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dunes properties of Charleston is a real estate, vacation rental and property management company representing the Lowcountry with almost 80 exclusive Charleston beach vacation rental properties, 70 real estate agents and employees, four full-service offices. Nobody knows the Charleston Coast better.

Isle of Palms Office

1400 Palm Boulevard
Isle of Palms, SC 29451
843.886.5600

Real Estate Inquiries:
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Folly Beach Office

31 Center Street
Folly Beach, SC 29439
843.588.3800

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The Real Estate Studio

214 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401
843.722.5618

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Kiawah Seabrook Office

1887 Andell Bluff Boulevard
Johns Island, SC 29455
843.768.9800

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The Best Holiday Attractions in Charleston, SC for the Whole Family

Holiday attractions in Charleston

Looking for holiday attractions in Charleston? Let’s face it, this city is charming all year round, but the holidays add something special to the air. With the city’s historic homes decorated in all their holiday finery and dazzling light shows illuminating the entire peninsula, the Holy City is a truly magical place to be this time of year.

Best of all, there are nonstop winter activities and festive gatherings that the whole family can enjoy. From Historic downtown Charleston to James Island, you’ll have no trouble finding fun things to do to get the family into the holiday spirit.

Ready to make your trip to Charleston unforgettable? Here are a few holiday events that you won’t want to miss:

Historic Downtown Charleston

Holiday parades, sweet treats and crafts — oh my! Downtown Charleston always has some of the best holiday happenings in the Holy City. Here are a few of our annual favorites:

Holiday Market in Marion Square

For the first three weeks of December, the Charleston Farmers Market transforms into the Holiday Market. Along with your favorite vendors, you’ll also find seasonal vendors marketing their wares.

The Holiday Market also promises live music, caroling and fun activities for the kids. Best of all, there are free visits and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Sweets with SantaHoliday attractions in Charleston

Come out to support the arts with this family-friendly event. On December 2 and 3, the Gaillard Center will welcome hundreds of families with cookies and hot chocolate, photos with Santa, activities for the kids and a special performance by Charlton Singleton & Friends.

Although the event is free to attend, consider giving a small donation. The proceeds go to the Charleston Gaillard Center’s Education Initiative, which focuses on providing in-school art workshops, camps, community events and other educational opportunities for kids.

City of Charleston Holiday Parade

A beloved Lowcountry event, the City of Charleston Holiday Parade delights families year after year with its spectacular floats, lively music and candy tossed to the little ones in the crowd.

Hosted by the Charleston Fire Department, the parade is free to watch and starts at 3:00 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2018. The parade commences on Broad Street, travels north on King Street and ends at Calhoun and Meeting streets.

A Christmas Carol

Back by popular demand! Last year, the Charleston Stage’s musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” sold out and received widespread acclaim.

This year, the holiday classic returns to wow audiences a second time. If you haven’t seen the production, be sure to grab your tickets before they’re gone!

Cigar Bazaar Holiday Market

The Charleston area isn’t short on holiday markets, but this one should be high on your list of must-visit markets. Set in the historic Cigar Factory, the Holiday Cigar Bazaar features eclectic wares from local artisans that make for truly one-of-a-kind gifts.

With a wide range of local and regional vendors, you’re sure to find a unique gift or holiday décor to bring home. Plus, it’s always nice to support local businesses — especially during the holiday season.

James Island

Located just a short drive from Downtown Charleston, James Island offers plenty of holiday fun for families of all ages. From it’s captivating lightshow to its family-friendly market, here are a couple of holiday events worth attending this year:

Holiday Festival of Lights

Holiday attractions in charleston

Photo Courtesy of Instagram Via @bootsbowsandbeaches

Without a doubt, the biggest holiday event on James Island is the Holiday Festival of Lights. Now in its 29th year, this spectacular lightshow features about two million dazzling lights spanning three miles.

Each year, families from all over the country make their way to James Island to partake in this exciting event. Along the three-mile drive, visitors can park the car and experience family train rides, marshmallow roasting and interactive lakeside lights, as well as myriad shopping and dining opportunities.

The big event will be open nightly until just after the New Year.

James Island Holiday Market and Movie

Starting December 7, say goodbye to the James Island Fall Festival Market and hello to the Holiday Market! This year, your favorite holiday vendors will bring a variety of local crafts, produce and more.

The kids will have a blast partaking in holiday workshops, bouncy castles, crafts and food. At dusk, “Polar Express” will play on the big screen.

