For my 23rd birthday I decided that I wanted to take a weekend trip to Charleston, South Carolina. I live in Jacksonville Florida so it is only three and a half hours away from me. I constantly hear how beautiful it is and how it is everyone’s favorite place, so I decided I had to go. As you know, I’m a thrifty person by nature so I tried to do whatever I could to save some money. I soon realized that Charleston is not a very budget friendly place and that you’re going to need to splurge on some things. I decided to share exactly where we stayed, ate, and what we did, and share if I think you should do the same or not.
I am always a big advocate of Airbnb. I have found that it is always the cheapest and most comfortable way to travel. We stayed about 15 minutes from Historic Charleston in North Charleston. We only paid $66 per person for the whole trip, which was 2 nights. The place we stayed at was even cuter than it looked in the pictures and it had everything we could possible need. Not only was this place cute, affordable, and close to everything, it also had a very exciting and unexpected treasure hunt. Although at the end (once we found the prizes) we found out that this treasure hunt is meant for children, it was still really fun to our group of adults.
When I was planning this trip and trying to find places to eat, I discovered that restaurants in Charleston are a little pricier than they are here in Jacksonville. Most restaurants in Charleston are about $30-$40 for an entree. I tried to look around and find some places that offered a little more budget friendly menus and had positive reviews. The first night we were in Charleston we ate at a restaurant called The Darling. I was really excited to eat here because from what I had seen online, the decor looked very Wes Anderson. The menu had a lot of variety of prices ranges and some options for everyone in my group. The service was very good but the food was not that amazing. There wasn’t much to complain about but their wasn’t much to rave about either.
The next place we ate at was for lunch, at a place called Taco Boy. This place had a really cool atmosphere and had mostly outside seating. We really enjoyed the margaritas and they probably had the best guacamole that I’ve ever had. However, this place was pretty pricey especially for it being lunch.
The last place we ate at in Charleston was for brunch at a place called Bay Street Biergarten. We choose this place because it had outside seating that welcomed dogs and the menu didn’t seem too expensive. They had $15 pitchers of mimosa which I loved obviously, and their food was really good. The only complaint I had is that the portion sizes were really small. I paid like $10 for one piece of avocado toast with tomatoes and egg white on it. It would have been decently priced if the portion sizes were doubled.
The rest of the time we were there we tried to eat at the Airbnb or we ordered pizza. I was pretty disappointed with my overall food experience and that I wasn’t able to find any restaurants that I absolutely loved. I had a lot of people recommend a lot of different places to me and I bet those place probably had amazing food. However, I knew that if I was going to spend $40 for some pasta, I wouldn’t really care if it was the best pasta I have ever tasted, I would just be annoyed. I’m anxious to go back again and try some more places that locals would recommend.
Things To Do
The first night that we got to Charleston we ate on King Street which happens to have a lot of bars. We walked up and down the street for a little bit and we ended up going to a bar called Ink and Ivy. The bar had a really cool atmosphere and a lot of places to lounge around. The drinks were pretty expensive, at least compared to what I’m used to at my local bars. It was like $8 for vodka and soda.
One thing that everyone told me was a “must have” if I go to Charleston is the carriage ride tours. We decided to book a carriage ride tour through Palmetto Carriages because they were the highest rated carriage company. It was $25 per person and the tour lasted an hour. The tour guides didn’t know the routes that they would be talking until they got their clearance from the city right before the tour, so it was interesting to see how much the tour guides had to know. This was a really good way to learn all about the history of Charleston while being able to see beautiful sights. I really enjoyed this and would highly recommend it to anyone who is visiting Charleston.
After our carriage ride tour we got to walk around the historic downtown. On Market Street they have the City Market all weekend long. There is also a lot of local shops and coffee shops all close by. I could have probably spent a whole day just walking all around this little area.
The one thing that I REALLY wanted to do while I was in Charleston, was to find a speakeasy. I obviously didn’t want to find a legit speakeasy, because I know we are not in the prohibition anymore, but there are places around the world that resemble a speakeasy from the 1920’s in the sense that they are secret bars. Before my trip, I was looking all over the internet to try to find a speakeasy, and although I had a couple leads, I really didn’t find anything. I thought I had given up on my search until a barista at a coffee shop hesitantly told me about a “speakeasy” called the Faculty Lounge. I was able to google the place and find an address, so I was uncertain if the bar was actually trying to be secretive. The GPS took us to a neighbor with a house that had no windows. There was one light that shown over a red door with a doorbell. There was a sign above the doorbell that said to ring and that the door would open if there was room. We rang the doorbell and waited for a minute, then we were buzzed in. Once we opened the door there was a hallway that seemed very homey. Once we got through the hallway and turned a corner there was a dark bar with hanging light fixtures and photographs all over the wall. The decor was very mid-century and there was a pool table at the very end of the room. Everyone there seemed to have been their before, and all the drinks that were served had very obscure names. I got a cocktail called Untitled #2. Although this wasn’t a speakeasy that I had been imagining, I was absolutely living. This was probably my favorite place in all of Charleston.
Overall, I really enjoyed Charleston and wish my trip was longer, although I think this is a perfect place for a long weekend trip. I hope to go back again soon so I can eat and drink a lot more!