but as you step out onto the balcony, you’ll leave with a true appreciation of the past and the present.

City Market

Whether it’s Christmas decorations you’re looking for, handmade jewelry, a BLT biscuit, or the famed sweetgrass baskets handmade and learned from generations of Gullah culture, you’ll find it at City Market.  A warning though, it’s longer than you think, and will probably cost you more than you think too!

Dellz Uptown

After a long day in Charleston without lunch, I hiked the long forty-minute walk back to our apartment and stopped in at Dellz Uptown, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant that caters well for gluten-free folk like me. Let me tell, this place made me happy. I had a gluten-free vegan pizza that was hands down the best meal I have eaten in a long time. My waist line did not benefit from it, but my soul sure did.

What are some of your must-see places in Charleston?

Pop your ideas in the comments below…

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