Mount Pleasant

With its small-town charm and lively celebrations, Mount Pleasant, S.C. is the perfect place to usher in the holidays. Make your way across Ravenel Bridge from Downtown Charleston and discover lit-up trees, boat parades, local holiday shopping and other festivities in this fast-growing suburb.

Holiday Parade of BoatsHoliday attractions in Charleston

On December 8, be sure to catch all the boats decked out in their festive décor and lights as they sail from the Cooper River through the Charleston Harbor and into the Ashley River. This annual event ends with a spectacular display of fireworks over the harbor.

This Lowcountry holiday tradition is not to be missed! The event kicks off at 5:00 p.m. and is completely free to watch. For prime viewing of the holiday boat parade, check out Mount Pleasant’s Waterfront Park or the South Carolina Aquarium.

Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade

December 9, don’t miss the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Moultrie Middle School in Mount Pleasant, followed by a dazzling display of fireworks. Immediately following the tree lighting, get ready to take in the festive Christmas parade.

Starting at 5:30 p.m., more than 100 festive floats will make their way down Coleman Boulevard and through the intersection of Patriots Point Road and W. Coleman Boulevard. The kids will adore catching a glimpse of Santa and experiencing the lively marching bands that make their way past.

West Ashley

If you’re staying in the West Ashley area, you’re in luck. Located relatively close to the West Ashley area are two of Charleston’s most stunning plantations: Middleton Place and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Both plantations are worth a visit anytime, but they are especially inviting during the holiday season. Decorated in holiday finery and featuring plenty of kid-friendly holiday activities, the two historic plantations host spectacular events the entire family will enjoy.

Family Yuletide at Middleton Place

Each year, families all over Charleston flock to Middleton Place for its annual Family Yuletide in the Stable Yards. This event encourages families to create their own nature-inspired holiday décor around warm fires as blacksmiths, potters and seamstresses work their trades by candle-light.

There will also be a live nativity scene that features a few animals from the stable yards at Middleton Place. With actors in period dress and old-fashioned décor, the kids will get an opportunity to see what life was like in the 18th century.

Children’s Village at Magnolia Plantation

Holiday attractions in charleston

Photo Courtesy of Instagram Via @magnoliaplantation

Bring the entire family — including the dog — to Magnolia Plantation for its annual Children’s Village. Starting in December, this yearly event is centered around exciting holiday activities for the little ones.

Kids can wander down Candy Cane Lane and visit Santa’s workshop, the Candy Factory, Gingerbread House, the Elf Bunk House and other fun stops. Each weekend, the Holiday Children’s Village adds a special theme to enhance the event’s charm.

North Charleston

North Charleston may be somewhat removed from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Charleston. But make no mistake — this fast-growing neighborhood boasts its own lively dining scene and exciting events.

If you’re in the North Charleston area for the holidays, be sure to check out the following events:

Christmas Tree and Lights in the Circle

Don’t mIss the Christmas tree and festive lights on the  front lawn of the Felix C. Davis Community Center. Every year, the mayor lights the spectacular 40-foot tree to kickstart the holiday season.

After the ceremony, stroll around Park Circle to catch a 360 view of the tree and take in other stunning light displays.

North Charleston Christmas Parade and Festival

Holiday attractions in charleston

Photo Courtesy of Instagram Via @northcharleston

The Christmas Parade and Festival is one of North Charleston’s best holiday events. December 8, the Christmas Parade kicks off at 5:00 p.m. at the corner of East Montague and Mixson avenues. In previous parades, live music and DJs warmed up the crowd before the parade sets off.

After the parade, kids can enjoy activities such as bouncy castles, petting zoos and hay rides. There will also be caroling and visits with Santa.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — for a live performance, that is. On December 19, bring the entire family to see this musical rendition of one of America’s most beloved television specials.

Held at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, the production will highlight everyone’s favorite characters, including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster. Get your tickets now and treat the entire family to a show that everyone is bound to enjoy.

Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms — or IOP to those in the know — is the perfect place for families to escape from the cold. Although it’s bordered by pristine beaches, IOP offers visitors far more than a relaxing beach getaway.

Holiday attractions in charleston

Check out the following IOP holiday events that are guaranteed to liven up your seaside vacation:

Holiday Street Festival

The Isle of Palms annual Holiday Street Festival promises a good time for locals and visitors alike. Full of carnival rides, bouncy castles, face painting, local music and food, the Holiday Street Festival is sure to get the grumpiest of grinches into the holiday spirit.

The fun starts December 1 at 2:00 p.m. and runs until 7:00 p.m. Don’t forget to stick around for the special Christmas tree lighting that happens on Front Beach at 5:30!

Happy Holidays from Dunes Properties!

Holiday attractions in charleston

Whether you call Charleston home or you’re simply visiting for the holidays, the city never fails to make this season special. With its many tree lighting ceremonies, shopping opportunities and family-friendly activities, there is something for the entire family to enjoy in Charleston.

If you need help finding a place to stay in Charleston, get in touch with us! We’ll help you find the right accommodations to make your holiday vacation truly spectacular.

Reasons to Love Sullivan’s Island

Reasons to Love Sullivan's Island

There are so many reasons to love Sullivan’s Island! With miles of quiet beach, a rich history and a friendly and inviting community, the residential island is a prime location for Charleston locals to kick up their feet.

Whether you’re searching for a romantic vacation spot or scoping out Charleston, S.C. real estate for a place to live, Sullivan’s Island is worth exploring. Discover what makes this island the go-to beach for Charleston insiders:

About Sullivan’s Island

Easy island living is what Sullivan’s Island is all about. Located just 10 miles from downtown Charleston, this island and town is home to families, retirees and anyone who enjoys the slow-paced coastal lifestyle.

With a total area of 3.4 square miles, Sullivan’s Island is on the smaller side. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty, charm and history.

Settled in the late 1600s, the island is named after Captain Florence O’Sullivan, who arrived on one of the first fleets to create the new settlement in Charleston. The lack of development on Sullivan’s Island has allowed it to retain its pristine natural beauty, making it one of the most beautiful beaches in the Lowcountry.

With just under 2,000 residents, Sullivan’s Island is home to a tightknit but welcoming community that appreciates understated charm over flashy indulgences. While the island’s population rises in the summer, locals enjoy much less tourism than Charleston’s other barrier islands.

Reasons to Love Sullivan’s Island

It isn’t difficult to see why locals love Sullivan’s Island. This stunning barrier island offers a wide array of beach activities and watersports, historical landmarks and wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as some of the best food in the Lowcountry.

Whether it’s a weekend retreat or a day trip, you’re sure to fall in love with Sullivan’s Island for the same reasons the locals did.

Natural Beach

One of Charleston’s most natural and beautiful barrier islands, Sullivan’s Island is more than a romantic retreat for tourists. With little development and a clean shoreline, living on the island is akin to having your own private oasis.

Although the island itself is small, Sullivan’s Island has a vast beach with sandy dunes and wild, coastal vegetation. There are no piers, touristy beach shops or convenient stores along the beach — just calm and quiet as you enjoy the island’s unspoiled landscape.

Reasons to Love Sullivan's Island

Photo Courtesy of Instagram via @station28.5

Less Crowds

Sullivan’s Island is undoubtedly one of the best Charleston, S.C. beaches for those who enjoy their peace and quiet. Compared to Isle of Palms and Folly, Sullivan’s Island is secluded, pristine and utterly romantic — especially when the sun begins to set over Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and the historic lighthouse.

Every Charleston beach has unique characteristics that make it distinct. The lack of commercial development makes Sullivan’s Island stand apart from other islands. However, keep in mind that there are no lifeguards or public restrooms on the beach.

There are also no bars or restaurants along the beach. While this may seem like a disadvantage, it does an amazing job of keeping Sullivan’s Island secluded, private and clean.

For locals, no bars or restaurants isn’t a downside. In fact, it presents the perfect opportunity to bring a picnic and enjoy the privacy and serenity of Sullivan’s Island. And of course, there are bars and restaurants just a few blocks away in the middle of the island.

No Hotels

In keeping with the secluded, small-town feel of Sullivan’s Island, there are no hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts or other types of temporary lodging. The nearest hotels are in Mount Pleasant.

Although this might seem inconvenient to some vacationers, locals love having the island mostly to themselves. With both Charleston and Mount Pleasant less than 15 minutes away, Sullivan’s Island can get away with having no transient lodging.

Mount Pleasant locals don’t mind the policy either. In fact, many locals from the Mount Pleasant area ride their bikes across Ben Sawyer Bridge — less than 15 miles roundtrip — to spend the day at on the island and enjoy the secluded beach.

Deep Roots in History

Charleston is steeped in history, and Sullivan’s Island is no different. Locals have experienced many of the historic landmarks on the island, but who wouldn’t enjoy living in an area so rich in history?

Since its settlement in the 17th century, the defensive sea island has played a key role in the nation’s military operations. Fort Moultrie has stood strong on the island for over two centuries and receives tourists daily.

Although most locals have explored the museum and interactive exhibits at Fort Moultrie, many still enjoy exploring the grounds after hours. Fort Moultrie closes at 5:00 p.m., but the grounds are open 24/7, and many locals come for the peaceful views of the Charleston Harbor.

With such charm and history, it’s not surprising that Edgar Allen Poe was inspired to write “Goldbug” while stationed here in 1827. If you’re a fan of the gothic writer, be sure to stop by the popular Poe’s Tavern restaurant.

Quiet During the Off Season

During peak tourism season, Sullivan’s Island gets its fair share of visitors. Still, the crowds aren’t nearly as bad as on Charleston’s other barrier islands.

When the off season arrives — roughly, October through February — locals get to enjoy their sleepy beach town to its fullest. The parking is less harried, favorite eateries are no longer packed and the frenzy of summer vacationers is finally gone.

You’ll still find people out and about, enjoying a casual bike ride or walking the dog. However, everyone is quiet and respectful of the town’s noise ordinance.

Things to Do on Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island may be your quintessential sleepy beach town, but there is a never-ending list of things to do here. From kayaking and backwater paddling to exploring the shopping opportunities along Middle Street, locals have a vast number of amenities and activities at their fingertips.

Water Sports

Sullivan’s Island is every water-lover’s dream come true. From kayaking and wind surfing to swimming and paddleboarding, the island offers a wide array of water sport activities.

The calm waters on Sullivan’s Island are ideal for swimming, while the strong, steady winds make it perfect for kiteboarding and sailing. Although you won’t find any water sports equipment rentals on the beach, there is a rental shop on Middle Street, the main drag of the island.

Sullivan’s Island is also ideal for fishing. Whether you’re angling for flounder or bluefish at Breach Inlet or setting out on a world class fishing charter, the lush marsh estuaries and inlets surrounding the island make it the perfect place to cast your line.

Reasons to Love Sullivan's Island

Photo Courtesy of Instagram via @poestavern

Dining

Sullivan’s Island may be small, but some of Charleston’s best cuisine can be found on this barrier island. From fancy eats served in elegant spaces to funky beach taverns with tons of character, you’ll never get bored with the dining options on Sullivan’s Island.

You can’t bring up eateries on Sullivan’s Island without mentioning Poe’s Tavern. As previously mentioned above, this literary-themed tavern is decorated with Edgar Allen Poe’s best works and has a great atmosphere.

Poe’s Tavern also has the best burgers in all of Charleston, and we aren’t just saying that: It was voted “2018 Best Burger” by the Charleston City Paper.

Burgers aren’t the only thing on the menu at Sullivan’s Island. Stop by High Thyme for lunch and enjoy fried duck breast with smoked gouda grits while listening to live music.

Craving some barbecue? Bring the entire family to Home Team BBQ for mouthwatering smoked meats and savory sides.

Want something a bit more upscale? The Obstinate Daughter has a great selection of modern and unique cuisine. Although you might wait a bit for a table, the dining experience will be worth it.

Explore Historical Landmarks

Reasons to Love Sullivan's Island

History buffs will want to check out Fort Moultrie, located on the east side of the island. Known for its role in the Revolutionary War and Civil War, the famous seacoast defense is full of rich military history. The entire family will enjoy Fort Moultrie’s museum, interactive exhibits and stunning views of the Charleston Harbor.

Sullivan’s Island also has a dark past that can’t be ignored. The island was the port of entry for hundreds of thousands of African American slaves during the height of the international slave trade. Fort Moultrie has an exhibit concerning the painful history of the slave trade on Sullivan’s Island, and there is a commemorative bench on the island for people to sit and contemplate this chapter of our nation’s past.

Need to balance the dark with some light? If you can’t get enough of Charleston’s lighthouses, be sure to check out the lighthouse on Sullivan’s Island. Built in the 1960s, it is commonly known as “Charleston Light” and is steeped in Lowcountry lore.

Visit Poe’s Library

Set inside the renovated Battery Gadsden, Poe’s Library is packed with books — including all of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous literary works. Although this quaint library isn’t big, you could easily spend an entire afternoon learning about its history and losing yourself in a good book.

Poe’s Library regularly features programs for children and adults alike. From board games and DIY crafts for the kids to writing workshops and book clubs for adults, the library is a special gathering place for locals.

Catch a Glimpse of Loggerhead Turtles

Reasons to Love Sullivan's Island

Seeing loggerhead turtles in their natural habitat isn’t easy. Although you might see an adult loggerhead turtle come up for air from your boat on the ocean, witnessing tiny hatchlings emerge is incredibly rare.

Although your chances of seeing one on Sullivan’s Island is still rare, they did have a record high of 15 nests in 2016. The sea turtle nesting season is May through October, but the nests hatch from July through the end of October.

Volunteers walk the beach early in the morning to identify tracks and alert the Island Turtle Team, who helps relocate eggs to protect disoriented hatchlings. If you do see a sea turtle or their tracks, report it to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Island Turtle Team.

Keep in mind that loggerhead turtles are an endangered species and that the island goes to great lengths to protect them. Disturbing them in any way can result in a fine of up to $25,000 and a year’s imprisonment.

As you walk along the beach during sunrise, keep your eyes out for them and you might get lucky. Just remember to keep your distance and avoid using flash photography.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are tons of reasons to love Sullivan’s Island. History at every turn, exceptional dining spots and miles of quiet shoreline make this laid-back beach a hotspot for locals.

If you’re ready to call Sullivan’s Island home, we’ve got the folks to help you do it. Chat with a Sullivan’s Island expert and find out why the island is one of the most desirable places to live in Charleston.

Four of the Best Charleston Neighborhoods for Foodies

Charleston Foodie Restaurants

Charleston Foodie Neighborhoods

Charleston is every foodie’s dream come true. Jam-packed with award-winning restaurants, world-renowned chefs and homegrown flavor at every turn, the Holy City’s food scene has something for every food enthusiast to enjoy.

Although good eats are everywhere in historic downtown Charleston, some neighborhoods stand above the rest when it comes to their food. If you’re a foodie interested in Charleston real estate, be sure to check out these neighborhoods:

Cannonborough/Elliotborough

Explore the Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood and you’ll discover a mix of modern townhomes and condominiums alongside historic homes. The living options reflect the mix of residents in this up-and-coming area, which consists of young families, blue collar workers, students and retirees.

Cannonborough/Elliotborough borders the Upper King Street restaurant district, which means that residents are never far from some of the best dining on the Charleston peninsula.

Hominy Grill

One of Charleston’s most beloved restaurants, Hominy Grill attracts foodies from across the globe to try its traditional Southern fare. Located inside a free-standing historic house, the cozy and lively atmosphere pairs perfectly with the Lowcountry classics served at this renowned establishment.

Chef/owner Robert Stehling won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast in 2008 for his simple yet authentic Lowcountry-style specialties. From his she-crab soup and fried green tomatoes to his sesame fried catfish po’ boy, everything on the menu at Hominy Grill is a home run.

Fuel Charleston

If the wait at Hominy Grill is too long, consider trying Fuel Charleston, located right across the street Featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” the laid-back pub with a Caribbean-style menu makes for a great casual lunch spot.

Sip a Guava Mojito or Fuel Island Tea as you nosh on braised pork tacos or a fried fish sandwich. They also have a delicious brunch menu featuring Lowcountry classics such as local shrimp and stone-ground grits.

Charleston Foodie Neighborhoods

Photo courtesy of Instagram via @xiaobaobiscuit

Xiao Bao Biscuit

Set in a former gas station, Xiao Bao Biscuit brings a fun and creative mix of flavors to Charleston’s rising food scene. Featuring a variety of comfort foods from Thailand, China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan, this hip eatery offers variety to a city packed with Southern classics.

One of the dishes people can’t get enough of is their okonomiyaki covered in “pork candy,” a savory Japanese pancake made with flour, eggs and shredded cabbage.  If spicy food isn’t your thing, be sure to ask the friendly wait staff for recommendations.

The Ordinary

Considered one of the best oyster bars in the Lowcountry, The Ordinary is a hotspot in Cannonborough/Elliotborough. Operated by the same people who run farm-to-table favorite FIG, The Ordinary has won many accolades for its great selection of fresh, local seafood.

Led by chef Mike Lata, The Ordinary is housed in a former 1920s bank that features a dramatic setting, complete with high ceilings and rounded windows. With a wide variety of hot and cold items on the menu, this oyster hall has something for everyone.

Harleston Village

Harleston Village is one of Charleston’s oldest neighborhoods. Boarded by Calhoun, Broad and King streets and the Ashley River to the west, this vibrant neighborhood was established in 1770, the same year as the College of Charleston.

Diverse and lively, Harleston Village neighborhood is home to families, college students and professionals alike. With its close proximity to shopping, dining, prestigious schools and well-kept public parks, Harleston Village is a great place to live, work and play in historic downtown Charleston.

As if that weren’t enough, this neighborhood is known for its amazing restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood to sip French wines while snacking on cheese and charcuterie or you prefer to dine at Charleston’s most romantic restaurant, this vibrant neighborhood has your epicurean needs covered.

Basic Kitchen

Full of natural light and trendy décor, Basic Kitchen serves healthy dishes in a low-key, modern atmosphere. But make no mistake, there is nothing basic about the diverse flavors at this hip eatery.

From scrumptious fish tacos to rainbow veggie bowls, Basic Kitchen uses seasonal, local produce to create dishes that are both delicious and nutritious. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian — or you simply want to enjoy a healthy meal — this little gem is a great spot for brunch or dinner.

Wait times can be long, but the food is worth it. Order the cauliflower wings and their famous beet margarita — you won’t regret it!

Charleston Foodie Neighborhoods

Photo Courtesy of Instagram via @lefarfallechs

Le Farfalle

Charleston has no shortage of Italian restaurants, but Le Farfalle is a worthy addition to the city’s dynamic food scene. Located at 15 Beaufain Street, this regional Italian restaurant has a delicious menu tailored perfectly to Charleston.

In addition to their house-made pasta and extensive wine list, Le Farfalle offers many dishes that are reimagined with a Lowcountry flare. The menu is always changing, but you’ll find cuisine such as the roasted duck rice bowl featuring Charleston Gold Rice and a fresh catch of the day, which highlights the city’s impeccable seafood.

The Rise Coffee Bar

If you’re a coffee or tea aficionado, The Rise Coffee Bar at the Restoration Hotel is a must-try. This lovely coffee shop on Wentworth Street offers a European sip-and-stroll experience, complete with artisan coffee, tea, cold-pressed juices and freshly baked pastries.

The Rise Coffee Bar partners with small batch coffee roaster Toby’s Estate and artisan tea maker Bellocq to deliver the finest coffees and teas in the Holy City. From lattes and cortados to their special Charleston tea blend, everything on the menu is bound to please any beverage enthusiast.

If you’re a professor or student at the nearby College of Charleston, you can enjoy a special discount. Another added bonus: The Rise Coffee Bar has two outdoor tables that are dog friendly!

Circa 1886

It doesn’t get more romantic than Circa 1886. Located in the original carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion, this polished restaurant oozes romance and old Charleston charm.

Much of the original design of the carriage house remains, including the wood-burning kitchen fireplace, wide pine floor boards and stable doors. Intimate without being crowded, Circa 1886 delivers a fine dining experience that makes it a hotspot for fancier date nights.

Chef and co-owner Marc Collins, founder of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, creates innovative Lowcountry dishes using seasonal ingredients. From buttermilk fried artichokes to white cheddar infused grits, anything you choose from the menu is sure to delight your taste buds.

French Quarter

Charleston’s French Quarter is known for its cobblestone streets, beautiful courtyards, copious art galleries and stunning architecture. This charming district is bounded by the Cooper River, Broad Street, Meeting Street and Market Street.

Named for the high concentration of French Huguenots in the area, the French Quarter is steeped in history. But in addition to its rich history, the small, quiet neighborhood also has a stellar reputation for refined restaurants and eclectic craft cocktails.

Charleston foodie neighborhoods

McCrady’s

For an exceptional dining experience in Charleston, it doesn’t get much better than McCrady’s. Helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Sean Brock, both McCrady’s Restaurant and McCrady’s Tavern delight diners with bold combinations and complex flavors.

The two establishments are located side by side and provide two different dining experiences. McCrady’s Restaurant became Charleston’s only five-diamond-rated restaurant earlier this year and offers an upscale, experimental tasting experience. McCrady’s Tavern has a more casual vibe yet still provides an incredible menu with an amazing wine selection.

Magnolia’s

A local favorite, this upscale restaurant serves refined Lowcountry cuisine that’s both exquisite and flavorful. Magnolia’s focuses on every small detail, from creation to presentation to service.

Magnolia’s is great for a fancy night out or a special occasion. While a place like Magnolia’s might seem pretentious on the outside, the welcoming atmosphere and waitstaff are the perfect example of authentic Southern hospitality.

Helmed by Culinary Arts Director Donald Drake and Executive Chef Kelly Franz, the menu at Magnolia’s will have your mouth watering. From classics such as shellfish over grits and the Down South egg roll to Lowcountry dishes with modern interpretations such as boiled peanuts, Magnolia’s menu is topnotch.

The Gin Joint

Fancy yourself a craft cocktail? The Gin Joint is a budding mixologist’s paradise. Tucked away on East Bay Street, this cozy cocktail bar has amazing drinks made from scratch and delicious small plates to match.

The Gin Joint opened in 2010 and was one of the first cocktail bars to begin serving the Holy City after the repeal of the mini-bottle law. Eight years have passed, but the Gin Joint remains a French Quarter hotspot for locals.

Their spirits list is both creative and extensive, featuring drinks using local herbs and other local ingredients. Combined with the speakeasy vibe throughout the bar and an impressive list of elevated bar fare, the Gin Joint can do no wrong.

Insider Tip: If you enjoy wine tasting and art, check out the French Quarter Art Walk. Held the first Friday of March, May, October and December in Charleston’s French Quarter district, attendees can sample tasty wines as they browse more than 40 art galleries located on the historical streets of Charleston.

Eastside

Also known as Hampstead Village, this up-and-coming neighborhood has investment potential for new home buyers. This neighborhood has cleaned up well in the last decade and is now transformed into a hipster-driven haven.

The modern, hipster vibe has influenced the restaurant scene in Eastside significantly. From craft cocktails at Mercantile and Mash to a savory bagel at Eastside Bagel, Hampstead has much to offer.

Mercantile and Mash

Mercantile and Mash is located at the Cigar Factory. Once a cotton manufacturing facility in the 1880s, the Cigar Factory is now a mixed-used building that features high-end retail, professional offices and culinary delights.

Venture through the Mercantile door to discover its gourmet food retail space, where patrons can order a stock of local culinary items, baked goods, fresh pastas, sandwiches, coffee and dessert. From the flaky chocolate croissants to the charcuterie selections, you won’t be leaving Mercantile hungry.

Now step inside Mash, a cozy, laid-back bar serving a wide selection of domestic whiskeys and local beers. The knowledgeable bartenders are always ready to talk whiskey and will make you an amazing Old Fashioned using a type of whiskey exclusive to Mash. Along with its boozy offerings, Mash also boasts an indoor bocce court, shuffleboard and arcade games.

Charleston foodie neighborhoods

Photo Courtesy of Instagram via @tacoboychs

Taco Boy

This festive Mexican bar and restaurant is a solid addition to Charleston’s growing food scene. Not only are the tacos unique and delicious, but the staff are always friendly and accommodating to all.

Whether you’re a vegetarian, a carnivore or gluten-free, you’ll love Taco Boy. The roasted cauliflower taco and tempura avocado are scrumptious, and the guacamole is a must! If you’re a meat-lover, the carne asada quesadilla and street tacos won’t disappoint.

Eastside Bagel

For a cheap but delicious meal, Eastside Bagel is the place to go. Tucked away a few blocks from Meeting Street, this one-of-a-kind bagel shop offers large steamed bagels that are packed with flavor and utterly unique.

From its cheeses and meats to the bagel bread, Eastside Bagel takes its ingredients seriously. Whether you choose the traditional breakfast bagel with ham, egg and cheese or the Nassau, a salami and veggie cream cheese bagel, it’s guaranteed to hit the spot. If you’re hungry for lunch, they also have plenty of satisfying options that will turn you into an Eastside Bagel convert. However, you may want to take your food to go. The shop is small with not much seating.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, culinary delights abound in Charleston. With our award-winning restaurants and tasty craft beverages, it’s not surprising that so many chefs are flocking to the Holy City.

If you’re getting ready to put down roots in Charleston and you are passionate about food, you’ll fit right in here. We promise that you won’t be disappointed with the rich culinary offerings in these Charleston foodie neighborhoods.

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